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Thread: Salmon in freshwater

  1. #1
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    Default Salmon in freshwater

    I am pretty new at salmon fishing having only fished for them the past two years and I have a pretty basic question. Will salmon bite an artificial lure once they get into freshwater? I have caught a fair number of pinks, chums and a couple of silvers and nearly all of them have been foul hooked. I don't target reds since it seems to be the general opinion that they will not bite a lure. I don't try to snag fish but sometimes they are just so many in a spot you can't help from hooking one someplace other than the mouth. I don't fish live bait. Am I fooling myself in thinking I can get them to bite?

    I would appreciate some input for those of you who know much more than I do.

    Thanks

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    The best answer I can give you is: yes, but....

    Salmon tend to stop feeding once they leave the ocean, thus getting them to strike lures can be far more difficult in the fresh water. It does happen, though with ease that varies widely by species and circumstances. Reds are a great example of a tough species to entice in fresh water. I cannot honestly say that I have ever gotten a red to strike a lure in freshwater other than out of annoyance. I've heard many accounts of people doing so, so I'm not saying it can't be done, but I myself simply practice the lining technique to fill my freezer. If you practice, you can get them in the mouth every time.

    Silvers, pinks, and chums will readily strike lures in fresh water. Last fall I was fishing dry flies for chums in a local stream and literally couldn't keep them off the end of my line. Whenever this bright pink fly would drift their way they would race to take it off the surface. (Awesome fun, by the way!) Similarly, pixies/pinks or vibraxes/silvers are combinations made in heaven. Given the right water conditions, these fish will ferociously strike artificial lures in freshwater. I only leave out kings because I have spent very little time pursuing them, so I'll let someone else with more experience fill you in on those.

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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    Every species of salmon will hit in freshwater when they are still silver, however pressure, timing and lure/ fly selection
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Member sheep man's Avatar
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    If salmon only hit when they were silver there wouldn't be many fish caught in the susitna drainages,if any thing salmon get more aggressive the closer they get to spawning.

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    Default Salmon due react

    Yes, I agree all salmon will hit lures especially when they are fairly fresh from the ocean. Last August I hooked a 11 lb chrome sockeye salmon on a number 5 Pink Vibrax spinner on the lower Kenai River at Cunningham part while fishing for Pinks. A lot of people get in the mind set that they must snag fish or rip the lure through the water, but actually a nice slow presentation will get fish to strike. Confidence is key.

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    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    Low and slow is the key when fishing hardware for Salmon. I do have to disagree that they are more aggressive when bright. They tend to be much more Territorial just before spawning, and that territorial behavior is what your trying to set off.

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    When trying to entice a bite do you suggest fishing near the surface, near the bottom or somewhere in between?

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    Member nibenza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlieM View Post
    When trying to entice a bite do you suggest fishing near the surface, near the bottom or somewhere in between?
    I've never fly fished for them but with lures you want it or your weight bouncing on the bottom.

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    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    With a few exceptions low and slow holds true for fly fishing as well. In some rivers both silvers and chum will hit big bright surface flies, try a pink polly wog for example for surface fishing salmon.

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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sheep man View Post
    If salmon only hit when they were silver there wouldn't be many fish caught in the susitna drainages,if any thing salmon get more aggressive the closer they get to spawning.
    Very true, but the best chance of them hitting is when they are still covered in sea lice, but I've caught plenty of dark silvers, chums, kings, and pinks, plus a few reds that hit flesh flies when rainbow fishing. Every situation is different for sure.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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