Thinking about salmon fishing?
Here are the basics.



Salmon fishing can be so exciting. You know this because you have friends who've done it. And you've tried it in the past. But so far no luck. Maybe today is the day. So...

You pack up your fly fishing gear and head out for a day of solitude at your favorite cold water fishing spot. You arrive, pack your gear to the bank, slip on your thigh waders, add a selection of flies to your fishing vest and walk into the stream. You cast and work your fly rod and line, enjoying the sights and sounds of nature. Suddenly, a fish strikes. You fight it for all you are worth until it tires. You land it and see you've caught a medium sized salmon. The wait is over. Your dream has finally come true.

The facts:

Salmon is a name that's shared by several freshwater and saltwater fish species. They are all members of the Salmonidae family. Salmon are born in rivers, lakes and streams from which they migrate to the sea. When it is time, they return to their place of birth to spawn. Salmon migrate to both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and are a species that are fished by anglers all over the world.

There are several salmon species found in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Atlantic salmon is the main salmon species that all other salmon have been named after. Lakes in eastern North America are home to land-locked salmon. These fish never migrate to the sea, even if they have access. They prefer to remain in freshwater for their entire life cycle. They are known as non-migratory salmon species.

Another member of the Atlantic salmon family is the Brown Trout. Though most people refer to it as a trout, it is technically a salmon and is very closely related to the Atlantic salmon family. Essentially, brown trout is a closer relative of the Atlantic salmon than the Pacific salmon is.

The salmon species known as red salmon is Sockeye salmon. Sockeye salmon are fished off the shores of California, in the eastern Pacific, the western Pacific off the shores of Japan's Hokkaide Island and in the Anadyr River of Siberia. In the Canadian Arctic, Sockeye salmon are fished in Bathurst Inlet. Pink salmon, also known as Humpback salmon, can be fished in California, Korea, Canada's Mackenzie River and in the Lena River of Siberia.

Chinook salmon is also known as Spring salmon, Tule, Blackmouth salmon and King salmon. Chinook can be fished as far south as California and as far north as the Bering Strait. In North America, Chinook covers the entire Pacific coast. Chinook salmon can also be fished in Russia, Alaska and Canada's Yukon Territory.

There are a variety of baits that will help you land different species of salmon. Freshwater bait consists of flies, lures, prawns, crustaceans, plugs and worms. In saltwater use flies, streamers, lures, crustaceans and egg sacs.

If you are fly fishing for salmon in freshwater, you will need a 12 to 16 foot (3.7 to 4.9 meter) graphite or fiberglass rod, as well as a fly reel and a fly line. For bait fishing or spinning, use a 10 foot (3 meter) spinning rod and a baitcaster reel with 15 to 20 (6.8 to 9.1 kilogram) pound-test line.

If you are fishing for Chinook or Coho salmon, you will need a boat or trolling rod that has a star-drag baitcaster reel equipped with 20 to 45 (9.1 to 20.4 kilogram) pound-test line. Chinook and Coho are the largest and most sought after Pacific salmon species.

The most fished freshwater salmon is the Atlantic salmon. Most anglers fly fish for these species, but they can also be caught on spoons, plugs and natural baits. Pacific salmon are usually fished by trolling just offshore and in estuaries. They can also be caught with fly fishing equipment and spinning (landlocked varieties) when they move up rivers and streams to spawn.

If you need assistance with salmon fishing techniques or choosing salmon fishing equipment, seek out an experienced salmon fishing angler. This could be a family member, a friend, a neighbor, a salmon fishing guide or a staff member of any bait and tackle shop that specializes in salmon fishing equipment.

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The wonderful world of salmon fishing

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