How To: Fish For Salmon

by Rachel

Fishing is so much more than just throwing a worm on a line and casting into the water. Which, actually, makes it much more interesting to take part in. Last night my husband and brother-in-law and I went fishing for salmon, and man, if I had just gone on my own I would have been laughed at by other anglers (if it wasn’t the middle of the night and dark). Here are some things I learned about fishing for salmon.

  • Check when the salmon season opens in your area! The MNR don’t take too kindly to fishing out of season.
  • Wait until the nights start getting cold. Salmon like cold water so won’t come up to the surface much if it’s super hot.
  • Once the nights start getting cold enough, the salmon will start coming in from the lakes and heading up rivers. So go to the mouth of rivers coming out of a nice fresh water lake. We were in Thornbury, Meaford, and Owen Sound Ontario. The Salmon come in from Georgian Bay and start entering the rivers.
  • The reason they do this, is so they can die. Yes, older salmon fight and fight up river to get into dams, spawn, and die (what a life!). The younger salmon follow them in to eat the spawn (cannibals!) and then go back out to the lake. I am so glad I am not a salmon.
  • So, if salmon are coming in to eat the spawn, the perfect bait for them is… can anyone guess? SPAWN! So, you find a bait machine at a convenience store and buy some spawn. It comes in small bags that goes right on the hook.
  • So, when setting up your line, tie the hook a couple feet from the end of the line, and then tie a weight onto the bottom of the string. This allows your line to just sit in the water while you crack open a beer (best part of fishing).
  • Since it’s usually quite dark, it’s helpful to tie a glow stick close to the hook so you can see where it lands.
  • Then you sit, and wait. You can do half a reel once in a while to keep the line taut. You don’t want any slack in the line.
  • Make sure you have a medium to heavy action fishing pole- Salmon are tough buggers. Something 7-8 feet long is good too.
  • Once you feel a hit (it will feel like the salmon is tugging on the end of the line), reel in a couple times to feel for resistance, and then pull the end of your pole upwards and towards you the hook through the fish and secure him on the line.
  • Then, you gotta reel him in. He may start swimming away so you gotta follow him, even if it means running up and down the shore to keep the line tight. If you aren’t ready, he will spool you and swim away with all your line. This could take time.
  • Finally if you do get a salmon, make sure it looks like this! Since there are young and old fish coming in, you may get an old one which are no good for eating. Nice young fish are bright silver, older ones will be dull and brown/black. Gross.

And so, that’s my salmon fishing lesson. My husband even read it over for me to make sure everything is correct. Good luck, every fishermen needs it!

Everyone should believe in something; I believe I’ll go fishing -Henry David Thoreau