Salmon Lures and A Guide: Strategies for Salmon in Freshwater
Andrew, the head angler of Reel Fresh Fishing Service, catches huge salmon in rivers using salmon lures, fly rods, and baits.
When hunting and fishing for salmon in waterways, fishing guides utilize salmon lures because lures are an excellent way to capture salmon and because it is thrilling when big mighty salmon take the lure.
This article discusses the best salmon lures and river fishing tactics to capture them.
When angling for salmon in waterways, the three most effective salmon lures are the Kwik fish because of its appealing motion, the in-line spinning lure because of its noise and flash, and the spinner bait. Six other lures can also be effective when hunting for salmon.
As other river experts and I know, there should be a flash, activity, and a pleasant vibration or noise. Some salmon lures immediately to satisfy these standards and are often the most successful.
In addition to changing or using different salmon lures based on the river’s conditions and the salmon’s activity levels, I will talk to you about which lures you should use.
This guide offers tips on how to fish some of these lures more effectively, so keep your eagle eye open for my helpful tips along the way.
The 9 Most Effective Salmon Lures
Salmon Lures and A Guide:
No issue how strong salmon is; you can’t just point something at it and wait for it to eat. Salmon fishing lures will provide the most effective results; I’ve included them in this guide.
Rattlin Pixee, Blue Fox
- premium brass construction
- gets deep even in fast moving rivers
Significantly, it is the most effective lure for salmon fishermen. The fish moves in a significant broad motion to catch the interest of the salmon.
Whenever it does this, its sound gets stuck in its skin and irritates them so much that it can’t resist sucking on the salmon lure to drive it away. You can set the hooks easily using razor-sharp double hooks at this location.
The authentic lure’s components were crafted to make it irresistible to fish. Salmon won’t flinch at a chance to catch this lure.
Bill Lewis Knock-N-Trap
- EFFECTIVE FISHING LURE - When you're probing deeper water or matching an upsized hatch, reach for a Bill Lewis Knock-N Mag Trap! Built with a hard driving, low...
- THE SOUND OF SUCCESS - An urgent, low-frequency knock-knock-knock that's specially calibrated to drive fish wild. Like a drumbeat, the Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap...
Compared to the last lure, this one appeals to salmon differently. As opposed to antagonizing them, these salmon lure mimics their prey.
In addition, its rattle gives the impression that a baitfish is distressed. No fish can refuse a simple meal like that, much less salmon. This one is right behind the previous one regarding the effectiveness of catching salmon.
One of my favorite baits, the Acme Kast master, will work on any fish. In addition to the flash, such action must be noticed.
In the picture, you can see how shiny it is. The bright, flashy food naturally moves in water, luring fish to bite into the meal. Since this lure is good for catching salmon and any other fish you like, I rated it the most versatile.
Vibrax Blue Fox Classic
- The flash and action of these lures is truly legendary.
- The free-turning brass gear housed within the lure reduces twist and adds vibration as it rattles against the outer body.
There is no better inline spinner than the Vibrax Classic by Blue Fox when comparing inline spinners. With bright colors, movement, and movement, this lure has a lot of it everything.
Although the picture is a bit blurry, you can roughly see the shiny surface that will produce bright flashes.
The lure perfectly mimics baitfish with its spinning action, and its brass gear creates vibration when it rattles. Therefore, it is the most effective inline reel for salmon.
Rapala Super Shad Rap
- Super Tough Abachi Wood Construction
- Natural baitfish profile.
It’s not much to say. By itself, the realistic design sets this lure apart from many others.
The Rapala action is also present, as all lures from Rapala have. Because of this, it looks like a swimming baitfish. It’s also made of ultra-tough Abachi wood. As a whole, there is no better crankbait for salmon.
Sougayilang Fishing Spoon
- 30pcs/package, with a narrow profile and compact design, assortment of 5colors flashy to get the fish attention, individually wrapped.
- Completely new perfect design, made with aluminum alloy, light weight and super strong sharp hook, easy to string.
Lastly, the Sougayilang Fishing Spoon features unmatched flash. Plating made of real silver and gold makes the lure shine brighter than any other lure underwater.
Because of its S shape, it swims precisely like a baitfish. In motion, the spiky body also makes noise. Salmon loves it because of these features.
Jerk Rapala Husky
Whenever you need jerk bait for salmon, look no further. A Rapala lure with Rapala action.
Its rattle chamber emits sound waves that travel far and wide, attracting salmons. Additionally, it does not move up or down unwantedly. Salmons prefer jerk baits like this.
Goture Shrimp Lure
- 【Premium quality】These shrimp lures are made of premium high quality Silicone material which make the lures more softer and flexible. The shrimp bait...
- 【Lifelike Swimming Action】Shrimp Lure has vivid shrimp shape which give it the look and feel of a live shrimp with a realistic design. It creates lifelike...
Shrimps make up over 90% of salmons’ diet. Shrimp lures will usually get their attention without hesitation if they look realistic.
It is the most lifelike shrimp lure on the market. Aside from that, it swims like shrimp. Salmon fishermen should have this lure in their tackle box.
77 fishing lures set from Sptlimes
This is an excellent option for those on a budget. You’ll get 77 lures for less than $20. Topwater lures, crankbaits, jigs, shrimp lures, and more are offered.
It is a fact that every fishing trip requires a variety of lures. The use of fishing lures allows you to fish almost anywhere.
What is the best rod for casting salmon lures?
Salmon Lures and A Guide:
NOTE: While any 7-foot medium or heavy action rod will work for salmon fishing lures, longer and heavier rods will provide a greater casting distance.
By using a longer rod, you will have more control over your presentation, and you will also have an easier time landing the salmon. Salmon rods are always more effective at catching salmon.
Check out my page about fishing rods for salmon to find out the best rod for casting lures or float fishing.
Making Salmon Lures With The Right Salmon Reels
Additionally, you’ll need a reel that canto hold many lines, can cast far, and has an excellent drag system. Spinal has an easy drag, so you can land more salmon and prevent your rod and line from breaking.
On my page, Best Reels for Salmon Fishing in Rivers, you can find powerful and smooth reels for casting lures.
The nine best salmon lures for fishing rivers
My other guides and I used these nine lures and found them the most effective salmon lures when fishing in great lakes and rivers.
Lure for Kwikfish
Kwikfish’s 5-inch Flo Chartreuse/Green UV lure is an excellent salmon lure.
During a recent conversation with one of my guides, he mentioned that when salmon enter the river, he targets the more significant, slower pools using Kwickfish lures.
Kwikfish lures have been my best salmon lures for about 20 years, and they have caught many salmon for my clients.
Due to its wide wobble and slow retrieve, this lure dangles in the salmon’s face for extended periods, triggering aggressive strikes.
There are models like the Kwikfish K Series with rattles built into them so the salmon can hear them more clearly from a distance. First, they hear or feel the vibrations, then they see I and hit it.
Salmon fishing with 4- to 5-inch Kwikfish is my favorite, with the larger size working best when salmon first enter a river and the smaller size after a few days. Salmon holds best in a precise, smaller 3-inch size when under pressure.
Guide tip: When speeding up or ripping a lure, pause for a second to attract less aggressive salmon.
This is done about every 10 feet, and I will do it more frequently if the salmon seem to need to take the lure on a straight set, steady retrieve.
I usually do well with all silvered-green/chartreuse combinations like the Flo Chartreuse/Green UV. Silver blue works well in most water conditions.
A color that has been a personal favorite of mine for the past few seasons has been Flame Thrower.
I prefer darker colors such as Funcolourscken, black, and fluorescent red in stained water. It’s also a good color for me and some of my guides when diving in green-impaired waters.
There are many other great colors to try if you are an angler since some may work better on some rivers.
Please comment to let other readers and me know which marks work best for you.
Original Flatfish and Wardens Flatfish by Yakima Bait
Salmon Lures and A Guide:
It is an excellent bait for salmon fishing in slower, deeper water.
It’s almost the same as using the Kwikfish fish to catch Yakima Flatfish and Wardens Flatfish.
Kwikfish do not have great colors like fluorescent orange, Black Orange Spot, or Pearch Scale.
These colors are all orange; orange is hard to beat on some days and rivers.
Mag Lip FlatFish are also available for faster, deeper rivers and pools from Yakima Bait.
How To Fish Kwikfish and Flat Fish
Using a slow retrieve when fishing with Kwikfish or Flatfish would be best. This lure will only run properly if you retrieve it fast; the salmon will only hit it if you recover it fast enough.
Retrieving too fast can result in the lure spinning or failing to reach the water.
Keeping the lure wobbling steadily will keep it enticing from side to side. Occasionally, even curate speed is enough to make rockobble enough.
Combined with current speed, it may spin and blow out, slowing your retrieve. Faster retrieval can be achieved with a slower current.
This lure is fished the same way every time. As I cast across the pool and downriver, I lowered my rod tip and reeled it in slowly.
When fishing fast currents, I cast across and let the lure swing across the wind, allowing the draft to give it action.
I repeat this process until I reach the bottom of the run with my lure
From top to bottom, I pour water about two to three feet at a time.
It works almost every time I use a lure in moving water.
Weight the line 2 and 3 feet above the bait at an extreme intensity to get it into the salmon’s strike zone.
You can use kwickfish or flatfish as salmon lures when the water is intense.
The water gradually covers a lure from top to bottom, allowing it to swing across the river.
Rotating in-line spinners
Spinners are some of the most effective salmon lures for slow and fast-moving rivers.
You may also use spinner lures when fishing from a pier or shore.
I use spinners to catch salmon along rivers, spinning the spinner’s teeth to spin as they swing through the water.
Each cast was made about 3 feet deeper, or I stepped down to cast straight across again.
My rod tip is usually straight out and pointing towards the lure about waist-high.
I will raise my rod tip or cast in a downriver angler style when I need less depth. As the rod tip rises, so will the spinner.
Either way, I will lower my rod tip close to the water’s surface, throw the lure upriver, wait for it to sink, grab it, and swing the spinner across the pool.
Give the spinner more time to sink, and it will sink deeper. It depends on how hard you hit or snag the bottom.
Some spinners go more profound than others, depending on their weight and blade.
My spinner and lures are always 12 to 36 inches off the bottom.
Guide Tip: When I cover water, I cast with a steady retrieve, followed by a rip-rip retrieve.
I rip-rip every 5 to 10 feet with a 1-second pause. I throw rip-rip retrieves to salmon, but they ignore straight steady retrieves.
Blue Fox Classic Vibrax size 3 for clear external conditions and sizes 4 and 5 for deeper water.
As it runs shallow, this lure is suitable for shallow water.
It has more vibration than any other Mepps spinner, so it attracts salmon better.
My extensive testing revealed that Vibrax spinners work best.
The colors I enjoy most regarding salmon are the glow green, the glowing chartreuse, and orange/pink.
Silver shiners, salmon, and steelhead are caught on chartreuse, green, and orange candy backs. There are many more beautiful colors.
My best success has been with solid black and red in darker water, dirty water, or at night.
The Blue Fox Vibrax Bullet Spinner works best in deeper water because its thinner blade cuts through the water better.
Additionally, it is a good spinner if you are looking for more speed. I use the exact sizes and colors precisely.
Try the Blue Fox Vibrax Minnow Spin and the Panther Martin Spinner.
When I owned my tackle shop, many anglers swore by Panther Martins because they come in many fabulous colors.
Using Panther Martins for steelhead and salmon has been a good adventure.
River spoon fishing for salmon
Salmon Lures and A Guide:
The spoon can be one of the best salmon lures if you use it correctly and if you use the right ones.
When salmon enter rivers, anglers must remember that spoons exist when casting lures for salmon.
The most effective way to fish them is to cast the lure across, allow it to sink, then lift the rod tip with a slow retrieve.
My rod tip was only raised high enough to hit bottom every few feet.
Lift the rod tip quickly to jump the spoon 2 to 3 feet, slowly lower it to allow it to bump the bottom again, and keep doing this between the FSR bank and the close bank. After that, move 3 feet down and repeat.
I often add a high-quality, durable swivel when I make salmon spoons. It will be a size 3 or 4 Owner snap swivel or a size 6 VMC snap swivel if the spoon is unsuitable for river fishing.
A salmon spoon is typically designed for trolling and is too light for casting. The following few spoons are appropriate for fly fishing and river fishing.
I prefer spoons in the 3.5 to the 4.5-inch range when fishing substantial rivers, but I prefer 2.5 to 3.5-inch utensils in small and large rivers, especially when salmon are spooked.
The most effective spoons and colors for salmon fishing in rivers are:
Krocodile Spoon –
Salmon Lures and A Guide:
Salmon spoons like this one are my favorite for spoon jigging. It is best used for faster, more significant rivers or smaller, more apparent rivers in sizes 3 to 4.25, but it is also suitable for small, clear rivers.
The best colors are chrome-Silver Prism Lite, Hammered Brass-Fire, Metallic Perch, Chrome Green Mackerel, and Chrome/Flo. Mackerel in blue, Prism-Lite in green.
Acme Little Cleo Spoons –
2/5 oz is my go-to size, and this spoon can cast a long way. As well as the 1/2 and 3/4, I will use them on giant ore river or aggressive salmon.
I have done well with the colors hammered green/gold, Hammered green/silver, Hammered blue/silver, and Gold/orange.
The Melo yellow and the green digger have been excellent. This Acme Little Cleo Classics Kit – 3/4 oz is a great starter kit if you are new to this lure. – An assorted pack of salmon colors.
Doctor Spoon Original –
It has been a valuable spoon for casting salmon in rivers, and it comes in several fantastic colors, including Chartreuse, which is rare in other utensils.
I use and like the Eppinger Daredevil spoon and the Mepps Syclops Spoon.
Salmon fishing crankbaits
The crankbaits below are some of the ones I use for fishing salmon and steelhead in rivers. Having a variety of depths and current speeds is a good idea.
Many river guides and I use crankbaits to catch salmon in the lower parts of rivers. A rip-rip retrieve may be followed by 10 feet of steady retrieval, then a rip or two and a rest.
In general, the more erratic the retrieve, the better. Consequently, strikes can often be aggressive. Other fish species, like bass and trout, can be captured with crankbaits.
I prefer crankbaits between 3 and 5 inches long when angling for salmon. Sometimes a 6-inch crankbait works better, so you should have a good selection.
In Kelly’s opinion, the Thunder Stick is the best crankbait for “kings.”
According to his pictures, he prefers Chartreuse or brighter colors like the Luminous Green Herringbone to the deep diving models.
I have also had success with cotton-cord crankbaits, such as the 3-inch Cotton Cordell Big O Crankbait in chartreuse or silver. Ideally, I’ll use this in water less than 10 feet deep.
Cotton Cordell’s Wally Diver comes in chartreuse, orange, silver/black, or silver/blue for deeper water and bouncing crankbaits off rocks.
Try Rapala’s Super Deep Husky Jerk or Rapala’s Shark Rap SR09 Hard Bait.
Fishing jigs for salmon
The jig shown here has a paddle tail and a twister tail, and I have also used creature jigs that guys use for bass and have had success when fishing for great lakes salmon.
For salmon, jig fishing can be very effective, which makes jigs an excellent salmon bait.
The great thing about jigs is that you can use heavier ones for faster and deeper rivers and smaller ones for the smaller creeks and rivers you might find salmon.
Float fishing for salmon uses a different type of jigs than salmon jigs. You can cast jigs.
In the same way, as most lures, I will cover the water. Top to bottom means protecting the water.
You can twitch and rip or jig them up and down in jig fishing. I have also seen guys reel in large paddle tail jigs like crankbaits, with a few rips and cramps along the way.
Salmon Jig Size
I cast them across the pool, then jig them as they swing. Jigs must be the right size and weight.
I use 3- and 4-inch jigs in the same colors and 3/8- and 1/2-ounce jigs, but I may upsize for longer casts or fast water.
It’s excellent for twitching through pools and comes in various colors.
Jig Colors for Salmon
Crankbait fishing works best with blacks and olives in smaller rivers and when salmon are held in pools.
When salmon fishing, some jigs that have worked for me are the following:
- There have been good days with black bait, crushed days with whitebait, and even good days with chartreuse colors.
- Salmon jig fishing with the Strike King KVD Swim Jig in its largest size is another good option.
- Fishing with three or 4-inch twister tails or paddle tailings on a standard 1/4oz jig head is an excellent way to catch salmon.
- Combined with a 1/2 or 3/4 oz jighead, the Gary Yamamoto Zako Paddletail Swimbait – 4″ – Chartreuse Shad can be deadly.
A guide to fishing jigs for salmon, the best setups, and more great jigs can be found in Jig Fishing For Salmon – Coming Spring 2023.
Salmon fishing can be frustrating due to crowds and people. I use pontoon-style river boats to access private waters or avoid crowds. I use the ultralight pontoon boats when fishing deeper, faster rivers that are difficult to cross.
Several of my riverboats weigh less than 40 pounds, so I can easily carry them back in a bag.
The methods I use to catch more fish with pontoon boats can be found on my page, Catch More Fish with Fly Fishing Boats.
Water Well Covered with Lures
It is essential to cover the water well.
It is something river guides do differently from most anglers.
Your lure should be cast three to six feet downriver and allowed to swing across the pool as you retrieve it.
You start at the top of a pool or spot and cover the entire area systematically from the top to the bottom of the site.
Between rapids or between shallow sections, usually.
By covering the water, your lure will land every 3 to 6 feet, ensuring you reach as many salmon as possible.
Anglers cast aimlessly may miss some fish if they fail to get their lure close enough to some fish.
Here is a diagram that illustrates my casting pattern. In clear water, I may spread each retrieve six feet apart; in dirty water, I may spread the casts two to three feet to ensure my lure gets close enough to the salmon.
How to Dive Your Lures Deep Enough
It would be best to get your lure in front of the fish. With lures such as spoons, spinners, and jigs, you must cast and wait for your lure to sink before retrieving it.
Crankbaits with deep diving lips should be used to reach deep into the water and attract fish.
In addition, you may have to lift or lower your rod tip during the retrieve to gain depth or keep the lure off the bottom.
As soon as I start tapping the bottom with a lure, I raise my rod tip a foot or two since I want the lure to be 12 to 40 inches above the fish’s head.
If I don’t tap the bottom, I’ll find it! A lure may not be eaten if it is placed 8 feet above a fish’s head. So, I lower my tip even into the water until I start hitting the bottom or catching fish.
It might mean changing crankbaits to those with aggressive dive curves that get deeper and faster.
It would be best to let spoons and spinners sink longer after they hit the water, then adjust the rod tip as needed.
A heavier line may be necessary to help lures like Kwickfish and Flatfish sink deeper.
The best salmon fishing techniques
Casting lures for salmon can be an excellent method, but I also use other methods when fishing for salmon. Learn how to fish for salmon on my page, Fishing for Salmon In Great Lakes Rivers.
My question concerns the best salmis great.
In the comments section below, let me know whether you would like to share a question, a comment, or a recommendation about the best salmon lures.
Frequently Asked Questions
Salmon Lures and A Guide:
Are there any effective salmon lures?
The most popular bait for chinook salmon is salmon eggs, although sand shrimp is also famous. It is not uncommon for anglers to fish both at the same time. In addition to the appeal, marabou jigs can catch pink and other salmon when the water is shallow and clear.
what are the best lures for silver salmon on Kenai
You can try a 3/8-ounce Blue Fox Pixee spoon or a size 4 or 5 Vibrax spinner in pink—silvers love pink. Often, spinners and spoons are cast and retrieved slowly. Just above the bottom, you want the spoon to wobble. You should retrieve spinners just fast enough to get the blade spinning.
How can I find the best lures for sockeye salmon?
Using scent and bait will improve your likelihood of landing a salmon
Apply Pro-Cure shrimp, krill, or kokanee Super Gel liberally to your gear. To tip the front hook, use a cured coon stripe shrimp or the tail.
Salmon Lures and A Guide:
All in all, salmon are aggressive and fiercely defend their territories. As a result, it’s easy to get them to take the bait.
However, you can only get away with lures and need effective salmon lures. The Blue Fox Rattlin Pixee is an excellent choice. If you want to fish for salmon, you can’t afford to have this lure.