Tips on Salmon Fishing From the Shore

If you don’t own a boat but want to bring home some fresh-caught salmon, here’s the good news—learning how to fish for salmon from shore is easy. Nevertheless, if you’re used to fishing for salmon from a boat, there are shore-specific strategies you need to know to maximize your success.

We’ll cover these must-know tips here, along with teaching you how to pull your salmon onto shore once you hook them.

1. Use the Drift Fishing Technique

Drift fishing is among the most popular ways to fish for salmon from shore because the lure or bait mimics real food movement. To drift fish, you’ll need the following equipment:

  • Weight
  • 12 – 36-inch dropper line
  • Snap swivel
  • 4 – 6-foot leader

Once you set up your fishing line, cast your rig upstream and let it drift with the current. You’ll feel some bumps as the weight tosses along the bottom. Continue reeling in and re-casting your line until you strike the spot where salmon are swimming.

2. Experiment With Artificial Lures

When learning to fish for salmon from shore, experimenting with different lure options is vital. We recommend using the lures with one or more of the following colors:

  • Gold 
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Silver

If the drifting method isn’t working with your lure, see if giving short, sporadic tugs will help. Also, play with the pace that you reel in your lure. Most salmon prefer to bite slow-moving ones.

You can also try changing up the style of your artificial lure. Flashy lures tend to attract a salmon’s attention. So, you may have luck with spinners, spoons, and yarn jigs.

3. Don’t Forget About Natural Bait

Although artificial lures are effective for catching salmon from the shore, it’s worth giving natural bait a try. Some of a salmon’s most favorite bait includes:

  • Smelt
  • Herring
  • Fresh fish eggs
  • Alewives

Once you’ve picked your natural bait, if it’s a fish, prepare it using a cut plugging technique. To do so, cut off the head at a diagonal angle. Then, hook it onto a two-hook fishing rig.

Salmon Fishing From the Shore

4. Know Your Seasons

If you’re fishing for salmon in freshwater, the best time to do so is early in the summer. That way, you catch them when they still have energy and are feeding before they turn nearly anorexic to spawn.

In contrast, if you’re fishing for salmon in the ocean, do so in the springtime. The months of April, May, and June are ideal since salmon feed heavily during this time, and you won’t have to worry about them departing for rivers yet.

5. Set Your Alarm Clock to Salmon Time

We’re not about to tell you that you can’t do salmon shore fishing in the middle of the day. However, it’ll be a lot more challenging than if you arrange your fishing schedule around a salmon’s mealtime.

Salmon are most active in the early morning hours and late in the evening. These are also the times when they’re not as deep in the water, given that they come closer to the surface to search for food.

6. Fish in Deeper Water

The disadvantage of fishing for salmon from the shore is that it’s harder to take advantage of its deepwater habitat. However, you can set yourself up for better success by knowing the topography of where you’re fishing and choosing an area with deeper water. Using a jig fishing style is also ideal for deep salmon fishing.

Better yet, if you have access to a dock or pier, this can help give you an edge on fishing in deeper water without a boat. Of course, timing your fishing to the early morning and evening reduces the need for deeper water, given that salmon will congregate towards the surface.

7. Use a Bobber

In addition to drift fishing, floating salmon roe is an excellent technique to use from the shore. The best time to use this fishing style is when salmon start swimming upstream to spawn towards the end of summer.

Place your bobber 6 – 8 feet up from the line to set up your fishing pole. From there, use a 3/0 or 4/0 hook and attach a large chunk of eggs. Then, cast your line into the deepest part of the water and let your roe get to work with drawing attention to the salmon.

Tips for Reeling in Salmon From the Shore

You’ve caught the big one, congrats! But knowing how to fish for salmon from shore is only half the battle—now you need to reel in your salmon without losing it. The tips below will help you out.

1. Let the Salmon Tire

Reeling in your salmon as quickly as possible is the last thing you want to do since they’ll have the energy to potentially get off the hook. Instead, slowly reel them towards the shore. Then, let them work out any remaining energy. Once they swim sideways, you’ll know they’re tired enough to bring them out of the water.

2. Use a Net

The shore has rocks, sticks, and other obstacles for your line or trout to get tied up in. So, have another person use a net to catch your fish while it’s still in the water. Face the net’s opening towards the trout’s head so that it’ll swim into it. Then, with a quick and single movement, lift the net out of the water.

3. Remove the Hook With Pliers

The salmon is a mass of muscle given that they travel hundreds of miles between the river and ocean. So, their violent thrashing can land the hook in your hand when trying to pull it out. Therefore, use a set of pliers to remove it. If you’re fishing in saltwater, pliers made for salt are essential so that they don’t rust.

Are You Ready to Catch Salmon From the Shore? 

Fishing for salmon from the shore is a fun pastime that can result in countless delicious salmon dinners. By knowing when trout will be closer to the surface and playing with different lures and casting techniques, you’ll be well on your way to bringing home the big one.

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