It is a longstanding debate here in Ontario whether tributary fishing for Chinook (King) salmon can be done legitimately, without employing snagging tactics such as lining. Many anglers doubt the willingness of a pre-spawn Chinook to hit a lure once they enter the river.
Thanks to help from a few members of local fishing forums, I was able to learn something new this year. I want to continue to spread the word that Chinook salmon will intentionally put lures in their mouths. It didn’t seem to matter whether I was close to the mouth of a river or all the way upstream, they hit just the same. It may not be news to you, but it definitely was a huge discovery for me this year!
The agenda behind this post is to reduce the amount of lining/flossing of these fish. Not only is fighting them on a 25lb leader instead of a 4lb or 8lb leader beneficial for catch and release, but it is way too cool to watch them inhale a crankbait right at your feet.
Here are some examples of chinooks, one coho, and one steelhead caught on lures (small hot n’ tots, size 3 spinners, and big kwickfish). Now it’s time to ethically enjoy Ontario’s stellar anadromous fishery!