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River fishing for salmon with spinners and crankbaits

October 13, 2014

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!

riversalmon River fishing for salmon with spinners and crankbaits

DSCF7238 River fishing for salmon with spinners and crankbaits

DSCF7293 River fishing for salmon with spinners and crankbaits

DSCF7277 River fishing for salmon with spinners and crankbaits

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