How to Fish for Salmon From Lake Shores, Piers & Harbors

How to Fish for Salmon From Lake Shores, Piers & HarborsSalmon are one of the most exciting and delicious fish you can catch. Whether it's a Chinook, Coho, Sockeye, Pink or Chum salmon, you can't beat the feeling of hooking and landing one. According to, jigging "is one of the deadliest salmon-fishing techniques of them all." It's well-suited to pier, harbor and shore fishing, and you don't need a lot of equipment to do it. It's also effective throughout the year and you can master it in less than a day.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Using a Tube Jig to Catch Salmon

Things You’ll Need:
  • 10-foot spinning or noodle rod
  • High-capacity spinning reel with strong drag
  • 250+ yards of 8- to 12-pound braided line
  • Bobber stop
  • Bead
  • Slip bobber
  • SPRO power swivel
  • 4- to 6-pound translucent leader
  • Tube jig
  • Prawn or other bait
Step 1
Choose your gear. Everything starts with the right equipment, but you won't need a lot for a tube jigging rig. Start with a 10-foot spinning or noodle rod to maximize your casts and your leverage during a fight. Get a spinning reel that can hold at least 250 yards of 8- to 12-lb. line and make sure it has a strong drag. Tough braided lines like Power Pro or Fireline stretch less than unbraided brands so you'll be able to set the hook quicker when a fish takes the bait. Since these lines have minimal give, set your drag lower and let your catch run so it doesn't break the line.
Step 2
Rig the jig. Start by threading your main line through a bobber stop and sliding a bead right below it. Now slide on a slip bobber and tie an SPRO power swivel to the end of your line (power swivels are smooth rotating stainless steel swivels that are much stronger than barrel swivels). Tie a 4- to 6-lb. leader that's 2 to 3 feet long to your power swivel and attach your tube jig to the end of it. Any leader that's nearly invisible underwater, like Gamma Fluorocarbon, is a good choice. Your tube jig should have a 1/32- to 1/16-oz. head with a tube body that's 1 to 2 inches long (white bodies will generally attract the most fish). Power Bait Micro Tubes work well for this purpose and you can add scent and flavor to the jig by tipping your hook with bait.
Step 3
Work the jig. A salmon's eyes naturally look up so it's important to keep your jig above them. Start with the jig 3 to 4 feet down and adjust your slip bobber to increase the depth if you aren't getting bites. When you cast, watch your bobber as it hits the water and the line travels through it. It will jerk when your tube jig takes up the slack. If the bobber twitches after this point, jerk your rod quickly to set the hook. After five to 10 seconds have passed, point the tip of your rod at the bobber and take up the slack in your line. Now jerk your rod tip to bring the bobber closer and make the jig rise and fall from its last position. Then reel in your slack and repeat the process while carefully watching the bobber for unusual movement. If the bobber twitches, jerk your rod to set the hook and yell "fish on" to let your friends know you got one!

Tips & Warnings

Tip the jig with a small piece of raw prawn to greatly increase its effectiveness.
Use a stiff long rod to keep your line off the water and improve hook sets.
Don't let out an excessive amount of line as it makes setting the hook more difficult.
Use a leader that's lighter than your main line to minimize tackle losses.
Don't use a tube jig when fish are stocked as the undersized salmon are easy to catch and to injure when you handle them.

Article Written By Dan Eash

Dan Eash began writing professionally in 1989, with articles in LaHabra's "Daily Star Progress" and the "Fullerton College Magazine." Since then, he's created scripts for doctor and dentist offices and published manuals, help files and a training video. His freelance efforts also include a book. Eash has a Fullerton College Associate of Arts in music/recording production and a Nova Institute multimedia production certificate.

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