How to Catch Landlocked Salmon

How to Catch Landlocked SalmonLandlocked salmon can be caught using a variety of methods, but trolling for these opportunistic feeders gives anglers the best chance to land a trophy. Use a specialized trolling pattern to target these aggressive salmon. (Illustration showing how a downrigger works)


Difficulty: Moderate

Spread out the Lures

Things You’ll Need:
  • Trolling rods
  • Reels
  • Inline planer boards
  • Divers
  • Downriggers
Step 1
Spread out your lures in different parts of the water column to increase your odds of catching fish by covering more water. Landlocked salmon will be found throughout the water column based on water temperature. Start your trolling "spread" by placing trolling spoons deep off a downrigger.
Step 2
Stagger the depth setting on each downrigger; place the inside downriggers down 90 to 100 feet and the outside downriggers 60 to 80 feet. This will put your baits in the strike zone for salmon holding deep.
Step 3
Once the downriggers are set, place the diving planers, or "divers," with spoons trailing behind back 100 feet on one side and 200 feet on the other. This will place the lures above the downrigger spread and will target salmon cruising at the mid-level depths of 30 to 50 feet down.
Step 4
After the divers are in the water, run shallow running crankbaits 100 to 150 feet behind the boat and attach an inline planer board to the line. Drop the planer in the water and let out another 40 to 50 feet of line. The planer will move away from the boat, which will keep the lures up in the water column and away form the noise of the boat.
Step 5
Once all the rods are set, watch the electronic depth finder to see at what level the fish are holding. With a spread of lures covering from 10 feet to 100 feet of water, you will be sure to find a hungry salmon ready to do battle!

Tips & Warnings

Make sure to place different color lures at each depth to see if the salmon have a preference. If the fish key on a certain color pattern, do not hesitate to change the lures on all the rods.
Keep the boat as straight as possible when setting up your trolling spread. Sharp turns will cause massive tangles and lost fishing time.

Article Written By Brian M. Kelly

Brian M. Kelly has been freelance writing since 2003. His work has been published in respected outdoor magazines such as Outdoor Life, Great Lakes Angler and Salmon Trout Steelheader. He holds an associate's degree in automated machine design from Macomb College.

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