Whether anglers chase salmon in the river or on the open waters if the Great Lakes, spoons do a wonderful job of imitating the action of the bait fish salmon feed on.
Trolling anglers utilize a lightweight spoon that wiggles and wobbles enticingly at speeds of 2 to 3 mph. When painted to look like a smelt or alewife, trolling spoons are a great bet during the summer months when salmon are on the feed. Once salmon enter the rivers on their spawning migration, their focus on feeding may diminish, but they will still strike a wobbling spoon. Try using a brightly colored, weighted spoon to provoke a bite from a salmon resting on its journey upstream.
As with the spoons, plugs can be utilized in both the river and open seas. Lipless plugs, such as a Silver Horde, are designed to be trolled at speeds of 3 to 4 mph and work wonders on salmon that are staging near rivers in preparation for their spawning run. Once the salmon enter the river, deep diving plugs that exhibit a wide wobbling action drive salmon crazy. Anglers set the plugs back 40 to 50 feet behind the boat and slowly drift down current. This enables the plugs to work their wobbling magic, agitating holding salmon into biting.
Weighted in-line spinners, such as the Vibrax, have long been a staple of salmon anglers on both the West Coast and in the Great Lakes. Since these lures can be cast a great distance, slow trolled or quartered down current in a river, they are quite a versatile lure option for salmon anglers. When using spinners for salmon, be sure to use a model with a large blade such as a No. 5 or 6. The vibrations that come from these large blades are just the ticket for hungry salmon to home in on while looking for their next meal. Stick with metallic finishes, like silver or brass, in clear water; this will attract salmon from a great distance. If you are faced with off-color water conditions, switch to a fluorescent color like chartreuse or hot orange in order to get the salmon's attention.