One of the most prized of salmon caught in the rivers and creeks of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest is the sockeye salmon, sometimes also known as the red salmon. Sockeyes are quite different from their relatives such as the king or coho salmon in that they aren't really hunting, predatory fish. Therefore, an angler's strategy and choice of lures need to be adapted to land a sockeye.
One thing to keep in mind about fishing for sockeye salmon is they have a very different food source than other types of salmon during the marine stage of their life. The sockeye salmon live off of crustaceans and plankton. These fish will rarely, if ever, go after the same sort of flashy, shiny lure used to catch the attention of a king salmon. The consensus opinion is the lure is secondary to catching these fish as they will only bite during the half second the lure is sitting in front of them. Most seem to be caught by being lined. Keep in mind that lining (sometimes called flossing) a fish is not the same things as snagging them. A lined fish is still hooked in the mouth, even if they haven't actually bitten at it. A snagged fish is hooked anywhere else. As far as the river conditions, look for a place with light currents and a good gravel bottom, suitable for bouncing your line along the bottom.
One suitable lure is a combination of yarn. Your color choice needs to be mostly or entirely red and orange.
You can also apply the fly for the coho salmon to fishing for sockeye. But to get this kind of dual-purpose use out of a single fly, the deer hairs that are tied onto the fly must be multi-colored in the red and orange pattern used for the yarn lure. The greens and silvers that entice a coho salmon to bite will be of little use with a sockeye.
Because so much of sockeye salmon fishing is about setting up the right conditions for lining/flossing them, getting the right weights for the local conditions is just as important as using the right lure. How much weight to put on the line has a lot to do with the strength of the local current, but if you are fishing in the right place, the weight range should be 0.75 oz. to 1.5 oz.
Article Written By Edwin Thomas
Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.