How to Fish for Chum Salmon

by Emma Rensch
Chum salmon are often found traveling through rivers.

Chum salmon are often found traveling through rivers. Images

Chum salmon are best caught from a boat using techniques called back trolling or anchoring. Back trolling involves allowing your boat to drift slowly through a river where chum salmon are likely to be feeding. The second technique involves anchoring your boat in a portion of the river where water is moving fast. Try both of these techniques to maximize your catch.

Items you will need

  • Boat with anchor
  • Rod (7'9" long, that withstands 15 to 30 lbs. of pressure)
  • Reel (withstands 20 to 25 lbs. of pressure)
  • Line (withstands 65 lbs. of pressure)
  • Plugs (size K-13 to K-15)
  • Jet diver (size 20 to 30)
Step 1

Locate the area where chum salmon may be traveling by looking for a section where water is moving faster than the rest of the river where you are fishing. Sluggish spawning salmon are generally found in slow water, and can be very difficult to hook. Active and hungry chum salmon will be found in faster-moving water, which contains more oxygen.

Step 2

Position your boat near the fast-moving water where you intend to fish. Attach a plug, which is a hard-bodied lure with a built-in hook, to your line. Make sure you're using a new plug so that the hook is sharp.

Step 3

Let out 60 to 120 feet of line, depending on how far you are from your target section of water. Use more line for deeper water and less for shallow.

Step 4

Cast your line into the desired fast-moving section of water.

Step 5

Drop your anchor and remain in this location until you're satisfied with your catch. If you aren't having significant luck, lift your anchor and allow your boat to drift with the current of the river. Your plug will trail along the bottom and is likely to attract chum salmon.

Tips & Warnings

  • Try bright-colored plugs, since chum salmon should aggressively bite at many objects, and bright colors are likely to attract them.
  • Chum salmon feed at the bottom of lakes and rivers. If your plug is not heavy enough to sink to the bottom, attach a size 20 or 30 jet diver, which is a type of weight, to your line.


  • "Salmon Fishing"; Hugh Falkus; 1989

Photo Credits

  • Images