The most successful salmon anglers use a variety of lures and know what type of lure works best in different bodies of water. Artificial lures, such as plugs, spinners, spoons and flashers work well to catch salmon in both ocean and freshwater environments. Brightly colored lures that send some vibration through the water will get the attention of the big salmon. Salmon are territorial fish that will strike at anything they perceive as another fish invading their chosen territory, thus lures that mimic the fin movement of another salmon or a bait fish work well.
Plug lures work to attract salmon by mimicking the vibrations that small fish make in the water. Wobbling plug lures are made with two solid pieces that are attached via a hinge. Wobbling plug lures work well to catch almost any type of salmon. Cut plug lures float in the water and are especially attractive to Pacific Coast salmon. Plugs work best early in the season before the salmon begin feeding on bait balls. Troll the plug lures at different speeds to attract the big salmon.
Spinners mimic the movement of bait fish that are struggling against being reeled in. Spinners work best in dark or murky waters, because they create a strong vibration in the water. The salmon sense the vibration and move in to investigate. Spinners work especially well when fishing for king salmon in rivers. Cast a spinner upstream ahead of where the salmon are congregating and reel the spinner in slowly. The upstream facing salmon will strike it when it reaches them.
Spoons are one of the most effective salmon lures available. Spoons are oval lures that twirl in the water as they are reeled in. You can even bend the spoon lure using your hands or pliers to create a stronger vibration in the water. Wild salmon are attracted to painted spoons but may shy away from shiny metal spoons. King salmon and pink salmon are especially attracted to fluorescent pink, orange, green and yellow spoons.
Flashers are designed to mimic a fish's vibration in the water, similar to the way a swimming salmon vibrates the water by moving its tail. Flasher lures are designed with a swivel on one end that attaches to a leader line and a swivel on the other end that attaches to the hook and bait. Color is as important as the action when it comes to selecting a flasher lure. You can purchase flashers in solid colors or fluorescent designs. Some flashers are designed with glow-in-the-dark materials.
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