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Chinook Salmon picture

How to fish for Chinook Salmon

The Chinook Salmon is the largest fish of the pacific salmon species. Most anglers target Chinook Salmon in the spawning rivers and in the oceans and tributaries near the Chinooks spawning rivers as they return to spawn. They range from California to Alaska. The Chinook primarily feed on small fish such as Herring and also squid. 
Fishing for Chinook Salmon in the ocean is usually done by trolling lures or bait. Early in the morning and at dusk Chinook can be in water just 10 to 50 feet deep. A 9 foot medium to heavy action rod with a level wind, conventional, or knuckle buster reel spooled with at least 250 yds of 25 to 30 pound line is sufficient. At the end of your mainline 4 to 8 ounces of weight that is 4 to 6 feet above a barrel swivel that is attached to an 8 inch flasher with 20 to 30 inches of leader. At the end of this leader a cut or whole herring, squid, hoochie, salmon plug, or salmon spoons are attached and trolled slowly at about 100 feet behind the boat. The drag on your reel should be set to a minimum.
During the day Chinook Salmon can move to water depths of 60 to 200 feet. To reach these depths while trolling you will need to use a downrigger. The same set up can be used but with a 10 lb cannon ball instead of the small weights. Chinook are a wary fish so the flasher should be clipped into the release at 20 to 30 feet behind the release clip.
Spincasting or baitcasting rods and reels are used to cast a variety of lures at Chinook once they enter the mouths of their spawning rivers. In the rivers a lighter line of 12 to 15 pounds is used as Chinook Salmon become more wary of tackle. The Chinook Salmons urge to feed slows as it enters the rivers and becomes less as it moves up the river until it becomes non existent. The closer to the river mouths that you fish the more likely you are to hook a Chinook. Lures, spoons, and spinners that are productive for casting to Chinook are Gibbs Wonder Spoons, Gibbs Croc, Gibbs Koho, Gibbs Sil-Vex, Bluefox Nickel Plate Pixee Spoons, Buzz Bombs, Blue Fox Super Vibrax Spinners, and the Mepps Aglia Spinners. Colors of lures that are most popular are chrome, brass, red, orange, pearl, green, army truck, blue, and chartreuse.


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