Spinner and Spoon fishing for Salmon
Fishing for salmon with spinners and spoons can be a very effective method. First off, I’ll go into a little detail on the different styles and colors of lures, and then I’ll go into the different methods for fishing them.
There are many different types and styles of spinners and spoons to use. I’ll name a few of my favorites here to give you a starting point. Most of these lures come out of the package with a treble hook, so to meet the fishing regulations for most rivers you will want to clip off the treble hook and replace it with a single Siwash hook. I like Gamakatsu hooks in size 1/0 to 2/0. Even when fishing in areas that don’t require single hooks I still clip off the treble and replace it with a single. It makes for much easier releases if you catch a fish you don’t intend to keep.
The size of the spinner to use depends on the clarity and visibility of the water. Usually, in clear water situation you will want to use a smaller lure.
For spinners, I like Mepps in size 4 or 5 and Blue Fox Vibrax spinners in sizes 3-4. For spoons I like Little Cleo, any tear drop spoon and Dick Nites in a variety of sizes from mini up. Some of my favorite combinations are size 4 Mepps spinners with a red/orange body and a brass or silver blade. Size 3 – 4 Blue Fox Vibrax spinners in Silver, Forest green, chartreuse, red, pink and black. Dick Nites in half and half, silver with green, or silver with red. Most of the Vibrax spinners will come with a silver blade but sometimes you can find them with a green or red tip. These add a little extra flash which I, and the fish, seem to like. I’ve found that these color combinations work especially well for King, Silver and Chum salmon on the Nooksack and Skagit river.
Generally speaking here are a few standby’s for different species of salmon. King Salmon, or Chinook like the larger spoons and Mepps spinners in silver, brass, red and orange. Silver Salmon, or Coho like medium size spoons and spinners in green, chartruese, red, pink, silver, brass and black with silver sparkle.
Pink Salmon, or Humpies, like medium to small spoons and spinners in pink or chartreuse. Chum, or Dog, Salmon like medium size spoons and spinners in chartreuse, purple, pink and green.
To fish spinners, simply tie the lure straight to your main line. If you’re facing the river directly on, cast out at about 45 degrees upstream. This gives the lure enough time to sink down to the bottom and into the strike zone before you begin your retrieve. Once the lure is at about 45 degrees downstream, depending on the flow of the river you can begin your slow retrieve. With the larger spinners you will feel the blade pumping in the current through your rod. This is good since you know the lure’s action is working. Maintain a very slow retrieve so the lure stays near the bottom. Sometimes, if the current is strong enough you won’t need to retrieve at all but just let the current carry your lure downstream in an arc. Once you start to feel the action of the spinner blade and the tension on your rod down to the bottom of your drift you will be in the strike zone so prepare for the hit.
You can also fish spinners in slack or very slow water. In this case just let the lure sink down to near the bottom and then retrieve.
To fish spoons there are several techniques to use. If using a larger spoon like a Little Cleo you won’t need any extra weight. Simply tie it directly to your main line and fish the same as described above for spinners.
When fishing a smaller light spoon like a Dick Nite you will need to use some weight so you can cast and get down to the bottom. There are two different ways I like to rig this. I will either use a drift style rig which uses a clip swivel, a piece of pencil lead on the clip, and 36”+ of leader to the spoon. The other method uses a three way swivel and uses a 12” leader to a dropper weight and a 36”+ leader to the spoon. Both methods work great. Fish spoons with this rig the same as you would a spinner.
Good luck, and tight lines.