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Top 4 Methods for Catching Salmon

Salmon fishing charters in Alaska are a fun and enjoyable sport for many an angler. The freshwater setting surrounded by nature provides the perfect backdrop for any recreational fisherman or someone who takes it a bit more seriously. Freshwater fishing can be a relaxing, yet challenging sport.

You might wonder how to catch salmon if you’ve never attempted salmon fishing before. Let’s discuss four methods that will teach you the ins and outs of salmon fishing.


The trolling method of salmon fishing involves using a boat that is constantly moving through the water, with a number of weights, divers, or downriggers, to achieve the desired depth of the hook and bait. These items are typically attached to 20 to 25-lb fishing lines and are dragged through the water to attract salmon to the bait.

This style of fishing is generally used at the lower ends of large rivers during an Alaskan fishing tour: for example, the Colombia River. Weights are usually between two and eight ounces, depending on the speed of the boat and the rate of the current in the waters being fished.

Float or Bobber Fishing

Float or bobber fishing is a method that uses a floating device attached to the fishing line. When the float or bobber sinks, it indicates that you have a salmon hooked onto your line.

Float or bobber fishing works best in waters that are more still and not being jostled by a heavy current. It is much easier to tell if your float or bobber sinks because you have a salmon hooked in still waters versus getting confused by a strong current dragging your line and float or bobber underwater. The fishing rods used in this method typically range between 10 and 12 feet in length, and the Spectra fishing line is desirable due to its ability not to stretch and because it floats.

Drift Fishing

The drift method of salmon fishing is one where the angler will cast their line upstream and allow the bait and hook to move downstream at the current rate. Using more weight will allow the bait and hook to move at a slower pace than the current, while using less weight will make the setup move faster than the current.

It’s best to find a weight that allows your bait and hook to bounce against the riverbed once per foot of distance. This can be a challenging method, but with experience, a rewarding one.

Plunk Method

The plunk method is similar to drift fishing, except for the fishing gear being cast into a holding area or migratory path. This can be done from an anchored boat or the shore. An 8 1/2 to 9 1/2 foot rod is generally used along with a 40-60 spectra or a monofilament line.

Salmon Fishing Can Be Challenging and Fun

Salmon is a wonderful, tasty fish to attempt to catch. Try these four methods and find the one you enjoy doing the most. Book a tour with Phantom Tri-River Charters to schedule your next trip today!