Ten Tips For Catching Salmon in Rivers

November 1, 2016

Fishing in Oswego NY

I have been asked to write up a detailed list of my top ten tips for catching migratory salmon in Lake Ontario tributaries. Well, here you go.

  1. Treat salmon like a fish. You don’t wade out waist deep in the water and get on top of the fish and drop a heavy weight on their nose and lift. Back off. Pretend you are trout fishing on your favorite stream. Stay back and cast to them, allow the line and the bait or fly to work through the current. So many say that salmon will not bite, if you went to a bass lake and chased the bass through the lily pads and threw heavy sinkers at them, they would not bite either.

  2. Fish the fast moving waters and deep pockets. So many anglers congregate in big, flat holes. The fish will spook easy and are not active when they are staging. Think bubbles and green water and you will be more successful.

  3. Lighten up. You don’t need rope to land a salmon. Try a 12 pound leader or lighter, you will be surprised. Always use a fluorocarbon leader.

  4. Experiment with colors. While not feeding, chinooks are aggressive when not harassed and will strike. Salmon can and do see colors. Certain colors will trigger an aggressive strike. I can’t count how many times I go from a bright color to a subtle color and immediately hookup.

  5. Try fishing skein eggs under a float. With so many swing flies and rubber eggs, you really should try skein. Especially if you are fishing a deeper river like the Oswego, the Genny, the Black, or if any smaller tribs are running high and colored. Eggs are easy to cure and it is fun to know that they crushed the eggs that you cured. For tools and ingredients to cure eggs, check out Pautzke products.

  6. Stay away from the crowds. Easier said than done, but if you don’t mind walking a little you might find some good undisturbed water and the fish will be more relaxed. I avoid holes where anglers are casting from both sides right onto the fish. They will spook and you’ll have little or no chance of a good hookup.

  7. Quality equipment. Salmon run hard and if you follow my advice and lighten up on your leader and you don’t have a good smooth drag, you will pop them off and be frustrated. A quality rod and reel will pay you back tenfold.

  8. Follow the run. For example, today the lower river was on fire. There is a good chance it will be slower there tomorrow as the fish move upstream. Don’t be afraid to move with them. If I am on a big pod of fish today and conditions don’t look right for another run tomorrow, I am going to head two to three miles upstream and get ahead of yesterday’s push of fish.

  9. Ask for advice. If you see guys hooking up, you can politely ask what they are using. Some will help and some will not, just keep asking. Don’t think you alone can figure this program out in a few days on your own. Migratory fish are a different breed. They are here today and gone tomorrow. Conditions change quickly: sun to clouds, clear water to mud, rising and falling levels. Hiring a guide can help you learn these changes and navigate to the best location of the day.

  10. Be respectful of others. Give your fellow anglers some room to fish and don’t be afraid to ask for the same in return. Please be respectful of the resource. Pick up your trash, including fishing line, and follow all fishing regulations.

Related Products

Anglers International Jiggy Bugger Steelhead Jigs
Anglers International Jiggy Bugger ...
Anglers International Jiggy Bugger Steelhead Jigs are designed to sit horizontally under the float, while the soft marabou body wobbles and oscillates with even the slightest movement. This enticing action is equally effective whether in fast or slow waters, making this jig very versatile.
$4.49
Atlas Spawn Sacs
Atlas Spawn Sacs
5 Colors available
(10)
Atlas Spawn Sacs are hand tied in their own super-soft nylon mesh cloth. These Spawn Sacs feature soft textured eggs with good milking action are used to help attract fish. Excellent bait for rainbow, steelhead, and salmon. Atlas Spawn Sacs are available in regular or floating.
$3.99
Atlas-Mike's Borax
Atlas-Mike's Borax
The Atlas-Mike's Borax is perfect for curing your egg skeins or single eggs. The Borax formula helps trap in attractants and scents for longer and also gives eggs a milking action while in the water. The more cure you put onto your eggs the drier they will become.
$7.99 - $8.99
$6.49 - $7.29
Berkley Gulp! Floating Salmon Eggs (Jarred)
Berkley Gulp! Floating Salmon Eggs ...
6 Colors available
(17)
Berkley Gulp! Floating Salmon Eggs (Jarred) perfectly imitates real salmon eggs and have been found to be more effective and longer lasting than the real thing. These eggs won't dry out due to Berkley's exclusive Gulp! scent that is 400 times more effective than regular plastic baits. This scent expands your strike zone, enabling you to catch more fish. The eggs can be utilized singularly or tied together for versatile rigging techniques such as egg sacs and egg loops. These durable floating egg...
$5.99
Berkley Trilene Professional Grade 100% Fluorocarbon Line
Berkley Trilene Professional Grade ...
(23)
Berkley Trilene Professional Grade 100% Fluorocarbon Line has a proven formula that provides incredible shock strength, abrasion resistance and knot strength. It is fast striking with greater line density for high sensitivity and less bow in the water.
$9.99 - $243.99
Offer AvailablePflueger President Spinning Reel
Pflueger President Spinning Reel
5 Models available
(48)
The Pflueger President Spinning Reel brings you a superior quality reel at a modest price. This reel features a 10-bearing system, graphite body and rotor, aluminum handle, and have braid-ready spool. President reels also have a slow oscillation gearing which lays line better and minimizes line twisting.
$59.99
Pro-Cure Super Sauce
Pro-Cure Super Sauce
5 Scents available
The Pro-Cure Super Sauce is one the stickiest scents out there that will "give fish the munchies". Easily applies to baits of any sort with squirt bottle then will smooth out over it when used in the water. These very potent natural scents are made with real baits and add a vibrant UV flash coating when applied.
$5.99
Comments