Salmon are one of the most delicious and widely used fish. It makes appearances in a lot of cuisines– from Japanese to Nordic, and even Polynesian. You can pickle them, smoke them, bake them, and even make salmon jerky! And while it’s a tasty and healthful ingredient to have in your kitchen, it’s also great sport to venture off and fish for your own salmon. And whether you’re making a special fishing trip to Alaska or make it part of a camping trip, here’s what you need to know to go fly fishing for salmon.
Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold: The Importance of Temperature
The right water temperature is the key to success if you want to bag your own salmon. Invest in a quality thermometer, and keep an eye on how the water temperature changes throughout the day. If you can remember to take a reading at the same time each day, your readings will be consistent. If you get a little sloppy about it, you’ll find some crazy jumps as the water temperature spikes or drops while it’s warmed by the sun or cooling off after noon.
Put the thermometer at least six inches below the surface of the lake or river, but don’t go much deeper than three feet. If you can, try to take a reading at the same level each time, since temperature changes with depth as well as with the time of day. Record your findings in a notebook, and get updates often.
Cool Waters Mean Better Salmon Fishing
Experienced fly fishermen know that salmon prefer cloudy weather. Less sunlight means that the water is cooler, and there’s more oxygen in cool water. And with more oxygen, salmon can be a lot more active. But abundance doesn’t mean an easy catch: the energized salmon are sure to put up a fight to get away from the lure!
If you can find a midway point where the salmon will be present without wanting to put up much of a fight, you’ll be more likely to bring home a fish!
Taking Stock Of Your Fishing Equipment
The temperature of the water comes into play again, dictating what kind of rod, reel, and line you can use. And of course, that also plays into which types of lures or baits will work. Having access to those temperature readings really helps! With that said, many fishermen have success with a lure or dry fly, in either a classic or contemporary pattern. Check out what other fishers are using in your area when you’re looking into local regulations and licensing.
There’s definitely a lot of science and strategy involved in fly fishing for salmon. Knowing what types of rod, reels, lines, baits, and lures to use is a good start, but knowing about the regions climate, water temperatures, and oxygen levels can go a long way.
Do you have any tips on rods, reels, lures, or flies? Have you made any catches because you were savvy to the water’s attributes? And what are your favorite fly fishing spots (we’re all friends here, you can tell us!)? Give us your feedback and tips in the comments section below!