Best Live & Natural Baits
Dough baits can be effective in the rivers and streams when the salmon are in their spawning runs. Dough baits that look like salmon eggs tend to be more productive, but a variety of dough baits will catch fish.
Salmon eggs are one of the best baits for salmon once the spawn starts. In the middle of the spawn through the end, they tend to work even better as more salmon drop their eggs in the rivers and streams. Fish them on the bottom or underneath a float. Both techniques work very well.
Shrimp can be very good baits for trout. Fresh shrimp is always best, but it’s hard to find fresh shrimp since you won’t find saltwater near many of the best salmon fishing destinations.
Sand shrimp are also a very popular bait for steelhead on the west coast. When the fish enter the river to spawn, the sand shrimp is one of the better baits to use.
Herring is one of the most popular, if not the most popular salmon bait in the Pacific Northwest. While not as popular on the Great Lakes, herring is still a very popular and effective bait for putting limits of salmon in the boat. Anglers use frozen herring to troll for salmon. You can use the entire herring or you can cut it.
Cut Plug Herring is a very popular bait rig among salmon anglers. Anglers will cut the head off of the bait. The herring is then rigged rigged in a way that makes it rotate. Cutting the head at an angle will help the bait roll, which is very important if you want to catch salmon. By cutting the herring at a sharper angler, you will create a faster and tighter roll that tends to work real well for coho salmon. The chinook salmon tend to prefer a slightly slower roll, but salmon anglers can agree that the spiral roll of the herring is very important. Hook placement, the speed of the boat and the current will all affect the type of role the herring will have.