Best Lures

You have a lot of options for catching a variety of different salmon, however, most it boils down to 3 things:  bait fish, eggs and flies.  Imitate these 3 things and you will catch fish.

Best Fishing Lures & Flies

Soft Baits

Curly tail grubs are great baits for salmon.  The 4 to 5 inch grubs will work better than the smaller grubs, however, for some of the smaller salmon, don’t rule out a 2 to 3 inch grub.  They are great for casting, jigging or slow trolling.

Jigging or drop shotting minnow baits aren’t a very popular way to fish for salmon, however, they can be effective.  Some anglers will fish this way when they find a large school of salmon.  Another way to fish with these baits is with a scrounger jighead.  You can then cast them and wind them in with a steady retrieve or slow troll them.

Swimbaits can be very effective for salmon.  You cast them or troll them.  They probably work better trolled because you can cover more water, but don’t rule out these lures when salmon move into the shorelines and harbors to spawn in the fall.

Hard Baits

Crankbaits can be effective for salmon.  Most anglers that fish crankbaits will troll with them.   Whether you fish shallow, deep or in between, you have a lot of options.  Some anglers report good success casting crankbaits when salmon move into the shallows during the spawn.

This is one of the most popular ways to troll for salmon, especially in the spring and early summer when salmon can be caught somewhat shallow.

Inline spinners are very popular for trout and they will work for salmon too.  Most anglers won’t use spinners for salmon, however, when salmon move into the shallows to spawn, you can usually catch some fish with a spinner.  On the Great Lakes, anglers fish the harbors and shorelines in the fall and do pretty well with these lures.  Some anglers report success in some rivers too, however, flies and eggs tend to be much more productive in the rivers.


Trolling spoons are the most popular types of spoons for salmon.  Troll a variety of them at different depths and they will catch all types of salmon.

Casting spoons aren’t as popular as trolling spoons, but they are super effective when salmon are close enough to shore that you can cast for them.  Some boaters also report good success casting spoons in the harbors in the Great Lakes.  Every state doesn’t allow you to fish from your boat in the harbors, so check the regulations before using this technique.

Jigging spoons can be effective for salmon when you find a school of them in deeper water.  Trolling tends to be more effective so most anglers never even try a jigging spoon.  They can be effective though if you are in the right situation.


They say that when salmon enter the rivers to spawn that they do not eat, however, they must still be willing to hit a bait, otherwise, anglers would never catch them.  You can use a variety of flies that you see trout anglers use, however, most anglers that fly fish for salmon will stick to the egg patterns and streamers.  You can catch salmon with other flies, but the ones listed below tend to be the better patterns for targeting salmon.

The egg sucking leech is a very unique fly that works very well for salmon.  Anglers fish these at the beginning of the spawning runs all the way to the end and they tend to catch fish consistently through the entire run.

Egg flies work great, especially once the salmon start laying their eggs during the spawning runs.

There may not be a better way to target salmon once the salmon start laying their eggs during the spawning runs in the rivers.  Tie on a single egg and drift it slowly downstream.

Streamers are popular flies for salmon.  Fish a variety of streamers in the rivers when the salmon are running and you should catch some fish.