Saltwater Salmon General Information

The king salmon, or chinook, is the largest of the pacific salmon. Their range is from Monterey California to Point Hope Alaska. They are an anadromous species and most pacific coast rivers that provide adequate flows, temperatures and habitat suitable for ascending, spawning, and rearing young sustain king salmon runs. There may be up to three runs per year; spring, summer, and fall.

The average weight for California strains on chinook is around 18-22 pounds with the record fish weighing in at just over 50 pounds. The largest kings come from Alaska where 50 to 60 pound fish are common.

King salmon return to the river of their birth at ages from 2 to 7 years. While out to sea they have been known to migrate across the north Pacific and trips of over 7,000 miles have been recorded. The longest spawning run is the Yukon River, Alaska in which the fish must swim close to 2,000 miles up river. Salmon use a combination of smell, solar navigation, visual clues, and an awareness of length of days, light intensities, and other factors to navigate.

King salmon spawn I beds of course gravel, 1 to 3 inches in diameter. The female digs out a nest, called a redd, with her tail and body. The female then deposits her eggs while the male simultaneously fertilizes them with jets of milt. The eggs then adhere to the bottom of the nest. The eggs are covered with gravel. The female may build more than one redd over several days. Both male and females die within a few days after spawning. The decaying flesh of the dead parents provide food for organism which the fry feed upon after leaving the nest. The fry stay in the nest for 2 to 3 weeks after hatching and may remain in the river system for up to 18 months before heading out to sea.

Trolling with downriggers is usually done by rigging an anchovy 4 to 6 feet behind a flasher, setting the proper depth and moving at 3 to 5 knots. Trolling at depths up to 80 feet can be can be managed, depending on the current, by using a sinker release and a 2 to 3 pound cannonball sinker with a 4' leader rigged with anchovy or sardine. Hootchies and Rotary salmon killers are common devices used in combination with the bait.

 Mooching is done with a 2 to 3 foot leader as light a weight as possible to control the line at the desired depth. Usually weights are under one pound. The leader is threaded through the bait, anchovy, sardine, or herring with the hook being set in the head of the bait. A half hitch is tied around the tail of the bait. Best results come from slowly working the bait through the depth range of the salmon. The bait is most often taken during a slow retrieve.

Recent Saltwater Salmon Articles & Reports

Trollers Bag Big, Bold Chinooks

Written By: Dan Bacher,
September 2, 2014

(San Francisco) If you want to hook big, hard-fighting Chinooks outside of the Golden Gate, now is a good time to do it.

The 20 passengers fishing aboard the Bass Tub on Saturday, August 23 bagged 10 salmon to 22 pounds. They trolled with...

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Salmon Provide Excitement, Rockfish Provide Meat

Written By: Cal Kellogg,
August 29, 2014

(Berkeley) The East Bay charter boat community is buzzing about the recent salmon action outside the Golden Gate. Anglers are averaging a fish per rod or better depending on the day and the fish are running big with plenty of 20 plus...

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Rigged Anchovies Produce Kings At Mouth

Written By: Cal Kellogg,
August 23, 2014

(Gold Beach) The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife relates that anglers have started picking up fall Chinook the bay trolling anchovies or an anchovy with spinner blade.

With minus tides this week the best fishing will be late...

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Tips & Tactics for Saltwater Salmon
Salmon, Trout, Lingcod, Kokanee, Halibut And More: Are YOU Using Gulp! And PowerBait?

Salmon, Trout, Lingcod, Kokanee, Halibut And More: Are YOU Using Gulp! And PowerBait?

Written By: Cal Kellogg

I’m of the opinion that in most situations well-presented natural baits will outperform artificials. Following this philosophy, when the...

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How To Mooch Up A Salmon Dinner

How To Mooch Up A Salmon Dinner

Written By: Cal Kellogg

The conditions were ideal. It was late summer and a dense fog hung over the dark water. The groundswell was low and the surface was dotted...

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Deadly Salmon Trolling Techniques Using Hot Spot Flashers!

Deadly Salmon Trolling Techniques Using Hot Spot Flashers!

Written By: FishSniffer Staff

Designed and produced by successful fishermen, Hot Spot’s deadly trolling approaches have been proven to catch more and bigger salmon time...

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Saltwater Salmon Locations
Saltwater Salmon Locations


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