If you’re assembling a tackle box with the best salmon lures for river fishing, be sure to have spinners, buoyant drift rigs, casting spoons, flies, and wide-wobbling diving plugs in it.
For some anglers, standalone in-line spinners are tops among the best salmon lures for river fishing. Versions with a single, broad revolving blade are best. Heavier models are necessary in swift and deep water.
2. Winged drift bobber rigs
These are buoyant floats with wings and are a component of drift rigs. Some anglers feel that this these are the best salmon lures for river fishing. A weight or sinker gets the rig down. The float spins in the current and helps keep a trailing hook, which is baited with eggs, just off the bottom, while providing color and action. Preserved or imitation fish eggs can be fished simply with a weight and a bare hook, or as part of a drift rig.
3. Casting spoons
Appropriate casting spoons for salmon are heavy-bodied, with large versions used in big rivers, swift flows, and deep water. Like most salmon fishing lures, they shouldn’t be retrieved fast. A moderate wobble is preferred.
Flies vary widely in appearance and size. Streamers with a flashy dressing and bright colors are popular in big water. Sparsely tied flies that are little more than colorful yarn on a small hook are effective in smaller and shallower rivers. Where legal, weighted flies help achieve depth.
5. Wobbling plugs
Aggressively wobbling diving plugs are river salmon lures used to scour deep holes and runs while fishing from an anchored or slowly drifting boat. These are not cast and retrieved, but held in place downstream against the current.
Silver or chrome are especially popular hard-lure finishes, and many river salmon lures are enhanced with a bright color, particularly orange or red/pink. These colors stand out in generally clear rivers and mimic naturally appearing salmon eggs.
Tips on river fishing for salmon
No matter which river salmon lures are used, pay attention to the following:
- Get your offering deep and right in front of the fish.
- Salmon are seldom caught in fast water. Focus on pools and deep water.
- Cast lures slightly upstream and across. Drift them down current to the end of the swing.
- The right weight of lure or sinker is important. Too little and the offering never reaches the bottom; too much and it drags unnaturally or snags repeatedly.
Finally, make sure you have your fishing license no matter what lures you use!