Freshwater Salmon Fishing

When a lot of people think of salmon fishing, they may think “deep ocean trolling.” There are several species, of what we consider salmon, that can be caught while freshwater salmon fishing as well. In fact, quite a few of the fish we know as trout are considered to be part of the salmon family, including the ultra-feisty rainbow trout. Because of the many different freshwater habitats, there are a variety of ways that salmon can be caught in freshwater.

Freshwater Lake - Salmon Fishing Secret lake?? If you think you know where this is email us.

Freshwater Habitats

There are several bodies of freshwater in which salmon species can be found. Many of these species are considered land-locked varieties, meaning that they do not go to the ocean, even if a route is open.

Steelhead and Kokanee are a couple of great examples of two different varieties of salmon that can live in both saltwater and freshwater.


Many lakes offer great salmon fishing. Steelhead salmon and rainbow trout are abundant in many northern lakes. Kokanee, one of a freshwater fish with a lot of fight, are actually a land locked version of the sockeye salmon species. The Great Lakes region of North America harbors land-locked Atlantic salmon species, although some have been extirpated over the last few decades. Freshwater salmon fishing in lakes means that an angler has the choice of trolling or casting; and that casting can be done from a floating vehicle on the lake or from the shore.


Rivers are another great place to take advantage of freshwater salmon species, as well as ocean going varieties. Many river systems that run into both the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans are important routes for upstream migrations of salmon that take place every year. These migrations occur as fish return to the place where they hatched to spawn.

These fish may not be as apt to bite on a casting line as their trout counterparts, but for centuries native populations have taken advantage of this massive food run through techniques such as netting, spearing, and snaring. The Ainu, who are native to Japan, even trained dogs to catch salmon as they migrated upstream!

Darren’s Thompson river Steelhead. It was cold but worth it!

Freshwater River Steelhead Salmon


The techniques involved in freshwater salmon fishing are varied according to the personality of the person doing the fishing, the type of water being fished on, the species involved, water or weather conditions and the time of day and year.

As you can see there are many variables, but we’re here to guide you. These big and feisty fish always mean that the angler will need some heavy line if she is to make a successful landing.

As mentioned above, many native groups who live along salmon runs continue to use traditional means of freshwater salmon fishing such as netting and spearing. This can be an impressive skill to watch, as the fishers lay out their nets and then bring them back in full of fish. It is also a task which requires some skill, as the nets or traps must be placed just right in order to achieve maximum yield.

Trolling will require different types of bait as well as different tackle, such as sinkers and lures. Casting, the ultimate exercise in sport fishing, will require a lot of skill and knowledge to master. Cured salmon Roe (fish eggs) are a staple among avid anglers and the right color and presentation can force your limit of salmon in minutes!!

Below, if you look closely, you can see the separation of the “skeen” that holds the roe sac together. The Skeen is the “skin membrane” that is formed around each row of eggs and protects the eggs until the salmon spawns. It’s extremely important to keep the skeen in-tact when cutting and curing your own roe in order to make “fishable” bait!

Check your reg’s to make sure live bait is permissible!

Freshwater Salmon Fishing Roe

No matter what type of freshwater salmon fishing you participate in, you will want to make sure that you have the appropriate salmon fishing tackle for your excursion.

The wrong material brought along could mean an empty-handed return! Keep checking the site for exciting new tackle ideas, tips and techniques to help all levels of anglers!

Til’ next time…”Keep your tips up and your line snug!”