Introduction: How to Catch Landlocked Salmon

The landlocked salmon is the king of all fish in the North East, and it is easy to see why: they are big, strong and will keep fighting until they are on the table. Landlocked Salmon, in the North East, are a smaller variant of the Atlantic salmon, though they still have they strength and stamina of their larger cousins. Landlocked Salmon are fun to catch, and fun to eat. Before we begin, though, i can not stress enough that this is not not for the inexperienced angler, it takes a lot of time patience and determination to catch a salmon. If you are lacking in these qualities fishing for salmon could drive you to the point of giving up on fishing entirely.

Step 1: Do Your Homework.

You need to know what lakes in your area have landlocked salmon. To do this I suggest looking at your local Fish and Game website, there is usually some information on which lakes are home to the salmon, whether wild or stocked. You could also talk to local guides and other fishermen about where to fish.

Step 2: Get Access

Now that you have found where you will be fishing you need to find a way to get to it, whether you want to wade in, fish from shore, or use a boat. I will retouch on what you will need to fish these different ways later.

Step 3: Figure Out What Type

You need to figure out how you want to fish for salmon, casting and reeling, drifting (by casting or on boat), or trolling. I am sure there are millions of other to catch the fish (bow fishing, using a net, spear fishing) but these are what I will be going through. If you decide you want to troll or drift from a boat, then, obviously, you will need access to a boat. You can also fly fish but I'm not going to go into that.

Step 4: Set Up Your Rod

You will want a 6'6'" to 7'6" rod with 15-20 pound test braided line and 8-10 pound test fluorocarbon line tied on the end. Fluorocarbon line is good because it is invisible to fish and braided line works because it is thinner and stronger than monofilament. For example 20 pound test braided line has the same diameter of 6 pound test line, so you can put more line on.

Step 5: Casting and Reeling and Drifting (by Casting)

Casting and reeling is casting a lure, spinnerbait, or live minnow out and reeling it at at varied speeds and depths to try and entice a strike. This is hard because if the salmon is not close to your lure, they won't take it. Casting and drifting is just as name says it, you cast out, usually into a current and let the current pull your bait downstream. I usually use very small shiners on a four foot leader with a large clear bobber. This, like many other forms of fishing, can be monotonous, as you could be sitting there for hours waiting for hit, only to reel it in and realize your bait had fallen off when you had casted it out.

Step 6: Trolling

For this step and the next step you will need access to a boat, so if you don't have access to one, skip this step and the next one. What you are going to want to do is make sure your boat can go as slow as one mph. If it can't then you can buy a trolling motor or a bag for your boat to slow it down.

First you want to find a good area to troll on your lake. It helps if you have a fish finder because you can look for smelt and fish and troll there. Set up two rods per person fishing, or whatever your state allows. If you have a lot of people (three or more) a planer board will come in handy, you can buy these for around $20 on amazon. Set up half of your lines with a small live shiner, a quarter with spoons, and a quarter with flies. For spoons I suggest DB Smelt with one side of it completely metal colored and the other half a metal color and half a color that matches the current weather. For flies I suggest the Grey Ghost. When hooking a smelt use either a sliding bait rig (where legal) or hook it in and out of its nostrils.

Step 7: Timing

The best time of the day to fish for salmon is between dawn and mid day, but after that would be an hour before dusk to an hour after.