There are almost as many types of salmon as there are salmon, and here are a few types of salmon fishing bait. These baits are mainly used for Atlantic salmon, which is found in the northern Atlantic from Connecticut to Greenland, and sockeye salmon, which is found in the Pacific Ocean from California to Alaska, Japan and Russia. Some of these baits you can make yourself.
- Cured Fish Roe. This bait is very effective when salmon are spawning in rivers, streams, harbors or shorelines. They will ignore most other baits you try to use. You can attach an egg spawn sack or a cured skein to your hook and let it float freely or put a small sinker to get the bait to go deeper. The salmon love it.
- Cut Bait. Using fish that is cut up works to attract fish that are attracted to scent. Just make sure that if you are cutting up a baitfish that it meets the minimum size requirement and is legal to use for bait. Each state has its own rules on what fish can be used for bait and what size is legal. Check with the local tackle shop where you are fishing to see what these requirements are.
- Flies and Poppers. These are small lures that can be used with fly-fishing tackle or spin-cast. They work well for pan fish and other fish that feed on the surface. The angler controls the fly action, while poppers get their action from the front of the lure body where a cupped face is carved or molded.
- Freshwater Live Bait. Minnows make good freshwater bait. If you are casting, hook the minnow through both lips or tail vertically. If you are fishing in still water with a bobber, hook the fish through the back above the dorsal fin, but do not damage the spinal cord because you want them to keep moving. These work well for the Atlantic salmon.
- Saltwater Live Bait. When targeting pelagic species of predatory fish, shrimp or bait fish like anchovies, ballyhoo or herring, is very effective. They are very easy to catch and plentiful. This bait works well for the sockeye salmon.
- Plugs. Plugs made of plastic or wood can be used for fishing on top of the water or below the surface. Floating plugs are best used in the early morning or late evening during the time fish are feeding. How deep they will dive can be found on the packaging and is determined by the size of their lips. Try to match the colors and size of the baitfish that you see swimming where you are fishing.
- Spinner Baits. Spinner baits have a straight wire shaft with blades revolving around it. They often have tails made out of animal hair or soft plastic. Most spinner baits have skirts which are made of vinyl, rubber or animal hair.
- Spoons. Some of these metal lures are trolled behind a moving boat, while some are cast. They look like a baitfish or minnow that is made out of metal. There are three types of spoons: weedless, structure or trolling.