Where are your fishing morals????

Fishing salmon in the river

There are several methods for fishing for salmon in the rivers that include bait, hardware, or artificial lures that are all effective and deadly for salmon. With millions of salmon returning to our Western Washington Rivers, many face a very debatable question each time they plan their trip: What’s my method(s) today?

My passion to write on this topic derives from a river that is very special to many close friends of mine and that has always been……..a snagfest. The more I fish, the greater my heart aches when I see the anglers that this type of river attracts; especially when I know the people who seem to lose their morals and ethics so they can partake in the Skok lineup. When you ask someone who “snags” why they do it, they’ll have a plethora of reasons: I need eggs; I’m not snagging, I’m flossing, salmon don’t bite in the river, they are biting my yarn, or they simply don’t know any other way. My goal is to make those excuses unjustifiable and hopefully educate just one person.

These ladies have only fished a handful of times and we managed to teach them an ethical way of fishing in one of the most unethical places and they limited out


This statement baffles my mind. There’s plenty of science to back up the fact that salmon stop actively feeding while they make their journey to their spawning grounds.  There are many theories out there about why fish bite. Some say it’s a Darwin effect: Only the strongest survive. They are eating eggs to try to kill other potential offspring. Others say that they are simply trying to pick up the eggs to move them to the “nest”. We’ve all heard that they are purely curious fish. They pick up sticks, rocks, bait, you name it. It’s very well-known that fish are aggressive and if you bother it enough, it will attack. The science has been countered and it’s been said that the fish are eating because they are tired, hungry, and their bodies are breaking down. Whatever the reason you believe, the fact remains: FISH DO BITE.

Sure, salmon get lethargic and/or lockjaw just like any other fish. This could happen in the salt, in the river, when they’re being harassed, or being left alone. But isn’t that why we all love fishing? Sure we like to have fresh salmon for dinner and give it to our friends and family, but does anyone really hate fishing but only do it so they can eat the fish? To me, fishing is not only a hobby but a challenge. How can I get this fish to bite? It is hours of research, reading, and learning so that you can put your knowledge to the test and catch a fish or two.

Salmon can smell in parts per billion. So using chemicals and scent as an attractant will increase the chances of a bite tremendously. Sulfite cures will attract salmon because of the salt they crave from being in the freshwater. Click here for egg curing tips http://steelheadgirls.com/preparing-eggs-for-curing/

For king salmon, I lean towards heavy and stinky scents like tuna, sardine, krill, and garlic. In fact, I don’t throw out any lure or bait without an extra scent when fishing for kings. For pinks and coho, I still may use those heavier scents, but I typically reach for something lighter first like anise, shrimp, and craw.

Methods and Techniques:

Whether you’re in a boat or on the bank, there are many different ways to catch salmon in the rivers. My personal favorite is fishing eggs under a float. It’s easy to teach new people, it’s easy for several people to fish the same hole without tangling up, and it’s quick and easy to use the
same set up for several different holes along the river.

Click here for float fishing techniques: http://steelheadgirls.com/float-fishing/

Click here for drift fishing techniques: http://steelheadgirls.com/drift-fishing-for-kings/

Click here for back bouncing techniques: http://steelheadgirls.com/back-bouncing/

Fishing for pinks: http://steelheadgirls.com/articles/river-fishing-for-pinks/

There are many other techniques like plugs, divers, spinners, darts, and jigs. Always remember scent and if you don’t get a bite in a few casts, try a different bait or scent.

Remember your morals

I could write pages about how to really effectively fish for salmon in the rivers. In fact, there are books, countless articles in magazines and on the internet, you can ask almost any bait fisherman on the river and they’ll be HAPPY to show you their ways.

Remember who you are, who is watching and learning from you, and most importantly, remember why you are fishing. Respect the river and the fish. Teach your children about the sport of fishing, not the sport or snagging and getting your limit in the first two casts. Nothing upsets me more on the river than anglers who blatantly disrespect the sport of fishing and it baffles me where people’s morals go when salmon season comes around. Be the example of how to fish ethically and teach others when you can.

This is the site of a fish that I reel in all too often on the Skok. I’m not sure what kind of morals whomever originally hooked this fish had.