One of the simplest and yet most effective techniques is float fishing.

It allows you to visibly be aware of what is happening beneath the surface of the water without the x-ray vision.

Being in control and aware of your presentation is truly what will put you on fish.















Float fishing allows you to fish anywhere in the water column (at any depth) which is helpful because sometimes fish are suspended and sometimes fish are holding 1ft off the bottom. When fishing at daybreak, the water is still dark and the fish still feel safe. If the hole is 6ft deep, try fishing 3-4ft deep to start. When the sun peaks and more traffic comes through, the fish will tuck up behind rocks and near the bottom of the holes.

The ideal line is going to be Power Pro braided line. The weight is going to be dependent on the species you are fishing. I use 30lb for steelhead and 40lb for salmon. The idea behind braided line is that it floats so you can not only see the extra line on the water, you can mend easier, and it doesn’t drag down/back the float. The ideal leader weight is also going to be dependent on the species of fish and I use anywhere from 8-30lbs going from steelhead to large kings and chum who come with sharp teeth that like to “saw” your leader.

Terminal gear needed:

Bobber stops:

These come with most floats and are easy to attach. Slip the clear tube up the line, pull the tube off leaving the string on the line, pull the ends tight and trim. You should be able to slide this up and down the line but with enough tension to ensure it will stay in place while fishing.


You will add one small bead below the stop, below the bobber, and below the weight. These act as bumpers above and below the float. The one above the float helps keep the stop from sinking in the float if the float hole is large and also keep you line up and off the water if the float doesn’t have a large “neck”.


The weight of float you get is going to make all the difference in it floating properly. Your float should balance with your jig and weight distribution. You also will want a top that is brightly colored so you can see far away or in early/late sunlight.


I prefer egg sinkers as they slide with my float always ensuring the weight is going to sit right above the swivel.


I prefer black, size 7 barrel swivels.

The perfect drift will have your float sitting completely vertical with the water at the indicated water line on your float and as little belly (extra line) on the water as possible without pulling on the float. You want your to float to move as freely and natural as possible as if there were no line attached. This is going to indicate your lure/bait is moving freely and looks as natural as possible. Your leader length should always be about the same as the depth of visibility you have in the water. Sometimes you will need to shorten a bit if you are fishing a shallower hole.

If you have too much slack line out, not only will you have difficulty setting the hook, the excess line will catch current and pull your float downstream giving it an unnatural speed and also causing your lure/bait to swing upstream behind the float. If you have too little line out, your line will be holding the float back and your bait/lure will swing downstream and to the surface.


You want to fish with a float in medium speed holes; typically 4-10ft depending on the species. The desired speed is going to be walking pace. If your float moves at the speed in which you jog, it may be too fast and a different technique, like drifting, might be more effective. Most of the time, you are going to want to fish 1-2ft from the bottom and in order to find this depth, you’ll want to actually hit the bottom, reel up, and shorten in 6 inch spurts until your float is no longer pointing down river or ticking. When casting, you want to cast just above the top of the hole and standing directly across from where you cast. You bait/lure needs time to sink down depending on how deep the hole is. You also want to feed line to the float to allow it to continue rather than casting upstream and pulling it towards you. It is ideal to stand at the top of the hole.

You can float the drift as long as the hole is and let it go all the way into the tail out if the hole is deep enough as this is going to be where the fish are. When the float goes down, quickly reel the extra slack (only if necessary) and set the hook. If the float is just tapping with quick little tugs, you don’t necessarily want to set the hook, but be aware it could go down at any minute. King salmon are notorious for “trout bites” and just nibbling on your bait but if you don’t let the float go all the way down, it’s very likely you will miss that fish.

This technique works for almost every species and is very effective. It’s one of the easiest to learn and is a great introduction for beginner fishermen to get the understanding of presentation and reading how different fish bite.