Great Coho Salmon Fishing Techniques

A man with a coho salmon in the water.

Many people are after coho salmon for one reason or another. Coho salmon fishing techniques have exploded in recent years due to more lures and more fishing. To start, in this blog post I want to show you what equipment you need to buy. I am also going to show you some of the most popular ways to catch coho salmon.

There are also a few tips about fishing for coho that I will go over as well. Catching this great fighting monster may seem scary but the catch is so worth it! Making salmon bite and landing them has a lot to do with if you use the right tackle, find the fish successfully, and use the proper fishing technique.


1. Rod

It is essential to have capable tackle if you want to get yourself any species of salmon. They are usually very big fish and getting the right gear first is required. Use a saltwater rod that is at least 9 feet long and very stiff. You want the rod to be long enough to cast far and set the hook well but you don’t want it so big that it hurts to use. Try to use a special salmon or steelhead rod.

2. Reel

What reel you decide to use will depend on which rod you have. If you have a spinning rod, use a big reel that is fast and resilient. Make sure the rod is smooth and can generate a lot of drag. The more drag, the better. If using a casting, use a big rod with a lot of drag and a ton of line capacity.

3. Line

Because 18 pounds is how big the fish can get, use a quality fishing line in the 8-15 pound range. You can use monofilament, fluorocarbon, and braid for these fish. Braid has a problem with cutting from the teeth of the fish. I like fluorocarbon because it doesn’t stretch, has great abrasion resistance, and is almost invisible.

Finding Fish

1. Geographical Location

They are saltwater fish that are typically found in the northern part of the Pacific Ocean. The species is also tolerant of freshwaters such as connected streams and rivers. You may catch it in parts of Oregon, California, and especially Alaska when the water is cold. Some of the biggest fish can be caught in freshwater bodies like the Great Lakes because most of these fish are at the end of their life. They die when they spawn and only return to freshwater to lay their eggs during the cold season. Do research about where people normally catch them.

2. Bodies Of Water

Now that you know where the salmon are found, let’s talk about water bodies. The Pacific Ocean is a notable environment for those who have a big boat and saltwater gear. For landlocked anglers, a more feasible environment is to choose streams that connect to the ocean. Stay on land and cast into the streams instead. They have been introduced into all of the Great Lakes too. If you live near Lake Erie, Lake Superior, or any other great lake, they can be found there as well.

3. The Need For Cover

If there is one thing that salmon love, it’s trees! Lots of trees! Sunken trees are a literal gold mine for finding these fish when you are struggling. They love fattening up on insects and chewing on baitfish. These pieces of cover are where both of these go to escape predators. Fish that deep portion of water or throw your line next to that sunken tree sticking up out of the water. If you are getting hung up coho fishing, you are in the right spot! When you find one, stay there too. They are a schooling species!

Man holding a coho salmon sideways in water.

But Now, Let’s Do Techniques!

1. Lure Fishing

Lure fishing is a great way to make sure that you get bites. Although almost any presentation will get attacked, they are also light biters. This means a lure with treble hooks and an aggressive action is a must. The best lures for coho include spinners like a rooster tail, a jigging spoon, or a twitching jig. Work it slower depending on the weather. Go faster on days when it’s warmer or during the spawn and slower on cooler days.

2. Float Fishing

Float fishing is effective using all sorts of live bait and other things. Yes, salmon are cannibals and they love eating their own eggs! Try using cured salmon roe for bait and put it under a bobber. I recommend using a slip bobber with a high level of contrast in the water.  Use a bobber stop and put it on the line at the depth you want to fish. You can also use other baits like shrimp, worms, and spawn sacks. Out of all of these, cured salmon roe is the easiest to catch fish on. It’s also possible to do float fishing with a jig instead of bait.

3. Fly Fishing

Fly fishing is probably the most popular method of catching these fish. A well-fished fly mimics the natural insects that these fish feed on. When the fish are young, they feed heavily on insects. if you want to catch smaller fish, use a fly like a wooly bugger or a Popper Wog. For big fish, use a Clouser minnow or a marabou jig. Try flies that mimic insects as well as minnows or baitfish to entice those bigger fish to bite.


Surprisingly enough, that is all there is to coho salmon fishing! Get the right tackle, find the fish, and use the right technique based on where you fish in the world. When you put all of that together, all that is left is to be patient and believe in yourself. You may not catch fish on the first try but you can always try again until you hook into that nice fish. After that is done, you will be better equipped to catch more of them in the future!

Have you started catching coho salmon yet? What was the most difficult problem you came across before actually bringing one in? let us know in the comments so you can help new anglers not make the same mistakes!

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