Best Time Of Day To Fish For Salmon With Tips For All-Level Anglers

Fishing salmon is a great experience for all anglers, but what is the best time of day to fish for salmon? How to maximize your yield?

The sweet salmon angling time varies depending on the species. Hence, we will discuss each in this post. You can also learn some tips for the best outcome. 

Now, let’s join us and be ready for an exciting fishing trip! 

Best Time Of Day To Fish For Salmon 

People often nightly fish this species. Yet, some are more suitable for daytime angling. So, it’s necessary to learn the ideal fishing of each salmon variety. 


Best time for fishing: last moments of the night

The Chinook salmon is the biggest and one of the most highly prized commercially. Fishing this creature will bring you beautiful moments. 

Although you can fish Chinook at any time, the ideal time to hook is when the night ends, and the eastern sky starts to light pink. You can also have fruitful fishing from sundown to dusk. 

Catching these fish in the ocean is not an arduous task. Sometimes they may head back on land as well. Proper methods, such as spinners, bobbers, or plugs, are vital to snag the king salmon. 

Experienced anglers like to wander along the shore with the land hardly visible to search for the ideal water temperature for the fish. 

best time of day to fish for salmon
Some fish head back to the land.


Best time for fishing: at night 

Sockeye angling at night is rewarding, especially when the moon is full. The best technique is fishing from a boat near the coast.

Place the cast where you stand if you want to cast from shore. Besides, try to fish in the shallow areas where baitfish gather near the coast.

When sockeye travel to freshwater, they stop feeding and instead become quite aggressive. Try using lures resembling brown trout to get a hit, or use Sockeye swimming upriver to mate as bait.

Sockeye salmon are more complicated to catch than other kinds. Remember to check local rules to ensure what you can do during your trip.

States’ and provinces’ regulations differ significantly from one another. They vary depending on the waterways too. 


Best time for fishing: during the day, from the dawn 

During the day, Coho is much simpler to catch. The early morning hours can be wonderful as the dark gives way to sunlight.

Although Coho is smaller than Chinook, when it comes to battle, they are the kings of the salmon realm. When you reach the net, Coho will check your drag, break your line, and almost save the last lunge.

Compared to other salmon, Coho has a unique life phase. Before heading to sea, they live one to two years as adolescents in freshwater.

coho salmon
It is best to catch Coho during the daytime.


Best time for fishing: at night 

The Chum don’t have a stunning appearance like other species. They aren’t popular either. Yet, their distinctive taste can make delicious sushi, especially the female Chum. 

Chum eat bait fish close to the surface. The best lures are those that mimic baitfish. The best conditions for night fishing are a full moon and waters no deeper than 60 feet.

Plastic flashers can help a lot in the ocean. You’ll probably get a hit if you use a spoon or a spinner close to them.


Best time for fishing: at night 

If you are a big fan of night fishing, you won’t want to miss kokanee. They hunt for food aggressively at night, particularly on new and full moon nights. 

You can fish for this species in lakes at any time of the year. We suggest angling in July for the best experience. 

Kokanee fishing is similar to walleye fishing as it hits with a gentle touch. These small strikes are simple for a beginner angler to notice.

The ideal tools for catching a Kokanee’s light hit are glow worms, plastic worms, and a lightweight test line that weighs no more than 12 pounds.

kokanee salmon
Kokanee is more active at night.

Pink salmon

Best time for fishing: during the day 

Fishing Pink salmon at night is a waste of time. These fish are most active during the day, after sunrise, and before sunset. 

Pink salmon, which can reach lengths of 18 to 30 inches, is the smallest salmon species. Despite their tiny size, they are popular with a fantastic flavor.

It would be great to go fishing for these fish in freshwater. Once you cast the bait and jerk your lure, these active species will strike hard. 

Pink salmon are one of the easiest species to capture in freshwater and perform much better in the late summer. A pink spinning lure, a plastic squid, and a hoochie can pique their attention.

Atlantic salmon

Best time for fishing: at night 

The nighttime vision of Atlantic salmon is better than their daytime vision.

In the Great Lakes, the evening is usually the most excellent time to fish for Atlantic salmon.

Unlike other wild salmon, Atlantic salmon migrate to the ocean after breeding. Please note this feature to opt for the perfect fishing time.

Opposite to what our eyes naturally see, Atlantic salmon find it easier to detect bait that is dark in color. Dark violet and violet lures work best in this case. 

Read more: 10 Best Salmon Fishing Reels for a Bountiful Catch!

Best Season To Fish For Salmon 

Learning the best time of day to fish salmon is not enough. You also need to discover the best season for the best yield.

While this species is available for angling during the year, the best time gives you the highest quality catch. 


The water temperature starts to rise as the ice melts. The bottom supply, which increases, replaces the melting ice. 

If you plan to fish for salmon this season, choose shallow places because the water there warms up faster.


The salmon move to warmer parts to find a more constant oxygen supply due to the heat-generated hot layer of water. Hence, you need to find the thermocline or the barrier between cold and hot water. 


Autumn comes with the best water temperature for this species, making it an ideal time for fishing. 

During this period, salmon can move inland. Hence, you can reach them easily. 


Ice fishing with salmon is possible. In areas of high temperatures, they often stick to the ice. You can use live bait to lure hungry fish, no matter how challenging it is. 

best season to fish for salmon
Fishing in the autumn yields the best result.

Read more: When’s the Best Time of Day to Fish in Hawaii?

Tips For Fishing Salmon 

Aside from checking the time, it would help if you learned other tips to make the best of your trip. We will help you with some. 

Use sharp hooks

If your hooks are weak, fishing will be challenging. The large jaws of salmon can make it difficult to secure a hook. 

You’ll have a better chance of success when your hooks are sharp. 

Choose overcast days

Salmon fishing will be more lucrative on overcast days since salmon like dim lighting conditions. Another great option is to angle at dusk or dawn when the light is at its optimum.

However, please note that each species requires a different light condition. 

Your targeted prey may prefer brighter days, so learn everything about it before marking your fishing schedule. 

Use the best bait

Using live bait, such as roes, is one of the most effective ways to catch salmon.

A spoon or sliced bait can also be excellent choices. These man-made lures can imitate a fish’s motion as it moves. 

Obey the regulations

In order to fish lawfully in a particular region, you must have an official license, special stamp, and other documents. If not, you risk getting a big fine. 

Use flashy baits

To lure fish, you need to know that the bait should have something eye-catching on it.

Salmon, as we just mentioned, like low lighting. Hence, they find flashy things attractive. 

Use a red line

Red is the first hue to vanish as it enters the water. When it reaches the depth of 15 feet, the line becomes undetectable to fish. 

You should know that sockeye salmon can perceive red, though.


The best time of day to fish for salmon is generally nighttime. Yet, some species are more active in the daylight.

The rule of thumb is to check for your target fish’s behaviors to pick the sweetest time. 

Hopefully, you will find this article helpful. If you need more information about salmon fishing, do not hesitate to comment below. We will get back to you soon. 

Thank you for reading, and see you in the next post! 

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