Salmon Drift Fishing (Explained)

A lot of fishing methods have been discovered by anglers throughout the years. And one of them is salmon drift fishing which is an efficient method of catching salmon.

Drift fishing is a fishing method that lets the bait bounce or drift along the stream to lure some fish. This tricks the salmon to eat the bait as they think that it’s brought by the water only.

Continue scanning this article to learn other interesting facts about drift fishing and the best baits for salmon drift fishing.

What is salmon drift fishing?

Drift fishing is another method by anglers to effectively catch salmon. As you go to the nearest stream or river, you can see anglers as they throw their line upstream, while letting their lines run through the water waiting for their target.

The interesting concept of drift fishing involves additional weight, so it bounces or sinks at the bottom of the water source, at the same time it floats along where the current is moving.

What to prepare for salmon drift fishing?

salmon drift fishing

Before anything else, the fishing gear must be prepared first. For effective drift fishing, you’ll require a rod and steel as a necessity.

A spinning rod with a measurement of 8 to 9 feet long which can carry 15 to 30lb weight is proven and tested to be an efficient drifting rod.

If you wish to capture larger salmon, secure a large capacity spinning reel that can hold 20 to 25 pounds of line. Smaller fish mainly requires 10 to 15 pounds of line.

Aside from the fishing rod, a weight, leader, and baits will be in use.

In the usual setting of salmon fishing, the snap swivel must be positioned at the main line’s edge.

The leader must be positioned from 12 to 48 inches from the single hook with an egg loop. The corky should be above the line of the hook, and additional yarn on the hook.

For weights, you must be keen on making it in between heavy and lightweight. Just enough to bounce at the bottom of the water and bounce through the current.

Get the snap swivel and push on a 3/4′ long piece of rubber tubing.

Pin through the pencil lead in the tubing. You can also press the snap through the parachute cord of the slinky weight and attach bait to it.

If the corky or yarn is inconvenient for you, either use a winged bobber or use the bait only.

How to perform salmon drift fishing?

drift fishing setup

To successfully catch salmon by drifting, follow these simple key points.

Start by looking for a perfect spot up at the top of the drifting water of streams. Release the line with bait on the water hence, allowing it to sink at the bottom.

Slowly release more line as you let the bait drift through all sections of the stream where fishes might hide. Current seams, deep water, tail out, or just across the structure are some of the hiding zones for salmon.

While running the lure throughout the drift, avoid slacking off the line to detect the fishes, or else your time will be wasted thinking that you haven’t caught any, where you just missed them.

Under a crowded setting, let the lines position upstream at an angle of 30 to 45 degrees, then reposition to a 45 to 30 degrees angle while letting the bait flow or bounce downstream.

As you’ve reached the bottom or end of the drifting reel and got nothing or already caught some fist, you may repeat the process by casting on a different area and position.

Read more: Can I Go Trolling for Salmon Without Downriggers?

Which is the best bait for salmon?

What makes salmon drift fishing more interesting are the baits. Here are the top baits recommended for new anglers.

Salmon Eggs

Almost all anglers select salmon eggs as the best bait for salmon fishing. This is a good bait when it comes to drifting, bobber technique, and other fishing styles.

Generally, salmon are attracted to the scent of fresh and authentic salmon eggs. you may get the egg from the fish itself. But if you have no other option, the artificial product can be utilized.

In terms of branding, they have a wide variety of supplies in different locations. The bead-like salmon artificial eggs are available in online shops and supermarkets.

Salmon Hoochies

Salmon hoochies are getting popular these days. Hoochies are a discovery but surpassing as one of the best baits for salmon.

This product is proven useful and cheap which makes it affordable for most anglers. Pick among the several models offered and will surely be satisfied in drift fishing.

Sand Shrimps

Naturally, sand shrimps are eaten by salmon for daily living. This is pretty recognized as the best bait for Chinook salmon in drift fishing.

If you prefer to use this bait, simply remove the tail from its body. Incorporate other baits to add more fragrance. Although they are quite expensive, alternatives like artificial sand shrimps are also accessible in nearby stores.

Herrings and Minnows

Another best bait to lure salmon is canned or sliced herrings. Anglers usually combine with other baits to increase the chances of a catch.

The strong aroma of herrings is easily detected by salmon even at long distances. Be reminded to maintain enough size of sliced herrings. Too large or small may interfere in the effectiveness of luring salmon.

For the minnows, despite their weak scent, they are useful in luring out salmon, especially when added with attractants.

Live Bait

A lot of artificial baits are rising in the market, but some anglers prefer live baiting, though it is not always applicable.

Since salmon is not fastidious, minnows, shrimps, worms, salmon eggs, etc. are likely the first option as live baits. Employing this method also saves time and effort as the salmon go directly for baits.


Throughout the years, anglers have been experimenting with methods for fishing, and luckily, they discovered salmon drift fishing. We hope this helped you make a difference and new adventures in fishing!

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