Understanding the Different Types of Salmon Fishing Lures

Using the right lure at the end of the line can significantly increase your chances of catching salmon. So why not use all the different types of salmon lures to your advantage? We’ll show you how!

Below is the Eagle Nook Resort team’s round-up of the top salmon fishing lures we recommend trying on one of our chartered salmon fishing trips on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.

This post is for anyone who has ever wondered, What salmon lures work the best for pacific salmon? If you’re brand new to salmon fishing, start with our guide to Fishing for Salmon in BC.

Spinnerssalmon lures spinner

Spinners, which are also sometimes referred to as spinnerbait, come in many different designs, but they all essentially have one or more reflective metal blades that spin around freely as it is reeled in or trolled through the water.

Why they work: The appearance and motion of a spinner or spinnerbait is designed to resemble a small fish, which lure the salmon in. Spinners vibrate when they move in the water, and these powerful vibrations alert salmon to their presence. This is especially helpful in murky waters – which salmon love.

salmon lures plugPlugs

Plugs, which are solid, rigid plastic lures that are painted with reflective paint to resemble fish, especially herring, are another effective salmon lure. Wobbling and cut plugs are even more effective, with a wobbling plug consisting of two pieces connected by a hinge, and a cut plug being a floating plug typically used in downrigger fishing.

Why they work: A solid plug that resembles a food source draws salmon in, and on a wobbling plug, the two pieces of the plug flutter as they’re being reeled in, which creates a vibration that also attracts salmon.

salmon lures flasherFlashers

Flashers are long, shiny rectangular panels, usually made of plastic with a metallic adhesive, or just plain metal. When they move in the water, they create a visual cue and vibrations. Flashers are larger than you’d think, with the large ones being 11 inches long. Flashers are typically used at depths below 50 feet.

Why they work: To an untrained salmon’s eye, flashers resemble an adult salmon swimming rapidly, almost as if it’s a salmon who is attacking its prey. This signifies to nearby salmon that there might be food present, and they swim on by to check things out for themselves – inevitably finding your bait and biting.

Flashers are often used with lures that don’t move on their own in the water, such as hoochies on a short, heavy leader line. So, if you’re already using plugs or spoons, a flasher isn’t as necessary. But  when you’re using a hooch and need to add some movement to your line, a flasher is perfect for this purpose.

salmon lures hoochiesHoochies

Hoochies are squishy, brightly coloured plastic lures that have ‘tentacles’ and are meant to resemble small squid. They are bright and colourful and come in a wide variety of colours, sizes, and styles. They usually come several to a pack and are unrigged, so it’s necessary to add your own hooks and flashers.

Why they work: Hoochies are colourful and lightweight, making them easy to pack around and work with. Fish like them because they are brightly coloured and look like a tasty treat at the end of your line.

salmon lures scents dyesScents & Dyes

The most serious salmon anglers add scents to their artificial lures to better their chances in the water. Bottled scents from the tack shop come in flavours like anchovy and herring and in the form of gels, oils, and pastes.

Why they work: Scents work by stimulating a fish’s appetite, but more important, they mask the human smell an angler leaves behind when they are casting their lines.

Of course, if you’re using live bait, a bottled scent isn’t necessary. In this case, more and more anglers have been adding dyes to their live baits – getting the best of both worlds: the scents and flavours of live bait and the colourful attractants of artificial dyed plastics.

salmon lures spoonsSpoons

Spoons are shaped like – you guessed it – the popular kitchen utensil. The only difference is they are a little less round and little bit longer than your average soup spoon. They come in several sizes and colours and have a hook on the end already, so they are relatively straightforward to use.

Why they work: The oblong, concave shape of the metallic spoon lure reflects light and moves randomly – wobbling instead of spinning is best. They resemble small baitfish when used correctly.  Try and match the size of spoon you are using to the size of baitfish your target salmon species would likely be looking for, given the time of year.

salmon lures jigsJigs

Jigs are a unique fishing lure as they are a somewhat of a mix-and-match option. Jigs consist of a lead weight (sinker) with a hook molded right into it that is covered with a soft rubber or silicone body. A separate shaped head is also attached, which is usually tasselled. Jigs come in thousands of variations, including size, shape, weight, colour, and materials used. They take some trial and error to get to know how to use them well.

Why they work: Jigs move vertically in the water, rather than horizontally like spinnerbaits. The lead sinker allows your line to get to the fish near the bottom of the seabed.

Live Bait

Salmon aren’t too discerning when it comes to live bait, so go ahead and load up your lines with anything from roe, anchovies, herring, worms, minnows, leeches, insects and shrimp. If you’re new to live bait, Eagle Nook guides can show you some techniques for loading up your line with live bait so it looks lifelike in the water.

Why they work: Rather than the artificial lures listed in this post, which mimic a fish’s prey, live bait is actual fish prey. It’s smellier and messier than artificial, but it works, especially when you’re aiming to attract fish from far and wide and when timing is of the essence.

Chartered Salmon Fishing in Barkley Sound on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada

At Eagle Nook Resort, we provide your group with a wide selection of baits and lures, as well as the high-end rods and reels you’ll need to catch pacific salmon on the west coast of BC.

Review our list of what to bring on our chartered fishing trips for more information.

The world of salmon lures can be an overwhelming place for anyone just starting out with the sport. A salmon fishing charter like the ones we provide on the west coast of Vancouver Island can be a great place to put all the above information into practice. Our experienced guides are passionate about sportfishing and extremely knowledgeable about the area. They will not only supply you with the best equipment for our local area, they will also show you how to use it all if you need the assistance.

If you’re a seasoned angler, we’d love to hear what works for you when you’re out salmon fishing as well as halibut fishing.

Learn more about our salmon and halibut chartered fishing packages, or call us at 604-357-3361 to book your fishing trip.