Fishing for Pink Salmon on the Fraser River and its Tributaries

Fishing for Pink Salmon is as easy as it gets. Millions of these salmonoids migrate up BC river systems. In the Fraser River, the Pink migration takes place every odd year, starting the first week of September, and lasts most of the month.

There are two main knocks on fishing for Pink Salmon, they are not very good fighters, and they're viewed as one of the least favorite table fair of the salmon family. However, fishing for them can truly be fun for the whole family. There is very little skill required, the startup cost is minimal, and these fish are very aggressive to bite while in migration to spawn. With an average fish being four to five pounds, it beats going to the trout farm.

To achieve the most fun in catching these fish, either a fly rod or a light spinning rod and reel setup are key. In this article I will describe how each one of these should be set up to achieve good results, and where to find these fish to ensure a pleasant day on the water.

Finding the Fish

Because Pink Salmon are so plentiful, their presence is seen near the surface. The fish will jump and roll, indicating their presence. In rivers such as the Fraser the water is clean enough this time of the year, that the fish will see your offering. Just about anywhere along the banks of the Fraser where you can get to, you will be able to catch Pinks. I find it much more fun pursuing these fish in clean water rivers though. The mouth of the Vedder or Harrison Rivers can be a great places to cast for Pinks. The clean water allows you to see the fish that are attacking your offering, often more than one at a time. Pink salmon tend to concentrate in slower, pooling waters. Finding such spot will increase your chances of catching more fish. Oh, and if you're fishing the lower Fraser River, try fishing the incoming tide for best success.

Fly Fishing

Virtually any old 6 or 7wt. fly rod will do the trick. Some anglers prefer sinking tip line, and some use floating line with weighted flies. As far as leader length is concerned, anywhere between 4-6ft, with a 10 or 12lb.pound test line will do the trick. I use Maxima Ultragreen. As far as the fly is concerned, just about anything pink with a bit of flash in it will serve you well. Pink streamers or pink wooly buggers work very well. Other bright colors such as red or purple can work as well. Use your imagination. Hook size should be no. 4 or 6. For the below average fly caster one of the benefits is the line does not have to go out far. (or straight) Twenty to 30 foot cast will work in the right piece of water.

Spin Casting

Spin casting is another way of attracting Pink Salmon. Using this method, there really is very little skill required. Just about any old rod will do. Preferably a light or an ultra light rod between 5-7 ft. in length. Any old coffee grinder loaded with 8-15 lb. test line will do the trick. At the end of your line, attach a spoon. Once again, these fish are not very picky. A silver or brass spoon with some pink or bright red on it will do work very well. Spoons made by Gibbs and spinners made by Blue Fox have worked for me well in the past. Size of the spoon is not critical. Cast out and with a slow retrieve you will attract fish. The other method that works very well using your spinning gear and is much cheaper if you lose some gear is casting pink jigs. A 3/8oz. jig head with a 1-2" long rubber worm works wonders. Just do what the guys do on the bass fishing shows and you're in business.

Fishing for Pink Salmon is usually not the favorite fishery of most seasoned anglers. However, for those who don't get out as much, or are looking to get someone who has had very limited exposure to angling exposed to the sport, this is one of the best opportunities anywhere.

Article by Radek Hanus of Double Header Sport Fishing

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