Learning To Catch Salmon

As a follow up to my posts on Blue Mesa and using local knowledge to catch fish, I wanted to talk a little about salmon fishing specifically.  As I mentioned before, I had never fished specifically for salmon, even though I had fished at some of the other Colorado lakes that have Salmon, such as Taylor, Eleven Mile and Clear Creek Reservoir.

You can read my previous post about using local advice here.  Getting the opinions from a local guide, the marina and other anglers got us catching fish much quicker than trying on our own. 

Here is some of what we learned about the Kokanee Salmon on Blue Mesa Reservoir.  First off, Salmon are typically found in schools.  We marked a lot of fish around Blue Mesa, but most of our actual Salmon hook ups resulted in traveling through large groups of fish.  We would troll until we found a school, then we would try to hit it from several different directions and if we weren't getting bites, we would switch up our lures and depths.

An Assassin, workhorse of Salmon fishing.
We also noticed that the Salmon liked to suspend over deeper water, but not necessarily the deepest water around.  We were having problems with our fish finder, so we weren't getting good signals when the water depth exceeded about 120 feet.  As a result we typically fished over water that was 60-90 feet deep.  The salmon that we were seeing and catching were typically between about 15-30 feet deep, suspended over about 70-90 feet of water.

One of the best pieces of advice that the guide gave me was not to use any one lure for too long.  He said that the Salmon would hit on almost any lure, but not all at once.  He suggested using a lure for no more than about 15 minutes without a bite.  We didn't always switch every 15 minutes, but we did try to switch them up when we were getting bites.  We noticed that several times we hooked fish within a minute or two of switching to a new lure, or just changing colors.

While I certainly wouldn't consider myself an expert in Salmon fishing, I did learn a lot on that trip.  I am hoping that I will be able to make a trip down to Blue Mesa once a year or so.  We brought home quite a few Salmon fillets.  We vacuum packed them and put them in the freezer.  We've  already enjoyed them baked, fried and made into Salmon patties, we are looking forward to making new recipes, or maybe making our Smoked Salmon again.

Check out some of my information posts:

Some of my favorite salmon lures:

Learning to use Lead Core:

What is It?
Getting Set Up
One the water

What is a downrigger?



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