Trolling For Salmon

by Capt. Jim on January 22, 2012

In Ketchikan we rely heavily on trolling with downriggers to catch salmon and I just wanted to explain a few of the reasons why.

  1. Its a tried and true, proven method. The charter sector has actually stolen the technology and technique from the commercial salmon fishermen in this area who have been successfully trolling for salmon for many years. Everything we do is essentially a smaller-scale version of what they do. The biggest difference between a charter boats trolling and a commercial troller is that we are limited to fishing 1 depth per downrigger where the commercial fishermen can cover every depth on up to 4 different lines, so they have LOTS of hooks in the water and they have every depth covered.
  2. Its easy. Many of the clients we have off the cruise ships have either never fished before or at the very least, never fished for salmon before. Trolling with downriggers allows the captain to control most of the variables and allows the client to sit back and wait for the fish to bite. This is important, especially on a 4 hour charter, because we just don’t have enough time to teach someone with no experience all the in’s and out’s and important details of this type of fishing. For example, here are a few of the details we look at and know from experience what to do:
  • Color selection of both flashers, hoochies, spoons and at times baits
  • Downrigger depth and adjustment (i.e. release clip tension accounting for how the fish are biting)
  • Line tension between your rod and the downrigger
  • What to do depending on different kinds of bites (i.e. wait…..or…..pick up the rod and reel like hell!)


-A quick side note: Each of the captains in the fish-co know numerous other ways to catch Salmon, but depending on the circumstances we will decide which is the most appropriate for that day and time.



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