The Ultimate Guide To Choosing The Best Bait For Salmon Fishing

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Learn about the best bait for salmon fishing, including artificial lures, natural baits like roe and herring, and live baits such as nightcrawlers and shrimp.

Artificial Baits

Soft Plastic Lures

When it comes to artificial baits, soft plastic lures are a popular choice among anglers. These lures are designed to mimic the look and feel of real baitfish, making them incredibly effective at attracting fish. Soft plastic lures come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, allowing anglers to choose the perfect lure for the type of fish they are targeting. Whether you’re fishing for bass, trout, or any other species, soft plastic lures can help you reel in the big one.

  • Soft plastic lures are versatile and can be used in a variety of fishing environments, from freshwater lakes to saltwater oceans.
  • These lures are easy to use and can be cast long distances, allowing anglers to reach fish in deeper waters.
  • Soft plastic lures can be rigged in different ways, such as Texas rigging or Carolina rigging, to target fish at different depths.
  • The lifelike appearance and action of soft plastic lures make them irresistible to fish, leading to more bites and more successful fishing trips.


Another popular type of artificial bait is spinners. These lures feature a spinning blade that creates flash and vibration in the water, attracting fish from a distance. Spinners come in a variety of sizes and colors, making them versatile for different fishing conditions. Whether you’re fishing in murky waters or on a sunny day, spinners can help you catch more fish.

  • Spinners are great for targeting predatory fish like bass, pike, and muskie, as the spinning blade mimics the movement of wounded baitfish.
  • These lures are easy to use and are great for beginners and experienced anglers alike.
  • Spinners can be retrieved at different speeds to mimic the behavior of different types of prey, making them effective in a wide range of fishing situations.
  • The flash and vibration created by spinners can trigger a predatory response in fish, leading to more strikes and more successful fishing trips.


Fly fishing is a popular and traditional method of fishing that uses artificial flies as bait. These flies are typically made from feathers, fur, and other materials that imitate insects, baitfish, or other natural prey. Fly fishing requires skill and precision, as anglers must cast their fly to a specific location and present it in a way that mimics the behavior of real insects or baitfish. Despite the challenges, fly fishing can be incredibly rewarding and is a favorite pastime for many anglers.

  • Fly fishing is often practiced in freshwater rivers and streams, where anglers target trout, salmon, and other species that feed on insects.
  • Different types of flies are used for different fishing conditions, such as dry flies for fishing on the surface or nymphs for fishing underwater.
  • Fly fishing requires anglers to have good casting technique and to be able to read the water to locate fish.
  • The artistry and skill required for fly fishing make it a unique and rewarding experience for anglers of all skill levels.

Natural Baits


Roe is a highly effective natural bait that is prized by anglers for its irresistible appeal to a wide variety of fish species. Derived from the eggs of fish such as salmon and trout, roe is a nutrient-rich delicacy that fish simply can’t resist. Its shiny, translucent appearance mimics the look of fish eggs in the water, making it a favorite choice for enticing bites from hungry predators.

  • Roe is best used as bait in freshwater environments where salmon and trout are prevalent.
  • Anglers often use roe in combination with other baits or lures to increase their chances of attracting fish.
  • When fishing with roe, it’s important to handle it gently to prevent it from breaking apart and losing its effectiveness.


Herring is a versatile natural bait that can be used to target a wide range of saltwater and freshwater fish species. Its oily flesh and strong scent make it a favorite choice for anglers looking to attract predatory fish such as striped bass, bluefish, and tuna. Whether used whole or cut into strips, herring is known for its ability to entice bites from even the most finicky of fish.

  • Herring can be fished both fresh and frozen, with each offering its own unique advantages.
  • Anglers often use herring in conjunction with other baits or lures to create a more enticing presentation.
  • When using herring as bait, it’s important to consider the size and species of fish you are targeting to ensure the best results.


Anchovies are a popular natural bait choice among anglers for their strong scent and oily texture, making them highly attractive to a wide range of predatory fish species. Whether used fresh, frozen, or preserved, anchovies have a proven track record of success when it comes to enticing bites from fish such as halibut, rockfish, and snapper. Their small size and silver color make them an ideal bait for targeting both inshore and offshore species.

  • Anchovies can be rigged in a variety of ways, including whole, cut into chunks, or threaded onto a hook for added appeal.
  • Anglers often use anchovies in combination with other baits or lures to create a more enticing presentation.
  • When fishing with anchovies, it’s important to consider the depth and structure of the water you are fishing in to maximize your chances of success.

Live Baits


Nightcrawlers are one of the most popular live baits used by anglers around the world. These earthworms are known for their wriggling movement, making them irresistible to fish. Whether you’re targeting bass, trout, or panfish, nightcrawlers are a versatile bait that can attract a wide variety of species. Their natural scent and movement in the water make them a highly effective choice for both novice and experienced anglers alike.

  • Nightcrawlers can be easily found in your own backyard or purchased at bait shops.
  • They can be threaded onto a hook or used with a slip sinker rig for different fishing techniques.
  • When using nightcrawlers, it’s important to keep them cool and moist to maintain their freshness and attractiveness to fish.


Shrimp are another popular live bait option for anglers, especially in saltwater fishing. These crustaceans are known for their strong scent and natural appearance, making them a favorite choice for targeting species like redfish, snook, and tarpon. Shrimp can be fished whole or cut into pieces, offering versatility in presentation to match the preferences of different fish species.

  • Shrimp can be purchased fresh or frozen at bait shops or seafood markets.
  • They can be rigged on a hook using a variety of methods, such as through the tail or body.
  • Live shrimp are particularly effective when fishing in areas with strong currents or tidal movements.


Minnows are small fish that serve as excellent live bait for a wide range of freshwater species, including bass, crappie, and walleye. These baitfish are highly effective due to their natural swimming motion and appearance, mimicking the movement of injured prey that can trigger predatory strikes from fish. Anglers can use minnows in a variety of ways, such as under a bobber, on a jig head, or as part of a live bait rig.

  • Minnows can be caught using a minnow trap or purchased at bait shops.
  • They can be presented alive on a hook or used as cut bait for different fishing techniques.
  • Anglers should handle minnows carefully to keep them alive and active while fishing.

In conclusion, live baits such as nightcrawlers, shrimp, and minnows offer anglers a versatile and effective option for attracting a wide range of fish species. By understanding the characteristics and presentation methods of these , anglers can increase their chances of success on the water. Whether you’re fishing in freshwater or saltwater, incorporating live baits into your tackle box can help you land more fish and create memorable fishing experiences.

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