Dick Pinney's Guide Lines: Tips to unlock the best time of year for salmon fishing

By DICK PINNEY September 15. 2018 10:49PM

In our experience, this is getting on to the best time to shift our landlocked salmon fishing to the deeper depths that we marked in our previous fishing efforts.

There we find a mixture of salmon and an occasional rainbow trout feeding on the smelt schools that are moving deeper and deeper as the surface water temperatures dictate.

If you are fishing without a fish/depth finder, we'd suggest keeping to depths just outside of where you can see bottom, or if you are fishing a familiar body of water, a good bet would be to go where you've had good luck under similar conditions, with water temperatures in the low 70s to mid-60s, or even deeper into colder water.

Some fish species, including landlocked salmon, do not like to be exposed to full sunlight so take that into consideration when you are trolling, which by the way, is by far the most productive method of catching salmon and lake trout as the warming of the water drives the fish down.

You should pay attention to the depths at which your lines are set. Those depths can be accomplished with the use of downriggers or leadcore line. We'll usually use a mixture of both, with the leadcore lines set off the back of the boat, often close enough to take advantage of our propeller's wake that especially landlocked salmon like to work, looking for smelt that have been disoriented or injured by the props.

Most days trolling for both landlocks and lakers, we'll set a line in the prop-wash and our other lines, either leadcore or off downriggers, at various other depths. The key here is to try to find what depths the salmon and trout are feeding. And when we get some action on one line, we'll switch at least another line to fish that same depth that had caught that first fish.

Bottom structure such as big boulders or reefs can be great places for gamefish to gather because these places provide cover for the smelt and shiners that the gamefish are targeting.

If you are trolling along a shoreline, when you get a fish hit, take a look at your depth finder to alert you to the fact that if there's one fish at that water depth, there's probably more. So cover those similar water depths until you find some kind of a pattern. If you don't get more action at that depth, then go back to your search pattern of trolling to try to find other concentrations of the trout and salmon.

If you are fairly new to trolling for trout and salmon, especially in a place that you've not fished before, it's OK to ask other anglers fishing that same area if they'd had any luck and, if so, which depths were productive.

And if someone asks you that same question, answer them truthfully! We've had fishermen give us the wrong "skinny" about where and at what depth the fish have been hitting and, to me, that's about the worst thing a true sportsman would do!

But if other boats are working an area that you've been advised to fish, DO NOT CROWD THEM! That's also a very unsportsmanlike activity.

If you really want to make a nice example, if you are having some good luck and a boat or two near you have not been doing well, slowly power over to within hearing distance and tell them where and how you have been getting hits! That is the epitome of great sportsmanship! It gives the Dickster a thrill to see somebody take our advice and end up having some great luck!

And it's equally rewarding to have someone you've helped motor over and give you the "high sign" or a yelled "thank you!"

Drop us an email at DoDuckInn@aol.com and get out there and get you some!

Dick Pinney's column appears weekly in the New Hampshire Sunday News. Email him at DoDuckInn@aol.com.


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