This is the time of the year most Great Lakes fishermen
anticipate the most. The time of year when mature king salmon, also
called chinook salmon, make their way back to the streams they left
as tiny fingerlings three-and-a-half years ago. They are back as
the biggest, meanest, toughest-to-catch fish that swim in the Great
Many articles have been written about the subtleties involved with
catching king salmon. At times, it makes a difference whether your
lure is green and blue or blue and green or you are trolling at 2.0
or 2.2 miles per hour. Minutia aside, follow a few rules and you’ll
catch your share of Great Lakes kings.
1) Kings don’t work the day shift. Sure, you can catch them at
high noon. You’ll catch more of them at midnight. Start in the
dark, fish until you need your sunglasses. Go back after dinner and
fish until the stars come out, or until midnight, or later.
2) Go with the glow. If you are fishing early, late or in the dark,
choose lures that glow in the dark. The new “ever-glow” pigments
are terrific because if charged with a UV light, they’ll glow for
hours. There’s nothing wrong with using the old phosphorescent
lures, but charge them every 30 minutes or so.
3) Use strong hooks, leaders, swivels and line. Consider anything
under 20-pound test as light-line fishing, anything under 12-pound
4) KISS or keep it simple, stupid, is sound advice. You may (or
may not) get more bites using three or four downriggers instead of
only one or two. Put no more than one diver one each side and maybe
a long-line. What counts is fish in the net, not fish on the line.
And use a big, strong net.