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Casting Lures for Fall Fishing: A Guide to Chinook Salmon

Casting Lures for Fall Fishing: A Guide to Chinook Salmon


Fall is a fantastic time for fishing, and one of the most sought-after species during this season is the Chinook salmon. These powerful fish are known for their impressive size and fighting spirit, making them a favorite target for anglers. While there are various techniques for catching Chinook salmon, casting lures can be an exciting and effective method. In this article, we will explore the art of casting lures for Chinook salmon during the fall season.

Understanding Chinook Salmon Behavior in the Fall:

Before we dive into casting lures, it's crucial to understand the behavior of Chinook salmon in the fall. During this time, these fish are on their spawning journey, making their way upstream from the ocean to their freshwater spawning grounds. They are driven by a natural instinct to feed voraciously, storing energy for the upcoming spawning process. This feeding frenzy provides anglers with an excellent opportunity to target Chinook salmon.

Selecting the Right Equipment:

  1. Rods and Reels: When casting lures for Chinook salmon, you'll need robust equipment capable of handling large and powerful fish. Opt for medium-heavy to heavy action rods paired with sturdy baitcasting or spinning reels. These will provide you with the strength needed to land a Chinook.

  2. Line and Leader: Use a braided mainline with a fluorocarbon leader. A 20-30 lb test line is usually sufficient, but you may need to adjust based on the size of Chinook salmon in your area.

  3. Lures: Fall Chinook salmon are known to be aggressive and territorial. This makes them susceptible to a wide variety of lures, including spoons, spinners, and crankbaits. Experiment with different colors and sizes to see what the fish are responding to on that particular day.

Techniques for Casting Lures:

  1. Casting and Retrieving: This is the most common technique for Chinook salmon. Cast your lure upstream and retrieve it at a steady pace, mimicking the movement of a fleeing prey fish. Be prepared for powerful strikes, as Chinook salmon can hit lures with incredible force.

  2. Drift Fishing: In slower-moving waters, you can also try drift fishing with lures. Use a drift rig setup and allow your lure to float naturally downstream. This can be especially effective in deeper holes and pools.

  3. Jigging: When Chinook salmon are holding in deeper water, jigging with heavy lures can entice them. Drop your lure to the desired depth and use a rhythmic up-and-down motion to attract their attention.

Location and Timing:

Fall Chinook salmon can be found in both rivers and nearshore coastal areas as they make their way upstream. Research local reports and talk to fellow anglers to find out where these fish are congregating. Timing is also critical; Chinook salmon runs vary by region, so make sure to plan your fishing trip during the peak of the fall run.

Best Temperature For Staging Chinook Fishing

Ideal temperatures in my experience is 50F to low 60F. I do catch them on lure in up to 70F but it is much harder fishing in the higher range. And much is easier in the lower range.


Casting lures for Chinook salmon in the fall is an exhilarating and rewarding pursuit for anglers. With the right equipment, techniques, and knowledge of Chinook salmon behavior, you can increase your chances of landing these fish. So gear up, head to your favorite fishing spot, and enjoy the thrill of fall Chinook salmon fishing!

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