How to Catch Salmon

Fishing Silvers in High Water by Brent Seamans

Brent Seamans is lead guide at Nushagak River Adventures Lodge on the Nushagak River. He’s been guiding in Alaska for the past 20 seasons. If you want to learn how to catch salmon, especially silver (coho) salmon in high-water conditions, watch this video!

When you think about how to catch salmon, specifically silvers in high water, there is a lot to consider. Brent likes to anchor on current seams and fish bait. He covers rigging, tying an egg-loop knot, hook sizes and leader material, leader lengths, weight, scents, egg cures, fishing locations, boat position, presentation, and lures such as spinners and twitching jigs.

Though Brent’s video is based on how to catch salmon, specifically silvers, on the Nushagak, the concepts he discusses apply to any large river, high-water-conditions silver fishery. Silvers like slow-moving water. Current seams, the mouths of sloughs joining the main river, and slow, deep holes are all places where silvers will either travel through or rest in. With the exception of slow, deep holes, the slow-water areas in big rivers are usually close to the bank.

On the Nushagak, Brent typically targets silvers initially with cured eggs backbounced behind the boat. He anchors, and changes boat position until he gets on fish. Once he locates fish and lands a few on eggs, he switches to lures to help prevent deep-hooking fish he intends to release. Silvers, especially in the tidal sections of rivers, are rather fragile and deep-hooked fish are generally dead fish. Twitching jigs and spinners are some of the lures he employs for silvers.

Sometimes large numbers of silvers will mill about in deep (8- to 12 feet), clear-water sloughs. To catch salmon in such locations, Brent typically uses twitching jigs or spinners. Silvers from Oregon to Alaska all have this affinity for sloughs. 

If you are new to the game and want to learn how to catch salmon, targeting silvers using the techniques Brent describes will get you headed in the right direction.