Discovering the Best Fishing Rod for Salmon Fishing

Maya Brown

June 12, 2023


It’s that time of the year to start planning for the best salmon fishing season ever! Whether you’ve been a long-time fan of angling or this is your first season, one thing is certain – you need to have the best fishing rod for salmon by your side. The number and types of rods available can make finding just the right one overwhelming, so I’ve put together this comprehensive guide that will help you pick the perfect choice for you.

Salmon Basics – Species, Habitats, and Fishing Techniques

Salmon are a group of fish species belonging to the family Salmonidae, which includes Atlantic, Chinook, Coho, Chum, Pink, and Sockeye salmon. This species is native to the northern hemisphere and are some of the most common fish to catch in both saltwater and freshwater habitats. Salmon usually migrate from the ocean to freshwater rivers and streams to spawn, and that’s when it’s their open season.

From April all the way to November, fishermen are catching salmon left and right, using various fishing techniques such as fly fishing, trolling, or drift fishing. Commercial angling for this fish is a major industry, and it’s a popular dish served all around the world, praised for its high nutritional value and delicate flavor. That’s why salmon is one of the most sought-after species, so let’s see how you can land some of your own.

Salmon jumping a waterfall
Knowing the habits of a certain species will help you catch them in high numbers

Key Factors in Choosing the Best Fishing Rod for Salmon

Choosing the right equipment is essential for any style of fishing, from delicately presenting your lightweight lure in nymph fly fishing to bottom trawling in the depths of the sea. The same goes for salmon – once you have the right gear by your side, it’ll increase your chances of getting a fishy surprise in the form of a delicious meal.

While looking at numerous available rods available on the market, it’s important to consider a few important factors, including the size and species of salmon you intend to catch. The location and type of water are just as important, and your personal preferences as an angler shouldn’t be overlooked.

fishing tackle on a wooden table. toned image
With the right equipment by your side, you’re in for a thrilling and rewarding experience

Finding the Best Rod for Salmon Fishing – Top Five Rods for 2023

A good fishing rod should have enough strength and sensitivity to handle the fight of a large fish while also being lightweight and easy to handle for long periods of time. It’s best to look for rods that are specifically designed for catching salmon, as they have suitable features such as a sensitive tip for detecting bites, a strong backbone for fighting this large species, and a comfortable grip for extended use.

Before we get to the reel stuff, here’s a brief overview of the main specifications of the rods I’ll be discussing:

Product Material Length Action Price
St. Croix Rods Triumph Salmon & Steelhead Casting Rod SCII Carbon 8’6”, 9’9”, 10’6” Moderate and fast $145
Berrypro Salmon & Steelhead Spinning Rod IM8 X-Carbon 8’6”, 9’0”, 9’6”, 10’0”, 10’6” Fast $50-$60
Douglas LRS Spinning/Trolling Rod Graphite Hybrid 7’8”, 7’10”, 8’6”, 9’0”, 9’8”, 10’6” Fast $220-$270
Piscifun Flame Spinning Rod IM6 Graphite 6’0”, 6’6”, 6’9” 7’0”, 7’6” Moderate and fast $50
Okuma GSP-S-992ML Guide Select Pro Salmon Rod Premium 3K Carbon Fibre 7’6”, 7’9”, 8’0”, 8’2”, 9’0”, 9’2”, 9’6”, 9’9”, 10’6” Fast $95-$205

St. Croix Rods Triumph Salmon & Steelhead Casting Rod

The St. Croix Rods Triumph Salmon & Steelhead Casting Rod is an excellent choice for anglers who are looking for a high-quality, high-performance, and versatile rod to catch some salmon. Made with premium SCII carbon, this is a lightweight and responsive piece of gear that provides excellent sensitivity and control when casting and retrieving.

Here’s what the St. Croix Rods Triumph Salmon & Steelhead Casting Rod brings to the table as its key features:

  • Quality cork handle,
  • Aluminum-oxide guides,
  • Flex-Coat finish,
  • Wide range of sizes and power ratings,
  • 5-year warranty.

Berrypro Salmon & Steelhead Spinning Rod

No matter if you’re a beginner fisherman or a seasoned veteran, the Berrypro Salmon & Steelhead Spinning Rod is an affordable option that will provide you with a lightweight quality-built piece of equipment. It provides excellent casting performance, sensitivity, and strength, which makes it capable of handling even the largest heavy hitters of this species.

Here are the key features of the Berrypro Salmon & Steelhead Spinning Rod:

  • IM8 X-Carbon lightweight and strong body,
  • High-quality corrosive-resistant steel guides,
  • Ergonomically shaped reel seat,
  • Comfortable cork design,
  • 1-year warranty.

Douglas LRS Spinning/Trolling Rod

The Douglas LRS Spinning/Trolling Rod is a high-quality, multi-purpose fishing rod that is designed to handle a wide variety of salmon fishing techniques. No matter if you’re looking for the best salmon rod for bank fishing or the best rod for river salmon fishing, Douglas LRS rods can handle all. Of course, all these high-end materials and long-lasting performance do not come at a cheap price.

If you’re willing to spend a couple of extra bucks and get top-of-the-shelf equipment, here’s what the Douglas LRS Spinning/Trolling Rod will get you:

  • Lightweight, high-quality design,
  • Hybrid graphite multi-modulus blank,
  • Extremely durable materials,
  • Fuji CC Fazlite guides,
  • Wide array of sizes and power ratings.

Piscifun Flame Spinning Rod

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly fishing rod suitable for catching this species, the Piscifun Flame Spinning Rod should be one of your top choices. Made from high-density IM6 graphite, this is both a lightweight and strong option that will definitely deliver the sensitivity and power you need to land some salmon.

Here are the key features of the Piscifun Flame Spinning Rod:

  • Powerful and sensitive blank,
  • Balanced handling,
  • Easy to use,
  • Spigot joint design,
  • Ceramic guides.

Okuma GSP-S-992ML Guide Select Pro Salmon Rod

The Okuma GSP-S-992ML Guide Select Pro Salmon Rod is a high-end, premium-quality piece of equipment designed specifically for catching these fish. It provides exceptional strength and sensitivity, as well as comfortable handling, thanks to the high-quality EVA grips. It’s available in a range of different lengths and power ratings, so it’s easily suitable for various different styles and skill levels.

Here’s a list of the key features you can look forward to if you opt for the Okuma GSP-S-992ML Guide Select Pro Salmon Rod:

  • Premium-quality 3K carbon fiber blank,
  • Excellent responsiveness,
  • Fuji reel seats,
  • Maximum durability,
  • Fit for both casting and spinning.
An angler holding a fishing rod
Choose the most suitable angling gear

Additional Salmon Fishing Gear and Accessories

Even if you get the highest quality, top-of-the-shelf rod, it doesn’t amount to much if it’s not combined with other suitable pieces of gear and accessories. A fishing reel, fishing line, tippet line, and different fishing hooks, as well as lures or bait, are the essential pieces of every fisherman’s setup.

Beside these unavoidable equipment pieces, it’s good to have polarized sunglasses, a hat, and sunscreen by your side. They can go a long way in protecting you from the sun and improving your visibility when fishing – there’ll be no need to quickly figure out how to remove a hook from your finger if you take the right precautions.

Fishing Reels and Lines

As mentioned, fishing reels and lines are essential – good-quality pieces will handle the power of this larger fish, providing a smooth drag system and fast retrieve speeds. When you’re choosing both the reel and the line, it’s important to consider the technique you’re planning to use, as well as the size and weight of your target.

Braided lines are a popular choice for salmon fishing due to their strength and sensitivity, while monofilament lines are also widely used. As for the reel, most experienced anglers will go for the spinning type, as it works best in fighting with your soon-to-be dinner.

Salmon Baits and Lures

This species can be caught using a variety of baits and lures, including live or dead baitfish, eggs, worms, and artificial lures such as spoons, spinners, and plugs. Once again, the choice of bait will depend on the technique and the specific target. Whatever you go for, just remember to secure it tightly to the fish hook and properly tie the hook to the line.

Salmon Fishing Tips and Techniques

This type of outdoor activity requires skill, patience, and knowledge of the fish’s behavior and habitat. No matter if you’re planning to try out your luck at trolling, casting, drift-fishing, or fly fishing, it’s important to keep the next factors in mind:

Reading the Water and Locating Salmon

Every experienced fisherman knows that reading the water is an essential skill when it comes to locating and catching any type of fish, and the same goes for salmon. This species tends to gather in areas with cooler water temperatures, such as deep pools, eddies, or riffles in rivers and streams.

To locate your target, look for areas with structure, such as rocks or logs, as this type of fish often uses such areas as cover. Also, pay attention to the flow and depth of the water, as they may be more active in areas with faster and deeper water. When all else fails, using a fish finder can be very helpful in locating schools of salmon.

Properly Setting the Hook

Properly setting the hook makes all the difference between a successful catch and a missed opportunity. To do it right, it’s important to wait until you feel a steady pull or tug on the line. Once you feel it, give a quick and firm jerk to set the hook firmly into the fish’s mouth.

However, don’t yank it too hard, as it can result in the hook pulling out of the fish’s mouth. Instead, use a smooth and controlled motion to set it, and be ready to reel in the line quickly. It’s best to practice setting the hook with different types of bait and lures to develop a feel for the right timing and motion.

Fighting and Landing Salmon

Once this fish is hooked, it will often put up a strong fight, using its power and weight to try to escape. To fight it successfully, it’s essential to keep the rod tip up and use steady pressure to tire out the fish.

When the fish gets tired and has been reeled in close to the boat or shore, use a landing net or gaff to safely and quickly bring the fish on board. Carefully remove the hook while being mindful of the sharp teeth and fins, and release it back into the water if you’re not planning on catching a keeper.

Experience the Thrill of Salmon Fishing With the Best Rods and Techniques

All in all, choosing the best rod for this excursion is a subjective decision that each fisherman must make on their own. However, I hope that my selection has been helpful to you in narrowing down your choices. It will take time and patience, but with a little effort and maybe a few extra bucks, you can equip yourself with the perfect tool that will undoubtedly provide memorable days on the water catching these creatures of beauty.