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Best Salmon Lures

best salmon lures

There are a number of different techniques that can be used to catch salmon but one thing for certain is that the best salmon lures force a salmons predatory instincts to strike.

Salmon are one of the most sought after prize in the fishing world and going home empty handed is not uncommon for a beginner.

Depending on how/where you are fishing and what stage the salmon are at during their spawning cycle will influence your choice of lure greatly

More often than not salmon lures will draw in the ​fish from quite a distance with a combination of vibration and flash.

The most common methods to catch salmon include:

  • Trolling in deeper water
  • Spinning in rivers
  • Bottom bouncing
  • Back trolling
  • ​Mooching with bait
  • Drifting or bouncing bait
  • Plunking

Most anglers would probably agree that the best bait for salmon is using salmon eggs and drifting them downstream under a bobber.

However this has limited applications and is really only applicable to fishing in rivers in certain seasons.

Using artificial fishing lures for salmon allows you to be a lot more adaptable in terms of location and style of fishing. 

​Trolling and spinning are the two best ways to catch a salmon on a lure.

Trolling takes place in larger, deeper waters and spinning/casting will normally be on a river, although there are many salmon river fishing techniques that use bait.

You can also back troll on rivers if you both from a boat and from the shore if the shore is easy to walk without obstructions.

A lot of salmon anglers however do like to combine the use of a lure with either some fresh bait or a preserved bait that has be soaked in brine or some other additive that will help to add scent to the bait.

​The bait can either be hooked onto a trailing hook rig or you can use what is called a bait wrapped lure(a strip of bait is attached onto the lure by wrapping it tightly with some line.)

Herring strips, prawns and anchovies are the most popular additions especially when trolling behind a flasher.

​Best Salmon Lures

​1. Luhr-Jensen Coyote Spoon

The Coyote might well be considered the all time classic trolling spoon. Always fished well behind a flasher with a up to a good 40″ leader as you do not want the flasher to affect the natural wobble of the spoon.

This a usually trolled with the aid of a downrigger for saltwater trolling and in the great lakes.

One of the best salmon lures for deep water trolling and is a common sight on just about every salmon charter boat you’ll see.

A size 4.0 in Nickel Green Neon is a solid performer. A lot of anglers will replace the hooks on this lures, personally I run them for a season and once there is any kind of wear and tear on then switch them out for higher quality Gamakatsu hooks. 

​2. Hotspot Flasher

Although not strictly a salmon fishing lure, when trolling with certain lures a flasher is a must. The amount of flash and vibration that they give off is massive and they are responsible for drawing salmon in from great distances towards your lure.

They can be used with a variety of different lures however certain crankbaits or plugs do not perform well behind a flasher as the flasher will affect the natural swim action of the plug.

A size 11″ is the standard that most other salmon flashers are held to, combine this with a cut plug and some herrings strips and you have on of the best salmon trolling rigs you could imagine.

​They are generally used a great depths so a standard downrigger setup is the norm when using flashers.

3. Silver Horde Ace Hi Fly Lures

One of the most popular “hoochie” or squid lures used in the salmon fishing scene the Ace Hi Fly Lures are designed to run behind a flasher or dodger.

On their own they have little to no swim action, when used with a dodger or flasher they come alive.

Run them back from the flasher about 24 to 40 inches and you will get the best swim action from them.

They come with glow UV built into the head for that added attraction.

​4. Brads Cut plugs

Brad’s Killer Cut Plug and the Mini Cut Plug are an absolute stable in the salmon fishing world. They can be used on the troll in deeper waters with a standard downrigger setup but are also just as effective when use in rivers for back trolling and bouncing downstream.

Available in a two sizes and a huge range of colors. Although you can use an actual real cut herring an artificial like this is re-usable over and over again.

They come with an included scent pad if you want to add your own, but I rather use strips of real bait in the special cavity.

5. Silver Horde #4 Kingfisher Lite

The Kingfisher Lite is basically a Luhr Jensen Koyote spoon made by Silver Horde but they are available in a larger range of colors and some with a really great UV glow pattern.

As with most salmon lures run these behind a flasher and you have an exceptional salmon rig that will pull fish all day long if run at the right depth.

​6. Luhr Jensens’ Kwikfish

The Kwikfish is responsible for many a record salmon whether that’s trolling in deeper waters or bottom bouncing in a river.

One thing is for sure the action and vibration that they give off drives salmon wild.

​You need to be careful with how fast you fish them as they correct swimming action can be affected if you run them too fast.

They will simply start to roll over on themselves in a circular motion and will be all but useless.

They are a particular favorite of large king salmon and have landed many a monster king in their time.

​7. Silver Horde Coho Killer Spoon

​The Coho Killer lures are a bit more slender than either the Coyote spoon or the Kingfisher.

Despite being so small they are really good for large Chinook especially when they are feeding on smaller bait fish that congregate around deep sand bars.

​Again run these behind a standard flasher salmon rig and down as deep as possible. Look for large bait balls or shoals of bait fish on your fish finder and set your trolling rig accordingly.

​Salmon Lures

Salmon fishing lures come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Each has their own specific use case in terms of species of salmon, time of year and location.

One thing that the all have in common is some form of movement and color/flash.

Salmon love to home in on prey and they do this by sensing vibration in the water and if possible by seeing the flash that small bait fish give off as they dart from side to side.

The best salmon fishing lures as listed above provide a combination of flash and vibration with one exception which is the hoochie or squid lure this is why a flasher is essential with any soft plastic lure.


​Spoons can be fished with either a cast and retrieve method on a river for ​coho salmon or they can be trolled for kings with the use of a downrigger to help set the depth.

​The main reason spoons work is the vibration that they give off as they wobble through the water.

Longer more slender spoons will tend to give off less intense vibrations but they will be at a higher frequency due to the speed of of the movement.

Shorter fatter spoons will give off a big vibration but at a lower frequency.

The majority of spoons will be based on one type of metal finish of either copper, gold or silver. Many spoons will have a pattern painted on over the underlying metal finish.


​Although not strictly a lure flashers are actually used to bring salmon in from a distance with their big vibration and flash.

They are always trolled behind a boat in deep water and are mainly used as part of a downrigger setup.

​Flashers are essentially a really large spoon usually made from plastic and can come in a variety of different colors.

There is always either a lure such as a hoochie/squid lure or a herring strip trailing a few feet behind the flasher. This what the salmon will actually strike at and not the flasher.


Hoochies as they are sometimes known are actually squid lures that are used by salmon fishermen during trolling with the addition of a flasher.

They are one of the most popular salmon fishing lures especially in deep waters. Sometimes they will come with tandem hooks, in this type of rig you can add a small herring strip to give off a scent.

​A flasher really is important when using hoocies as with nothing more than a soft plastic/rubber skirt they do not give off a lot of vibration or flash.


Plugs can be trolled or cast for river salmon. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors.

Some have deep dive bills on them that help them to dive as they move through the water and others have fairly stubby noses.

The Silver Horde in size #4 and #5 are very popular and do not have a dive bill buy instead a cupped nose.

The Luhr Jensen Kwikfish is one of the most popular types of plugs as it gives out a very strong vibration as it moves.

When trolling you should never use a flasher in front of a plug as it will impact the natural swim action of the plug.

​If you are using plugs in a river then there are a variety of techniques that you can use especially if you are in a boat or a kayak.


Spinners are generally reserved for use when casting although you can troll with very large salmon spinners in deeper waters.

A cast and retrieve like action in a large fan pattern can help to find where salmon are lying especially if there are a lot of deep pockets in the river.

The spinning blades create all the flash and the vibration. You will occasionally see a dressed treble hook used on a spinner which helps to add a bit more life to the lure and also disguise the hook.

​Tackle Considerations

​With modern salmon fishing there are a lot of different techniques available to you. Fishing a salmon lure on a river or stream will obviously be very different from trolling in deeper waters and the tackle that you use will need to reflect that.

The best salmon fishing rods are usually techniques specific rods from brands such as Lamiglas and G. Loomis.

  • Updated October 16, 2021
  • Salmon