Atlantic Salmon

Atlantic Salmon are a popular game fish and excellent table fare. They can be found in various fresh water streams, rivers and lakes, as well as saltwater estuarties and the open ocean. A popular technique for catching Atlantic salmon in rivers is call swing. The fly lure is allowed to swing in the current until taken by the salmon.

Atlantic Salmon

Region: Northeast
Habitat: Bay, Ocean, River

How to identify Atlantic Salmon

While the Atlantic salmon is at sea, it takes on a different appearance compared to when it’s in freshwater. The Atlantic salmon typically looks like a trout; however, while in the ocean, it has a silvery body speckled with sparse, dark markings resembling “Xs” or “Ys.” These markings are located on the forward half of its body and may also be found in the cheeks or gills. Other factors that aid in identifying this salmon is its size and location.

When moving inland to freshwater for spawning, the Atlantic salmon changes color from silver to a rusty-bronze to attract a mate. It now has a similar appearance to its nearest relative, the brown trout, because of red markings that appear on its body and head. These red markings lack the “X” or “Y” shape. The red markings on a brown trout are more pronounced than those on the Atlantic salmon and have a circle/semi-circle outline that extends down the fins’ bottom-side, including the adipose fin.

Where to catch Atlantic Salmon

In North America, Atlantic salmon can be found in their native Atlantic waters of northeastern U.S. and Canada (Quebec, Newfoundland). Atlantic salmon live in the sea and migrate inland to freshwaters for spawning. Once spawning is complete, they return back to sea. Landlocked Atlantic salmon never go into the sea.

Range: Northeast
Atlantic Salmon Fishing Map

The following are habitats where you can catch Atlantic Salmon:

How to catch Atlantic Salmon

Many anglers enjoy fishing for salmon due to their excellent leaping ability and the strong fight that ensues when they are caught. One of the best methods for catching these fish is something called swing. For this method, the angler places the lure downstream at a 45 degree angle and lets it float on the current and swing by the fish. In the open ocean Atlantic Salmon can be caught jigging, still fishing and trolling in the open ocean using live bait, plugs and lures.

It’s important to note that Atlantic salmon are labeled as an endangered species in the United States and fishing for them is currently prohibited.

The following are effective fishing methods and techniques for catching Atlantic Salmon:

Best Lures, Bait & Tackle to catch Atlantic Salmon

When fly fishing for Atlantic salmon, it is best to match your fly to the color of the water. Big flies work the best on cold days.

The following are fishing lures, bait and tackle that can be used to catch Atlantic Salmon: