Winter Fishing Gear
First of all, let's make sure we all have a great day on the water while fishing during winter. This all starts out with a good windproof and waterproof outer layers, including bibs, jackets, a down vest, a good sweater, a turtleneck t-shirt, long johns, pants, and good insulated boots. There is nothing that puts a quick end to a great day of fishing than a cold, client, wife, or friend. So be sure to layer up and have more clothes on than you need because you can always take it off if you have it on, but you can’t put it on if you don’t have it. Water, wind, and rain will all be elements in winter fishing so be sure that your outer layers and boots are all good in those conditions.
Proven Cold Weather Fishing Combos
When it comes to Salmon fishing, the “Flasher/Hoochie” combination has been used for years to put millions of fish in the boat. There are thousands of color combinations and sizes and options of hoochies but the one thing they do not offer is much in the way of “action” on the lure itself!. That action is all input on the hoochie by the rotation of the flasher. Here in British Columbia, we can use heavier leader line to the hoochie, say 40, 50, or even 60lb test to make the action work even better. What I like to do is get two advantages in one by adding a Smartbaits Robbie Ribbon Glow worm to the first hook on the hoochie and that adds a bit of volume to the lure, adding to its profile. It adds a long lasting glow to the hoochie, helping fish find your presentation when fishing deeper than 75 feet where it is virtually Black even in the middle of the day. Along with the bigger lure profile, the vibration and the swimtail action make the hoochie look like a live minnow trying to quickly outswim its prey, creating a stronger trigger for the salmon to bite the bait!
Here in the Pacific Northwest you can use any color for salmon as long as it’s green, but white and some blue will work well in certain areas--the Puget Sound and Juan de Fuca is green and white all the way… it just never fails!. So when selecting your Smartbaits glow baits try the green and white options for your rig.
Here is how your Rig should be hooked up:
Be sure to mash the barbs down when fishing in areas where that is a requirement!
Here is what it looks like when pulled into the body of the hoochie:
Here The Fowler family holds up 6 of the 15 salmon they caught on a winter trip Jan 15th 2021 using the Smartbait Robbie Ribbon Glow worm tipped hoochie to get them in the boat.
Northwest Winter Fishing Tips
Usually, we fish right on the bottom for Chinooks (winter springs) with this presentation. With help from the glow and the larger profile, you can fish this about 5 to 10 feet higher off the bottom, saving you a few more cannonballs every year and reducing the amount of baby lingcod that bite the bait when rubbing the bottom.
I always use a lemon lime gold on 1 side and glow on the other Flasher for winter fishing--again, it just works over and over again. For my water speed, I like 2.2kts to 2.8kts best for hoochie fishing. You will need to play with cannonball size and cable thickness in order to keep baits down near the bottom when fishing deeper than 100 feet and often as deep at 150.
My minimum cannon ball size is either 15lbs or usually 20lbs. There is no way to effectively keep a 10lb ball or less near the bottom that deep when trolling at that speed.
So give this a try no matter where you fish salmon weather its Winter fishing , Middle of summer and or night fishing or early morning and watch a few more fish make their way into your boat and seem much more “committed to the hook”!
Special Secret for Winter Fishing in the PNW
Use Smartbaits Robbie Ribbon Glow worms to increase strikes and put more fish in the boat during “Winter Spring” fishing in the Pacific Northwest.
This method will also increase hookups for landlocked salmon in the Great Lakes during the colder months as well as mid summer months when the fish get pushed down into deeper water over 75 feet. I've found that the Smartbaits glow baits add much needed light to the lure when trolling deeper during these times of the year, resulting in more bites and bigger fish! Tight lines, guys!
Embrace, Catch and Release,
Preserve our resource.
-- Captain King