Each week one of the Salmon University experts answers reader questions in our “Ask a Pro” feature. This week’s questions are answered by Tom Nelson. Submit your own question here.
Q: I’m wondering when the best time is to fish Hood Canal (Washington) for silvers? Also, any advice on hook selections? – Rick
The best time to fish Hood Canal for Silvers would be from the last week of August to the first week of October. The peak of this fishery takes place in the last two weeks of September. Be sure to read your regulations very closely and check the updates from WDFW before you go as updates are happening quite often because of our drought conditions this year.
Q: Can you explain downrigger cable ange and/or trolling speed? Is it better to watch my SOG on my sounder or watch the angle? – Jeff
You should watch both. Keep your downrigger cable at a 25 to 35 degree angle. Your speed over ground also will help because your downrigger cable may be towing enough weed to pull it back a little further. Try to keep your speed over ground between 2.5 to 4 miles per hour. Because so much depends on current, if you are going faster, don’t be afraid to continue trolling at that speed as long as your cable angle remains from 25 to 35 degrees. Always troll the same direction that the current is running and salmon will use the force of the current to come after your lure. They will come very rapidly for short distances.
Q – I’m looking to buy my first salmon rod and reel and read your previous article about saving money on the rod and putting more money towards the reel. I’ll mainly be mooching in the Puget Sound Area 8. I’m looking at the Tica downrigger rod that you recommend and possibly the Penn 209 reel or maybe the Shimano Tekota 500. What are your thoughts on these two reels? Is there a different reel that you would recommend for someone who has a $200-250 budget in mind for rod/reel for all purpose salmon fishing? – Tony
Both reels you mentioned are excellent reels, although I would recommend the Tekota 500 as the best choice between the two. Tica also makes a good inexpensive Saltwater reel called the Seaspirit.
photo of Hood Canal courtesy Washington Department of Transportation (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)