Fishing with Colors

By on February 1, 2016

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.

I’ve heard that certain colors are harder to see the deeper you go in the water column. Red for example is the first to disappear (I’ve heard). Is there a rule of thumb for what colors to use at certain depths for salmon (flashers and lures)? – Kyle

Hi Kyle – the first colors to disappear from the sight spectrum of the fish are red, yellow and oranges.  These are good colors to use in the fall for “top of the water” Coho and during the summer for Humpies and Sockeye.   They are also good colors to use in river fishing.  These colors fade at about 50 feet in saltwater.  The best colors to use for Chinook and Coho when fishing deeper than 50 feet are greens, blacks and purples.  UV colors show up at all depths.

I’d like some advice on an affordable Rod & Reel setup for fishing plugs/super baits etc. on the Columbia from Drano upriver to through Vernita. – Thanks, Kevin

Kevin – a good affordable Rod and Reel setup would be the Tica Downrigger Rod with a Seaspirit  (SA248R/C) Reel.   If you don’t want a downrigger rod, you may want to look at their ad on our website as they have a full line of rods and reels that are good quality and very affordable.

I read the article by Tom Pollock on the herring brine recipe. Can you brine frozen herring and re-freeze them and how long will the brine mixture last? I live in Idaho and the only herring you can buy here is frozen. We go fish the lower Columbia during August and wanted to know if I can prepare my bait and take it with me. – Jim

Hi Jim – yes you can brine frozen herring and refreeze them. The brined herring should last about nine months, especially if you vacuum pack them.

What lure would you suggest for shore fishing Blackmouth? – Max

I would recommend you use either a Buzz Bomb or a herring under a float. A green jig under a float would also work.



Tom Nelson
Tom Nelson is the publisher of Known throughout the Pacific Northwest as the “Dean of Saltwater Fishing,” he has helped develop and test tackle and gear for Scotty, Pro-Troll and Silver Horde, is a regular speaker at area sports shows, has taught more than 5,000 students how to fish during his classes at western Washington community colleges, and is the co-founder of the Puget Sound Anglers.