Jump to content

Advice to newcomber on salmon fishing from breakwaters/seawalls?


Recommended Posts

I recently moved to Wisconsin and am hoping to try my luck fishing for salmon and trout along the jetties, seawalls, and piers in the Milwaukee area in the coming weeks. As a complete newcomer to this type of fishing, I was hoping to get some advice to point me in the right direction. Some questions that I have:

1. For the fall king salmon run, do people tend to have better luck with live bait (rigged baitfish, egg sacs) or lures?

2. As far as lures go, what size and style spoons tend to be the most productive? Will kings hit large, heavy spoons, or is it better to send small lures their way?

3. How line/leader shy are salmon? I know that steelhead are notoriously line shy (people use 2-4 lb test leaders for them), but is the same true for salmon? I have several saltwater-type rods that would be great for chunking bait and larger spoons off a jetty as I used to on the Gulf Coast, but would such tackle be appropriate for salmon?

4. Last, since the salmon aren't feeding during the pre-spawn and are just doing "reflex strikes", how important is presence of baitfish? For trout, a lot of people say that it's not worth fishing the west shore of the lake unless the wind is coming from the east pushing bait. Does that matter for the salmon?

Thanks for any information.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Q1: lures in low light warm water,  live ales in cooler water when available.  Skein under bobbers as the water cools; though spoons and spinners drop off; plugs are still worth throwing.

Q2: glow 3/4 oz spoons account for more king salmon than all other pier spoons combined.

Q3: kings are not as line shy as steelhead (but 2lb tends to be more about ego than fish), but on piers I rarely push above 10 anyway.  In rivers fishing spawn and bobbers I typically run 12.  I know guys who fish flouro leaders testing 20.

Q4:  in general, I fish whenever I can, but if water temps are poor; I’m considerably less anxious.  I worry less about bait in the fall than spring and summer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the advice.

At what water temperature would you say that live bait really starts to outperform lures? As warm as it's been this summer, I'm guessing the salmon are just barely starting to be within range of pier and breakwater fisherman right now regardless of what lures or baits you throw?

If live alewives aren't available, how productive are dead baits fished under a float/drifted?

Good to know that I can get away with 20 lb test fluoro leader for kings, I may go that route.  I kept a bunch of my saltwater tackle that I used to fish jetties on the Gulf coast that I'd like to recommission for salmon fishing if it's doable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Salmon spawning run timing is about more than water temp.  The timing is often more biologic imperative than water temp.  By early September some fish will move into water temps that may nearly kill them.  Those fish way out of temp will bite lures early morning until the “big ugly” comes over the horizon.  The break point for me is about 65 degrees.  Sun’s up I’m out.  If it’s cooler I will continue to fish bait, cut, dead, frozen. If it’s all I can get.  Ales always over Gizzards.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Two different types of fish you're fishing for.

 

Running kings are running.  They are not feeding, but will hit spawn out of territorial instincts.  The bigger, badder, brighter lure you can throw the more it will get their attention, and they're not line shy either.  I troll the pier heads with deep thundersticks on 50# braid with a 30# mono leader.

 

 

Fish feeding around the piers require a bit more finesse.   But not 2-4# test.  All that's doing is breaking off a bunch of fish that now need to swim around dragging the hardware that was formerly yours around.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, FBD said:

Two different types of fish you're fishing for.

 

Running kings are running.  They are not feeding, but will hit spawn out of territorial instincts.  The bigger, badder, brighter lure you can throw the more it will get their attention, and they're not line shy either.  I troll the pier heads with deep thundersticks on 50# braid with a 30# mono leader.

 

 

Fish feeding around the piers require a bit more finesse.   But not 2-4# test.  All that's doing is breaking off a bunch of fish that now need to swim around dragging the hardware that was formerly yours around.

It was my understanding that by the time the kings come inshore in the fall they're running rather than feeding? Is this not the case - are some of the kings still in active feeding mode, at least during the earlier part of the fall?

Or by feeding fish are you referring to steelhead etc which are feeding when they come in during the late fall and witner?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Earl said:

Salmon spawning run timing is about more than water temp.  The timing is often more biologic imperative than water temp.  By early September some fish will move into water temps that may nearly kill them.  Those fish way out of temp will bite lures early morning until the “big ugly” comes over the horizon.  The break point for me is about 65 degrees.  Sun’s up I’m out.  If it’s cooler I will continue to fish bait, cut, dead, frozen. If it’s all I can get.  Ales always over Gizzards.

So if I understand you correctly, I should be fishing lures at dawn (and perhaps dusk) early in the season, whereas late fall mid-day with bait starts to be productive?

Speaking of bait, can alewives be caught on small jigs and sabiki rigs as you'd use for skipjack/river herring?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I live a pretty good drive from Lake Michigan, so to make it worth my while I want to go when I can spend the whole weekend there. I'll let you know how I do if I go next weekend or (more likely) the weekend after.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In summary:

running kings and coho, big flashy lures when the fish are in, running.

 

Trout, from now until the water gets warm in the spring, cast lures or fish bait or spawn.  They'll move in and out.  

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...