How Salmon Is Caught

Methods of Salmon Fishing

Before a salmon is canned it’s a wild salmon that must be caught and transported to the salmon cannery.  There are many different ways to catch a salmon but we will focus on the three most popular commercial salmon fishing methods: trolling for salmon, seining for salmon and gillnetting for salmon.  Salmon is also very popular for sport fishing and its large size and wild habitat make fishing for salmon an exciting pastime for many recreationalists.

Recreational Salmon Sport Fishing

Fishing for wild salmon has become a large industry as fishing lodges and sport fishing boats vie for tourists trying to catch a Tyee or King Salmon.  Sport fishers can be found in both oceans and rivers using a variety of pole and line techniques to catch salmon. It would take many pages to discuss the techniques a sport salmon fisherman uses to land their catch but depending on the location it is usually a combination of individual pole trolling and jigging using various types of salmon lures and flashers.

Commercial Trolling for Salmon

Trolling is a fishing method where a line is dragged slowly through the water with a baited or lured hook.  A commercial salmon trolling boat will have a number of trolling lines attached to rods (usually hydraulic) on each side of the boat in order to maximize efficiency. A variety of different methods may be utilized to avoid having the lines tangling such as outriggers. Then the fishing lines will be drawn through the water at various speeds and depths depending on the target species.  One of the techniques in commercial trolling is to have the trolling lines replicate a school of small fish which should attract a number of salmon.   A salmon troller may choose to target specific salmon species, such as Coho or Pink, or can choose to target a variety of species.

Purse Seining for Salmon

This type of salmon fishing uses a large net to encircle the fish and then close in around them.  Typically salmon seining will take place during spawning season when the fish are on their way back to the river.  This allows for a larger amount to be harvested in a quicker time period.  Once a large number of salmon are located the crew drop an anchor attached to the net and begin to quickly encircle the salmon.  Once the net is circled they begin to drawn in a purse line which closes the bottom of the net.  As the net is closed up it is then wound up on a large drum until there is only a small net area remaining which is where the trapped salmon will be.

Gillnetting for Salmon

A gillnet is a type of straight net that is set up in the path of salmon.  This is typically done close to a river as the salmon are returning to spawn.  The net will have meshing that is a certain size depending on the type of fish being caught.  Once the location has been chosen the net is unwound from the drum and hangs down in a straight line from the cork floaters.  As salmon are swimming through they hit the net and get tangled in the meshing with their gills.  When then fisherman decides enough time has passed the net is wound back up on the drum but stopped each time a fish needs to be removed from the netting.