Trolling Salmon Spoons, Hoochies, Colors and Leader Lengths

This article details foundational information when it comes to trolling for Salmon with Spoons and Hoochies. I’ll cover gear for trolling in shallower gear (< 50 feet) and deeper gear (> 50 feet), what leader lengths to use, trolling speeds for different species, and my favorite spoons and hoochies.

Fishing trolling depths and gear colors

Shallow water fishing

My definition for shallow water for this article is fishing water less than 50 feet (top water to 49 feet). In this section of the water column your purple, chartreuse, pink, green and blue colors all show well.  However, I will say that overcast/sunny days and water clarity will impact shallow water fishing, but for the most part these tips for shallow water will act as general rules.

Hoochies in shallow water

In shallower water I like to use lighter colored hoochies. My favorite hoochies colors in shallow water are: UV white and glows (like an off-white). Also, any of these whites or glo with stripes or speckles can be great secondary options. E.g. White and pink stripe, white and green stripe, glow and green speckles, etc.

Another option that pairs well with hoochies is some flash. Adding a Nylar flash insert into your hoochie will take it to the next level. See the image below the Nylar flash inserts on the left.

Deeper water fishing

For the purpose of this article when I say “deeper water” I’m referring to water from 50′ to 150′. With less light the blue and green are the best colors in these depths. Additionally, colors that have glow in them (“glow in the dark”) will also do well in these depths.

Hoochies in Deeper water

As mentioned above, the deeper water colors to use are pretty straight forward green, blue and glow. In addition to this, I like to use more contrasting patterns and variations of green and blue colors. Currently on my garage I don’t have a lot of great deeper water hoochies, but you can see the darker green colors and I included a screen shot of an green/black speckled hoochie as well.

hoochies and spoon colors for trolling

Leader Length and Weight for Spoons

When trolling spoons you want a longer leader line than a hoochie. The longer length allows the spoon shape to create its own erratic action vs being impacted by a swirling flasher (if you use one). Spoon leader lengths should be anywhere from 4′ to 6′ long. If you’re fishing for a Chinook/King Salmon use a 6′ leader. If you’re targeting Coho/Silver Salmon use a 4′ leader.

For spoons I like to run 30# leader lines. Fluorocarbon or monofilament line types are the types of line you want.

Leader Length and Weight for Hoochies

When trolling hoochies you want a shorter leader so its closer to your flasher as the flasher is what gives the hoochie its action. So when using hoochies you’ll have to use a flasher (or something to give it action) whereas a spoon its not mandatory. Hoochie leader lengths should be anywhere from 22″ to 36″ long. If you’re fishing for a Chinook/King Salmon use a 32″-36″ leader. If you’re targeting Coho/Silver Salmon use a 20″-28″ leader.

For hoochies I run 40# leader lines and always use fluorocarbon line which is more rigid than monofilament. The rigidness of the fluorocarbon provides more of a “whipping” motion on the lure with the flasher. Mono is more limp and doesn’t provide the same whipping motion.

kayak trolling and bottom fishing lures

What Speed to Troll for Salmon?

Trolling speed is tricky as there are other factors that will impact your speed. These are things like current, tides and wind. When trolling for salmon you’ll want to match your speed to the species. As there are multiple species of salmon not all speeds are ideal. For example, Chinook (King) Salmon prefer a slower moving bait, but a Coho (Silver) Salmon prefer a faster moving bait. 

Chinook/King salmon Trolling Speed: 2.2 to 2.8 mph

Coho/Silver salmon Trolling Speed: 2.8 to 3.5 mph


Trolling flashers

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