salmon river fishing is at its best in spring after spawning

Use a 13 to 15 foot fly rod depending on size of river

Atlantic Salmon are mostly sea-going, but there are some that are landlocked. Most of the landlocked salmon are part of a stocking program and can be found in deep lakes and small ponds. However, even the sea-going Atlantic Salmon spend most of their time in the river systems.

Spring River Fishing

Spring is a time for Salmon to feast after fasting during spawning. This is so hard on the Atlantic Salmon’s body that most of the spawning salmon don’t live to make it to another year. For those that survive, their main concern is finding a place in the river to winter before the ice comes. This is not a time of plenty and their main focus is on conserving energy.


So when spring comes and baitfish school and spawn and insects are bountiful, the Atlantic Salmon feast and spend the next 6 months fattening up.

Sea-going Atlantic Salmon

In early spring they can be found in the ocean; most of them off the coast of Greenland or the Canadian coast. By March and April they’ll begin their journey into the rivers of their birth.

Salmon Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing is the best way to catch them once they enter rivers. Ocean fishing can be a little rough during the winter and early spring so waiting until they enter the river is recommended for those with sensitive stomachs.


A 13 to 15 foot fly rod is best. Use the 15 foot rod for larger rivers and the smaller ones for smaller rivers. Use a full sinking tip with a short stout leader.


At this time of year any fly is likely to work but you’ll get the best results by focusing on flies that resemble common local bait fish and insects.


For the east coast of Canada and the United States, Black Fly and mayflies are good insect flies while smelt flies are good wet flies.

Tips for casting

  • Cast in to the same general area for no more than 10 times before moving upstream a little
  • Avoid casting to the exact same spot each time

If you’re interested in a fly fishing gear, we’ve some recommendations and comparison chart below for 15ft fly rods


Affects of High Water Levels

Spring is also a time of high water levels and the water is very cold. Be sure to have a life jacket and and know the river. Do your homework, and be aware if there are waterfalls and check out where the rapids are. Ever river has a set of rapids where there is a sharp drop in elevation. If you want to keep the planning on the light side, consider hiring a guide.


Small metal bottom boats are common with many anglers due to their weight and cost. However there’s a couple of issues you need to be aware of.


Metal boats will sink like a stone if they take on too much water or flip. The other point to be aware of is that the wind can easily catch them and move them about. It’s for these reasons that we stress the importance of knowing your river.