Finding the Chinook and Trolling

Ocean fishing requires the use of a boat and bait gear. Start off by locating a school of Chinook Salmon with a sonar-type fish finder.


Once a school is located, drop baited lines slowly down to the salmons’ depth. Trolling works best if the Chinook are spread out. The best way to troll is by allowing the line to drag out behind the boat by either drifting with the current or holding steady with the current.


Use light weights if there are few lines on the boat and use heavy weights when there are many lines.

  • Light weights don’t significantly increase the overall weight of the hooked fish and line.
  • In contrast heavy weights allow greater control and keep the lines from tangling and they drop when a fish bites.

Ocean Salmon

In the early summer months, Chinook Salmon can be found between 200 and 275 feet deep. Downriggers allow you to keep your lure or bait at a specific depth for prolong periods of time. However choosing the right rig is important.


If you haven’t done so, give the ace in the hole setup rig a try. It’s perfect for trolling behind a boat with multiple lines out. One word of caution though, avoid using balls. You’ll eventually get tears in your line suffering from the drag loop effect. There’s also a good chance that your lines will tangle and make for a bad afternoon.


Chinook salmon can be found as deep as 150 feet in the summer months in the Great Lakes, which includes Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan and Lake Superior.


As summer tapers off, Chinook Salmon will move from the deep towards shallow water and by late summer some are moving to their spawning grounds.


Like seagoing Chinook, the Lakebound Chinook spawn in the rivers of their birth.

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