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Hello All,

I just went fishing today on the Fraser River around Sapperton Landing off the shore for a few hours and caught nothing--even though salmon were jumping out of the water all around me. I was casting Gibbs Kit-a-mats, Crocs, and Fox spinners of various sizes, all to naught. Not even the slightest nibble or bite. Other fishermen around me also caught nothing, which brings me to my question I'm hoping someone can answer: Once salmon enter rivers to go upstream and spawn, do they feed? Do they even bite?

I'm beginning to think no. I've gone 10 times this year on the Capilano, the Seymour, and now the Fraser and have never caught anything, not a single bite. I'm beginning to think its all a waste of time, that salmon or steelhead once in rivers simply don't feed--that the only way to catch salmon is to invest in a boat and downrigger fish in the ocean for them.

I've heard some fishermen say that its actually a matter of getting your yarn, fish egg, spoon--whatever in front of them to get them to aggressively "reflex strike" at the lure, that they aren't actually feeding on your lure, but rather are in an aggressive mood and are batting at it, harassing it. Maybe this is the best answer I've heard.

Another fellow fishing for sturgeon beside me said "all salmon fishermen in rivers snag salmon since sockeye never bite". I don't think he's 100% right, but on the other hand he's right that salmon and steelhead are extremely difficult to catch and don't bite once in rivers.

What is the truth of this question? Its clear to me and many others (and I'm an experienced fisherman--albeit from a bass and pike lake fishing background) that its next to impossible to catch salmon in rivers around here. And today it wasn't a question of 'are there any fish in the river?' as they were jumping all around us...problem was they were in no mood for any offering coming their way, which leads me to conclude fishing for salmon in rivers is not worth the effort, better to troll for them in the ocean.

I welcome any informed input, thanks! :cheers:
 

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salmon not really, you may get the odd bite out of reaction or being pissed off definitly not feeding....The majority of salmon have one thing on there mind. Blowing a load and dieing. However steelhead, will bit aggressively pretty much the entire time they are in the river.!
 

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Plenty of people float lures and baits in the Cap and Vedder and hook fish inside the mouth. Plenty of people float dry flies and hook steelhead in rivers.

Just because you can't catch them doesn't mean they're not biting.

Last year I hooked many pink salmon using roe, wool, sinking flies, etc, both in the Fraser and in the Vedder. Haven't hooked steelhead in the Vedder yet, but I've seen people do it.

As for sockeye, probably the easiest way to catch them on the river is by flossing.
 

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Of course Salmon, Steelhead and all gamefish bite in rivers, including Sockeye(when they damn well feel like it, which can be seldom).

Many reasons they bite, memory of feeding, aggression response, curiosity, territorial dominance.

As an angler its your job to master the skills and timing of when the different species will bite best and on what offering. It takes a lifetime to perfect and in truth you never will. On occasion you will be rewarded with a hook up bonanza seldom witnessed, a glory day if you will.

All days spent snagging and flossing and obtaining meat will be subtracted from the days you could be spending learning to be a complete angler and evolving your skillset.

If fish is just food than buying it is the cheapest option, keeping a few while mastering the skills of angling is another matter.

While the masses have been slaughtering the Sockeye on the Fraser, a small group of anglers are quitely catching biting Salmon and steelhead in many nooks and crannys of the lower mainland, and enjoying the hell out of it, and probably taking home the odd fine dinner as well.

Sermin closed
 

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Amen to that brother
 

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Great post Rod! You sure hit that nail flush. :cheers: sage
 

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Very well put Rod.

Lefty Kreh.... if you want to see for yourself, fish somewhere with a birdseye view. You will see the fish mouth your offering. They are not necessarily biting or feeding. As they don't have hands, they explore curiousities by using their mouths. Many times they will simply mouth your presentation for a split second and spit it out. IMO salmon do not feed in freshwater. But they do bite out of curiousity, instinct, agression and territorial dominance.

BTW, your lack of success thus fair could be due to the rivers you are fishing. Cap and Seymour can be pretty tough especially during low water. And the Fraser is not ideal for casting and retrieving spoons and spinners.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Cheers to Mr. P and Bent Rod your input is much appreciated :)

...welcome any other comments folks might have to this thread...
 

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They all bite. All well seasoned fly anglers know and have experienced this. The pattern is not as critical as color, get that right and you have fish. Sockeye have to be the tuffest, while the fight is very much like a steelhead; the take, I observed while site fishing slack water in the Thom,is like the gentle sipping of trout in spring creeks (though I hate using them with a passion, a strike indicator would help).
 

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I would add that the farther the salmon are from the salt, the biting instinct decreases. People who fish the reds and wonder why the fish aren't biting need to know this. Now, steelhead, that's another story.


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