Last Updated on March 4, 2024

Salmon fishing best places worldwide

Salmon fishing isn’t just a sport; it’s a pursuit that takes anglers to some of the most breathtaking locations on Earth. From pristine rivers to remote wilderness areas, here are 12 of the best places worldwide for salmon fishing:

1. Alaska, United States

There are few places better worldwide than Alaska when it comes to salmon fishing. Alaska boasts several primary species of salmon:

  • Chum (Dog)
  • Pink (Humpy)
  • King (Chinook)
  • Silver (Coho)
  • Red (Sockeye)

Each species has its own unique run timing, preferred habitats, and distinct characteristics, offering you different fishing experiences according to your preferred catch.

Locations

The best areas in Alaska for Salmon fishing include:

  • The Kenai River – is well known for its King Salmon and people travel worldwide to catch huge salmon on this river.
  • Bristol Bay – great for sockeye salmon runs and a popular spot for many. A huge population of salmon in this bay.
  • Copper River – is set in a stunning landscape and a peaceful place where I love fishing.

Many fishing spots in Alaska are nestled in remote, untouched wilderness areas, providing not just exceptional fishing but also breathtaking natural beauty.

Fishing on the Keani River
Fishing on the Kenai River

As an angler visiting Alaska, expect to find yourself surrounded by glaciers, mountains, and wildlife while pursuing their catch.

Alaska is a haven for fly fishing and perhaps as good as anywhere worldwide in terms of the quality of fish and the overall scenery.

Guided Trips and Lodges

There are numerous options for guided fishing trips in and to Alaska, with river lodges certainly a popular option.

These lodges often provide access to some of the most productive fishing spots in the state. Some providers worth considering include:

  • Boardwalk Lodge – offers all-inclusive fishing trips in Alaska.
  • Travel Alaska – a long-established company who are popular with many fishing fanatics who head to Alaska.

Seasonal Fishing Opportunities

The month of May and through to September is the main season.

Alaska’s salmon fishing isn’t just about the thrill of the catch; it’s a holistic experience of fishing and doing so in such a stunning and naturally beautiful environment.

Conservation and Sustainability Efforts

Sustainable fishing practices are used in Alaska to try and protect these waters for fishing in the long term.

2. Norway

Sockeye salmon catch

Salmon fishing in Norway is an esteemed tradition that is in many ways a part of the country’s culture.

Atlantic Salmon

  • Norway is a wonderful location for Atlantic salmon fishing
  • These powerful fish, prized for their size and challenging fights, migrate from the sea to Norwegian rivers for spawning.

Rich Salmon Rivers

Rivers like the Gaula, Orkla, and Namsen are renowned for their prolific salmon runs.

Each river has its unique characteristics, offering various challenges and experiences for anglers.

Seasonal Runs

  • Norwegian rivers experience distinct runs of salmon throughout the fishing season, typically from June to August.
  • You have the opportunity to target both early and late runs.

Fly Fishing, Spinning, or Baitcasting

Baitcasting fishing rod

Much like in Alaska, fly fishing reigns supreme in Norway.

The crystal-clear waters and diverse river conditions cater to both novice and experienced fly fishermen, making it a haven for those who appreciate the art of fly casting.

While fly fishing is prevalent, you can also use spinning or baitcasting methods, adding versatility to the fishing experience.

Regulations and Conservation

Norway places a strong emphasis on salmon conservation.

Strict regulations, including catch-and-release practices, bag limits, and designated fishing zones, aim to protect salmon populations and ensure sustainable fishing for the future.

Guided Trips

Some people and companies who organize salmon fishing trips in Norway include:

3. Scotland

Fishing in Scotland for salmon

Living in the UK, Scotland is one of my favorite spots for salmon fishing, but wherever in the world you live, DO consider Scotland as it has a rich angling heritage, and its salmon fishing is excellent.

Locations

Scotland is graced with some outstanding rivers for salmon fishing such as:

  • River Tweed
  • River Tay
  • River Spey
  • and River Dee

Each is renowned for its own unique characteristic and these rivers have attracted anglers for centuries due to their prolific salmon runs.

Season

The Scottish salmon fishing season typically runs from early spring to autumn, with different rivers experiencing prime fishing at different times.

The spring and autumn runs often attract anglers seeking larger fish, while the summer runs offer more consistent action.

Scotland is home to the Atlantic salmon, a prized species known for its power and acrobatic leaps when hooked.

Fly Fishing Tradition

  • Fly fishing is deeply ingrained in Scottish angling culture.
  • The rivers provide diverse conditions, from fast-flowing streams to deep pools, catering to various fly fishing techniques.

Cultural Experience

Salmon fishing in Scotland holds cultural significance, with many rivers having historical connections to clans, estates, and local communities.

Anglers often find themselves surrounded by centuries-old fishing traditions and folklore.

Scotland is also a wonderful country to try new things such as haggis and traditional Scottish whiskey.

Regulations and Conservation

Conservation efforts include catch-and-release practices, selective fishing methods, and strict regulations to protect declining salmon populations.

Accessible Fishing Opportunities

Many of Scotland’s rivers offer accessible fishing boats, providing opportunities for both seasoned anglers and newcomers to experience salmon fishing.

Guided Trips and Ghillies

Experienced ghillies (guides) are often available on Scottish rivers to assist anglers, offering invaluable local knowledge and expertise.

Some companies you might want to consider if you are looking to book a salmon fishing trip in Scotland include:

  • Scotia Fishing – offer trips on the aforementioned rivers, i.e. on the Tweed, Tay, and some other rivers.
  • Gordon Castle – a stunning location in the Scottish Highlands for fishing.

4. Japan

Salmon fishing in Japan offers a unique and fascinating angling experience, particularly in Hokkaido, the northernmost island.

Cherry Salmon and Other Species

Japan is known for its native cherry salmon (Yamame) and other Pacific salmon species like masu salmon (Oncorhynchus masou).

These species, while smaller than their North American counterparts, offer exciting angling opportunities.

Locations

Prime locations for salmon fishing in Japan include Hokkaido’s rivers, such as the

  • Teshio River
  • Tokachi River
  • and Ishikari River

These rivers witness salmon runs during specific seasons, drawing anglers seeking unique salmon species.

Seasonal Fishing

The salmon fishing season in Hokkaido typically ranges from summer to autumn, with different species running at varying times.

Cherry salmon, for example, runs earlier in the summer, while masu salmon runs occur later in the season.

Fly Fishing and Traditional Methods

Fly fishing is popular among anglers in Japan, but traditional Japanese methods like Tenkara, a type of fixed-line fishing, are also employed.

The rivers’ characteristics accommodate various fishing techniques.

Scenic Beauty

Hokkaido’s rivers traverse breathtaking landscapes, from lush forests to mountainous regions. You can enjoy the serene natural beauty while pursuing cherry and masu salmon in these pristine waters.

Cultural Experience

Salmon fishing holds cultural significance in Japan, with various rivers having historical ties to local traditions.

It’s a great reason to also visit Japan and experience what I have found to be a country of outstanding natural beauty, including the Hokkaido area.

Conservation Measures

Japan emphasizes salmon conservation through regulations and efforts to protect salmon habitats.

Initiatives aim to ensure sustainable fishing practices and preserve the salmon populations.

Culinary Delights

Japan’s salmon fishing isn’t just about the catch; it’s also about experiencing the culinary aspect.

You can enjoy the local cuisine, including fresh salmon dishes, showcasing the region’s gastronomic culture.

5. Washington State, United States

Salmon fishing in Washington State is a popular pastime for many, with the great outdoors a part of the lifestyle in Washinton State.

This area offers diverse opportunities for anglers in both freshwater rivers and the state’s rich coastal waters.

Expect to find an abundance of Salmon Species including Pacific salmon, Sockeye, and Chinook.

Locations

Washington State boasts some excellent salmon rivers and there is also the famous Olympic Peninsula with rivers like the:

  • Hoh
  • Queets
  • and Quinault

These rivers host significant salmon runs, attracting anglers from across the country.

Seasonal Runs

The salmon fishing season in Washington spans from late spring to fall, varying by species and river.

Different runs occur at different times, allowing anglers to target specific salmon species during their peak runs.

Fly Fishing and Various Techniques

  • Fly fishing is common among anglers targeting salmon in Washington’s rivers.
  • Additionally, spin fishing, drift fishing, and trolling are effective methods employed in both rivers and coastal waters.

Coastal Fishing Opportunities

Washington’s coastal areas, including the Puget Sound, Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the Pacific Ocean, offer excellent opportunities for ocean salmon fishing.

Anglers target Chinook and Coho salmon during their migration along the coast.

Diverse Landscapes

Washington’s rivers flow through diverse landscapes, from rugged mountains to lush forests, providing a picturesque backdrop for anglers.

Guided Trips

Numerous fishing charters, guides, and lodges cater to anglers seeking guided trips, equipment, and local insights into optimal fishing locations and techniques. Some options include:

  • AllWayFishing – who offer charter trips to catch king salmon in the Washington area
  • Gaffney Fishing – another popular company in Washington State that offers fishing packages, including going out on rivers including the Satsop, Hoh, and Humptulips rivers.

Conservation Measures

Washington places a strong emphasis on salmon conservation.

Regulations, for example, include the hatchery programs, and habitat restoration, with the intention to protect and preserve salmon numbers.

6. British Columbia, Canada

Salmon fishing in British Columbia, Canada is another great option with a diverse range of salmon species, stunning landscapes, and an abundance of pristine rivers.

Variety of Salmon Species

British Columbia’s waters are home to all five species of Pacific salmon – Chinook (King), Coho (Silver), Sockeye (Red), Pink (Humpy), and Chum (Dog).

Locations

British Columbia boasts numerous world-class salmon rivers including the:

  • Fraser River
  • Skeena River

You also have the renowned rivers of Vancouver Island, such as the Stamp and Campbell Rivers.

Pacific Salmon Runs

The rivers of British Columbia witness incredible salmon runs during specific seasons.

The Fraser River, for instance, experiences one of the largest Sockeye salmon runs in the world, while the Skeena River is famous for its massive Chinook and Coho runs.

Fly Fishing and Other Techniques

  • Fly fishing is popular in British Columbia’s rivers, offering anglers the chance to pursue salmon using various fly patterns.
  • Additionally, spin fishing, drift fishing, and trolling are also effective methods employed by anglers targeting different salmon species.

Seasonal Opportunities

In British Columbia, September through to November are generally the best months for salmon fishing.

It does depend on the type of salmon and location, though pink salmon is generally good to catch in September and October and November is better for other species of salmon.

Guided Tours

British Columbia is a fantastic region to visit and, as a salmon fisher, companies you might wish to consider include:

Conservation and Sustainability

British Columbia places a strong emphasis on salmon conservation including habitat protection, and fairly strict rules when it comes to protecting the long-term health of salmon populations.

6. Oregon, United States

Positioned in the Pacific Northwest, Oregon is an area of natural beauty and great for outdoor activities such as fishing.

Salmon Species

You can find a range of species in these parts, including Chinook and Sockeye.

Locations

Oregon boasts a number of great rivers renowned for salmon fishing. Among the most popular destinations, attracting anglers seeking prime salmon runs are the:

  • Rogue River
  • Umpqua River
  • Columbia River
  • and the Deschutes River

Diverse Fishing Techniques

Anglers in Oregon utilize a variety of fishing methods to target salmon.

Commonly used techniques, catering to different river conditions and angler preferences.

  • Fly fishing
  • Drift fishing
  • Trolling
  • and baitcasting

Salmon Runs

Oregon’s rivers experience distinct salmon runs at different times of the year.

The Columbia River, in particular, hosts significant Chinook and Coho salmon runs, drawing anglers during specific seasons.

Ocean Fishing

Beyond river fishing, anglers in Oregon have the opportunity for ocean fishing adventures.

Coastal towns like Astoria and Newport offer charter boat trips targeting ocean-going salmon, especially Chinook, during their migration periods.

Seasonal Opportunities

Salmon fishing in Oregon spans different seasons, with varying peak times for each species. Anglers can plan trips according to their preferred salmon species and the specific fishing season they want to experience.

Guided Tours and Trips

Numerous fishing charters, guides, and lodges exist across Oregon catering to anglers, offering guided trips, equipment, and local expertise to maximize fishing success. A few companies worth considering include:

Conservation Efforts

Oregon prioritizes salmon conservation through regulations, habitat restoration projects, and hatchery programs aimed at maintaining healthy salmon populations for sustainable fishing.

7. New Zealand

Salmon fishing in New Zealand offers a unique and sought-after experience, particularly on both the North and South Islands.

Distinct Salmon Species

New Zealand primarily hosts Chinook salmon, also known as Quinnat or King salmon, which were introduced in the early 1900s. These salmon are known for their large size and fighting strength.

South Island Rivers

Rivers like the Rakaia, Waimakariri, and Waitaki on the South Island are renowned for their prolific Chinook salmon runs.

Many anglers flock to these rivers during the salmon season for a chance to catch trophy-sized fish.

North Island Rivers

While less common, North Island rivers such as the Tongariro and Rangitaiki also offer opportunities for Chinook salmon fishing.

These rivers attract anglers seeking a different experience from the South Island’s famed salmon spots.

Seasonal Fishing

The New Zealand salmon fishing season typically runs from late summer to autumn, starting around December and extending to April.

Peak fishing times vary between rivers and depend on water conditions and salmon runs.

Fishing Techniques

Fly fishing is popular in New Zealand’s rivers, offering anglers the opportunity to target salmon using various fly patterns.

You can sometimes though also experience and see Spin fishing and baitcasting.

Guided Trips

In terms of fishing lodges and guided trips, you might want to consider:

Conservation and Management

New Zealand emphasizes conservation efforts to protect its salmon populations.

Regulations such as catch limits and conservation zones aim to ensure sustainable fishing and preserve the fishery for the future.

8. Ireland

Salmon fishing in Ireland is steeped in tradition and is a cherished activity among anglers.

The country is renowned for its salmon rivers, offering diverse fishing experiences, with Atlantic Salmon a common species.

Locations

Ireland boasts numerous world-class salmon rivers, including the:

  • River Moy
  • River Shannon
  • River Corrib
  • and River Blackwater

Seasonal Runs

The Irish salmon fishing season typically spans from February to September, with various rivers experiencing prime fishing times at different periods throughout the season.

Spring and autumn runs often attract anglers seeking larger fish, while summer runs provide more consistent action.

Fly Fishing Tradition

  • Fly fishing is deeply ingrained in Irish angling culture.
  • The rivers provide diverse conditions, from fast-flowing streams to deep pools, catering to various fly fishing techniques and preferences.

Guided Trips

In Ireland, some good options for guided trips include:

Conservation Efforts

Ireland places a strong emphasis on salmon conservation.

Conservation measures include catch-and-release practices, regulated fishing zones, and habitat restoration projects to protect declining salmon populations.

Challenges

Fishing for salmon in Ireland presents challenges, from reading river currents to adapting to changing weather conditions.

Ireland offers diverse angling experiences, from fishing smaller rivers for grilse (young salmon) to targeting larger fish in more prominent rivers, catering to anglers of varying skill levels and preferences.

10. Iceland

As a country surrounded by water, it probably comes as no surprise that fishing is extremely popular here, as is the consumption of fish.

Expect to find plenty of Atlantic Salmon in Iceland’s rivers, as this species is renowned for its abundant populations and is known for its size and strength.

The country offers a unique chance to fish for wild, native salmon.

Locations

Iceland boasts several world-class salmon rivers, including the

  • Laxa in Adaldalur
  • Langa
  • Sela
  • and the West Ranga.

Each river offers distinct characteristics, with some known for large salmon and others for their prolific runs.

Seasonal Fishing

The Icelandic salmon fishing season typically spans from late June to mid-September, varying slightly depending on the river and salmon runs.

Peak fishing times often coincide with the summer months.

Fly Fishing Paradise

Fly fishing reigns supreme in Iceland, with the clear rivers providing ideal conditions for various fly fishing techniques.

Remote and Untouched Landscapes

Iceland’s salmon rivers wind through breathtaking landscapes, from volcanic plains to mountainous terrain.

You can often find yourself surrounded by unspoiled natural beauty while pursuing salmon.

Guided Trips and Lodges

Whilst not an inexpensive country to visit, you might though still want to consider:

Conservation Focus

Iceland places a strong emphasis on salmon conservation.

Strict regulations, catch-and-release practices, and habitat protection efforts ensure sustainable fishing practices and safeguard salmon populations.

11. Tasmania, Australia

Salmon fishing in Australia, particularly in Tasmania, offers unique experiences and diverse angling opportunities.

Tasmania, in particular, is known for its Atlantic salmon fishing.

These fish were introduced in the 1800s and thrive in Tasmania’s waters, providing anglers with exciting fishing opportunities.

Locations

Popular rivers in Tasmania for salmon fishing include the rivers:

  • Derwent
  • Tyenna
  • and Huon.

Additionally, numerous fisheries and stocked lakes across the island offer opportunities for anglers to catch Atlantic salmon.

Seasonal Fishing

The season normally runs from November through to April (using Tasmania as an example).

During this period, anglers can target salmon in various rivers and fisheries, with peak runs occurring at different times in different locations.

Fly Fishing and Other Techniques

  • Fly fishing is popular among anglers targeting salmon in Tasmania’s rivers.
  • Additionally, spin fishing and baitcasting are effective methods employed in lakes and fisheries, catering to different fishing preferences.

Conservation and Sustainability: Tasmania emphasizes conservation efforts to protect its salmon populations.

Regulations, catch-and-release practices, and sustainable fishing methods ensure the long-term health of the fishery.

Culinary Experience

Beyond the fishing, anglers can enjoy the local cuisine, including fresh salmon dishes.

Tasmanian Atlantic salmon is known for its quality and often finds its way to dining tables across the island.

12. California, United States

Salmon fishing in California offers an array of experiences, with its rivers and coastal waters providing excellent opportunities to catch Pacific salmon.

Locations

California boasts renowned salmon rivers like the:

  • Sacramento River
  • Klamath River
  • and Smith River.

These rivers witness significant salmon runs during specific seasons, attracting anglers seeking prime fishing spots.

Seasonal Runs

The salmon fishing season in California generally runs from late spring to fall, varying by river and species.

Different rivers experience peak runs at various times, offering anglers a chance to target specific species.

Fishing Techniques

  • Fly fishing is popular among anglers targeting salmon in California’s rivers.
  • Additionally, spin fishing, drift fishing, and trolling are effective methods employed in both rivers and coastal waters.

Coastal Ocean Fishing

California’s coastal areas offer opportunities for ocean fishing charters targeting salmon including at:

  • Monterey Bay
  • Fort Bragg
  • and the Farallon Islands

Anglers pursue Chinook salmon during their migration along the coast.

Conservation Efforts

California emphasizes salmon conservation through regulations and efforts to protect salmon habitats.

Conservation measures ensure sustainable fishing practices and the preservation of salmon populations.

Culinary Enjoyment

Salmon caught in California’s waters also provides anglers with the opportunity to savor fresh seafood dishes, adding a culinary aspect to the overall fishing experience.

Salmon fishing in California offers a mix of river and coastal angling experiences, combining scenic beauty, diverse fishing techniques, and a commitment to conservation, making it an appealing destination for anglers seeking varied salmon fishing adventures.