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Trolling Spinners for salmon on the Columbia

Beautiful Chinook salmon caught with the ‘Fire Squid” Salmon Trolling Spinner by Dirty Troll 

When it comes to fishing the Columbia River every angler knows trolling spinners is very effective methods for catching salmon. Of course trolling bait, cut plug herring, plugs wrapped in tuna, spoons, and hoochies, all have their place. Trolling spinners for salmon on the Columbia is by far one of our favorite methods. 

Don’t get me wrong, bait is still extremely effective, but when bait fails Trolling spinners are more likely to get fish in the boat 

Best Trolling Spinners 

When deciding on what trolling spinner to buy, we tend to focus on quality. As a fishing guide it’s important to use the highest quality products on the market or make your own. This will overall ensure the success of ones business. our favorite trolling spinner are made by a small manufacture that makes the Dirty Troll.  The Dirty Troll is unique in the world of trolling spinners in that they’re made of high-quality parts, like natural gemstone beads, brilliant spinner blades with various UV paints and quality metals like gold, silver, and copper. They also use high end aftermarket hooks for example VMCMatzuo and Gamakatsu.  To us this is a very important factor. We simply have no desire to waste time cutting the poor-quality hooks off the spinners to put the goods one on ourselves like we’ve done in the past.  In this case Dirty Troll does it for you with some of these hooks retailing for a $1 each. 

Fall Chinook caught with the “Death Star” Trolling Spinner by Dirty Troll. 

Trolling Spinner Element’s  

One of the key elements to trolling spinners for salmon on the Columbia is that you need a spinner that is light enough not to interfere with the movement of the flasher. We use the 9” Pro-Troll flashers for running our spinners and prefer spinners with the #3 or #3.5 Colorado blades. These blades really engage well in the water and can be run at slow trolling speeds which is great for targeting chinook.  

Over the years one of the things we have come to learn is that Chinook tend to bite when trolling at slower speeds. Coho on the other hand usually bite when trolling at faster speeds. This makes the Dirty Troll Colorado perfect for beefing up your spinner game and catching Columbia River Salmon.  

Choosing The Right Colors

 An important element of trolling spinners for salmon is choosing the correct colors. Selecting the the right colors can be the difference between catching limits or spending hours on the water and going home with empty cooler. One of the things we’ve found over the years is that Columbia River salmon are responsive to just a few colors. If you’re looking to the absolute best opportunity for success, we have found that fall chinook love reds, greens, pinks, or chartreuse.

 These four colors have proven effective over and over again for catching fall salmon and that we use religiously to make the magic happen. Another element of coloration that is important is contrast. High contrast lures tend to be more effective at catching fish than lures that are just one solid color.  

The last element of coloration has to do with Ultra Violet light spectrums. As humans we are unable to see light through the UV spectrum. Fish on the other hand can see through the ultra violet spectrum and in low light conditions this allows them to see their food as well as avoid predators.  

Apply Scent    

Given that fish have an exceptional sense of smell and most importantly use it to find food, scent is among one of the most vital factors to consider when trying to attract fish. When applying scent to your trolling spinner it’s always a best practice to select a scent that most closely matches food source of the fish species your targeting. We like herring, shrimp, krill, sardine and anchovy which have all proven to work well.  

Add Natural Bait  

Another effective option for catching fall salmon with spinners is to apply actual bait to your spinner. We do this sometimes then the bite dies off and we’re not getting any action. Place a chunk of herring on the end of the hook of your spinner or possibly a shrimp tail. This can provide a nice little change of pace and get the fish biting again. Remember for optimal results we recommend using bait that is a natural food source for the species of fish your trying to catch. However, we have also had decent results with other bait option such as tuna that has been spiced with a cocktail of stinky stuff prove quite effective, we prefer the natural stuff.   

Nice Chinook caught with the Dirty Troll Sparkler hoochie spinner

On the Troll 

When trolling spinners for fall Chinook on the Columbia you should get your gear down anywhere from 30’ to 50’ depending on which part of the river you’re fishing. Troll at about 3-5 mph keeping the gear low and slow! This ensures that you’re getting the spinners in front of the fish and so the magic can happen. Once you see your rod get bent over and over again, it’s hard to fish anything else. The only down side is that when we troll spinners on the Columbia, we tend to limit out pretty fast. Definitely a great way to get these fish in the boat.   

There are three Dirty Troll spinners we love that just can’t be beat.  The first and probably our most favorite is the Dirty Troll Full-Scale Assault “Pink Nightmare” spinner, the Dirty Troll Death Star and Sparkler spinners have proven effective as well. Also the Fire Squid spinneris another winner. Alof them excellent trolling spinners for catching these feisty Columbia River salmon.  These spinners are very effective and are one of the ways we are able to get the fish biting and keep our clients on the fish. The end result is satisfied customers and limits of fish in the boat.  

In Conclusion 

If you’re looking for an effective method of fishing for fall chinook on the Columbia River, we recommend trying the methods mentioned above while trolling spinners for fall Chinook. It’s a fun and effective way to catch fish and rarely disappoints when applied properly. If you’d like to experience trolling spinners for yourself on the Columbia River feel free to give us a call. We book Columbia River fishing trips year-round on the Columbia and would be more than happy to help you call 503-490-3099. 








What is the Best Spinning Reel for the Money?

Spinning reels are a useful device that every avid fisher should have in their arsenal. These are so popular among anglers of all skill levels since they are really lightweight, intuitive, and easy to use. However, not all spinning reels have created an equivalent. Since this type of reel is such a crucial part of the fishing procedure, it is imperative to find a superb spinning reel on the stock market. Here are some suggestions and tricks to assist you to locate leading one for your requirements.

Material and Construction

The building of spinning reel is essential to your fishing success. It’s important to pick a reel that is durably created so you’ll be able to get years of use from it. To test the construction of the reel, consider how the parts are constructed. Everything must feel strong, without defective pieces, and the products need to think heavy duty. When the reel is in movement, the action must believe smooth and comfortable.

It’s likewise useful to think about the material your reel is made of. Generally, spinning reels are made from either graphite or aluminum. There are have benefits and drawbacks to both materials. Aluminum reels are powerful, but they could additionally be very heavy, which can be a challenge for some fishers. But, their construction tends to be more robust. Graphite reels are lighter and less complicated to handle, which make them an excellent choice for beginner fishers. They’re also necessary for anyone which fishes in saltwater because graphite does not corrode in the same way additional materials do.

Quickness and Equipment Ratio

The velocity at which your wheel revolves may influence the level of control you invite the reel. To establish what rate you need for your best spinning reels 2018, you’ll have to look at the gear ratio of your reel. The equipment ratio shows the number of times the reel turns with the turning of the handle. A higher equipment rotation means the gear will revolve much faster. For new fishers, a sluggish to mid-range equipment rotation is going to be the best reliable for control. And also as I avoided to earlier, you need to quickly manage to locate a functional spinning reel for under $50. Just ensure you stay away from unidentified produces and insanely inexpensive price tags.


Because spinning reels can be quite substantial, the total volume is significant to think about. The weight will also be directly correlated with the weight of the line you plan to make use of. For bigger fish, you will need to use a more substantial line. If you are utilizing a much heavier line, it is necessary that best spinning reel under $100 can deal with the added weight. Nonetheless, it’s also crucial to consider how the reel manages generally. If you do not have much top body strength, it’s best initially a light reel and works your way up to heavier angling.

Spindle Quality

Another element is important to consider the overall quality of the spool on the spinning reel. The method the spindle is built will influence the designs and overall handling while you’re casting. There are 2 types of spools – inner and skirted. Skirted spindles are generally the recommended design of reel in modern-day fishing since they help prevent tangling of the line. For those who choose a longer casting distance, it might likewise be helpful to seek a lengthy actor’s spindle that will get to a lot further. The cast and feel of the spool is something that’s important to test prior to buying something. At the end of the day, the location of the drag is really around whatever you like the best spinning reels 2018. Whichever position is a lot more comfy to you is the one you need to go with. As I said, I love having my drag modification get on the spool of my spinning reels, so the kind I buy.


Fishing products can be costly, so it’s essential to get a reel that will give you the best worth for money. You might have to spend even more to obtain the quality you need, but it is necessary to earn sure the cost straight corresponds to the worth of the reel. A great reel is an investment piece, so do not wait to take your time searching to find the greatest spinning reel on the market.

There are many aspects to think about when searching for a spinning reel. The total construction, as well as handling of the product, is necessary to the means the reel handles. When unsure, aim to most likely to a local angling shop and test the reels in person with the help of a professional. This will assist you to discover the reel that is the best fit for you.

An Excellent Spinning Reel Can Make All the Variation

If you are an inexperienced angler, you may not understand the significance of excellent fishing reel. I’m referring to spinning reels more than any other type of angling reel, just because spinning reels are what I utilize for 95% of my fishing. A great reel really can make all the distinction worldwide.

The exciting thing is that when it pertains to angling reels, words excellent doesn’t have to imply expensively. In fact, you should be able to discover a very functional spinning frame for under $50. There are a few points that need to be remembered when trying to find a spinning reel, which is what I’m planning to discuss in this post.

The drag may either be located on the spool of the spinning reel or at the heel of the reel, in the form of a dial. The dial type drags situated at the heel of the spinning reel is very practical, yet usually, experience, even more, changes troubles than having the drag situated at the spindle in my experience.

The various primary considerations when it pertains to buy best spinning reel under $100, the variety of ball bearings that the reel has. For example, in the description of most spinning reels, it will tell you how many round bearings it has. The standard rule is the extra ball bearings the far better. This might sound odd, but it’s true. You see, the more ball bearings, the much less play the reel will certainly have.