What Size Hook For Salmon? (inc King/Chinook)

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When it comes down to it, the salmon is probably one of the tastiest and most sought after fish out there. What’s also cool is that you can catch these awesome fish in the ocean, in rivers, and in fairly small streams too. That said, you do need the right gear, and this includes the hook. So, what size hook for salmon fishing is ideal?

In most cases, especially when fishing for the smaller types, using a size #4 hook will do fine, but up to size #2 can work well too. For larger salmon species, people may use hook sizes 1/0, 2/0, 3/0, and 4/0.


Does Hook Size Matter With Salmon Fishing?

sockeye salmon

Yes, of course hook size does matter for salmon fishing, just like it does for any other kind of fish.

The general rule of thumb is that you need a hook that is large enough to securely hold onto the bait that you are using, as well as a hook that is large and strong enough to handle the fish in question.

However, on the other hand, you also need a fishing hook that is small enough so that the salmon cannot see it underneath the bait.

As you can tell, there is a bit of a balancing act going on here, because if the hook is too big, you will scare the fish away (and it might not even fit into the fish’s mouth), but if it is too small, the bait may fall off and you probably won’t get a good hook set either.

Seeing as there are various kinds of salmon, all of which differ in size, and all of which tend to go for slightly different baits, ideal hook sizes could range anywhere from #4 to 4/0.

Types Of Hooks You Can Use For Salmon

types of hooks for salmon

The great thing about fishing for salmon is that they seem to be pretty easy to get a good hook set on, and this means that what type of hook you use for salmon fishing is not all that important.

There are actually many different types of books that you can use for salmon fishing and below we’re going to take a quick look at the five most popular ones.

Traditional Salmon Hook

The best type of hook to use for salmon fishing is probably the traditional salmon hook.

This is a very strong hook with a short shank and an eye-up hook. This type of poke is excellent for holding on to bait.

It offers a very stealthy presentation, and it also produces quite a solid hookset without much effort required.

There is a reason why these hooks are called salmon hooks, because hooking salmon is exactly what they excel at.

Fly Fishing Hook

If you are going fishing for salmon in rivers and small streams, then one of the best options that you can go with here is the fly fishing hunter, otherwise just known as a fly hook.

These hooks use a variety of threads, fabrics and strings in order to imitate various animals that salmon may eat on the surface of the water in rivers.

Generally speaking, fly hooks are designed to look like either small bait fish or insects. Fly fishing hook is perhaps one of your best bets to go with when it comes to catching salmon that are moving upstream.

Treble Hook

If what you are going for is a good hook set, then the treble hook is definitely a good option to consider.

As long as you are fishing in an area that does not outlaw barbed hooks. Now, treble hooks are not always the best in terms of stealthy presentation. three hooks are easier to see than one hook.

With that being said, if getting a good hook set is your main goal, then a treble hook is probably your best bet to go with.

In fact, it is almost impossible to not achieve a decent hook set with a treble hook.

Circle Hook

Another type of hook that is commonly used for salmon fishing as well As for many other types of fishing is the good old circle hook.

These hooks are circular in nature and feature a very wide gap that is ideal for holding on to bait and moreover this type of hook also performs very well in terms of setting in the mouth.

Due to the circular shape of this hook, it does a good job at turning into the cheek of a fish, even if you don’t apply any pressure.

Baitholder Hook

The other type of hook that is commonly used for salmon fishing is the good old bait holder hook, which as you probably can tell by the name of it, is designed to hold onto live bait.

These hooks are excellent for holding onto live bait and they also offer a very stealthy presentation, but with that said, the bait holder hook is not the number one choice to go with if you need a very fast and secure hook set.

Other Salmon Fishing Tips

let’s now go over some of the most valuable end important salmon fishing tips that you need to know in order to see success.

  • Salmon generally prefer low light conditions, which means that fishing on overcast or cloudy days is generally more successful than doing so on sunny days.
  • You also want to try fishing at sunrise and sunset, as salmon tend to like these light conditions too.
  • Always make sure that you have new and razor sharp hooks. Dull hooks never work well for catching any kind of fish.
  • In terms of the base to use for salmon using cut bait such as cut, herring or smell usually works pretty well. Salmon also tend to prefer roe (fish eggs). Of course, using a fly fishing lure works well too.
  • If you are fly fishing for salmon in the river, you want to cast against the current and then let your bait float down the current towards you. This will help make your bait seem realistic as animals usually don’t swim upriver.
  • However, if you are fishing on the ocean, then you actually want to cast your bait outwards, as salmon like to swim into the oncoming tide.
  • Seeing as salmon tend to prefer low light conditions, you do need to use a fairly bright and flashy bait to attract their attention.
  • If you are fishing in very shallow water, try using red fishing line because in about the 1st 15 feet of water that red color will disappear and more or less render the fishing line invisible. Do keep in mind, however, that sockeye salmon can actually see the color red.
  • If you are fishing in the ocean, take note of the fact that your best chances for success are one hour before or after both high tide and low tide.


Hook Size For Chinook And King Salmon

Do keep in mind that Chinook salmon are quite large and they also like to go for big baits.

Therefore, the best size of hook to go with for the chinook salmon is the size 5/0, or sometimes 4/0, and as you can tell, both of those are fairly sizeable.

In fact, the size 5/0 hook is also the hook size of choice for king salmon.

What Size Is Best For Salmon Trolling Flies

If you plan on fly fishing, but you also want to troll, then the best size of fly hook to go with is size #2, although in some cases, sizes #4 or #1 may also be used.

It does of course also depend on the exact type of salmon that you are going for.

What Size Treble Hook Should I Use?

The best size of treble hook to use for normal salmon fishing is the size #4, but many also use size #2. Remember, treble hooks are already pretty beefy, so trying to keep it small is recommended.

And moreover, you don’t have to worry about the hook being too small to set, because one of those three barbs should get it done.



There you have it people, everything that you need to know about the best sizes and types of hooks to use for salmon fishing, which along with the salmon fishing tips that we just provided you with, should be more than enough to allow you to see success.

Jason Downs

I created Fishtackly to share my 30 years of fishing experience and knowledge with others with the aim to help, and hopefully get more people involved and educated in this fantastic hobby that I love.