King Salmon By River Or Sea

King Salmon By River Or Sea

Silver king salmon assail the coastlines of the Great Lakes this time of year. They come in from the deep to stage near beaches, piers, and harbors. They run upriver under cover of darkness and low-light conditions. A rain squall or just a small rise in water level can send hundreds of silver bullets into a river anytime between late July and early October.

So you have a choice. You can pursue the tackle-rending, line-snapping beasts into the forest, like Mark Chmura (above), or line up a charter, or take your own boat out onto the big, bright, blue waters of Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, or Lake Ontario. Normally Lake Huron would be in the lineup, and while you can catch kings out there, the salmon fishery has experienced recent downturns. She'll bounce back, but Lake Michigan was on fire this year, according to Chmura.

That's his ship I'm posing on. Chmura goes both ways, you see. For salmon. (What did you think I meant? He's a happily married man.) Tell him your preference and he'll take you upriver on the Big Manistee with his jet or out on Lake Michigan in his 33-foot Tiara. I can honestly say I've never experienced a bad day with Mark.

This is the time of year to get out there, when the fish are concentrated. On the other side of Lake Michigan, the Dawidiuk Fishing Team slips out of beautiful Sturgeon Bay at dawn every day this time of year. A short ride puts you on The Wall, where depths change quick, allowing salmon to stage in or near deep water. Captain Tim Dawidiuk might be busy with Fish Door County TV these days, but he's trained some of the best salmon captains in Wisconsin.

On Lake Ontario, call the Troutman to get out on the big water. Captain John Oravec has been one of the most dependable and knowledgable salmon captains anywhere for three decades. And if rivers are more to your liking, head up the Niagara this time of year with Captain Frank Campbell of the Niagara Region Charter Service.

These are my salmon buddies. I've spent some of my most memorable salmon outings in their company. Any one of them can find salmon in the dark with sunglasses on.

River or sea, salmon are always on my mind between August and October. If these guys are booked, contact the tourism councils of Wisconsin, Michigan, or New York for a backup plan.

Next up: Float-fishing tactics for kings.

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

Recommended for You


Buzzbaits for Bass

Dan Johnson - February 02, 2015

To help you get a handle on it all, we offer the following rundown of top choices on the...


Dock Shooting Crappies

Matt Straw - July 03, 2018

Catch those weary crappie with this technique!

Pike & Muskie

Best Drive-To Pike Waters

Gord Pyzer

Some of Canada's best pike waters are within driving distance.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

As KVD tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead, innovative Humminbird products and cutting-edge technology like that found in the new Mega 360 Imaging sonar are major reasons contributing to his unparalleled success.

Frigid Water Smallmouths

Doug Stange swims jigs with precision for frigid-water smallmouths.

In-Fisherman Calendar Periods

In-Fisherman staffers target all fish and key on the revolving season calendar periods to maximize the the likelihood of catching more and bigger fish.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories


Walleye Length To Weight Conversion Chart

Dr. Rob Neumann - January 03, 2017

Several methods are available to estimate the weight of a fish. Some use length as well as...


Catfish Pole Rigs

Richard Peterson with In-Fisherman - April 28, 2016

Pole lines illustrate the paradox of catfishing. At a time when excellent rods, reels, and...


Understanding Spring Walleye Migrations

Gord Pyzer - June 02, 2018

'Walleyes spawn in spring and understanding spring walleye migrations, whether you live north...

See More Stories

More Trout & Salmon

Trout & Salmon

Walking A Tight Llne For Steelhead

Matt Straw - June 09, 2013

Notice how red the tag alder is? Mornings have been cold, but the afternoon sun is activating

Trout & Salmon

Soft Beads for Steelhead

Matt Straw - October 30, 2017

Streamlined silver powerpacks line up at feeding stations. In fall, their food, conveyed by

Trout & Salmon

Chinook Salmon Weight Conversion Chart

Dr. Rob Neumann - January 03, 2016

Several methods are available to estimate the weight of a fish. Some use length as well as...

See More Trout & Salmon

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.