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Michigan Fishing Article

Pink Salmon in the Soo

By Richard A Smolarek

Although the pink salmon is the smallest of the salmon family, being on the St. Mary's River for the Pink Salmon run is most exhilarating. Despite that the pink salmon have a normal spawning cycle of 2 years an annual spawning run has developed. The even year runs are greatest in number, we refer to this as the "ON" year. Most anglers will catch their limit during the height of the run during an ON year. The OFF years can be productive, but timing is critical. The pink salmon runs are about two weeks in length. The off years can be tough. As said previously these years have far fewer numbers than an ON year. My best estimation gives a 3 to 5 day window for for the best fishing during the odd years. A reliable fishing report is critical before venturing to the Soo during the OFF years.

The arrival of the pinks depend on a number of factors: temperature of air and water being the priority determinants. The last 8 years have taught me that generally a week after Labor Day is a good time to circle the calendar. Like many of us I am at the mercy of my work schedule, but I am able to target the day after labor day and I return 2 weeks after labor day and have had great success. I am told that 15+ years ago that labor day weekend was the time to target, not so any more!

A medium action rod with 10lb test is my choice. 10 lb test is probably overkill for a pink salmon but you never know when you may hook up with an Atlantic or King that are also plentiful in the St. Mary's River. My choice lure is a #7 or #6 Swedish Pimple jigging lure. Hot pink is the color to use, although Fluorescent orange is a good second choice. The hot pink lure can be bought as a solid color, two toned pink and white, pink and chrome is also available. There is also a crushed ice variation that is solid pink with an iridescent decal on one side. I have also made a hobby of creating custom two tone variations of my own, pink and Fluorescent yellow has worked well for me.

Getting the right action on the lure is paramount no matter what the color. A smooth continuous jig is certain to entice a bite. The pink salmon will follow your lure a long ways before biting. I have caught many pink salmon by seeing the fish "follow up" close to the surface, then quickly opening the bale and allowing the lure to dive a little, continue your jig, and BAM! You got one! Watch the guy next to you, he'll get a follow up, the fish will lose interest break off and there you go. A good set of polarized sunglasses will give you a great advantage. Greater visibility will help you spot follow ups and maybe even a few football field length schools! A net with at least an 8 foot handle is necessary to net your fish and don't forget your stringer!

The cleaning station is at the marina just west of the Edison plant. The Soo has all the fixings for a great fishing trip in September.

Pinks average size is 17 inches, ranging from 15 inches to 21 inches.

Good spots for shore fishing are at the Edison plant or the public fishing area on the west side of the Valley Camp. Plenty of nice places to stay in Saulte Saint Marie. I like to stay at the Budget Host and feel free to call for fishing reports from Luke or Tony. Budget Host is clean quaint and caters to the fisherman crowd!

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Article about fishing for Pink Salmon in the Soo, in Michigan.