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Pennsylvania Salmon Fishing

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All about fishing for Atlantic, chinook and coho salmon.

By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

Fishing For Salmon

Pennsylvania Salmon Fishing

Pennsylvania may not be the first state that comes to mind when thinking of salmon fishing, but it does offer opportunities for anglers to target these prized fish. Lake Erie, in particular, is known for its thriving salmon fishery, attracting anglers from near and far.

Atlantic Salmon

Landlocked Atlantic Salmon

Known as the “king of fish”, Atlantic salmon live in both fresh and saltwater, which means they are anadromous. They are renowned for their impressive athleticism, and delectable taste. Native to the North Atlantic Ocean, these fish undertake extraordinary journeys from their natal rivers to distant feeding grounds in the open ocean and back again to spawn. In recent years, the allure of fishing for landlocked Atlantic salmon in lakes has grown in popularity. These are populations of Atlantic salmon that are confined to freshwater environments, unable to access the sea due to geographical barriers such as waterfalls or dams. Landlocked Atlantic salmon in lakes exhibit similar behaviors to their sea-run counterparts, including feeding frenzies and impressive displays of strength when hooked. Anglers most often target landlocked salmon by trolling open water. The pursuit of landlocked Atlantic salmon also comes with a responsibility. Conservation efforts are essential to ensure the long-term sustainability of these populations. Anglers must adhere to catch-and-release practices, follow local regulations, and support habitat restoration initiatives to safeguard the future of this cherished species.

Fishing for Atlantic salmon is permitted in Lake Erie throughout the year. With a valid sport fishing licence, anglers have a catch and possession limit of one Atlantic salmon, while holders of a conservation fishing licence must practice catch-and-release.

Chinook Salmon

One of the most sought-after salmon species in Pennsylvania is the chinook salmon, also known as king salmon. These powerful and impressive fish can reach impressive sizes and provide anglers with thrilling battles. Lake Erie's deep waters and nutrient-rich environment create the perfect conditions for chinook salmon to thrive. Anglers often target them by trolling with downriggers or casting spoons and crankbaits.

Chinook Salmon, like all Pacific salmon, die after spawning. They grow large and put up a great fight when hooked. Fish for chinook with down riggers to troll around the thermocline. Use flashers, trailed with bait for best results. The current Ohio state record for chinook salmon stands at over 30 pounds. Chinook salmon, also known as king salmon, is one of the main species targeted by Ohio anglers.

Coho Salmon

Coho Salmon

Another species of salmon found in Pennsylvania is the coho salmon. Though less common than chinook salmon, coho's can still be caught in Lake Erie, especially during the fall when they migrate closer to the shoreline. These acrobatic fish put up a fierce fight and are highly prized by anglers. Trolling with spoons, plugs, or flies is a popular method for targeting coho salmon.

Coho Salmon are smaller in size compared to other salmon but still provide a thrilling fight when hooked. They are typically stocked in Lake Erie and can be caught by trolling or casting near shore areas during their migratory periods. Use small spinners, or bait on a bobber setup. Good bait options include wax worms, minnows, shrimp, and nightcrawlers.

Pennsylvania Salmon Fishing

Salmon fishing in Pennsylvania provides anglers with exciting opportunities to target these prized fish and experience the thrill of battling them in Lake Erie's open waters. Whether trolling, casting, or fly fishing, anglers have a chance to reel in impressive catches and create memorable fishing experiences. While not as well-known as some other salmon fishing destinations, Pennsylvania's salmon fishery offers a unique and rewarding angling adventure for those willing to explore its waters.

The preferred method for catching salmon is fly fishing. Depending on the activity level, salmon may be caught on wet or dry flies, as well as a variety of other lures and baits.

Fishing Boats For Rent In Pennsylvania

Atlantic Salmon

Atlantic salmon

World record: 79 lbs 2 oz
Landlocked Lake
State Record: 17 lbs 2 oz

Chinook Salmon

Chinook salmon

World record: 97 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 28 lbs 15 oz

Coho Salmon

Coho salmon

World record: 33 lbs 7 oz

State Record: 15 lbs 5 oz

Pink Salmon

Pink salmon

World record: 14 lbs 8 oz

State Record: 4 lbs 8 oz

Click the images and links above for species details.

The state record atlantic salmon was caught out of Raystown Lake.

Lake Erie gave up the state record coho salmon.

Lake Erie was caught from chinook salmon (king salmon).

Elk Creek was home to the state record pink salmon (humpback salmon).

About The Pacific Salmon Family

Pacific Salmon are born in and remain in freshwater streams for the early years of life. The number varies by species. Afterward they migrate to the Pacific Ocean waters where they bulk up and prepare for their once in a lifetime spawning run up the freshwater stream where they were born. They will instinctively return to their birthplace, spawn and die. They are found in the streams which empty into the ocean, and adjoining ocean waters.

The preferred method for catching salmon is fly fishing. Depending on the activity level, salmon may be caught on wet or dry flies. For more details check here for articles about fly fishing.

Salmon Organizations

Atlantic Salmon Federation

Atlantic Salmon Trust

Atlantic Salmon Museum

Pacific Salmon Commission

Pacific Salmon Foundation


Salmon fishing waters and information, by state.

AK Salmon Fishing CA Salmon Fishing CO Salmon Fishing ID Salmon Fishing IL Salmon Fishing IN Salmon Fishing MA Salmon Fishing ME Salmon Fishing
MI Salmon Fishing MN Salmon Fishing MT Salmon Fishing NC Salmon Fishing ND Salmon Fishing NE Salmon Fishing NH Salmon Fishing
NJ Salmon Fishing NM Salmon Fishing NV Salmon Fishing NY Salmon Fishing OH Salmon Fishing OR Salmon Fishing PA Salmon Fishing
RI Salmon Fishing SD Salmon Fishing VT Salmon Fishing WA Salmon Fishing WI Salmon Fishing WY Salmon Fishing



Learn the life cycle of salmon

The more you know about the life cycle and seasonal migration of salmon, the more likely you are to be looking in the right area next time you visit Pennsylvania salmon fishing waters. Visit the salmon fishing page for more information about the life cycle of the different species of salmon.

Best salmon fishing waters in Pennsylvania!