Just because you are not a fly fisherman it does not mean that you cannot chase salmon as they make their way up the rivers in fall. Casting spinners can be a potent lure for fishing salmon, trout and steelhead. Whether you plan on fishing from shore or wading in the rivers, spinners are an effective method to catch salmon.
Spinners use a few special methods to attract fish. First off, spinners are designed in such a way that as they swim through the water they create vibration and flash by the rotation of the blade. Different blades designs are available (Willow, Colorado) depending on how much commotion you want to create. In addition to the blades, some spinners like the Bluefox Vibrax have special body design that emits low frequency vibrations to help trigger strikes. Depending on the water conditions you are planning on fishing different colored blades are available. All the standard metallic finishes are available (silver, gold and bronze) but painted designs and sold colors also are very productive with anglers. Salmon in the upper Midwest seem to have a high affinity for spinners with blades that use fluorescent colors (Chartreuse, Hot Orange, Hot Pink) but when fishing clear low rivers stick to the metallic finishes in either silver or gold.
To fish spinners anglers should take the time to read the type of water they are planning on fishing. Spinners can be fished a variety of ways (slow, deep, fast or shallow) by simply changing the speed at which the bait is retrieved. If you find yourself fishing a stream reach that has deeper, slow currents, then fishing spinners with a slow retrieve will get and keep baits in the strike zone. This slow retrieve will also allow the fish plenty of opportunity to watch the bait work and strike when they are ready. Speeding up the retrieve in and around known structure will help trigger aggression strikes. If you are going to be fishing faster flows then consider swinging the spinner and letting it hang in the current. Fish in fast flows do not have a lot of time from when they first see a spinner by the time it is out of range so keeping it spinning but slowly moving through the water can be very productive.
The best point to fishing spinners for salmon is that fish will aggressively chase and strike spinners. There is something special about watching a salmon shoot out from cover and swipe at your bait. Spinner fishing is an easy and versatile method that anyone can use to catch salmon in their favorite waters.