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Salmon fishing is an exciting and rewarding outdoor activity enjoyed by anglers around the world. One essential factor to consider when preparing for a successful salmon fishing trip is selecting the right reel size. So, what size reel for salmon fishing is best? In this blog post, we will explore expert opinions and provide you with valuable tips to help you make an informed decision.

What Size Reel for Salmon Fishing
Salmon Fish

Understanding Reel Sizes and Their Importance:

Before diving deep to find out what size reel for salmon fishing is best, let’s discuss the basics of fishing reel sizes and their importance:

  • Reel Size Numbers: Fishing reel sizes are typically indicated by a series of numbers (e.g., 1000, 2500, 4000, etc.). The higher the number, the larger the reel size, and the more line capacity it has.
  • Importance of Reel Size: The right reel size is crucial for achieving optimal casting distance, line capacity, and drag strength. It also affects the overall weight and balance of your fishing setup, which can impact your comfort and ability to fish for extended periods.
What Size Reel for Salmon Fishing
Size on fishing reel

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Reel Size for Salmon Fishing:

Several factors come into play when deciding what size reel for salmon fishing is best. Here are some key considerations:

  • Targeted Salmon Species: The size of the salmon you’re targeting will influence your reel choice. Smaller species, like pink or sockeye salmon, can be caught using smaller reels, while larger species, such as Chinook or king salmon, require a larger reel with more line capacity and stronger drag.
  • Fishing Technique: The fishing technique you plan to use will also affect the reel size you’ll need. For example, trolling or back bouncing requires a larger reel to handle the heavier line and weights, while casting or drift fishing may be more suitable for a medium-sized reel.
  • Line Type and Capacity: The type of fishing line you plan to use, whether it’s monofilament, braided, or fluorocarbon, will determine the reel size required to accommodate the line’s thickness and length. Be sure to choose a reel with enough line capacity to handle the line you intend to use, taking into account the potential distance and depth you’ll be fishing.
  • Fishing Location: The fishing location, whether it’s a river, lake, or ocean, will influence the reel size you need. Fishing in larger bodies of water, such as the ocean or the Great Lakes, often requires a larger reel to handle the longer casts and increased line capacity needed.

Expert Recommendations on Reel Sizes for Salmon Fishing:

Based on the factors mentioned above, experts generally recommend the following reel sizes for salmon fishing:

  • Medium-sized Reels (3000-5000 series): These reels are suitable for most salmon fishing situations, particularly when targeting smaller to medium-sized salmon species. They provide a good balance between line capacity, drag strength, and overall weight, making them versatile options for various techniques and locations.
  • Large-sized Reels (6000-8000 series): For targeting larger salmon species or when fishing in big water bodies, a larger reel is recommended. These reels offer increased line capacity and drag strength, allowing you to handle the challenges of fighting powerful fish and navigating strong currents.

Additional Tips for Choosing the Right Reel Size for Salmon Fishing:

To further refine your reel selection for salmon fishing, consider these additional tips:

  • Match Your Rod and Reel: Ensure that your chosen reel is compatible with your fishing rod in terms of weight and balance. A well-matched rod and reel combination will provide you with better control and comfort during your fishing outings.
  • Consider the Reel’s Gear Ratio: The gear ratio of a reel refers to how many times the spool rotates with each turn of the handle. A higher gear ratio provides faster line retrieval, which can be beneficial when salmon fishing. Look for a reel with a gear ratio of at least 5:1 for optimal performance.
What Size Reel for Salmon Fishing
Gear ratio on fishing reel
  • Quality Matters: Don’t skimp on quality when choosing a reel for salmon fishing. A well-made, durable reel will provide you with better performance, reliability, and longevity. Investing in a high-quality reel from a reputable brand will ensure that your gear can withstand the challenges of salmon fishing.
  • Test the Reel: If possible, try the reel before purchasing it. This will allow you to get a feel for its weight, balance, and overall performance. You can also seek advice from fellow anglers or local fishing tackle shops to get recommendations based on their experience.
  • Personal Preference: Ultimately, the ideal reel size for salmon fishing will also depend on your personal preferences and fishing style. What works for one angler may not be suitable for another. Therefore, it’s essential to consider your own experience and comfort level when selecting a reel size.


So, what size reel for salmon fishing is best? The answer will vary depending on the targeted salmon species, fishing technique, line type, and location. As a general rule, medium-sized reels (3000-5000 series) are suitable for most situations, while large-sized reels (6000-8000 series) are recommended for targeting larger salmon or fishing in big water bodies. Ultimately, the best reel size for salmon fishing will come down to your personal preferences, comfort, and experience. By considering the expert tips provided in this blog post, you’ll be well-equipped to make an informed decision and enjoy a successful salmon fishing adventure.