How to Prepare Canned Tuna for Salmon Fishing

  • 15

How to Prepare Canned Tuna for Salmon Fishing

Many salmon anglers have come to realize the effectiveness of canned tuna as a bait source for salmon fishing.  Canned tuna, especially packed in oil, has many uses as a salmon bait.  It is often wrapped in mesh to form tuna balls, wrapped onto plugs, stuffed in Super Baits, or added to eggs as a flavor enhancer, and because canned tuna is sold in every grocery store and is transported with no refrigeration needed it is an extremely versatile and cost effective bait.  While basic tuna taken directly from the can has, and continues to be, the most used variation of the bait there are a some things we can do to make our tuna fish even better.

Myself and many other anglers throughout the northwest have discovered that there are often extra things we can do to our tuna to make it fish even better than taking it directly out of the can.  The end result is what we often call Tuna Concoctions, or mixes of scents, cures, salts, and a few other key ingredients that takes that old boring canned tuna and turns it into a very dynamic bait that can be tailored to any salmon fishing situation presented.

The following steps are just a simple version that some would consider just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to development of tuna concoctions.  The information provided here is presented in a way that might open up your mind to many possible ways to improve you salmon fishing success with the use of canned tuna.


Tuna (packed in Oil)

Salt (non iodized)

Super Dipping Sauce ( My Favorite )

Measuring Spoons

Container with a lid

Can opener 


Step 1:

Open the can of tuna and drain off the oil.



Step 2:

Add tuna to container (preferably one with a lid)



Step 3:

Add salt to your tuna. The amount varies depending on time of year and where the fish are in the system.  As a general rule of thumb for Chinook it seems that the farther you get from the ocean and the warmer the water the more salt the fish crave, I often add anywhere from a tablespoon to a half a cup per can of tuna.



Step 4:

Add scents and additives to this mixture.  A must have line of scents for me are Super Dipping Sauce scents by Money Maker Fishing.  I add a table spoon of each scent I want to use to per each can of tuna.  My all time favorite is the Garlic Super Dipping Sauce.







Step 5:

Refrigerate overnight or place on ice.  Give this mixture time to set up and really let the scents and salts get into the tuna.  The next morning your tuna concoction will be ready to fish!


As you can see this is a very easy and quick process that will give your tuna an extra kick.  The sky is the limit as far as what can be added to this mixture.  Always be experimenting because you never know when you might stumble upon the cant miss recipe that fills your boat with limits.

Look for blogs in the near future that discuss how to wrap tuna on plugs, rig tuna balls, stuff / rig Super Baits, and other creative ways to fish this versatile bait.

Don’t forget to sign up for our Newsletter and enter yourself for a chance to win a free fishing trip.  We draw a random winner from our email list every July and January.

  • 1
Hanford Reach Fall Chinook

Hanford Reach Fall Chinook

Often referred to as “The Reach,” this area of the Columbia River is the last “Free Flowing” section of the Columbia River and is home to some of the absolute best spawning habitat left in the main stem Columbia River.  This is where many of the fish we were targeting at Astoria are heading.  The Hanford Reach is where these fish will finally stop moving and hold up before they start to spawn.  We target “The Reach” starting the second week of September and fish here through the second week of October.  We often catch some of our biggest fish of the year here as the big males start to get aggressive in anticipation of spawning.  This is an action packed fishery targeting big Chinook in the desert of Eastern Washington.

We fish a number of different ways and have found that being diverse in our strategies has helped us to continually put good numbers of Fall Chinook in the boat for our customers.  We could be downstream trolling Super Baits in the morning and back trolling plugs and eggs in the afternoon.  The biggest key to success here is knowing where to fish depending on the flow coming out of Priest Rapids Dam.  This is also the most difficult thing about this fishery.  Where and how we fish can vary greatly depending on what flows are coming out of the Dam.  Our two favorite techniques here are trolling flashers and Super Baits, and back trolling bait wrapped plugs and eggs.  “The Reach” fishes like a real river with dynamic changes in holes and flows and anglers have to be willing to adapt to be successful.

We start most of our trips out of Vernita bridge, but if the fishing dictates we will drop down and fish out of Ringold.  We like the Vernita area as we feel it gives us the best access to a wide variety of water to consistently put our customers on fish.  We truly enjoy this fishery and we are excited to be able to share it with you.

Fishing the Hanford Reach is truly an amazing experience.  It is very normal for us to see lots of Mule Deer, including some really nice bucks, coyotes, waterfowl, and on occasion some of the Elk from the large herds that cross the nuclear site.

For a Google Map of our meeting locations click here.

  • 0
Hanford Reach Fall Chinook

Hanford Reach Wrap up

We just finished another great season on the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River.  This is the last free flowing section of the Columbia River and is located between the Tri-Cities, WA and Priest Rapids Dam.  This section is the salmon factory of the Columbia and is the spawning habitat for the Columbia River’s Most prized fall Chinook.  We mostly fish out of the Vernita Bridge access area and our main technique is back trolling divers and cured eggs or bait wrapped plugs such as the Yakima Bait Maglip and the T-55 and T-60 Flat Fish.  We fish this section of river from the 15th of September through the 15th of October.  This is a great consistent fishery that should be enjoyed by all.  Check out a few of our pictures below and see just how we did.