Using a downrigger is one of the most effective ways to fish for salmon from a boat. A downrigger enables you to fish at increased depths, allows you more control with the release mechanism and has the potential to carry more than one line at a time.
You might be wondering exactly what a downrigger is. Though it's a method of fishing that makes your goal easier and more successful, it's a complex tool. To start with, the basic components are an arm-and-rod base that acts as a holder. Both are attached to a spool of wire line, which is in turn put in the water. The lead weight at the end of the wire allows the lure to reach the right depth [Source:Hoffman].
Depending on your water depth, you can choose between a long or short arm. For perspective, anything deeper than 22 feet (6.7 meters) requires a long arm. Also, depending on your desired amount of physical exertion, you will have to choose between a manual or electric crank. The manual crank is cheaper, easier to manage and can be moved from boat to boat. Though an electric crank is more expensive and attaches to your boat's battery, it's easier to operate and can reach fish more quickly [Source:Hoffman].
In order to find fish, it might be a good idea to invest in a fish finder, which is a sonar device that measures the depth and location of your finned friends. Be sure to keep your line a few feet above the fish, since fish eyes are set to the side and above. Also, you don't want your line to catch on the bottom of the water.
To learn about another boat device used in salmon fishing, read on.