Once Pacific salmon, steelhead and trout enter tributaries you can catch them fly fishing, using drift-gear and salmon eggs and imitations, and flashy lures.
Among the top producing tributary lure is the Vibax spinner. I have used spinners for the last 45 yrs. very effectively for all species of Pacific salmon, steelhead and trout and can confirm that often when other bait or lures don’t produce a well presented spinner does. How the spinner is presented to the fish is very important. The first thing is to get the right swimming depth so that the spinner is within sight of the fish. Secondly you have to retrieve it the right speed and thirdly, it has to swim in the right direction. One of the best spinner presentations is to cast 45-degrees across the river, let the flow engage the spinner and litterally fish it as it’s drifting with the current. Once it reaches the end of the drift, reel it back slowly so that it swims close to the bottom. Most of the time the fish will strike it as it sweeps-by in front of them with the current, but they can also smash it as it passes them from back to front. Color is also very important; bright skies, bright blades, dull skies, dark blades. Fluorescent colored blades and bell can also really work to make them strike when they are lethargic.