Best Salmon Nets: For Boat, Bank And River Fishing

Me standing beside two anglers with a Frabill Wading net.
I’m the guy on the far right standing beside Mark and Bill from The New Fly Fisher Show. I’m holding a Frabill Wading net that I’ve used to catch hundreds of salmon and steelhead.

Salmon are big and hard-fighting fish, so if you are going to fish for them, you will need a good salmon net to help you land them. These are the best salmon nets that I and other guides and anglers use.

There are plenty of nets to choose from, and I discuss what to look for in a good salmon net and how to choose the right one.

Our Quick-Pick List

Best Salmon Nets

A clients with bent rod waiting for my guide to net the fish.
A river guide client with a bent rod waiting for his guide to net the fish. Image provided by Cody from Reel Fresh Guide Service in Ontario.

The nets I’ll list below are recommended and used by anglers, charter boats, and fishing guides. I’m sure there are other nets that will work, but these are the ones that are proven winners.

Even a fish cradle like the one my guide is using in this image can work as a net for salmon.

Choose the net that best suits your needs.

1. Promar ProFloat Landing Net: For River Wading

The Promar ProFloat Landing Net is one of the best salmon nets for fishing salmon in rivers when you need a light and portable net.
The Promar ProFloat Landing Net is one of the best nets for salmon fishing in rivers when you need a light and portable net.

A good wading net is one you can carry on your back. However, finding one that is large enough for big salmon but small enough to carry on your back is nearly impossible.

Most salmon nets are made for boat fishing or shore fishing and are too big and heavy to strap to your back.

You do not want to be wading twenty feet out into the river, then hook a 40-pound salmon that bolts 300 feet down the river, and you can’t chase it because your giant salmon net is on the shore behind you.

You want your salmon net on you!

The Promar ProFloat Landing Net is the best salmon fishing net for use on rivers because it floats, is light, and is compact for easy transport on the back of a wading jacket or fishing vest.

It features hoop sizes that are suitable for landing salmon and steelhead and is even good for trout fishing.

The best size handle is the 18″ or 30″ handle, with the 18.5″ x 20.5″ hoop size.

The ProFloat fishing net has a handle and frame that are wrapped in floating material that also provides a strong and comfortable grip.

The fishing net is coated with rubber and flat on the bottom so that the fishing net can cradle bitter fish without injuring them.

The net is also hook-resistant and does not tangle when I am landing salmon.

NOTE: Guys, this is not a big net!! I cannot get a 30-plus-pound salmon completely in this net and then carry it out of the river so do no do this.

The mesh bag is deep enough to allow me to get the head and part of the body of even a 40-pound salmon in the net. This enables me to control the salmon in the water for hook removal and release or to control the salmon so that I can grab the tail and drag the salmon up on the bank by the tail with the head in the net.

I’ve landed hundreds of salmon up to 40 pounds in nets of this size by utilizing this method. If I try to lift the salmon out of the water, I can break the net or rip the mesh.

With proper technique and rational expectations, its handle length, hoop size, and floating material make the ProFloat Landing Net the best river-wading net for salmon.

2. Beckman Coated Net: Most Popular For Boat Or Shore

This is the Beckman Coated Fishing Net which is one of the best salmon nets for fishing from a boat, pier, or shoreline of open water.
This is the Beckman Coated Fishing Net which is one of the best nets for landing salmon from a boat, pier, or shoreline of open water.

The Beckman Coated Fishing Net is the most popular salmon net for use in a boat or from shore. It has a wide oval frame that holds a flat-bottomed net with a coating that protects the gills, fins, and tails of the salmon.

The best size is the 26 x 34 x 32 inch or the 31 x 36 x 40-inch hoop and net.

The hoop has a Y-bar design that makes the fishing net very strong, rigid, and more stable.

The handle disconnects from the yoke while the net is not in use, but goes together quickly when I need it in a hurry. It works equally well for freshwater and saltwater fishing and is the perfect landing net for large fish.

3. Beckman BN3543S Landing Net: Best Non-Coated Boat Net

This is the Beckman BN3543S Landing Net which is one to the best boat nets for salmon that uses an uncoated mesh.
This is the Beckman BN3543S Landing Net, which is one of the best boat nets for salmon that uses an uncoated mesh.

The Beckman Standard Landing Net is the best non-coated boat net for catching big fish. Its nylon netting measures 35x43x48 inches.

The fishing net hoop tapers instead of having a flat bottom and is the perfect net size for landing the largest fish that I target or the occasional big fish that comes along.

It’s great for landing salmon, steelhead, musky, pike, catfish, and other large popular species.

The fishing net uses uncoated nylon netting fitted to a sturdy frame and anchored with a one-piece aluminum yoke made with Y-bar construction. A quick-connect channel firmly affixes the handle to the hoop.You also get a choice of handles, including a telescoping model.

4. StowMaster Net: Best Foldable Net

This is the The StowMaster TS94X – Salmon & Pike Net. This is the best folding salmon net and is great for any size boat especially smaller boats.
This is the StowMaster TS94X – Salmon & Pike Net. This is the best folding salmon net and is great for any size boat, especially smaller boats.

The StowMasterTS94X – Salmon & Pike Net, 94″, and the bigger TS120X – Salmon & Pike Net, 120″, are plenty big for landing salmon and just about any other potentially large fish.

I used the larger musky version of this net for over ten years when I used to guide musky out of a 21-foot lund boat. Most guys did not even notice the net folded up beside my chair until I pulled it out, and they realized it was massive. I loved this net!

Its telescopic handle is made from aluminum and has two stages, making it easy to collapse the long and sturdy handle when not in use.

This is the best foldable salmon fishing net, featuring coated nylon netting that protects fish with one of the largest nets on the market.

When folded and with the handle retracted, it folds up nicely for easy storage.

5. Promar Grande Hook Resistant Net: 37″ x 40″ — Best Multi-Species Net

This is the Promar Grande Hook Resistant Net which suitable for salmon and other species.
This is the Promar Grande Hook Resistant Net which is suitable for salmon and other species.

Not everyone wants a net that is exclusive for salmon. Some anglers want a net that can be used for salmon and other species.

If this is you, the Promar Grande fishing net is the best multi-species net due to its many size variations and the telescoping handle made of aluminum that adjusts to the perfect size for any fishing outing.

I have used it as a salmon landing net while fly fishing, shore fishing, and when out on a boat.

They have a special anti-snag netting that resists hooks and has a flat bottom to make it safer on fish. Five sizes are available to ensure you have exactly the right fishing net whenever you go fishing.

6. Frabill Floating Trout Wading Net

This Frabill Floating Trout Net is what I use on walk and wade salmon trips
Frabill Floating Trout Net

It’s called a trout net, so you might think I’m crazy, but I’ve put hundreds of steelhead and salmon in this net, and I see other anglers on the rivers using it.

The Frabill Wading Trout Net is a lightweight wading net option for smaller rivers when fishing for salmon, trout, steelhead, and other popular river species.

The Frabill Wading Net has a short fixed handle that is just 7.5 inches in length. It also has a wrist loop and clip that keeps the fishing net secured to my body.

A teardrop-shaped hoop measures 19 inches by 25 inches and is 15 inches deep.

The netting is coated and makes it easier to handle fish and it’s safer for any fish that might be released. I like the small size, which makes the Frabill Floating Trout Net suitable as a wading net for salmon.

NOTE: Guys, this is meant to be a small portable wading net, and if used properly, it can use it for salmon. It’s not a giant net that you’re going to put a 20-plus pound salmon into and carry it away. With this net, I’ve netted and controlled hundreds of salmon over 20 and 30 pounds.

I simply control their head deep in the net while I leave them in the water for hook removal and release. It sure beats carrying a giant salmon-sized net up and down the river.

How to Choose the Best Fishing Net

It is important to consider the type of fishing you do and which nets best suit your purposes.

You might need more than one net if you spend time wading, fishing from a boat, or using a fishing kayak.

Some things anglers will consider when buying a net are:

  • Carbon Fiber handle.
  • Extendable pole handle versus fixed handle.
  • Small boat net vs. a big boat net.
  • Mesh material and mesh size. Rubberized net or Rubber Coated?
  • Cheap materials Vs quality.
  • Fish-friendly tangle-free mesh protects fish’s scales, fins, and tail.
  • Net weight: A rubber net is often heavy with larger nets.

Here’s a closer look at some of the factors I consider when choosing the best landing net for different salmon fishing conditions.

Handle Length

The handle length should be enough to provide leverage while using a landing net. When fishing from a boat, a longer handle will make it easier to get the fish in the water without leaning over the side or potentially tipping the boat too far.

A shorter handle is fine for fly fishing because I can bring the fish closer to my body when wading. However, a typical fly fishing net won’t do the job when dealing with large salmon.

An extendable handle is often a good choice for storage and use.

Ease of Use

The size of the hoop on fishing nets and the handle length make a big difference in catch-and-release fishing. The best fishing nets will support your particular fishing method, so one that is easy on a boat won’t necessarily be easy to use if you are wading or fishing from shore.

The same goes for the best fish landing nets for fly fishing, which usually have a shorter handle and smaller hoop. An oval net shape and flat bottom make it easier to catch and release fish of many sizes.

Hoop Size

The hoop size generally determines which salmon fishing nets are better for which species of salmon you are going after. In general, larger fish require a larger hoop to make it easier to land bigger fish.

The smaller pink salmon, the smaller the hoop sizecan be. The hoops should be oval or similarly oblong to enable the best landing nets to land a variety of fish.

Fish Care

The best fishing nets make it much easier to safely practice catch-and-release fishing. You already know about the hoop size and handle length and how they affect the ability to land larger fish quickly.

Another important consideration is how to safely catch larger fish without harming them. The best nets for larger fish have rubber-coated netting that helps to protect the heavier fish against injury while in the net. It also will have a flat net with a deep bag so that it won’t harm fish.

Why is it recommended for the salmon landing net to be floatable?

It is very easy to drop a landing net and watch it sink to the bottom of a lake or river. A floating net makes retrieving a dropped net much easier.

That is why a good salmon landing net floats so that you have a better chance of retrieving it.

Tight Lines


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