Salmon Fishing Light? | Which Headlamp is Best?

Salmon fishing on river with a Petzl headlamp.

Which Headlamp is Best for Salmon Fishing?

[Page updated 25 September 2019]

You’ve packed your bags. You’ve reviewed your gear a dozen times. You’ve got everything you need. Right?

But do you have a lightweight headlamp for your salmon fishing expedition?

There are many reasons to bring a headlamp on your salmon fishing trip of a lifetime. One of them is, that not having a reliable light could put a damper on the trip. You’re not going to find a good headlamp in the middle of the Canadian outback. Best to take one with you.

Though most of my fishing has been in Florida and Pennsylvania – I can tell you, my headlamp is one of the most important ‘extras’ I make sure to have when I go fishing anywhere. I’m frequently fishing at night and in the early morning, and during storms where the sky is black, I am frequently walking over terrain where venomous snakes and other pests lurk. A headlamp gives me the security to know where my feet are going.

‘While fishing, my headlamp is great for…’

  • Putting enough light on the path
  • Signaling to other fishermen
  • Finding dropped hooks and other small bits
  • Looking deep in my bag or tackle box
  • Keeping my feet off snakes
  • Putting light on the water to attract insects, and small fish, which attract big fish
Petzl Ultra Rush headlamp close-up image.
Big, strong, and cranks out a lot of white light. My perfect headlamp for most activities. Petzl Ultra Rush. Super expensive.

I like headlamps so much that I actually have a headlamps website where I review some of the best headlamps in the world. It’s Headlamps101 (.com). I use my headlamps for trail running, cycling, camping, hiking, and fishing. I’ve tested over a dozen headlamps at this point, and I have eight more ordered and on the way. My favorite headlamp for fishing is a beast of a light – the Petzl Ultra Rush headlamp. It is far more than you need, and I’m not telling you that you’ve got to have it. You don’t. It’s $430, and far too much light for most people. It’s rather heavy too. I like it because I like a very strong light which is indestructible. If you’re interested in the Ultra Rush headlamp, you can see it here.

My other go-to headlamp for fishing is the new Petzl Actik Core headlamp. This is a very reasonably priced, tough headlamp from the best headlamp manufacturer in the world. Petzl has been making quality headlamps since 1978. Remember that year? I was twelve.

Actik Core headlamp by Petzl for a choice salmon fishing light.
Actik Core in ‘red’. Not expensive.

Some of you remember that year, and some won’t. Regardless, Ferdinand Petzl was making headlamps for climbing back then! Today the brand has grown in respect. Top ultra runners in the world, who need to rely on their gear for overnights in the mountains running mostly solo – insist on Petzl.

Actik Core headlamp by Petzl - ideal for salmon fishing.
Actik Core in black. Not expensive.

The Actik Core headlamp puts out more than enough light for any situation you could require while fishing. At 350 lumens, the light is bright, and the beam is an even blend between the spot and flood beam at high setting. There are two colors – RED or BLACK. They have affordable rechargeable Lithium-Ion CORE batteries here, so you can bring a couple if you won’t have access to electricity while salmon fishing. Find the ACTIK CORE here.

If lighting is crucial, and you anticipate camping for long periods – a couple of days or more – in the wild. I strongly suggest you go ahead and opt for the Petzl ULTRA RUSH headlamp here. It has 760 lumens and is tough as nails. The low beam works for 38 hours. Yes, in a row. πŸ˜‰ The brighter settings will give you 7 hours – 5 hours – or 2 hours depending on how long you need light for, and at what brightness.

While fishing, if you’re going to rely on your headlamp for providing most light for a few days, no matter which one you get, I do hope you get a Petzl brand headlamp. I have seven of them, and not one of them has let me down in years of heavy use.

Best of luck to you salmon fishing this year! Send us photos when you can. We’ll publish them in the gallery with your name on them.