Splatoon 3: How to Unlock and Play Salmon Run
One of the highlights of Splatoon 2 was the cooperative, wave-based mode Salmon Run. The mode was also frustrating because of how it worked: you could only play it at certain times of day. That isn't the case in Splatoon 3.
Salmon Run, still located in Grizzco, is available to play at any time, with maps cycling in and out on a timer exactly like the competitive modes. However, this multiplayer mode isn't available from the get-go. You'll need to take some time to get used to the basics before it unlocks. It's also worth pointing out that you won't be able to use your Hero Gear here — sorry!
How to Play Salmon Run
To play Salmon Run online in matchmaking, you'll need to spend some time with Splatoon 3's Turf War mode and reach Level 4 by playing multiplayer. It's also a good way to get Sheldon Licenses, which you'll need anyway. Once you've hit the appropriate level, Grizzco will be unlocked, letting you matchmake in Salmon Run games.
The first time you visit Grizzco either by traveling there from your menu or going to the building in Splatsville, you'll have to complete a quick Salmon Run tutorial. Afterward, you'll be able to search for private and public games from this area. You'll also be able to earn bronze, silver, and gold fish scales (more below) to spend in the mode's shop.
Though unlikely, if you're playing Splatoon 3 locally with other Switch owners and none of you have reached Level 4, you can still play Salmon Run. You'll need to have at least made it to Splatsville. From there, go to The Shoal, and you can host and join local games of Salmon Run from here.
Golden Eggs Explained
Collecting Golden Eggs and depositing them in your Egg Basket is the goal of each wave of Salmon Run. In the campaign and Salmon Run modes, you collect many orange Power Eggs. The Golden Eggs you find in Salmon Run are a rarer variety of this item only dropped by boss Salmonids.
One or more of these powerful enemies will spawn during each wave and usually drop three Golden Eggs. Some bosses drop more.
If an Egg isn’t collected in time, a “Snatcher” appears to grab each Egg that’s missed. You can splat the Snatcher to grab your hard-earned loot back. Once you have a Golden Egg, you can either run it back to your Egg Basket or throw it in using the A button on the Joy-con or Pro Controller. Learning how to quickly snatch up and deposit Golden Eggs is the key to becoming an essential teammate in Salmon Run.
Fish Scales Explained
The last part of Salmon Run you need to be aware of is Fish Scales. In Splatoon 3, bronze, silver, and gold Fish Scales can be used to purchase premium collectibles and cosmetic items. You aren't guaranteed to earn them every run, though.
To get Fish Scales in Splatoon 3, you have to be lucky enough to get an Xtrawave after the regular final (3rd) wave of Salmon Run. This wave will spawn a King Salmonid and give all teammates an egg cannon loaded with Golden Eggs. To get Fish Scales, you need to damage the King Salmonid with the Golden Eggs.
The King has a chance to drop any of the three types of scales after being shot. These encounters are limited-time battles with the goal of grabbing as many scales from the King as possible before time runs out.
Now you know how to dominate Salmon Run, get Golden Eggs, and use them to grab Fish Scales. For more guides on Splatoon 3 and all its modes — or articles like our complete Inkling and Octoling hairstyles list — check out our guides hub for Nintendo's latest smash hit.