The Gone Fission Hydroplant location in Splatoon 3's Salmon Run

Splatoon 3: How to Play Salmon Run

Get ready to work your way up the ranks of Grizzco Industries by playing Salmon Run.

Alex is a games journalist and narrative designer. She's written for a variety of popular gaming websites and enjoys narrative-driven adventure games. When not writing, reading or exploring the wilds of an open-world RPG, you'll find her drawing, designing quests or learning the ropes of Unreal Engine.

Reviewed by:
Avatar photo
Marshall is a seasoned writer and gaming enthusiast based in Tokyo. He's a prolific wordsmith with hundreds of articles featured on top-tier sites like Business Insider, How-To Geek, PCWorld, and Zapier. His writing has reached a massive audience with over 70 million readers!

Key Takeaway

You can play Salmon Run as soon as your reach level four in Splatoon 3. It’s a team-based co-op PvE game which pits you and your squad against waves of challenging Salmonid enemies. Rank up by successfully completing Salmon Run shifts to earn unique reward items.

Salmon Run is a special mode in Splatoon 3 that differs from the main online multiplayer battles. Playing this mode allows you to enjoy a wave-based horde game in cooperative multiplayer and lets you earn some unique rewards.

Table Of Contents

    What Is Salmon Run?

    Splatoon 3 focuses a lot of its core gameplay around its online PvP multiplayer battles. However, for those that prefer to tackle enemies together, there’s a co-op game mode to jump into. Salmon Run lets players team up online to take on waves of monsters and bosses in rounds of PvE-style gameplay.

    You can jump into the Salmon Run co-op mode with random online players or you can take part as a team with friends. Before you can get started though, you’ll need to actually unlock the Salmon Run mode first.

    Thankfully, this shouldn’t be too difficult. To gain access to the Salmon Run mode, you’ll first need to level up to at least level four. You can do this by playing through the game’s online Turf War battles a number of times, until you reach the required level. Once you hit level four, you’ll be given your Catalog, as well as access to the Salmon Run PvE mode.

    Where Is Salmon Run Located?

    To find Salmon Run, you have two options. Splatoon 3 positions Salmon Run as a job for players to take on, with the role’s headquarters being Grizzco Industries. This location will be unlocked on your main menu after reaching level four.

    The location of Grizzco from the main game menu in Splatoon 3

    For speed, you can press X on your Nintendo Switch to bring up the main menu once you’re in Splatsville. Scroll down to the Grizzco location label on the map and press A to fast travel there.

    Alternatively, you can find the Grizzco building just beside the entrance to the main Battle Lobby. As you head up the stairs towards the Lobby, you’ll see the Grizzco building to your right and slightly to your rear.

    The Grizzco building in Splatsville, showing an orange banner above the entrance.

    It’s got a large orange-colored sign above the entrance. If you’re exiting the Lobby, look to your left just before heading down the main stairs. Enter this building to head into Grizzco and begin your Salmon Run adventures.

    How to Join the Salmon Run Mode

    Once you make it into Grizzco for the first time, you’ll be greeted by the owner, Mr Grizz. He’ll make you work through two tutorials which are designed to teach you the basics of how Salmon Run works.

    You’ll need to pass through these tutorials before you can actually join the Salmon Run mode for real with other players online. Although it’s tempting to skip through the second tutorial, which teaches you all about each Boss Salmonid, it’s worth spending some time on this.

    Each of the Boss Salmonids you’ll encounter in Salmon Run have very different abilities. This tutorial will teach you the specifics of how to defeat them. This mode is very different from the standard Turf War battles and requires a bit more strategic thinking than splatting as much ink as possible at monsters and bosses.

    A character speaking to Mr Grizz and about to start a shift at Grizzco in Splatoon 3

    After you’ve worked through both of the tutorials, you’ll be able to play for real. To do so, approach the statue of Mr Grizz in the Grizzco Lobby and press A on the popup that says Start Shift.

    A menu displaying the match options for Salmon Run shifts in Splatoon 3

    This will bring up options for joining either a Freelance shift or a shift with friends. Freelance will begin matching you with other players of your level, so to jump in, select this option and wait for the game to begin.

    How to Play Salmon Run

    Once you’ve been matched up with a team, the game will start. You’ll be transported by helicopter to one of the Salmon Run stages. These locations are usually announced in the daily Splatcast, and will be either Sockeye Station, the Gone Fission Hydroplant, the Spawning Grounds, or Marooner’s Bay.

    A team of players arriving in a helicopter to start a game of Salmon Run in Splatoon 3

    You and your team will be dropped into one of these locations. You’ll then need to work together to defeat each wave of attacking Salmonids and Boss Salmonids. Complete three waves of attacks to successfully finish your shift with your team.

    These waves are timed, meaning you’ll have to watch the clock carefully to survive each one. To ensure progression, you’ll need to work together to beat the important Boss Salmonids.

    How to Win a Wave of Salmon Run

    Boss Salmonids will drop Golden Eggs when defeated, which you need to pick up and deposit in the egg basket. This will be located in a certain position on each map and must be filled with a specific quota of Golden Eggs per wave.

    A player standing near the egg basket which is filled with Golden Eggs in Splatoon 3's Salmon Run

    If the egg basket quota isn’t reached in time, your team will fail the wave and the shift cannot be completed. You’ll also lose the game if your whole team gets wiped out during a wave.

    If you don’t pick up the Golden Eggs dropped by the Boss Salmonids in time, a Salmonid Snatcher will swoop in and claw them back. So, you need to be quick about egg retrieval. Once you’ve got hold of a Golden Egg, head back to the egg basket as fast as possible to deposit it.

    You can deposit the egg from a distance by pressing A or L to do an Egg Throw and aiming it at the basket. This can be risky though, as you don’t want your shot to miss. For a guaranteed deposit, make your way to the basket and deposit it directly.

    You can only carry one Golden Egg at a time, so your team needs to work together to gather and deposit them as quickly as possible.

    Salmon Run Xtrawave

    From time to time an additional wave will be triggered after completing the standard three waves of a Salmon Run shift. This round is called Xtrawave and features an attack from a King Salmonid. In this wave, you can ignore egg collection entirely and focus on defeating this big boss as a team.

    Taking out the King Salmonid is the primary goal in this wave. Doing so will reward players with Fish Scales and an additional 50 bonus points for clearing the Xtrawave. Fish Scales can be used to claim gear and decorative items from the rewards counter in the Grizzco Lobby.

    There will also be additional Boss Salmonids to contend with during Xtrawave rounds, so it’s even more of a challenge. However, you’ll receive a special egg cannon weapon to use in this wave which fires high-damage projectiles. This makes taking out Boss Salmonids much easier than in normal Salmon Run rounds.

    Xtrawave is always triggered when your Salmometer is full. You can check this in the Grizzco Lobby. A large King Salmonid-shaped icon is located in the top right-hand corner of your screen, directly under your current rank bar. This will fill up with each shift of Salmon Run you complete, regardless of whether or not you win. Keep an eye on your Salmometer!

    Salmon Run Job Ranks

    The more you successfully play through shifts of Salmon Run, the higher you’ll climb the employee ranks at Grizzco Industries. As you rank up, you’ll earn new job titles, which will affect both the hazard level or difficulty of a shift, as well as the required quota of Golden Eggs in each round. However, the chances to obtain Fish Scales from an Xtrawave event also increase as you rank up in the Salmon Run.

    A character's current job rank and pay grade at the end of a Salmon Run shift

    Each successfully completed shift will award you with points to help you fill up your rank bar. However, points will be deducted from your ranking for failed shifts. To increase your rank, you’ll need to fill your bar from 0-99 each time. However, a higher ranking will also yield higher amounts of points. This is known as your Pay Grade and works as a points multiplier. Increasing your Pay Grade will help you rack up points toward your next rank even faster.

    Salmon Run Rewards

    Successful completion of Salmon Run shifts will reward you with Grizzco Points. These will provide you with bonus Capsules, which contain various items. These include Food and Drink Tickets, Gear items, Ability Chunks, and Cash.

    A character's Grizzco Points progress card in Salmon Run

    You can check your progress towards each bonus capsule when in the Grizzco Lobby. Select A to Start Shift, then press Y to see your current Rewards & Points status.

    You can also spend any Fish Scales you’ve earned from taking part in Xtrawave rounds in the Grizzco Lobby at the rewards counter.

    The rewards counter in the Grizzco Lobby in Salmon Run in Splatoon 3

    Bronze, Silver, and Gold level Fish Scales can be used to obtain new Salmon Run work suits, gear, locker decorations, banners, and stickers.

    Salmon Run Tips

    You can revive splatted teammates during Salmon Run waves, as they won’t respawn automatically. Keep an eye out for downed players and revive them wherever possible. If your whole team is wiped out, you’ll lose the game.

    Make use of the This way! and Help! commands when playing Freelance games. This is the only way of communicating with your team in online multiplayer and is key for letting your teammates know your location if you need reviving.

    If you’re unsure of any of the rules or if you skipped over some of the bosses in the tutorial, you can brush up back at Grizzco HQ. Check out the Salmon Run Employee Handbook for any reminders if you need some help. You’ll find it near the rewards counter.

    Weapons will be provided for you to use on your Salmon Run shift. These can change over the course of the game. So, you may find that you’re given a different weapon to work with at the start of each wave. You can’t choose which weapon you’re given, so take some time to understand the types of weapons in Splatoon 3 so you can use whatever you’re given to your advantage.

    You can still collect Golden Eggs even when you’ve been splatted. Grab hold of one if you’re nearby and try to make your way to the egg basket in your lifesaver ring. If you make it there and are revived, you can make a quick deposit for your team.