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Learn How To Troll For Salmon And Trout Like These Chicks Did

Updated on August 9, 2011

The Other Fisherman Catch Salmon and Trout As We Watch With Envy

I have been hanging out on Lake Michigan near, the East Chicago Harbor, for the past 8 years. I was raised on this Lake in the 50's, 60's, and 70's. The local water supply comes from these waters, local manufacturing utilizes the water supply for their operations, folks work here, and they play here. I love to fish and Lake Michigan has a wealth of species to pick from when I set my heart on trying for some big ones. I like to eat the fish I catch so my choice in fishing for Salmon and Trout is totally based on the food end of the adventure. When it comes to catching and eating the big ones, Salmon is the way to go.

The thing is, I never had the opportunity to fish for the Trout and Salmon that inhabit this lake. We spent time swimming and water-skiing when my family went to the lake. Fishing was not a part of the family routine. Today, when I head to Lake Michigan, I am looking to fish for something. Summertime allows for a decision on the matter of what species I will try for on any given day. I have watched all the other fisherman bringing in their daily catch of Salmon and always wanted to learn how they do that. The summer weather means warmer water and that means fishing deep for Trout and Salmon.That is why we thought maybe we could get the boat set up to troll for Salmon and Trout and, learn how this sport is done.

Make Your Own Boat Rig

The cost of having a custom board made for the boat we fish was going to be out of our league. That is what provoked us to make our own equipment rig. It took a little thought but we have been using it for several years and we know it will get the job done. You can make an inexpensive mount from treated decking wood. It will warp a little but it will hold up to weather conditions. We had to mount the board on the mooring cleats because we did not want to cut holes into the boat. This makes our equipment 100% removable with little invasion to the original finish of the boat. The board is held through the mooring cleats with u-bolts and wing nuts. It is secure and easy to set-up. The entire apparatus can be mounted in about 10 minutes. We store it behind the garage when it is not in use.

Any contraption you make to fit your boat will have to be custom. The board we used cost about $100. to assemble from scratch. The main information I can provide is that you will have to figure out how you will mount the board before you build it. This will determine the length of lumber you will have to buy. This board I made was started at 10 ft and cut down to 9.? so that we did not have anything hanging over wider than the sides of the boat. This was a requirement because of keeping the boat moored. We did not want anything that would bang into the dock posts.

Basic Trolling Gear

  • boat
  • poles
  • pole holders
  • down-riggers
  • treated lumber board to mount equipment
  • heavy fishing line, 15 to 20 lb test depending on your fishing poles
  • Salmon bait rigs, various devices, depending on seasonal conditions
  • big dip net
  • a big cooler w/ ice for catch
  • ice cooler for refreshments
  • gas, trolling is constant movement at about 2.2 miles per hour
  • sunscreen, lip balm
  • fly spray
  • drinking water
  • needle nose pliers to remove hooks from fish
  • fillet knife for cleaning fish
  • dipsy divers
  • bungy cords

  • planning boards

  • down rigger weights

  • flashers

  • spoons

  • flies

This Sport Takes Some Planning

When it comes to trolling, it takes some effort to get your equipment in order. It also takes a lot of equipment. You have to figure out what you are going to fish with, how you plan to fish it and, how you will set up your equipment so that you can be productive.The equipment has to be placed on some sort of stable, strong, platform to operate as efficiently as possible. There will be action going on if you get fish on the line so, you want to be prepared. It will take some practice but anyone can learn how to troll for Trout and Salmon.

Dinner On The Line

Get Down

The idea of getting the lure you use to catch fish, down to the fish can be the delemma for fisherman. If the fish are feeding at 45 ft. depths how do you get to them? The answer to that is use downriggers

This is a contraption designed specifically to take your fishing lures down to the depth of the fish. They all work on basically the same idea. You have a spool with wire and a heavy weight on the end of the wire. There is a release clip on the weight where you attach your pole line. The weight is lowered to the desired depth and when you get a fish on the line the release snaps and the fish is on. Keeping it on and getting the fish into the boat and into the cooler is the challenge at hand.

How To Set Up The Trolling Equipment

The Mounting Board will be your base to attach all of the fishing equipment for trolling. The items you mount will depend on what you use. We are currently running three downriggers and six poles. That means you have to have six pole holders. One set next to each downrigger and the other three are set off so they can be used with dipsy divers and planer boards. These pieces of fishing tackle allow you to get your fishing rig down to the depth and distance you want it to be.

Think through the operating procedures and, mount your equipment according to how you will think you will use it. This is important as you will want to be able to maximize the area at the back of your boat. This will be where all the action takes place. The proper planning will enable adequate ease of operation.

Many Different Methods

Fishing, like many other activities has a variety of ways you approach the subject. What we are looking for is producing fish and big ones if possible. There are all kinds of rigs people use to fish for Salmon. We have learned the mechanics of dodgers and flies and flashers and spoons. They make all kinds of lures and what to use will depend on the season and where you are fishing. I suggest doing some research at your local bait shop.

The guys who work there are mostly fisherman. They can tell you what kind of lures are hot items and how to run them. We try to go to the same bait shop all the time. there are several large sporting outfitters in the area but the people who work in these large stores do not have the hard core knowledge that our bait store has. The chains are good for bargain buys but the locals know what is happening from day to day.

This Sport Is Work

You might think fishing is a very relaxing and kicked back way to spend an afternoon but it makes for plenty of work if you are catching. All the poles have to be laid out in some sort of pattern so that each one is running the distance and depth that you find the fish feeding. This will take some practice to say the least. You do not want to go out and get the lines all tangled up and loose your rigs. These items will run you anywhere from $15. to $50. per pole so you have to understand how everything should operate and then make it happen. Practice makes perfect.

Get out there and put the equipment to work and you will most certainly put some nice fish into your cooler and ultimately into your freezer for later dining. Have fun and be safe.



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    • Adventure Colorad profile image

      Adventure Colorad 

      8 years ago from Denver,CO

      Very nice write up! I have a hub about trolling with lead core line, another option for getting your lure down to where the fish are. As the water warms up you pretty much have to get the lures down deeper.

    • profile image

      Dave Adams 

      10 years ago

      I just love your page! I made a similar one on squidoo. I started looking around after I made it and found this one. I must say, you sure do know what your talking about. Please come visit mine and leave a comment!

    • C.S.Alexis profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from NW Indiana


      I will gladly do so. I would like to have a way to tell you this info. There is no way to contact you. Do you have a website or email? Let me know.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I have a fishing trip planned this summer that will require the use of downriggers. I am not thrilled about drilling wholes into my boat, and have been surfing the web like a mad man trying to see what solutions others have come up with. I like the set up that you have came up with, would you be able to describe in detail how you made it?

    • C.S.Alexis profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from NW Indiana


      I wish I were an expert but far from it. I am learning and it seems there is more to learn every time we go. Thank you for being such a SweetiePie. C.S. Alexis

    • SweetiePie profile image


      10 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Very comprehensive tips and I must say you are an expert on this subject. Fresh fish is very tasty :).


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