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ZacAttack0201

Trolling for Walleyes (Equipment and Technique)

19 posts in this topic

With the lack of good ice right now and all open water where I'm living, my brain is getting ready to get the boat rigs setup.  I've always been a jig & live bait guy for walleye fishing, but I'd like to learn to catch fish by trolling.  I'm down in Iowa where the walleyes are harder to come by (at least in the central part of the state) and it seems like that's how most fisher-people are catching walleyes here.  I'm curious what would be considered good, reasonably priced rod/reel rigs to use, are planers necessary, and any general tips on being as successful as one can when trolling.  I'll most likely use leadcore line, but don't know what lb test to use.  I'd most likely only have 2-3 lines max when trolling, as we're allowed up to 3 lines for open water in Iowa.  I'd also most likely troll Walker Bay this summer on Leech as well.  Again, any best practices would be appreciated as i don't really know where to start on this technique.

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3 hours ago, ZacAttack0201 said:

With the lack of good ice right now and all open water where I'm living, my brain is getting ready to get the boat rigs setup.  I've always been a jig & live bait guy for walleye fishing, but I'd like to learn to catch fish by trolling.  I'm down in Iowa where the walleyes are harder to come by (at least in the central part of the state) and it seems like that's how most fisher-people are catching walleyes here.  I'm curious what would be considered good, reasonably priced rod/reel rigs to use, are planers necessary, and any general tips on being as successful as one can when trolling.  I'll most likely use leadcore line, but don't know what lb test to use.  I'd most likely only have 2-3 lines max when trolling, as we're allowed up to 3 lines for open water in Iowa.  I'd also most likely troll Walker Bay this summer on Leech as well.  Again, any best practices would be appreciated as i don't really know where to start on this technique.

 

Crawler harness with bottom bouncers are one of the best ways to troll a bunch of walleyes, IMO. I wouldn't worry about getting too fancy with trolling rods as any trolling rods will work. Here's my set up for trolling walleyes, for example, on the ST Louis River near Duluth.

 

I don't use boards much anymore and planer boards are not necessary . I normally troll with 4 trolling rods on my boat. The front rods are 8 footers. The rods closer to the transom are 6 1/2 footers. I use 10 lb test for trolling walleyes. You can use spinning rods also and I have in the past with success. Speed for harnesses, I like anywhere between 1.2 to 1.8 gps.

 

Others will chime in but this is how I normally roll when trolling for walleye

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Not sure about this time of year but in mid to late summer I have some success speed trolling shad raps over about 10' of water. Of course weed depth plays a role but in Lake Osakis I have found a few pockets devoid of weeds this time of year in the 8'-10' range and find eyes in there.

 

Spinner rigged with minnow or leech can be effective too.

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31 minutes ago, BobT said:

Not sure about this time of year but in mid to late summer I have some success speed trolling shad raps over about 10' of water. Of course weed depth plays a role but in Lake Osakis I have found a few pockets devoid of weeds this time of year in the 8'-10' range and find eyes in there.

 

Spinner rigged with minnow or leech can be effective too.

 

As Late fall as possible is the best for this tactic we tried it last year on gull about middle of October we got 3 a 22, 21. And 19 that was like 2-3 hours worth of fishing so fun. Tight lines!

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On 3/5/2017 at 7:10 PM, tacklejunkie said:

 

Crawler harness with bottom bouncers are one of the best ways to troll a bunch of walleyes, IMO. I wouldn't worry about getting too fancy with trolling rods as any trolling rods will work.

 

I am a big bottom bouncer fan also when trolling. Depending on your rod/line setup, I like to keep one rod in my hand instead of a rod holder as I troll with a bouncer. While watching your sonar you can feel when you go from a transition area of soft bottom, gravel or rocky transitions and its a quick way to cover ground and locate areas that may hold fish or not. Having a rod with some good sensitivity will help feel the bottom and detect bites.

 

Now as far as the spinner and harness some times they like a whole crawler and 2 hooks other times it may be half a crawler and one hook or it may be leeches. Just depends on the day and body of water and sometimes just a color of the spinner blade will make all the difference. One thing that I like here in SD is being able to have multiple lines out until you figure whats working.

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6 hours ago, BobT said:

Not sure about this time of year but in mid to late summer I have some success speed trolling shad raps over about 10' of water. Of course weed depth plays a role but in Lake Osakis I have found a few pockets devoid of weeds this time of year in the 8'-10' range and find eyes in there.

 

Spinner rigged with minnow or leech can be effective too.

 

This, and in late summer I troll with deep diving raps over 40'-50' even 60' and pick up some suspended Walleyes and even a few big Pike once in a while.

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I really like line counter reels for trolling whether it's trolling cranks or bouncers with spinners. I like the diawa sealine or accudepth models and upgrade the drags to carbon disks.  As far as line 10-20 lb test braid are good options for getting lures deep.  My shallow trolling setups have 30 lb braid so lures don't dive quite as deep.  No stretch lines are a must for me for clearing most weed fouled hooks without reeling in with a simple sharp jerk of the rod. 

 

The precision trolling app can speed the learning curve for trolling significantly.

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I always hear about clearing weeds with a snap of the rod.  Somehow it never seems to work for me.   Does it really work for others? 

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If you make your own crawler harnesses use the quick change clevis. Then you can switch out blade colors very easily, rather than having to switch the whole snell.

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A lot of good info.  Thank you everyone.  I've been looking at using the Daiwa Accudepth reels, but am undecided on rods.  I know I'm opening myself up to a lot of opinions, but any suggestions on rods?  I don't need high end, but don't want some cheap thing that needs to get replaced every year.

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I don't troll much; but remember the guys saying the ugly stick trolling rods were a decent rod for not much money. 

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The last few weeks of bad weather has given me some more time to research and here's where I'm leaning for equipment: Daiwa Accudepth reel, and the Abu Garcia Vendetta (medium power) rod (Fleet Farm has a pretty sweet deal on these right now $55 and $10 off coupons in their 2017 fishing catalog) and most likely leadcore line (unsure what lb test though - also is there a need for using a fluorocarbon or braided leaders?  I've read some articles saying a leader tied to a swivel will ruin the action of the lure).  Does anyone have any experience with any of this equipment?  Depending on the body of water I'll most likely be trying all techniques mentioned, bottom bouncing, crawler harnesses, crankbaits, etc.  I know I'm asking a lot of questions, but everyone keeps providing good opinions :)

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I troll crank baits anytime of the year.  Some of my favorite baits are Rapala husky jerks and jointed tail dancers.  Okuma line counter reels and Fenwick 8' HMX rods with 8# Fireline.  Almost always in 12ft or less.  I like to long line the baits and use snap weights if need to go deeper.  Speeds vary with water temp but usually in the 1.5- 3.5 range.  

On 3/8/2017 at 9:16 PM, delcecchi said:

I always hear about clearing weeds with a snap of the rod.  Somehow it never seems to work for me.   Does it really work for others? 

Sometimes for me but only with cranks.  No luck with other rigs.

 

Cabelas has a trolling rod /reel for $69 if your looking for something to get started with.

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I sat through a Jason Mitchell seminar about trolling tactics this winter and here are my notes.

 

Use way points of one fishing tactic to compliment another presentation. Live bait and cranks to cover ground, then go back and jig on those schools. Also shallow water presentation of pitching cranks/spinners.

 

Maximize time on the water. If you know an area isn't holding fish, don't troll to the next location you want to hit, fire up the main and get moving!

Tune lures. 

Boat side test faster than normally fished and they'll show how they're not tuned to swim correctly. 

Adjust the eye to make the lure swim symmetrical. 

 

Read water. 

Watch seams. Foam, current shift, debris line, current. Fish face into current. Troll into the wind or cross wind not with the wind. 

When marking fish, sometimes it's too good to be true. High quantity of marks is usually rough fish. Walleye don't school stacked on top of each other. 

Occasional marks off the bottom are feeding walleyes. Stop and fish them. Hot summer weather you'll see walleye on structure up shallow aren't feeding they're digesting because the water's warmer. They'll drift into deeper colder water off of their digesting locations to chase suspended smelt and other bait fish.

Typically If you can't see your prop, move to cleaner water. Especially after long times of high winds. On very clear lakes, find slightly stained water. 

 

Lead core. 

Flat sunny weather with a big turn with the boat causes bites on mud flats. The baits slow down when making slow turns as the lead core takes longer to catch back up to boat speed due to the line dragging through the water (high diameter).

Lead core is speed dependent. Faster makes them run shallower. Stalling the boat will make the lead core sink as you come over humps or rocks or breaks. 

Run small baits deep. 

 

Snap weights. 

Heavy 4 to 8 Oz. 

Boat speed and direction changes aren't subtle in the bait. 

7 to 8 ft in front of the lure. 

Again, allows you to run smaller baits for finicky bites.

 

Swap small hooks off small cranks for bigger hooks. Bigger hook out back

Dive curve. Top of dive curve, slower or less line out, baits are nose down compared to deepest dive depth they run flatter. If fish are shallow run a deep diver on really short line because it's nose down. Test the fish. Vertical vs horizontal profile. 

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9 hours ago, Chaws said:

I sat through a Jason Mitchell seminar about trolling tactics this winter and here are my notes.

 

Use way points of one fishing tactic to compliment another presentation. Live bait and cranks to cover ground, then go back and jig on those schools. Also shallow water presentation of pitching cranks/spinners.

 

Maximize time on the water. If you know an area isn't holding fish, don't troll to the next location you want to hit, fire up the main and get moving!

Tune lures. 

Boat side test faster than normally fished and they'll show how they're not tuned to swim correctly. 

Adjust the eye to make the lure swim symmetrical. 

 

Read water. 

Watch seams. Foam, current shift, debris line, current. Fish face into current. Troll into the wind or cross wind not with the wind. 

When marking fish, sometimes it's too good to be true. High quantity of marks is usually rough fish. Walleye don't school stacked on top of each other. 

Occasional marks off the bottom are feeding walleyes. Stop and fish them. Hot summer weather you'll see walleye on structure up shallow aren't feeding they're digesting because the water's warmer. They'll drift into deeper colder water off of their digesting locations to chase suspended smelt and other bait fish.

Typically If you can't see your prop, move to cleaner water. Especially after long times of high winds. On very clear lakes, find slightly stained water. 

 

Lead core. 

Flat sunny weather with a big turn with the boat causes bites on mud flats. The baits slow down when making slow turns as the lead core takes longer to catch back up to boat speed due to the line dragging through the water (high diameter).

Lead core is speed dependent. Faster makes them run shallower. Stalling the boat will make the lead core sink as you come over humps or rocks or breaks. 

Run small baits deep. 

 

Snap weights. 

Heavy 4 to 8 Oz. 

Boat speed and direction changes aren't subtle in the bait. 

7 to 8 ft in front of the lure. 

Again, allows you to run smaller baits for finicky bites.

 

Swap small hooks off small cranks for bigger hooks. Bigger hook out back

Dive curve. Top of dive curve, slower or less line out, baits are nose down compared to deepest dive depth they run flatter. If fish are shallow run a deep diver on really short line because it's nose down. Test the fish. Vertical vs horizontal profile. 

 

Good post and tips

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On 3/8/2017 at 9:16 PM, delcecchi said:

I always hear about clearing weeds with a snap of the rod.  Somehow it never seems to work for me.   Does it really work for others? 

For me about 75 percent of the time  with shad style lures.   Drops down to about 50 percent with stick baits.

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On 3/16/2017 at 8:32 PM, ZacAttack0201 said:

The last few weeks of bad weather has given me some more time to research and here's where I'm leaning for equipment: Daiwa Accudepth reel, and the Abu Garcia Vendetta (medium power) rod (Fleet Farm has a pretty sweet deal on these right now $55 and $10 off coupons in their 2017 fishing catalog) and most likely leadcore line (unsure what lb test though - also is there a need for using a fluorocarbon or braided leaders?  I've read some articles saying a leader tied to a swivel will ruin the action of the lure).  Does anyone have any experience with any of this equipment?  Depending on the body of water I'll most likely be trying all techniques mentioned, bottom bouncing, crawler harnesses, crankbaits, etc.  I know I'm asking a lot of questions, but everyone keeps providing good opinions :)

The Accudepth will work well.  If you're using in conjuction with lead core you'do need the 27 or 47 depending on how much lead you're using.  I use Penn 320 reels (not line counter) for my leadcore set up with longer cores (7+ colors) and just count colors (5' of depth for each color).  These can be found reasonably on hsolist.  I use the Willis or Albright knots to attach braid or mono/flouro to leadcore.  I use a crosslock snap on all my trolling rods for attaching lures/bouncers quickly.

 

Another use for leadcore not mentioned here yet is precision structure trolling.   Leadcore will follow the course the boat has taken very closely.  So if you go around a point the lure will stay on the contour rather than cutting over the top of the point.  With happens with braid and mono.

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Great info @Borch Any recommendation as to what brand/ lb. test to use for Leadcore.  Granted it is all opinion, but I have yet to find a leadcore line that gets above average reviews online.

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I've used Suffix 832 (Spectra sheath),  Woodstock, Cabelas, Mason and Tuf-line.  All have some issues and advantages.  The suffix 832 is more sensitive and thinner diameter.  Means it dives a little deeper (they report 8ft per color) and you can get more colors on a smaller reel.  Otherwise they will all fray or have lead poke through the sheath.  But they will all catch fish too.

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