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How To Troll For Lake Trout - Trolling For Trout In Lakes, Lake trout trolling rigs


Trolling for lake trout in the spring near the shore is one of the best lake trout fishing techniques that I know.  Knowing how to troll for trout in lakes along with how to rig for trolling in lakes without downriggers including how to use a trailer hook are important tips for catching lake trout that you should know.  Rigging for trolling in lakes is very simple and learning how to troll for lake trout using the trout trolling methods that I explain here is equally as simple.  One of the trout trolling techniques that I share with you here will be different than what you expect, but it’s the best technique for lake fishing that I have found except that sometimes fishing with Power Bait from shore is the answer.  It involves trolling in shallow water for lake trout very near the shore including a little lesson on the best speed for trolling for trout as well as how to steer the boat.  Because the tackle is so light, this is one of the most fun ways to catch lake trout as well.  Also, don't miss our other great stream and lake trout fishing articles here on our site!
The best time to catch lake trout when trolling is usually early in the morning before the boat traffic has scared them from the shallows.  If there is no boat traffic, the fishing can be good all day and especially good if you use a solunar table to choose your fishing time.  In the late winter and early spring, they are near the shore feeding and haven’t been pressured by boaters, jet skiers, and other fishermen in a long time and they are beginning to feed for spawning as well.  Limits of big lake trout can be common.  Your limit might include German browns, rainbow trout, as well as landlocked salmon.  

The best bait for trolling for lake trout is either minnows or night crawlers.  Using minnows for catching lake troutis my first choice of bait and I use the largest minnows that I can get (3 or 4 inches).  I use about a number 6 hook and hook it from inside of the mouth, upwards through the “nostril” area.  When baiting a minnow for trolling, don’t “sew” the minnow’s mouth shut with the hook and it will stay alive longer.  I tie the hook to the line and leave about 8 inches of line dangling so I can tie on a trailer hook about 4 inches back so it is near the end of the minnow’s tail.  This trailer hook isn’t hooked to anything and is kept behind the baitfish by the movement through the water when trolling.  You will increase your success at catching lake trout by over a hundred percent by using a trailer hook when trolling for lake trout.  I use a small 3 pronged hook for the trailer hook, but you can use a regular hook if that is all you have.   I use the same trolling rig for fishing with night crawlers also.  When trolling with nightcrawlers for trout in lakes, thread the night crawler onto the hook and up the line with a worm threader so the hook is a third of the way down the worm.  Again, use the trailer hook in the same manner.  In either case, use one large split shot about 18 inches ahead of the bait for weight or 3 small ones and adjust if needed.

The best way to troll for lake trout during the late winter and early spring is right up next to the shore on somewhat steep sloped areas, which are very common in reservoirs.  You will be trolling so that the edge of the boat is often between 6 and ten feet from shore.  The water is clear and shallow and you would think that by driving the boat in 6 feet of water with a gas motor that every trout would scatter, but this is not the case.  You will be trolling at a pretty good pace (trout swim fast) with your line out behind the boat just 30 yards or so and those big lake trout will about yank the pole out of the boat!  You will be trolling along the shore which will be meandering along with some straight a ways.  As you turn the boat on an inward curve, you will have to edge the boat out a little deeper to keep your line from snagging and coming too close to shore.  When turning outward towards the far bank, you will have to speed up the boat to make the lure rise so as not to get snagged.  It may sound complicated, but if you watch your line when trolling, it comes natural.

Sometimes, you can add a little weight and troll further from the shore and find the fish a little deeper if they aren’t biting this way.  You can also try a castmaster lure or a panther martin for trolling as well.  Don’t be afraid to experiment if they aren’t biting and always keep your eye out for other fishermen that seem to be successful.  The best lake trolling techniques can always be found by spying on the two old local farts in the rickety old aluminum boat!  

When you catch lake trout by trolling this way, your tackle for trolling is just the hook and a little split shot.  It is just you and the fish and this will make for one of the best trout fishing trips you will ever have.  Some folks fish with a string of flashers and a lot of weight and it kills the fishing experience.  Downriggers give you this same experience, but I seldom use one as after spring I am after other fish than lake trout.  

So, that is how to troll for lake trout the way I like to do it.  Give this lake trout trolling method a try and I am sure you will truly enjoy the experience.  If you have anything to add, I would love to see your comments below, and even better yet, share your best lake trout fishing tips with us in our forums.  Matter of fact, come say hi and share any of your fishing experiences with us.  We can use the help in livening our new fishing forums up as a great addition to this fishing blog site.  Our site is all free to use and we would truly appreciate your joining us.  Good luck with your trolling for trout in lakes!
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