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Thread: Salmon Trolling

  1. #2
    Senior Member ghostfish_slayer's Avatar
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    Mar 2004
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    Re: Salmon Trolling

    lots of sammy's being bonked here seon... i had my second skunk of the season today but that was my bad judgement call to where i thought they were going to be today...
    if you fish for trout you will catch trout!! if you fish for steelhead you might catch steelhead!!

  2. #1
    Senior Member Seon's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
    Lake Camanche
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    Salmon Trolling

    It's been almost three years since I trolled for ocean Salmon and yesterday made me realize how much I forgot the do's and don't when trolling. So I reviewed my notes gathered from other posts and personal experience from years past to familiarize myself with the process.

    Thought I'd share with fellow members "new to trolling". Keep in mind this is my quick overview of trolling and there other ways and more “how to” that a troller may feel more comfortable doing.


    • GPS vs Wheel Speed
    • 2.3 to 2.7 mph GPS or 1.5 to 1.9 Paddle Wheel Speed
    • Check the functioning of each lure before you finally let it out. You may have to change lures if the speed is compatible with the lure that is catching fish & your lure is not functioning properly.
    • Or the trolling speed may need adjustment. Also tidal currents do change, so the skipper needs to be aware of this & possibly change speed.
    • One tried & true method of deciding if your speed is close is to watch your downrigger wire.
    • At normal trolling depths a 45-degree line angle is about right. However this will change depending on the depth & amount of drag, as 50' depth will be a lot steeper angle than 150', even at the same boat speed.


    • Some clip their leader back 10’ to 40'
    • Remember however, that the farther back you go, the less setting power the rod has when the release is tripped
    • I clip mine at 15'-20'


    • The fish will be swimming into the current
    • If you troll with the current, the fish will see it coming, instead of it sneaking up behind them, & you will also cover more water.
    • Also it allows the fish less time to scrutinize your lure, possibly bringing on a strike, where if the fish has more time it may realize the lure is just that & not something to be eaten. Depending on the flow, you may only be sitting in the same position with water passing under you.


    • I leave the rod in the rod holder and REEL FAST to take any slack in the line until I can feel the fish on the other end of the line.
    • Then remove the rod from the holder, continue reeling keeping the line tight and then have fun.
    • In the mean time, retrieve the downrigger ball. When the ball stops just under the surface, you or your partner may want to pull it into the boat and rotate the downrigger arm straight back or forward to give more room off the side to net the fish,


    • You may leave the other rod out hoping to pick up another out of a possible school of fish.
    • You also may want to turn the boat SLIGHTLY toward the side that the fish coming in on to give more room to net the fish, while at the same time considering keeping the other lines from tangling in the prop.
    • You may slow down slightly, but DO NOT stop.

    · Reason being is that your partner's line may become entangled with his downrigger wire.
    · The main thing is at all costs is to keep the fish out of the other downrigger wire.


    • Quickly have all the downriggers pulled up, stow the balls & be ready to fight the fish, or even chase it to recover some line back onto the reel spool. Play the fish and have fun.


    • Some fish, depending on where they are hooked will want to go to the right, or the left.
    • Take him on the side he wants to go to, do not bring a RH hooked fish on the LH side of the boat.
    • If a fish is hooked with a lure on one side of the mouth & you keep putting him on the other side just because that is where you are comfortable in netting from, you very well may pull the hook out before he comes in.
      • This then will also determine what you will do with the other rod / rods & downrigger wire.

    • Lead the fish toward the netter, but do not bring its head out of the water, (for some reason the fish finds extra energy if it's head is out of the water.)
    • As the fish is lead in, the netter makes a QUICK jab down IMMEDIATELY IN FRONT of the fish
    • Then QUICKLY lift the net handle vertically, straight up, closing the net thus trapping the fish in the net and against the side of the boat.
    • Do NOT raise the net parallel (horizontal) with the water, as this can break a net handle if it is a large fish and/or the fish jumps out of the net, but rather pick the handle straight UP, again closing the bag.


    • Hold the side of Salmon’s body facing the camera
    • Extend your arm towards the camera, which gives the illusion that the Salmon is much bigger

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