Fishing the Water Column for Trout

Hard baits, soft baits, hoochies, flashers, dodgers, spoons, jigs – the list is endless. And, each one is sold in 10 sizes, 6 colors and 4 variations. It can be intimidating to go into a fishing store and try and select the right lures and trolling accessories. We are going to make the choice easy.

In this article I am going to outline the decision making process for choosing the right setup for the conditions. There are many variables, so trial and error is part of the process. If something is not working, don’t stick with it – change it up. It is easy to get in a lazy mindset and just keep dragging the same setup all day. I give 30 minutes max. If it doesn’t work by then, change one of the variables.

Water Temperature, water clarity and weather are the main factors that affect trout fishing. Depth, lure size, trolling speed and the color of our presentation will all be selected based on these factors. Fish like to be comfortable. They will not be at the surface feeding on a bright sunny day with the water flat calm. This scares them. They will be where the conditions for their survival are favorable.

Determine depth first. Wind and water temperature are the major factors in selecting depth, although a fish finder can be handy as well. Depth Finders often show the surface temperature which will vary greatly during the day based on weather conditions. A better method is to take a thermometer and attach it to a line with intervals marked off at 5′ intervals. It will take a few minutes, but is well worth dropping down at 5′ increments until you find the right zone.

Trout are most comfortable in 55-65 degree water. Colder or warmer and their metabolism is effected and they will behave differently. Find that zone and your fishing will be more productive.

Getting your lures to the right depth can be accomplished with downriggers, trolling weights, planers and jet divers. For accuracy, the downigger is the best, but is costly. Three way swivels have always been a problem for me. With these a dropper weight is added that I never fail to get tangled.

Trolling speed effects the depth of your lure. Downriggers will minimize this, but as speed increases the lure will be pulled further behind the boat raising it in the water column. Jet Divers are rated at 100′ of paid out line at a speed of 1.5 – 2.5 mph. Trolling weight depth varies with speed, line out and weight. I like to work with 100′ of line out. At 1.5 mph and 100′ of line a 1 oz weight will run 17′ deep; 2 oz will run 25′ deep and a 6oz weight will run 60′ deep.

* 55-65 degrees will be where the trout are.

* Your lure needs to get to this depth. Use a combination of speed, weight and line out to get there

Two things to do will put more fish in your boat.

Good luck and tight lines

Want to find out more about trolling for trout, then visit Steven Becker’s site on how to choose the best SUP fishing for your needs.