Trolling! Trolling! Trolling!

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Published on: Apr. 2, 2000

Last revision: Nov. 4, 2010

thought you were fighting a golden walleye, but you also can expect some pleasant surprises and you'll almost always be able to find some action.

Trolling Essentials

Trolling is a big, all-encompassing thing. Although primarily a motor sport, you can row-troll or drift-troll using current or wind. You can even walk-troll along a shoreline, dam or wall.

You can troll lures or live bait, or combinations of both. In the north country, anglers troll flies behind paddled canoes for trout. The same technique works for panfish. Anglers in Florida and in other southern states drag big shiner minnows behind their boats and catch monster largemouth bass.

Different baits and techniques require different speeds. Nightcrawler harnesses (spinner rigs) or plastic worms work best when crept along. To slow down enough, I'll either use an electric motor or put the outboard in reverse and go backwards. The transom pushes enough water to slow me down. Spoons and rattling crankbaits need speed to get their proper action.

Give me a Break!

Although it's easy as throwing a line out and kicking the motor in gear, you can make more of your trolling by dragging your lures over fishy places.

During my years of SCUBA diving, I continually marveled at how much of a lake contains absolutely no fish. I would swim along for what seemed like miles, but was probably more like football fields, without seeing anything but the bottom. Then I'd happen on an area that was filthy with fish of all kinds.

What the good places often had in common was a change in depth, sometimes called a "dropoff" or a "break," or a coming together of different habitats, such as the edge of weedbed or where rock changed to sand or sand changed to mud. Cover, such as underwater trees and rocks seemed to attract fish. A point on a shoreline or an outcropping along a riprap shoreline or a wall also seemed to draw fish.

Many fish attracting features of a lake are completely underwater and are best located with a depthfinder. However, you can surmise a lot about the bottom of a reservoir just by looking at the shoreline. Steep bluffs, for example, often continue underwater, meaning that it is pretty deep right next to shore. You might also see some rock slides, which would indicate a pile of fish attracting rocks directly beneath.

Points of land usually continue underwater. You might even guess where the highly productive

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