How To Troll Spoons For Trout And Salmon

Trolling a lake with a spoon is one of the best ways to catch big trout and salmon. There are a number of different techniques you can use but in this post, I’m going to be showing you my favorite way to use spoons to catch trout and salmon.

Most people toss on their spoon, go to the middle of the lake, let out a bunch of line, and sit back and wait. Yeah, that can work but I’ve had much better luck doing something else. It’s going to be more work but I think you’ll find it worthwhile because you’ll be landing more fish.

We’re going to be talking about what rod and reel to use, what fishing line works best, the type of spoon you should be using, and how to actually fish it. Continue reading or watch the video below for the full details on how to fish with a spoon.


Fishing Gear & Tackle

The type of fishing rod you use doesn’t matter too much in my opinion. You can use whatever type of rod you feel most comfortable with (spinning rod, baitcaster, troller). The main thing that matters is the strength of the rod and you need to make sure the rod can handle whatever type of fish you’re after.

If you’re after small trout or kokanee then you could get away with a light or medium rod. If you’re after lake trout then you’ll need a medium-heavy or heavy rod. If your rod is fully bent while you’re trolling then it’s too light. If it barely bends then it’s too heavy. Kind of obvious but you’d be surprised by how many people ignore this.

When it comes to fishing line, everyone is going to have a different opinion. What I like to do is put a heavier braided line (20-60 lb) on with a fluorocarbon or monofilament leader (4-40 lb). Braid is going to be stronger, more sensitive, and it’s going to last 3-4 times longer than normal fishing line.

You can use heavier than needed braid because the fish won’t really see it but you’ll want to use as light of a leader as you can get away with. You won’t want to use 20 lb mono if you’re going after 2-3 lb rainbow (should use 4-6 lb for that). I’ll use fluoro if I want my lure to sink more or if I need my line to be invisible. Otherwise, I’ll stick with mono. The length of the leader will be around 3-4 feet long and I like to attach the two lines with the Surgeon’s Knot:

Once you have your braid and leader line connected, the next thing you’ll want to do is attach your favorite spoon. It’s all going to depend on what type of fish you’re after and the size. If I’m fishing for kokanee I’ll start with something pink and if I’m going after lake trout I’ll use something colorful. Those don’t work all the time so you may have to try a few things.

How To Troll With A Spoon

Like I was saying before, you can simply toss out your line, troll at the same speed, and wait for something to bite. That can work but I haven’t found that to be the best strategy. If you’re willing to put in a bit more work then you’ll catch more fish.

The first two things you need to figure out is where you want to fish and how deep you want to go. The depth will depend on a number of factors (time of year, temperature, etc) but where you should fish is more straightforward.

When you’re looking for a spot to fish you’ll want to head over to Navionics to take a look at what’s going on under the water. This is a tool that’ll show you the depth in different spots, where the lumps/holes are, and where any drop off points are. These are the spots you want to target because a lot of the bigger fish will be sitting at the bottom of a ledge.

How To Find Good Fishing Spots On Navionics

In the picture above, you can see the two circles (arrows) which are going to show lumps in the water. One says 115 and the other says 78. All the numbers around it are higher than that (if it’s the opposite then it’s a deep hole). If you can fish along that ledge then you’ll have a better chance of catching something.

In the picture above, you can see a piece of land sticking out into the water (point). You can also see where the lines on the graph get closer together. That’s going to show you where a drop off point is. Off the point, it goes from 42 to 79 and then 105. Baitfish will be a little higher of the ledge while the gamefish will be sitting a bit lower. That’s where you want to fish.

Once you find the location you want to fish, you’ll have to test a few different depths. If you have a fishfinder it’ll be pretty simple to tell where you need to go but I don’t normally use one myself. There isn’t a right depth 100% of the time and I’ve been able to catch fish in 20 feet or 100 feet of water. You’ll need to see what’s working best that day.

The last thing we’ll talk about is how to actually fish for them. Most people just troll across the lake but I haven’t had the most success with that. What I like to do is speed up and slow down to give my spoon the best possible action. You can see what I mean in the video above but all you have to do is speed up your boat and then slow right down.

When you slow down it’ll make your spoon slowly float down on a slackline and that’s when you’ll get most of your bites. When you speed up it’ll cause your spoon to shoot away quickly and that’ll help trigger the attack instinct of the fish. All you have to do is repeat this process. Yeah, it’s more work but I’m positive you’ll catch more fish.

Until next time, happy fishing. If you want to catch more fish, use more hooks.

Let me know your thoughts and any questions you have. Like this article? Feel free to give it a share!

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Jon Webber

I'm by no means an outdoors or fishing expert, but it's something I've been interested in for over 20 years. I created this site to test out different gear and techniques to see what actually works.

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