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How to Troll Reef Runners for Walleyes

Viewer Question: “I would like to know how to troll with reef runners for walleyes, and how you keep the lure down.” - Jerry C.

Hi Jerry,

When trolling Reef runners there are a few things you can do to help keep the reef runners down.

Reef runners come in different sizes and dive to different depths. If you want to go deep, be sure to get the deep diver model.

Once you have decided on your model, attach it to your line buy using a snap only (i.e. not a snap/swivel). The snap will allow you to maximize the action of the reef runner.

The next thing to consider is line diameter. The thinner the line is, the deep the reef runner will dive. AS you begin to troll, just let out about 10 feet and observe the reef runner in the water and make sure it is running true.

If it is running off to one side, it will need to be adjusted so that it runs straight. Ensuring that the reef runner is running straight will also help you keep the lure down.

The next thing you can do, which will help you keep the reef runner down while trolling, is to be sure that your rod tip is pointed down towards the water while you are trolling. This will help force the lure down and help to keep it down.


Further, you will want to be sure that you are trolling at the right speed for the lure to run true and stay down. Again, you can test for this at the side of the boat by letting out about 10 feet of line.

The above points will help keep your reef runner down while “flat lining” (trolling). You can also use divers and/or down riggers to keep your reef runner down. You can also use the simple 3-way swivel method.

With the 3-way swivel method, you would want to use a shallow diving reef runner. This way is very effective when it comes to fishing with your bait close to the bottom. If you click here, this will take you to a short video which will show you the 3-way swivel method for tolling (or drifting)

Trolling is a very effective way to cover plenty of water and catch plenty of fish. You are correct in wanting to keep you r lures down to where the fish are and I hope this article has helped. Thank you for writing in Jerry and good fishing!


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