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Trolling for Walleyes

Trolling can be a very productive method to fish for tasty walleye. Basically, trolling allows you to cover more ground and your bait is in the water a longer period of time as compared to casting. If you happen to be casting or jigging, but without much luck of catching walleye, try changing over to trolling - it could make a difference. Walleye will chase your bait if it’s trolled at a slow speed (not more than say 2mph). This is an important factor folks. Faster speeds will work for other species, but if you’re targeting walleyes, your chances of catching them are much better at slower speeds.

Shallow Water

If you’re trolling in shallow water, try to keep your bait to within three feet from bottom during daylight hours. Your bait though, should not be dragging directly on the bottom as this would impede its action and presentation. It could also easily get snagged or collect debris.

Chances are, walleye may not take your bait if it’s covered with debris and you don’t want to be wasting your valuable fishing time trolling around using debris as bait. So, it’s a good idea to check your bait often, keep it clean and do what you must to keep it off bottom.

Deep Water

If you’re trolling in deep water (with the use of downriggers, divers, gps and depth finder), try running your bait at various depths. This is a good strategy because walleye will school-up and suspend in deep water for different reasons.


If circumstances allow you to fish with more than one rod, you could start off by running your baits at ten foot depth distances from each other. For example, (fishing with four rods and in seventy feet of water depth) you could set one bait at ten feet off bottom, the next one at twenty, the next one at thirty and the last one at forty feet off bottom.

The objective is to find the depth that the walleye are holding in. After some time with no action, re-set your baits to different depths. Take advantage of all of your rods and set them at various depths from each other – don’t duplicate depths at this point.

If your first fish is caught at twenty feet off bottom for example, (gps its location where caught) immediately re-set your rods so that now you can run two rods at twenty feet off bottom, while the other two rods can be set to fifteen and twenty five feet off bottom. You are now covering a ten foot path in the water column and by trolling the marked area thoroughly, you have a good chance to hook-up with other fish from that same school.

Planer Boards

Planer boards are also useful for trolling. They enable you to run your bait at a considerable distance away and out from the side of your boat. Advantages would be: 1) less line tangles; 2) cover a wider area to run your baits; 3) fish may not get spooked (as they might from your boat). If you enjoy trolling, maybe you could give them a try as well.

Good fishing,

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