Trolling Tips That Work On Any Lake

By Scott Hill - June 1, 2014
A couple of wise old buddies of mine, Ron Triggs and Ralph Dimartino came along on my annual vacation, or trophy walleye hunt. We all were a bit apprehensive about the conditions we faced at first, but as I told them old stories from the past about throwing back twenty-seven to thirty inch fish to continue hunting for one really big trophy.

By the time we arrived to "The Pond" to unload our gear, the guys were both jacked up ready to head right out. They were really amazed with what I had told them about Lake Erie's potential, as it is one of the best big walleye lakes in the country. This body of water has no equal in producing numbers of giant walleyes! While the walleyes are both sizable and plentiful in these waters, the problem with big waters like this is that Mother Nature makes getting to them difficult. Braving waves two to five foot in size are sometimes the only way to contact these fish.

On this trip a smooth, dry riding boat and my on-the-water experience was necessary to navigate us safely to and from the fish. The hydraulic controlled Big Titan Tiller Steering System installed on my boat made controlling the engine safe and easy. It provided nearly effortless control while navigating those waves and eliminated arm fatigue on those long trips many miles off shore. The Titan Tiller locks the engines direction while setting lines, planner boards, netting fish, and removing hooks.

Big fish are very common on most bodies of water so it is a pleasure to use today's modern electronics to find those fish. A quality depth finder and contour map are crucial to success for most anglers. The Hummingbird depth finder shows an accurate picture of the road ahead so the boat can be controlled to the proper depth. It has made finding active schools of fish easy and enables us to set up on those marked fish. I see too many people that fail to use electronics to their full extent. Those who fail to learn this are the types of people that are usually found fishing where all the other boats are.

I like to stay away from the crowds looking for baitfish and actively feeding walleyes. A few important details to remember when targeting game fish in any body of water are as follow; "depth finders don't lie do not leave fish to find fish" and "you won't find fish without a food source nearby because big fish will eat little fish!"

Fishing presentations often switch on the water than are easily scaled down where necessary, not only daily but, by the hour so matching the hatch is important. Being able to keep up with those changes can be daunting at times.

Keeping track of water clarity can be easily determined by simply taking a looking at the propeller. Sun light penetrating and warming water temperatures throughout the day can as simple as being aware of current water surface temperatures, and will affect how high or low in the water column these fish are.

Depending on what depth in the water column the fish are, you will target with your presentation accordingly. Past experience has proven that the walleyes seem to be lower in the morning then rise higher in the water as the sun moves up in the sky throughout the day. This warming effect caused by the sun on the water surface, pulled baitfish and walleyes closer to the surface where we set out our presentation. Two to ten feet above those walleyes was marked. They would normally be feeding up to that depth so we used deep diving crank baits or snap weighted spinners. We did not pack all our lures on top of one another so the water column could be cut in half and the lures could be spread throughout that half of the water column where the fish could be marked. The walleyes are normally in one half or the other of the water column.

By using a line counter combo fishing reel/Fenwick HMG Fishing pole, it becomes simple to repeat the best presentation over again. We coupled with good planer boards to spread out the presentations getting them away from the boat, both horizontal as well as vertically for the best results. Lake Erie did not disappoint us as we had thirty-six walleyes in the boat. Thirty-four were over twenty-four inches and with numbers like that, we were sure to be back again.

The above trolling tactics work well on most bodies of waters give them a try to increase your catch.

Author Scott Hill
Scott Hill
Full-time guide Scott Hill owns and operates Fishing Thrills Guide Service, featuring the lakes of South Central, WI. Scott has been guiding for over 13 years and is one of the best multi-species anglers in the area. Scott is an outdoor writer and seminar speaker. He is a member of the NPAA, Walleyes for Tomorrow. Sponsors include: Big Titan Tiller Steering, Rock River Marina, a pro-staff member of Alumacraft Boats, Minn-Kota trolling motors, Hummingbird graphs, For more information check out his website.