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Trolling Alternatives


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If possible I'm hoping to swing a trip over to the river next Monday. My rig is a 14' Lund with a 15hp Johnson on the back. I've never trolled, but notice it seems to be a popular method of fishing on Pepin. What would be some other alternative methods to fishing the river? Can casting Shad Raps be effective as well? Should I go with plastic presentations or some live bait and if so, leeches, minnows,etc? If I do experiment with trolling any tips you can give me on that? I'm a river rookie, so any helpful tips would probably be useful. Thanks.

Andy

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Hey down to earth

Trolling is a great way to cover alot of water in a short time and normally catch alot of fish. I was at lacupolis yesterday and did pretty well for waldos but nothing of any size. the biggest being only 18in the rest being from 12 to 14in. I was using bottom walkers with a spinner and leech. Crawlers were working for the most part but caught way to many sheepies so switched to a leech. We were just drifting but saw alot guys trollin cranks with little to no luck for what I seen.

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Andy -

From my own experience and what I've been hearing from others, trolling cranks is definitely putting the most fish in the boat right now. My 2nd choice would be a spiner rig with some live bait. Since the water is stained right now, I'd use a brite blade for the spinner - i.e. chartruese, bright red. If you have a decent breeze to put you on a nice drift, that is one option. Otherwise use your gas or electric motor to move around. Don't hesitate to cover some water, and be sure to watch your electronics.

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Andy,

Your rig will troll just fine. That 15-horse will go slow enough, (1.8-1.5 mph), to put fish in your boat. If your electronics/gps don't show your speed, drop your lure over the side, and check the action. You want it rolling from side to side at a decent clip. Most of us use either line-counters mounted on the pole, or reels with line counters. If you have neither, let out some line, and watch your rod-tip, or if you hold your rod in your hand, feel/see the rod tip jump sporadically, meaning your lure is hitting bottom. If you don't see/feel this, let out some more until you do. Now reel in small amounts of line until this is no longer happening. Then hang on. An easier way to troll without worrying about finding bottom, and staying just off it, is to actually keep your rig on bottom, buy have your plug running off bottom. Best way to do this is to tie on a 3-way rig. On the dropper, tie off a line about 1-foot long. Lighter test is best here, because you are going to be placing a sinker, about 1-oz., to the end of this dropper. Then, on the other end, tie on a 3-4 foot leader, to which you put on a stick-bait, such as a plain ol' floating rapala, or something similar. Drop the sucker to the bottom, let out some more line, and drag it around. IF you snag up, the lighter test line on the sinker will allow you to break off without losing your high-dollar lure. As to casting raps and jigs, yes this will work too. You want to cast to some type of structure, such as rock rip-rap or wing-dams. This can be very productive, but unless you are on fish, it will be a long time between fish. Others have told you spinners, with or without bottom-bouncers. This works well. One last thing you can try is to simply drag a jig tipped with a leech or crawler, as minnows this time of year can be hit or miss, but a juicy crawler or squirming leech is not often ignored by the fish. Simplest way to fish this is to just toss it over the side of the boat, let out enough line to hit bottom, let out a little more, then just drag it on bottom. No need to "jig" it. A plain head will work, but this time of year I use a bucktail jig. Dark colors work best. Unless you are in heavy current, a 1/8 to 1/4 oz. jig will be all you need. Just drift with the current, or if the current is moving at a good clip in that area, then backtroll into it, dragging that jig over the side of your boat, at no more than a 45-degree angle to the line running into the water. You should feel the jig dragging bottom most of the time for this to be effective.

There you have it. Plenty of ways to put fish in your boat. Now go have at it, and let us know how you did.

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jiggin'fool,

Thanks for the informative feedback. I will try and put those presentations to work. Now I just hope the fish will cooperate and offer me some beginner's luck.

Andy

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That was an excellent post. cool.gif It makes me want to go there this weekend. I'm not, but ya got me thinking about it. grin.gif

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I think I'm getting about ready, but have a few follow up questions. I have something called a Cabela's Hot Stuff Wallleye Harness, is this what is called a spinner rig? It has a flourescent colored line with some colored beads and a hook at the end. What kind of weight should I use in this set up? ALso what kind of weight should I use if I use the 3-way rig set up and what size rapala would you recommend? Also straight or jointed? Some good color recommendations? I have a Rapala Long Cast someone gave me so maybe I'll give that a try as well. Thanks again for the feedback so far. Sorry for the bombardment of questions.

Andy

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Andy,

Not sure what the Cabela's rig looks like, but if it has a spinner, then that is what everyone means by "spinner-rig". Bright colored blades will get bit more often, especially in this dingy water.

As to the weight.., well that depends on if you are using a bottom-bouncer, then 1-2 oz. If you are backtrolling with a sliding-sinker, then 1/4-3/4 oz., depending on depth, speed and current.

As to your 3-way question for trolling, 1-2 oz. will work, lighter for <10 fow, the heavier for >12 fow. Now, to the lure choice. I don't know about the "Long-Cast". If it is weighted, to make long casts, it may dive deeper. You don't want that. Remember, that weight is already taking you to the bottom, so you want a floater, rigged off that 3-4 foot leader, so it doesn't dive straight to the bottom. I would use a #7 or a #9, or it's equivalent, if other than a Rapala. Jointed is preferred MOST of the time, unless they are super-finicky, as it has more action. Walleyes seem to react well to color, so I would use a chartruese or an orange. Black/gold and a "natural" would round it out. If they aren't biting one of these, go to bait. And saugers especially like bright colors, so start with the orange. And finally, I haven't been down since last weekend, but I would work the sand on the WI side. And if the water is really high, I wouldn't hesitate tossing cranks and jigs in front of flooded willows. If one patch of willows isn't productive, try another. They don't seem to be spread out in this cover when the water is high, so when you find them, stay with them. When the bite stops, change colors to pick up an additional fish or two.

Have FUN!!!!!!

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