Trolling spread techniques are a must have for successful Lake Ontario fishing on a day to day basis. In this post, we will discuss types of spreads and how to fine tune them to generate more bites during outings. More specifically, we will outline salmon and brown trout trolling techniques.
Brown Trout Trolling Spreads
Late spring into early summer offers some of the best trophy brown trout fishing Lake Ontario has to offer. Browns weighing in the mid to upper teens are quite common this time of year if you know how to dial in on them. Knowing where to look for these fish is only half the battle. The right trolling spread techniques and right presentation is paramount to catching these older fish. Lite pound test line and fishing away from the boat are key. Lure choice is also another consideration and will be touched upon in future and past posts. So what does an early season brown trout spread look like?
Early Brown Trout Set-ups
As previously mentioned, lite pound test fishing line along with fishing away from the boat yields best results. Almost daily, we run Otter Boats on our planer board set-ups. We run at least 3 to 4 lines a side. The farthest outside lines are stretched back the longest, usually 125-150ft, are flat lines, and are run with shallow diving stick baits. Smithwicks, Rapalas, and Bay Rats get the nod. As we come closer to the boat, these lines are set to run deeper and deeper with the deepest being closest to the vessel.
Adjust To Depths
Typically, lead core or weighted flatlines with sinkers are deployed with stick baits or spoons. Short segmented coppers also have their days. Downriggers and Divers are adjusted to run appropriately in the water column depending upon depth of fish. It’s wise to adjust line stretch on the downriggers if you’re not getting bit! 20-100 ft set-backs on any given day may produce more bites.
King Salmon Spreads
King Salmon spreads are some what similar to brown trout , but heavier tackle along with deeper water depths are the norm. We still use the Otter boats, but the line choices are different. Our typical board lines are either copper lines or lead cores. If we run multiple lines on one side, we still always run the deepest running lines closest to the boat. This allows the outside shallower lines to travel over the top of the deeper lines as it moves to center behind the vessel when clearing lines or fighting fish. Don’t forget to adjust divers and dipseys.
Temperature Is Key
Target temperature in the water column dictates what we run for salmon. The higher the fish are in the water column, the lighter the line we use, especially with spoons. As we go deeper, our leaders become heavier. Our spoon coppers run with 15-20 lb test leaders. Our coppers with attractors use 25-30lb test leaders. Its the same with leadcores on the lighter side, but we do run 20lb leaders with J-plugs.
Dialing It All In
Both trout and salmon can be very finicky at times being very selective in what they will or will not bite. We tend to start off most mornings with a smorgasborg of offerings. These include spoons,meat and/or flies depending upon fish location in the water column. Our philosphy is to let the fish tell us what they prefer at that given point in time. We then “feed it to’em”!!! If an item gets bit more than once or a certain depth in the water column is producing, we immediately add appropriate duplicates of the hot items.
The Main Key
The key is to duplicate the item and depth as far away from the item that is firing to determine if it actually is the item, or the apparatus its on, or both. Read that statement again!!! If you take nothing else away from this post, the preceding statement is one of the best trolling spread techniques we know to increase bites. Once the fish tell you what they want, then just “feed it to ’em“!
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