Newbie rod/trolling Q

Matt G
I've done various kinds of fishing off an on over the years (Salmon trolling at buoy 10, rock fish off coastal jetties, little bit of lake trouting) but I'm just now getting into fishing more regularly now that the kids are older, and starting to try & focus on trout in lakes. I have a small boat w/ motor, 1 decent lake trout rod, & some tackle.

Now, my other rod is a pretty nice 8.5' Shimano rated for 8-17 lb. line and 3/8 - 1 oz. lures, & has a nice casting reel. I bought it years ago as a general purpose rod, thinking mostly about bigger fish. Obviously most of my lake trout tackle is smaller than that, and this combo seems oversized for 8-12" trout in still water.

Question: how silly is it to think about trolling with the big rod anyway, despite it's being oversized? If I put, say, a 1/4 oz. lure on it, are there drawbacks other than maybe not getting a real definitive action if a small fish strikes and not getting the "ultralight" fighting experience? I mean, I have the rod anyway and when my kids are with me I can legally put it in the water. Any advice on how to use it to best advantage going for smaller fish?
My advice is to only use level winds for trolling. I run a 7' medium for trout trolling and another identical action rod for a second trolling rod for going after big trout. you don't reeally need the ultra lite and they suck for trolling flashers. hope this helps.
Matt G
So, to get my terminology straight, "level wind" = casting reel, as opposed to spinning reel, correct?

If I understand what you're saying, my Shimano may be oversized but for trolling, who cares? Fair assessment?
Terminology is correct.

No harm using a big pole for little fish- you're right though -not much feedback from litttle fish. IF you use those long lake troll thingys- you'll need that big rod just to carry all that weight and drag from the blades.

You setup is not "oversized for trolling" as much as it's oversize for most of the fish you'll catch. If that's what you have to use- then the "who cares" statement is probably right.
You'll still catch fish.

I've seen people fish for trout a lot of different ways- so I will offer my method so you can see the breadth of the possibilities. I have to counter Thuggin's post- not to say he's wrong- just different (he obviously catches fish also!).

I always use ultralight rods and reels/6lb. test. Always spinning reels. Never use lake trolls. 90% of the time I don't use bait either. Generally use one split shot and a small spoon(Needlefish, Kastmaster, Tripleteaser,(little gold cleos don't work;) etc.) or just a fly. Go to the downrigger when the surface water gets above about 60 degrees- same setup, just deeper. IF the fish are REALLY finicky- I'll use a small dodger ahead of my lure- that's the closest I get to all the bling of a lake troll.

I do this everywhere- it works like magic when you hit the right lure/color/action they want.

Matt G
Thanks Jim - makes good sense. I happened to use the big rod Saturday 'cause my kids were using our two smaller ones. The big stick was pulling nothing but a little Kastmaster behind it... and caught 3 Rainbows. I barely noticed when I hooked them, but it worked! We switched the lure to my son's rod and it caught 2 more Rainbows on his 6.5 footer.
When trolling small lures a spinning reel is fine in any size. When using flashers you need a rod with some backbone and never use a spinning reel unless you feel like having to respool before you cast it after a day of trolling flashers if the line makes it that far. levelwind could be casting but they also made reels that aren't exactly for cast since they don't have all the fine tuning and brakes and all that stuff. you know like a peen 209, 309, 350, 9. all these aren't really ment to cast but you can just takes more skill than it does with a baitcaster. perfect style reels for trolling. I even run a baitcaster would be a good idea so you can cast it or troll it but I can't cast it. Aslo a levelwind is just easier to let line out to troll compared to a spinner reel. I am sure your kids had a blast. to bas you live so far away or we could have meet up and taken the boats out and I would show you everything i know about trout trolling.
I've also caught tons of trout using Thuggin's methods.

You will also "feel" the smaller fish and have more fun with a lighter/shorter rod. And a levelwind reel allows you to count the revolutions, as you let your line out. Once you find the correct depth...just let your gear back out after each fish the same # of turns/revolutions. And I use Ford Fenders, Doc Shelton's, Beer Cans, and other flasher sets with great success. Put a wedding ring spinner and a worm behind one of those and WHAM!

However the method that Trolling4Trout apparently catches fish too. And therein we find a truism in fishing. Experimentation is fun! Try different things, until you find a method that you like and that catches fish. And maybe you'll wind up inventing a whole new way to catch more than others!

But, I really suggest that you get a light action rod. Then even when you get a smallish'll feel like your fighting Moby Dick!

P.S. Trolling4Trout...I plan to try your method the next time I'm in a boat! Thanks. :)
I used spinning reels my whole life until this year. spinning reels work if you use a bead chain and troll just a swivel at the end of the day to get any twist out. I switched to level winds because I have a downrigger now. one of my combos is a 8.5' ugly stick and shimano cardiff from my salmon fishing days and it works fine for trolling.
i use level winds for trolling for anything, and no more than 7 ft. rod. the longer rods are fine for bank fishing, but it makes it harder to get the fish in the net, and when fishing for kokes, you want to net them, not hoist em like the bass fisherman. Brian
X 2. Plus, you want to use a "snubber" inline for kokes. If you don't have a snubber while trolling for will literally rip the gear right out of their soft mouths (and maybe even kill 'em).

But, I don't recommend snubbers for trout. I tried that once, and lost almost every fish!

I use the same gear for kokanee- ultralight rods, no snubber,no lake trolls. With light gear and a smooth drag- kokes are as easy to catch as trout. Well, except that they are twice as crazy in the water and they can get away more easily. Just say'n- no lip ripping occurs.

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