Tune-Up Tuesday: How to Catch More Trout Slow Trolling - Tips and Techniques

Posted on Aug 10, 2020

By Dave Brown

Tune-Up Tuesday: How to Catch More Trout Slow Trolling - Tips and Techniques

How to Catch More Trout Slow Trolling

In this weeks Tune Up Tuesday, I'll be talking about one of my favorite ways of catching rainbow trout which is on the slow troll. 

Tune Up Tuesday

Slow Trolling for Rainbow Trout is an incredibly effective technique really isn't that difficult and should be something that you can add into your trout fishing arsenal.  All you need is a rod and reel, some bait and a boat or kayak. Personally, I love to do it from the kayak. 

Growing up in Southern California we have many stocked lakes to fish trout from.  My father lived up on Big Bear Lake and I spent many a day out on the water with him perfecting the slow trolling technique. It's definitely not difficult to do, and you will add to your catch total. 

Slow Trolling Gear

You really don't need anything too out of the ordinary for slow trolling for trout.  You can utilize this technique effectively using the gear you currently have, which makes it a great way to fish and to add more fish onto your stringer.  All you really need is a rod and reel. This can be a spinning reel and rod or a conventional rod and reel. 

Using a spinning rod and reel is probably the most basic way to get started.  You don't need anything too fancy in spinning gear.  Something like the Okuma Alaris Spinning Combo will do you well in this type of fishing.  And the best part, the Alaris Combo retails for less than $50. 

Okuma Alaris Spinning Combo

The other option is using a conventional or baitcast combo for your trolling set up.  A lot of folks like to use a linecounter style reel.  Okuma offers many options in the Magda, Convector and Coldwater families.  What a linecounter reel is, is a reel that counts how much line you are letting out.  If you notice that you let out 60 feet of line and are getting bit regularly, you can then drop your bait back that exact same distance time and time again.  Very convenient.  If this is a style that is interesting to you, the Okuma Convector Combo might be just what you are looking for. The new CV-C-762L-354D is a 7-foot 6-inch two piece rod with the new Convector 354 linecounter.  This combo will run just inside of the $100 range so still very affordable. 

Convector Combo CV-C-762L-354D


The Line

The line you put on your spool can make a big difference.  When slow trolling for rainbow trout, I am a light line fisherman.  I like to troll with anything from 4 pound to 8 pound test.  My preferred line is Soft Steel Super HT Monofilament as it is light and supple, and very abrasion resistant.  I'd venture to guess that I use 6 pound the most.  It is strong and I hate to admit it, but for the most part, the trout are fairly small and not too much of a threat of breaking the line.  

Soft Steel Super HT Monofilament

If the water is very clear and the trout are a little more shy, I'll drop to a lighter, thinner line like the 4 pound, and if I am fishing near a area with a lot of weeks or structure, I'll jump up to the heavier 8 pound line.  


Slow Trolling Baits

There is a wide variety of baits that you can slow troll for rainbow trout.  Everything from live nightcrawlers to fancy spinner rigs.  I will give you my top three baits that I enjoy trolling for rainbow trout. 

1. Rapala CD3

These are part of the "Count Down" series from Rapala.  They offer a wide variety of colors within the CD3 range, but I would stock my tackle box with Firetiger, Rainbow Trout and Black/Gold

Rapala CD3

These baits can be tied directly to you line or attached with a snap. I use a very small snap so that it is easy to change these baits out regularly.  With these baits you just let them back behind your boat or kayak, and pull them along behind you.  The dancing and swimming action drive trout mad. 

2. Kastmaster

This is an old standard among trout fisherman.  Is is a very basic "spoon" style bait that has a lot of erratic action and movement.  They come in brass, silver and bronze if you can find them. 


These will be used with the same technique as the CD3 baits.  You can drop this back behind the boat and let it do its magic.  Be careful though, as these have some weight and can make it to the bottom as you slow down. They can be tied direct or with a snap.  When fishing Kastmaster baits I like to use a swivel and leader as these baits do tend to twist up your line a bit. 

3. Worden's Rooster Tail

This next bait is one that you can have a ton of success throwing from the bank, or slow trolling behind the boat.  The Worden's Original Rooster Tail is a phenomenal bait that has taken many a trout over the years.  

Worden's Rooster Tail

If I was to pick two colors to go with, I would go with a Firetiger and a Rainbow Trout. Two of my favorites for sure.  You can fish this straight to your line, or with a clip.  This is also a bait that may tend to twist your line a bit, so a swivel is recommended if you are going to troll this. 

Slow Trolling Technique

As I mentioned, I love slow trolling for trout on my kayak.  But these techniques are very relevant to all forms of transportation on the water.      

There are a couple of key factors to slow trolling for rainbow trout.  One is speed.  You will find yourself adjusting your speed quite often, and be sure that you do.  As you speed up and slow down, your lure will have a different action.  The faster you go, the tighter the wobble will be and the slower you go, the looser the wobble will be.  The second factor is to not troll in a straight line.  Obviously you may have to on occasion, but a big, slow "S" turn is ideal.  What happens on the S pattern is that the rods and lures on the outside of the turn will speed up while the inside rod and lures will slow down.  As you get into the next section of the turn, the opposite will happen. 

S pattern

Trout may follow your lures for great distance before they decide to strike or not.  Sometimes just a twitch, or change in speed will entice that strike immediately.  It really is a pretty incredible thing to see. 


Overall, I hope this gives you a few tips and techniques to help you increase your catch ratio while out slow trolling for trout.  Give these tips a try and see if you can increase your counts.


Happy Fishing

Dave Brown - Okuma Fishing Tackle

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