Setting Downrigger Rods for trophy Great Lakes Salmon & Trout.

Posted on September 20th, 2016

One type of fishing that required a lot of heavy gear and devices is Great Lakes Salmon & Trout Trolling. The main reason for this is that the Great Lakes are big and the fish can be cruising at any depth any distance out from shore. Being able to reach them deep, knowing the their preferred temperature at any depth, having all the right devices to rig lines properly, and a reliable fishfinder like the Raymarine series is crucial.

057A9528 cannonball


When setting downriggers the first piece of gear that is added is the cannon ball. Cannon balls come in different sizes, shapes and colors. The most traditional is the above “ball-shape & keel”. The most common cannon ball size is 10-12 lb. for deep-water fishing.

057A9525 rodholder_tempguage

Having a temperature reading device on at least one of the downrigger cables is a very important tool for finding the preferred temperature range of Salmon & Trout.

057A9531 connecting_linerelease

Next the right amount of line is released behind the cannon ball. Normally if fish are spooky, a longer lead is used. If fish are very aggressive a shorter lead from the cannon ball to the lure is used. When the right amount of line is out, the line is attached to the line release.

057A9527 lowering line

The cannon ball is than lowered gently and smoothly with just a little tension on the spool to keep the line tight, but to still allow it to be taken down by the downrigger.

057A9526 linecounter


Trolling reels are ideal for downrigger fishing and ones equipped with a line counter are extremely useful. Once you reach the desired depth, any slack line is tightened so that the rod has a nice “bend” it and all you have to do is wait for a strike!



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