The best thing about trout fishing is that you can practically do it year-round. Although, summertime can be a bit of a challenge because trout usually go deeper underwater. But with the best trout trolling techniques for summertime fishing, you’ll never go home empty-handed. Better yet, you might catch your next trophy.
Among the best techniques, you should know how to choose a good dodger, spoon, and flies. You’ll also need to learn how to troll with worms and dodgers. And when it comes to picking depth, water temperature plays a crucial part. As for picking trolling speed, you’ll need to be systematic in switching from fast to medium to slow.
When trolling at either a lake in the mountain or a valley, knowing the difference helps you prepare for your fishing trip. You might also want to avoid the summer’s day heat by choosing the best time to fish. And, what if you enjoy trout trolling but believe a full moon can spoil the fun? No worries, as there are tips to beat its effect.
How to Pick the Right Trolling Dodgers for Trout
When picking dodgers for trout trolling, check out these factors.
When picking trolling dodgers, make sure to consider versatility. Sling blade dodgers are an excellent option for fast and slow trolling. You can take off for up to 3.5 miles per hour or more when fast trolling. You can even push for higher speeds depending on what you’re pulling off the back of it.
When slow trolling at one mph, the sling dodger’s versatility allows you to get more action by bending it. To achieve the desired arch on your dodger, first, hold the two ends. Then, use your thumbs to push the underside of the dodger, creating a slight arch. As it is versatile, you won’t need to worry about snapping it in two.
There are different dodger sizes to choose from depending on your target. Four-inch dodgers work great for small trout and Kokanee. Meanwhile, the 6-inch dodger is an absolute favorite for most trout and even Landlocked King Salmon. Then, you can use the 9-inch magnum size for slow trout bite conditions. Adding it to a downrigger ball is also effective in attracting targets.
Trout love the UV green chrome dodger, and you can get more action with this blade. It is flashy and has greater visibility for your unsuspecting targets. You can also use it interchangeably with a UV blue chrome dodger. Meanwhile, the six-inch dodger with a watermelon pattern is another excellent choice for trout trolling.
After choosing your dodger, it is equally important to match it with the right leader length. This way, the trout’s attention can effectively transfer from the dodger to your bait.
When considering the leader length, note first if your lure is getting any action or not. If it’s the latter, use a leader with 2.5 to three times the length of your dodger. Otherwise, you can choose up to 48 inches to draw active trout within proximity of your bait.
Picking the Best Trout Trolling Spoons for Summertime Fishing
Among the best trout trolling techniques for summertime fishing is picking the best spoons. In doing so, make sure to consider if you’re aiming for fast or slow trolling and the spoon color.
Fast Trolling Spoons
When fast trolling, say at 2.5 to three miles per hour, make sure to carry five to six different spoons with you. Here are some of the top choices:
- Kingfisher Lite Spoons: Although this is a salmon lure, this spoon also works great for trout.
- Acme Kastmaster Spoons: The quarter-ounce size makes an excellent lure for trout trolling at three mph.
- Excel Spoons: The large size works great for catching trout at 2.5 mph trolling speed.
- Luhr Jensen Krocodile Spoons: These are dense, run fairly deep, and you can cast them to long distances.
- Johnson SlimFish Spoons: Comes in half-ounce size. These are thick and long and effective in catching Rainbow Trout.
Slow Trolling Spoons
The Trigger Spoons can trigger aggressive reaction strikes from trout. But, these regular-sized spoons only work half of the time. And when trouts are off-bite, you’ll need to slow down to 1.5 to two mph. After slowing down, make sure to downsize your spoon to Trigger Spoon Jr. It is half the size of the regular one. And it comes in six colors- three bright and three metallic.
Color is a crucial factor when choosing spoons in trout trolling. Present conditions in the lake, such as water quality and weather, can help you choose the best colors. These are some of the colors you might want to consider. Still depending on the water and weather conditions.
- Chrome: Both sides are smooth chrome that provides flash and greater visibility
- Hammered Chrome: Hammered on one side, and smooth chrome on the other. It has a more subtle and diffused flash than chrome spoons.
- Non-chrome Metallics: These give off the flash. But not nearly as much as chrome and hammered chrome. Examples are copper and hammered copper.
- Gold and Hammered Gold: These offer medium flash and have a distinct silhouette against a darker background.
- Dark Lures: These spoons are on the other side of the flash spectrum. Examples are green, black, and hammered black chrome.
Here are some pointers in picking spoon colors:
1. Choose a Spooner color that imitates your bait.
2. In some conditions, the light levels are low, or there is an overcast. Choose a slightly subtle color, like brass or gold back with a red front. You can also go for subtler colors if the trout are not responding to bright colors.
3. Bright lures fit bright conditions. Use clear chrome for bright conditions in clear water. If fish are not biting because of too much flash on your chrome spoon, switch to hammered chrome.
4. For moderate conditions with semi-stained water, opt for spoon colors with medium flash. Good options are coppers, gold, and hammered gold.
5. For low light conditions, like dawn, dusk or very overcast days, choose a black spoon. It will give a distinct bold silhouette against the low-light background.
Picking the Best Trout Trolling Flies for Summertime Fishing
Summer can also be a fantastic time to get your next trophy. To achieve this feat, you’ll need to pick trolling flies. As one of the best trout trolling techniques for summertime fishing, flies are great for catching big.
There are many flies for you to choose from, with wet and dry flies as the major types. But when it comes to achieving the best action, pick flies with plenty of feathers and fur. These flies tend to flutter more in the water. Some flies customized for trolling have small propellers, or spinners added to their design.
Besides the shallow waters, you can use trolling flies at any depth. The white and pink marabou trolling flies are an excellent choice, especially for Rainbow Trout. You can rig these behind a wiggle disc. Using a Bobber Stop, you can adjust the wiggle disc, affecting the flies’ movements. For example, if you move the wiggle disc closer to the fly, you’ll get maximum action at a lower speed.
Here are other ways for you to optimize trolling flies when fishing for trout.
- Troll at 1.6 to 2.1 mph.
- Run your trolling flies slightly above the trout.
- You can use a dodger with your trolling flies instead of a wiggle disc.
- Use your flies on a topline with a single split shot when surface trolling.
- You can rig your flies on eight to ten fluorocarbon leaders behind the wiggle disc.
How to Troll a Worm and Dodger For Summer Trout Trolling
Worms and dodgers are a must on your fishing gear when you’re trout trolling. It can be effective in catching different sizes if you know how to rig and use these properly.
Two Common Mistakes in Worm Trolling
When worm trolling for trout, make sure to avoid these common mistakes:
1. Rigging the entire worm on the leader, making the bait three to four inches long. With this length, fish might bite at either the worm’s head or nip at the bottom only. So, it inhibits the fish from getting the hook completely into its mouth, defeating the purpose of the bait. You might end up doing many taps and pulls while fish hit the bait too hard yet remain free.
2. Rigging most of the worm on the leader while leaving its tail swinging off the hook. Rigging the worm this way allows the trout to nip the tail and completely miss the hook. The fish gets away with a snack, leaving you frustrated and needing to rig a new worm.
How to Properly Rig a Worm
Now that you are aware of the mistakes to avoid, here’s how to effectively rig a worm:
1. Break the worm in half and discard the tail part.
2. Rig the whole remaining part, about two inches long, on the leader.
3. Ensure that the bait is rotating in the water to attract your targets.
There’s a better chance for the larger fish to go for the entire bait and hook with these steps. Moreover, this ideal size of the worm on the leader can get you all sizes of trout. So, make sure to include worm trolling in your repertoire. It can also be your go-to technique if you don’t know the conditions in the water before setting out.
How to Pick Your Depth When Trolling for Trout in the Summertime
Choosing the depth when trolling for trout is pretty straightforward. The first thing to check is water temperature, ideally between 55 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Another thing to consider when picking depth is the overall lake depth. Knowing this will help you gauge where the fish are actively feeding so you can set up your baits.
If you’re trolling at 55° F to 65° F, you can immediately skip the lower two-thirds of three-fourths of the water column. Here’s an example of trolling depth by water temperature if the lake is 160 feet deep.
Suggested Water Temperature
Suggested Trolling Depth
8 to 18 ft.
18 to 20 ft.
20 to 25 ft.
When it comes to summertime trout trolling, the surface temperature may go over the ideal range. Because of this, you might only glimpse trout within 10 feet in the early mornings and during dusk.
As the temperature during the day reaches the highest, fish tend to drop down deeper in the water. But the afternoon breeze might invite them to get back up to the surface. The wind creating the current at the surface offers higher oxygen levels, preferable for trout.
Finally, different trout species tolerate various temperatures. For example, Browns can tolerate slightly warmer temperatures than Rainbows. Meanwhile, Cutthroats, Bulls, and Brooks feed in 30 to 40° F water temperature. These species tend to feed on different water depths.
How to Pick the Best Trout Trolling Speed
On trout trolling speed, the general strategy that works often is by starting fast. As you observe how the fish are baiting (or not), you can go down to medium, then slow, speed. Going through these can also help you identify how your spoons perform at different speeds.
Aggressively starting at high speeds allows you to get reaction strikes from active feeding fish. Fast speed ranges between 2.7 to 4 miles per hour. Within this range, choose your fast trolling spoons to get action from feeding trouts underwater.
If none of the fishing is baiting, you can slow down to medium speed, between 2.7 to 2 mph. Along with this step, you’ll also need to adjust your spoon size. The full-size Trigger Spoons and the quarter-ounce Kastmaster Spoons are perfect for medium speeds.
Suppose the medium speed stops working for you and you’re behind your daily limit. In this case, switch your speed to a slow range, between 2 to 1.3 mph. And, don’t forget to switch to slow trolling spoons.
Looking over this strategy, you’ll find you’ll need to switch to smaller lures as you move to slower speeds. And, if none of these speeds are catching fish, you can opt for nightcrawlers and run at one mph.
The Difference Between Mountain Lakes and Valley Lakes for Trout Trolling
You can go trout trolling at a mountain lake or a valley lake. Before setting out, make sure to know the difference between these two locations. So you’ll know how to prepare.
Mountain Lakes Trout Trolling
When trolling trout in mountain lakes, summer is the best time to catch Cutthroats, Rainbows, Brooks, and Browns. But depending on elevation, you might need to go through snowy hikes to reach your destination, even in mid-summer. Make sure to bring essentials such as:
- Extra clothing and food
- Knife, fire-starters, and matches
- Sunglasses and flashlights
- Map and compass
- First-aid kit
Additionally, you’ll need to contact the U.S. Forest Service office to know more about wilderness and access permits. Some guidelines protect the fragile vegetation near mountain lakes. So be sure you check and follow those.
Kayaks and pontoon boats prove to be effective in trolling spoons and flies in the summer. You might even catch 14-inch active Rainbows at a mountain lake.
Valley Lakes Trout Trolling
Unlike in mountain lakes which can get chilly even in the summertime, temperatures in valley lakes are pretty much expected. Since you won’t need to hike to higher elevations, preparing for trolling in valley lakes is much easier. It is where you can mostly use the best trout trolling techniques in summertime fishing. But, you’ll need to pick the right time to fish if you want to avoid the summer heat.
Picking the Right Time of Day to Troll for Trout in the Summer
Picking the right time is one of the best trout trolling techniques for summertime fishing. Generally, a great time to troll for trout is between 10 AM to 3 PM. It is when the water temperature goes up slightly. There is also an increased bug activity, which in turn increases minnows activity. All these happenings near the surface attract trout to come up and start feeding.
But in summer, the best time to troll for trout is in the early morning and late afternoon. It is when the water near the surface is cool enough for trout to feed. If the weather is overcast, cloudy, or even rainy, midday trolling is also an excellent time.
Furthermore, the summer heat can be pretty intense during middays. Despite the general choice of trolling late in the morning to mid-afternoon, skip fishing during middays in summer. Not only are the fish staying far below, but you’ll find the scorching heat unbearable, too.
How to Troll for Trout When It’s a Full Moon
More often, a full moon has adverse effects on trout bite. It is because these fishes prefer to feed at night when they are most comfortable in the darkness. Trout also have iris-free eyes that are suitable for low light conditions. With the full moon high in the sky, these fishes will feast and sleep the next day.
Does this mean you can skip trout fishing when it’s a full moon? No, not really. After all, a day out fishing is still better than spending your day at the couch. You can beat the effects of a full moon and have your feeding frenzy after with these easy tips.
Take the Two Bite Opportunities When Trout Trolling.
You have two bite opportunities to catch your trout even when it is a full moon. The first good opportunity is at early dawn, especially if you can observe a little chop on the water. Another excellent opportunity to troll trout is right in the afternoon, around 1 or 2 PM. Considering how trout had a feeding frenzy, these fishes will sleep in and become active in the afternoon.
Watch out for the Chop on Water Surface.
You can set out for trout trolling if you see the chop on the water surface. These waves carry food, such as minnows and insects, and dislodge larvae and nymphs from the water bottom. Trout will, then, follow the agitated waters to feed on this food. The two-bite opportunities are also most effective when the wind blows up a chop on the water.
Take it Easy on the Presentation.
There’s no need to start aggressively in trout trolling in the morning following the full moon. After all, you’re looking to catch the fish that have recovered from last night’s feast. And are actively feeding again. In this case, you’ll need to troll slowly, preferably at 1.6 to 1.8 mph.
Use Plenty of Flash.
Choose dodgers that offer plenty of flashes. Excellent examples are the Diamondback dodger and the silver dodger. A Diamondback dodger with a watermelon blade and a Dick Nite spoon combination provides plenty of colors and vibration. Meanwhile, the silver dodger trailing a rigged worm yields the same amount of flash as the Diamondback.
To help you go over the best trout trolling techniques for summertime fishing, here’s a recap:
- When picking dodgers, consider their versatility, size, color, and leader length.
- When fast trolling, carry five to six different spoons.
- When trout are off-bite, slow down to 1.5 to two mph and downsize your spoon.
- A spoon should imitate your bait, and its color should match the light and water conditions. For example, bright lights and clear waters call for bright lures.
- When choosing flies, go for those with plenty of fur and feathers as these flutter more in the water.
- Learn how to properly troll worms and dodgers and avoid the two common mistakes in rigging worms.
- Checking the water temperature is essential in choosing depth. Trout feed at 55° F to 65° F.
- A general strategy in choosing trolling speed starts with fast speeds. Then medium, and finally, slow. Match your spoons with your trolling speed.
- Trout trolling in mountain lakes and valley lakes differ in summertime temperature. As it is cold in mountain lakes, you’ll need to prepare well before venturing out, even in summer.
- The best time to troll trout in the summer is in the early morning and late afternoon.
- Chop on the water, slow trolling and flashy dodgers can help you catch trout in a full moon.