How to Use Dodgers to Catch Trout in California Lakes

Trout fishing in California has become a popular fishing sport because of the thrill of catching beautifully colored trouts. It is an excellent way to do outdoor exploring while spending your time with your family and friends. 

Trouts are one of the most famous fish preferred by fishing anglers. These fishes are present in most lakes, particularly in California Lakes. Among its species, rainbow trouts are broadly distributed, including their native subspecies. 

But the challenge lies in selecting an effective trout fishing setup and dodgers to attract and swing the fish. Hence, here are the best trout fishing tips to help any fishing fan get the best trouts using dodgers.  

What is Angler Fishing?

Anglers are fishermen that use the method of angling in catching fish. Angling is a fishing method that catches fish by an ‘angle’ or fish hook. The hook is secured to the fishing line and then to the fishing rod and reel. Angling is a popular sport fishing method, but commercial fishers also use angling techniques to catch fish. 

What is the difference between Angler Fishing vs. Fishermen Fishing?

Anglers are different from fishers or fishermen as they use special equipment and specific techniques to catch trophy-length fish. Fishers or fishermen use the typical methods of nets and traps to catch fish. Most anglers release their fish after capture and rarely place them inside a cooler unless injured or caught for food. This article will explain how anglers can catch trout using dodgers at their angling fishing methods. 

Types of Trouts

If you are fishing, there are a lot of trouts that you can fish in the California lakes. There are the:

  • Rainbow trout and its subspecies, the steelhead trout

The rainbow trout and its subspecies are among the most widely distributed trout types in the California lakes. Rainbow trouts have low mercury levels, have excellent omega three, and are safe fishes to eat. 

  • Brown and brook trouts
  • Kokanee trout

Trout Trolling Setup and Its Parts

Newbie anglers can start buying a good quality fly rod/reel combo, pre-spooled with a complementing weighted fly line and leader. A 9’ 5 or 6 weight rod, complementing reel, and the line will be adequate for north state water fishing. Moreover, you can add a wide variety of flies, necessary accessories, and dodgers to perform excellent trout catching.  

Trolling for Trout: The Basics

Trolling is a well-known technique for anglers to target trout by using a boat. It involves pulling a bait at the back of the ship at different speeds and depths for fish capture. Trolling lets fishers reach a wide area for fishing freshwaters like lakes. The angler can sit in front of the stern. Then, wait until the fish tugs in before pulling the bait. Trolling is a popular fishing sport in California. 

Trolling can be simple during late fall, winter, or early spring when the trout population moves in the upper water columns. However, fishing becomes difficult when hot weather increases the water temperature during late spring, summer, and early fall. 

Trouts tend to swim in the deep and cold water columns with increased oxygen. Only the anglers that use deep water and controlled depth techniques can reach these trouts and catch them. Furthermore, anglers can do fish locating strategies coupled with downriggers, lead-equipped fishing lines, and other divers to reach depths. 

The necessary steps to trolling are the following:

  1. Do troll as slow as you can while making sure that the lure works appropriately. Always check if the lures have the specific speed, width, and color for your target fish. 
  2. Attach the lure on the fishing line and the boat at the speed where you can observe the lure’s movement. 
  3. Another trolling technique involves placing the lure back at 150 feet behind the boat with slowing S turns. 
  4. Occasional pumping of the fishing rod can apply a pulsing movement that can attract the trout to strike. The trout may see that the ‘bait’ is attempting to escape on the rise of the tip. They may also sense the bait has ‘injury’ and moves back upon lowering the end, leading to trout capture. Spoons and crankbaits are popular choices for slow trolling, mostly if done on the shoreline’s contours. Aside from trout, bass and crappies are extra catches if done on those parts of the coastline.   

Besides, one great option to catch trouts is to determine the right dodger to pair up with your fishing gear. 

Dodgers: Purposes and Types

Most, if not all, anglers use dodgers to move the lure to action and attract fish. This video from Fish Hunt Shoot Productions specifically shows this basic technique. Dodgers have three primary purposes:

  1. Dodgers move along in the water and send an impulse that sounds like a feeding fish. The fish becomes curious and sees the bait moving behind the dodger, and attempts a strike. 
  2. Dodgers entice the fish through the fly attached to it. The fish senses the fly from afar and comes over to view the fly and catch the bait. 
  3. Dodgers provide movement to lures that have a little action in the water. Dodgers move back and forth in the waters along with the lure and catch the trout’s attention toward capture. 

There are many dodgers present in the market. Nevertheless, this article focuses on presenting the dodger types according to color, width, style, and target fish.

Herring Dodgers

Luhr Jensen herring dodgers are excellent choices for trout fishing. You can slow down its movement speed to get more action across the waters for a good catch. For an increased movement of the dodger, you can bend it down towards the center. Once you are done fishing, you can straighten the blade out to maintain its form. 

Sling Blade Dodgers

You can use a Shasta Tackle Sling Blade Dodger in trout fishing. It has a slim and straight shape. This sling blade also offers tight control and movement of your bait with less resistance from the wind. It can troll about 2 ½ to 3 miles an hour with little interruptions from its potential catch.  

A wide-sized sling blade dodger, about 4 to 8 inches, can swing a lot in the water. It can attract more trout from its movement, ensuring a sure fish strike.  

Color of Dodgers and Target Fish

You can also choose the color of dodgers based on the type of fish you want to catch. 

Kokanee Trout

For kokanee trout fishing, you can select from a wide variety of colors to attract the fish. Nonetheless, be careful in choosing as too much color can scare the kokanee away. 

  • For early morning fishing, you can use Mack’s Lure Gold Dodger to entice the trout. 
  • Subtle colors like brass and red combinations are suitable for the rest of the day. These colors may mimic fish colors but are not too flashy to scare trouts.  

Rainbow Trout and King Salmon

It is better to have the colors simple just discreetly to attract them for fishing other trout types.

  • Dodger color combinations like chrome and green, chrome and brass, and white are subtle enough to entice trouts and ensure their catch. 
  • A 6-inch Big Bite Baits works best in catching a king salmon. You can also use this dodger at any lake that you decide to catch fish.     

Catching Trout Using Dodgers

However, trolling flies had little action in the waters. They may need an action disc, attractor blader, or constant pump to improve the fly’s movement to attract a strike. Anglers can use a dodger behind the bait to ensure trout fishing success, thanks to this video by Addicted Fishing

Proper Dodger Placement 

It is not enough to choose the dodger with the best colors and width to do the trick. One of the important things to observe is the proper placement of the dodger. 

Setting up the dodger along the fishing line ensures that the mainline is directly tied to the dodger. Instead, the dodger should be free from objects in front of it, as these objects can affect its movement. The dodger can freely swing back and forth and move if there are no hindrances. 

You can put Scotty Downrigger Small Snubbers in front or behind the dodger to prevent the hook from slipping from the fish’s mouth. Snubbers are fine, as long as these are small enough not to cause interference in the dodger’s movement. 

You can also place dodgers in front of Acme Kastmaster Rigging Baits, which has little action due to its straight tubes. Dodgers give rigging bait free movement and some color flash to ensure a fish strike and catch. Make sure to attach the rig 2 to 3 times behind the dodger blade to secure its free flow. 

Traditional lures are great fishing baits to attach with the dodgers. Just place the bait at a 30-inch leader behind a 6-inch sling blade. Then, put it 30 inches back on the dodger and settle it in the waters. Dodgers vibrate and mimic a moving fish and provide enough flash to attract the potential catch.  

Recommended Dodger Movement

Dodgers should swivel sideways in the waters, so fishes will think that another fish is moving and attracted. You can attach dodgers to a boat and go for a 1.2 miles per hour movement without breaking the fishing lines. Brands like Brad’s Kokanee Dodger can be very useful in catching trout. It comes in different color options from gold, chrome, white, and pink.  

Yet, it would be best if you used dodgers at a specific range. Dodgers are only good at catching fish at a small range at a constant boat speed. Choose for a dodger that has a wide fishing range. It should flow at boat speeds of 1.2 to 1.6 miles per hour, even with a rigid boat or wind movements. The dodger should maintain constant shaking to attract the fish to bite the bait.

Once the speed of the boat increases, sustaining the attachment and pull of the dodger is challenging. Next, maintain the dodger with the proper swing to keep the bait secured.  

Use a long leader line, about 9 to 10 inches, for Luengo Multi-Color Hoochie Lures or small spinners. Otherwise, if you prefer using dodgers, it is advisable to use a short leader. If the dodger pulses, the short leader can easily pull and swing the lure to action. 

Consider a dodger that can move for about 1 to 1.8 miles per hour for waters with greater depths. Dip the dodger and bait at a minimum of 3 feet with less swivel of your arms. Hence, this method will help you reach greater water depths while securing your fishing leader lines. 

Finally, always choose dodgers with the right shape, blade thickness, and good swing to attract fish and ultimately catch it. 

Best Lakes to Fish for Trout

The best enormous lakes for trout fishing in California are the Shasta, Trinity, and Lake Almanor. These lakes are open all year round of angling. On the other hand, Eagle Lake is a perfect go-to for rainbow trout-catching. However, it has a limited angling period. 

Other lakes that provide excellent trout catching are Lewiston and Baum Lakes and lakes in Northern Sierras and Intermountain areas. 

Final Words

Trout fishing is a popular sport and pastime because of the abundance of trout in California waters. There are many methods in catching trouts, which include trolling. Additionally, trolling involves the use of fishing lines attached to boats. You can also speed up the catching process by choosing the good dodgers to attract the trouts. Again, consider the shape, blade thickness, swinging range, and tolerated boat speed to select the suitable dodger for your needs. 

In summary, choose the best dodgers in the market now and have a hassle-free trout trolling experience in California Lakes!

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