Effective Techniques For Rainbow Trout Trolling Without Downriggers

Some anglers consider downriggers necessary when rainbow trout or trout in general. Although this may be true, this may dishearten others who do not have and use one. 

Downriggers can play a good role in rainbow trout catching. But you may not need these throughout the year. For one thing, there can be times and moments that these rainbow trout do not stay at great depth. As a result, it makes these trout easy targets without having to use downriggers.

Trout Trolling Overview

Trolling is the common method to catch rainbow trout. After all, many anglers would want to keep things simpler. In essence, trout are within the range most of the time, where you can also apply other fishing methods.

Can you troll rainbow trout without downriggers? Utilizing downriggers can make your fishing line go at a deeper length. Yet, these are expensive, and you cannot use them for kayaks or smaller boats. In fact, you can troll for rainbow trouts without downriggers. And there are other options available.

Many anglers believe that a light rod is best used in fishing. But light fishing rods do not work. From Addicted Fishing, it’s ideal to use four to five ounces of lead to catch trout deep in the water. The technique also works for Kokanee. 

When the fish gets hooked in the fishing, your rod should have extra shock absorption. Otherwise, you’ll lose your catch. Moreover, the heavier rod serves as your backbone that allows for a bigger catch. At the same time, the shock absorption keeps the catch on the hook. This way, you can keep the tension while still having shock absorption.

A line counter is also a good tool for locating your lure and determining how many lines are used. Read more to find out other options to troll for rainbow trout.

How to Troll for Rainbow Trout Without Downriggers 

Using downriggers is not required for fishing rainbow trout. The first thing to remember is that trouts do not exert much energy to feed themselves. They tend to go after the food that they can catch the easiest. As a result, you can troll for rainbow trout if you can get your lure close to where they are. 

Use Flat Line Fishing for Trout Trolling

The easiest way to catch rainbow trout that’s shallow in the waters is flat line fishing. When the water is cold during spring, trout are likely to eat and stay in the shallow area close to the land. On the positive side, it enables anglers to reach trout just by using bait or a tackle. For this reason, a flatline technique is effective. It’s essential due to the shallow areas that the trout stay in. 

Simply put, a flat line is a method of trout trolling and placing the line behind the boat while having a lure. This method is the simplest way of trolling. There are no complicated tools required for the method. It’s applicable for many types of boats, like a kayak. To emphasize, it’s most effective for smaller bodies of water. Plus works better when trout are staying along the shoreline.

How does Flat Lining Work?

Flatlining is done with a tackle, trolling rods, and line counters. Moreover, you can also apply casting and spinning rods.

First, place the lure to the fishing line, like a spoon or a spinner. Second, release an estimate of 25 to 50 feet of the line slowly. Then, put the fishing rod in the holder while anticipating a catch.

It doesn’t make flatlining any less productive, even if it’s less complicated. Also, it has various benefits that make it effective.

  • This spreads out fishing lines that cover bigger scope. 
  • With a flat line, there’s no need for any complicated and costly tools.
  • It can be used for almost any type of boat, like canoes, kayaks, and jet skis. 
  • The method can be used for many species like Kokanee and trout.

What’s the Speed for Flat Lining?

The most effective speed for flatline ranges from 1.3 to 3 mph. You may begin working slowly between 1.5 to 1.8 mph and increase the speed if there’s no movement. Furthermore, the standard speed for 2 to 2.5 mph, but the speed may vary based on the wind, current, and pressure.


Like downriggers, planers have a reel and an extra line to deploy. Now, a planer is closely packed that does not weigh much. As such, it’s a better method for smaller baits and lures. It can spread out the lines apart from one another, thereby allowing bigger scope.

Planers are best to use if you’re fishing with a group of people. More so, planers drag your lines further away from the boat. Thereby enabling you to use several lines without tangles. 


When used in trolling, dodgers are like big spoon lures that add depth and action. As a matter of fact, dodgers enable you to reach large trout as you fish in deeper water. You can target a variety of species given their different size types. 

To use it, first, place it on the mainline. Second, affix the leader to the other end of the dodger. Third, place the lure on the leader.

Lake Troll Flasher

Lake troll flasher has several inline spinners. Using this tool is a combination of the benefits of the other methods that provide bait to trout. 

First, place the lake troll to the mainline. Second, attach the leader to the lake troll, then connect the action disc and bobber stop. Lastly, place the fly. 

Trout Trolling: What Fishing Lures Should You Use? 

Picking out lures is one of the most difficult decisions to make in catching trout. It’s important to realize that there are various baits in depth, size, and color. The standard range of stick baits is between four to seven inches. Moreover, anglers mirror the food of the fish when picking out lures. 

Another key point is that lures with vivid colors are known to be effective in trolling. For example, the colors red or green as lures can get trout’s attention compared with other colors. You may also inquire in your nearby bait stores for other colors. Because aside from colors, there are other tips when choosing a lure.

Other Tips for Trout Trolling

There is a lot to learn with the many techniques you can use, especially when getting started. Because of that, here are a few more tips to start on trolling without using downriggers.

  • Your turns should be wide, not sharp. For instance, you should prevent sharp turns if you use many fishing lines to avoid tangles. Sharp turns can also place your fishing lines in the prop of your boat. It’s important to think twice before making turns.
  • You should use multiple rod holders, for it’s best to use fewer poles. Multiple poles make trolling difficult. That is when you’re already making turns or fighting a catch. 
  • Lower your fishing line. If you have a significant amount of catch and you move it, your fishing line will end up getting tangled. Place your fishing line slowly for a few seconds, pause to place your bait properly. Repeat the process until you’ve reached your desired depth. 

Slowing down your speed will create less movement that enables your divers to sink in the water. Know that as you try to lure catch, the balance of getting the right speed and depth is not an easy task.

Trout Trolling with the Small Diameter Fishing Line 

A fishing line has different compatibility, benefits, and disadvantages. If you are targeting fish in deep waters, fishing line diameter matters. A fishing line with a larger diameter tends to create movement and resistance as you pull it in the water. As a result, it may create tangles that hinder your line from reaching deeper.

For this reason, troll with the smallest diameter fishing line possible. This reduces drag and resistance when you pull the line through the water. For a monofilament line, select the lowest pound test that you can find. 

A braided fishing line has the advantage of a smaller diameter with sufficient strength. 


The most common way to catch rainbow trout is by trout trolling. It has been a popular method in fishing that covers a greater area of water that allows for more catch. But, anticipating the big catch might seem like a whole lot of tasks. Hence, there are downriggers to make fishing in greater depths more manageable.

Many anglers may want to keep fishing less complicated. Yes, without the use of downriggers. Downriggers are not cheap at all. But it’s possible to troll for rainbow trout without downriggers. Flatline fishing, planers, dodgers, lake troll flashers are also good. And other methods make it possible to fish without such.

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