Video: How to Troll for Spring Trout and Salmon

A three-person crew of fishing buddies take their project boat out for an early spring day on the lake

Luke Bizzel and his fishing buddies, Steve Schapiro and Tony Cosgrave, are dedicated fly fishermen, but they all grew up trolling big lakes in the northeastern US. A few years back, the friends pooled their resources and picked up a Sea Swirl Striper 2600 and rigged it to fish. It hasn’t been all smooth sailing—with all the difficulties and expenses that boat ownership comes with—but it has been a great way for the friends to stay connected and chase fish around the lakes they grew up on.  

These long, deep lakes were carved into the rolling hills by glaciers roughly 15,000 years ago. They hold a great variety of native and introduced fish species, including landlocked Atlantic salmon, lake trout, plus rainbows and browns. Between healthy populations of wild reproducing fish and robust stocking programs, the lakes provide anglers with incredible fishing opportunities and sustainable table fare year-round. 

We joined Luke and the boys for a whirlwind tour of their home water, and learned about some of the gear and methods they use for trolling the lakes. While trolling is unfairly maligned in some fishing circles for being a “lazy” way of fishing, Luke, Steve, and Tony show that couldn’t be further from the truth. With vigilance and constant adjustment, the crew watches the sonar, corrects the speed and course of the boat, and sets up and changes rods and lures until they find a winning combination. Whether using weighted copper or lead core line, anchored downriggers, or flat-lining planner boards, the crew utilizes all the tricks of the trade to get fish in the boat.

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