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Divemaster

Cowbells, gangtrolls, dodgers, flashers, spin'n'glows, flies, etc

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So far this year, we've been doing very well trolling for Lake Trout thanks to the help of everyone here who has posted on my previous threads. However, I feel that we may be able to bring even more fish to the boat if I added some new lures and attractors to my arsenal in order to diversify my spread. As of now, all of the Lakers we've caught this year have been on 3-6" spoons trolled at a higher speed than is typical for Lake Trout (2.5-3.0 mph). This presentation has been working great, but, I do want to add some other lures and attractors as well in order to see if it results in more and or larger fish (although I can't complain, of the 8 fish landed in a total of two days this season so far, the smallest has been 11.5 pounds and the largest was 25 pounds!). Locally (the Eastern Basin of Lake Erie fishing in eastern PA waters), I've been hearing that many guys including charter captains have been doing well using spin'n'glows or peanuts (or whatever they're called) behind Dodgers, of which I've never used or own either. My questions pertaining to these are: How fast do you troll them for Lakers? How much and how heavy of a leader from dodger to peanut and also downrigger ball to dodger? What size of each? What colors work the best? And what are some good brands and places to buy them?

 
I also know that many guys up on Lake Ontario will use cowbells/gang trolls for Lakers so earlier today I picked up a 60" 7-blade Luhr Jensen Dave Davis to familiarize myself with for next weekend. I really don't know much about these either but I figured I'd research how to fish them over the week and give it a try next time we're out. As far as cowbells go the questions I have are: How fast do I troll them? Is 60" a good length or should I go smaller like 36" or 48"? How much and how heavy of a mono or fluoro leader should I put behind them to the lures? What kind of lures do you troll behind them? And what are some good brands and places to buy them?
 
Moving on from Lake Trout, in preparation for the summer offshore Steelhead season, I want to start getting together lures to fish for them as well. We did great on Chromers with spoons and stickbaits last year but I see that many guys use flasher and fly combos, especially in the upper Great Lakes. For these I pretty much have the same questions as the previous lures: How fast do you troll them? What size flasher and fly? What colors work the best for Steelhead? How much and how heavy of a leader from flasher to fly and also downrigger ball to flasher? And what are some good brands and places to buy them?
 
Once again, sorry for the tremendous amount of questions and feel free to answer them in a couple sentences only sharing as much info as you'd like, I'm just looking for the basics, no need to post all of your secret combos and tactics, unless you want to haha. This is only my second year trolling and this crowd seems like the most knowledgeable group of people on the Internet for Great Lakes trolling, which is why I keep posting these question threads here.
 
Thanks again for the help!
-Sean

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Do you ever use bait when trolling for lakers? Up here on the northern shores of lake huron (near manitoulin) I do well using smelts. My favourite set up is using a big gold and silver williams with a 3ft leader line tied to a herring helmet with a smelt.

Ill often run 4 rods. And at least one of them will have a smelt to get that sent out. I'd say 80% of all the trout that comes in my boat are all caught on the smelt rig...

I've tried the cowbells several times without any luck...I think theres just too much going on. Maybe scares some of them? I dont know.. Could have just been a bad day who knows.

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33 minutes ago, klode said:

Do you ever use bait when trolling for lakers? Up here on the northern shores of lake huron (near manitoulin) I do well using smelts. My favourite set up is using a big gold and silver williams with a 3ft leader line tied to a herring helmet with a smelt.

Ill often run 4 rods. And at least one of them will have a smelt to get that sent out. I'd say 80% of all the trout that comes in my boat are all caught on the smelt rig...

I've tried the cowbells several times without any luck...I think theres just too much going on. Maybe scares some of them? I dont know.. Could have just been a bad day who knows.

I haven't tried it but I'd like to. Sadly, I don't have any access to smelt in my area so it's not really an option. Do you think frozen Creek Chubs would work? I've got plenty of them around me in SW PA that I could catch, freeze, and try with a bait rig.

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I ordered myself a pair of dodgers from Anglers Avenue last night to try out. Not expecting them to be here for this weekend, but hopefully they'll come for the next one. I ordered a green edge and a fire tiger, both silver horde dodgers, both have the "trash can" finish and either a silver/green or chartreuse size 0 spin n glo. Looking forward to trying them out, but from what I've heard about 1.5-1.7 mph is the speed to troll these, that's going to take some getting used to considering I've caught all of my Lakers in the 2.4-2.8 mph range.

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For Dodgers put them farther back fromthe ball or increase your leader to the fly / spin aans glow to allow higher trolling speeds.  We took a 17# laker last week trolling into a stiff current at 2.7 on the g p s (granted on a spin doctor and fly) but I run my Dodgers at 2.5-2.7 all the time.

 

You can slow down for Lakers but you don't have to.  Keep playing around and develop your own program.

 

I'm working on some new stuff for brown trout, seems stupid, can't wait to crack the nut.

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Flasher flies for steelhead are an exception and not the norm for me.  Continue with the spoons and plugs on those.

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5 hours ago, FBD said:

For Dodgers put them farther back fromthe ball or increase your leader to the fly / spin aans glow to allow higher trolling speeds.  We took a 17# laker last week trolling into a stiff current at 2.7 on the g p s (granted on a spin doctor and fly) but I run my Dodgers at 2.5-2.7 all the time.

 

You can slow down for Lakers but you don't have to.  Keep playing around and develop your own program.

 

I'm working on some new stuff for brown trout, seems stupid, can't wait to crack the nut.

Dodgers with spin'n'glos still work as well at that high speed? I thought they'd twist your line pretty bad and make full rotations instead of a lazy swing.

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They can.  I'm running 15' or so from the rigger and about 30" to the spin and glow.  I also use a couple beads and heavier hooks that most.  More weight behind the dodger keeps it kicking at higher speeds.

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Put a large split shot,buckshot sized, on the loop of the fly where it attaches to the dodger. This will allow you to troll faster and keep the dodger from spinning. Works great for kings as well. Learned this from an older savy charter capt.

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If memory serves me yet I used either 1/16 or 1/8 oz bell sinkers and just slid them on the pigs tale. If you have a specific fly you put the split shot right in front of the loop knot knot and leave the split shot on as a reminder that's it's a higher speed fly for lakers.

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4 hours ago, RedRider said:

Put a large split shot,buckshot sized, on the loop of the fly where it attaches to the dodger. This will allow you to troll faster and keep the dodger from spinning. Works great for kings as well. Learned this from an older savy charter capt.

Sent from my SCH-R970 using Great Lakes Fisherman Mobile App

Thanks for the tip, that'll be helpful for faster-hitting Lakers and Summer Chromers! So, attach the splitshot right on the loop of the fly/spin'n'glo at the end of the leader, or the loop where the dodger attaches to the top leader? Sorry, I've just never used these so I don't know all the terminology yet haha.

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 the loop where the dodger attaches to the top leader .   the weight at the end of the dodger will slow it from spinning.

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Cowbells and spin n glows trolled tight to the bottom at speeds less than 1.8 are the way to go to put numbers and bigger fish in the boat.  Dodgers and spin n glows work but not as good IMO. 

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How far off ball you guys running cowbells, tried them on Superior last time out, bouncing bottom with riggers, started close 10' couldn't get bit unless I was 40+' . I always run long leads on riggers now on other Riggs only cause it has increased my catch. When others say their riggers are dead, mine are lights out, sometimes 100'+ leads.

I'm sure over 100', this may change.

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I run them 5 - 25' back.  Running long leads gets them closer to the bottom (cowbells sink and the longer the lead, the more they sink).  If short leads are not working, keep the rigger ball within 5' of the bottom.  Cowbells lose there effectiveness once you are more than 5' off the bottom.  I have messed with this for years and found the number of hits goes way up when the ball is within 5'. 

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I was running them within 2 ft of bottom. Kept bumping to make sure, then would come up 1' or 2.

Both fish I caught hit right after bumping so I can see where it would work, but there was tons and I mean tons of smelt. Going to try a little deeper water next time out. Then I will bust out the 15# wts. Runing 12# for less. Also caught fish bumping bottom with Dipseys, wasn't using cowbells on them, Brads cut bait clean.

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