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Salmon and Lake Trout trolling rods.

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Old 04-09-2017, 07:25 AM
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Default Salmon and Lake Trout trolling rods.

A friend of mine is in the process of getting his new Grady White Gulfstream 23 outfitted to use on Lake Superior. The plan is to run 2 downriggers, 2 Dipsey Diver rods and 2 trolling boards that will have lead line in the warm months.


What are your thoughts about the correct rod for each of these positions/uses? We would like to know what lengths, action, and even brand/models that you would pick? And why?


For reels, we were thinking size 20s for the downriggers and Dipseys and maybe size 30s for the boards with lead core. Is that correct?
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Old 04-09-2017, 08:15 AM
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Be ready for the onslaught of rod and reel opinions. You will hear so many options, you will end up back where you started.

Bottom line, figure out the budget first and figure all you will need for terminal tackle. With that being said, you don't need to spend a ton of money to get decent quality salmon gear, however, you usually get what you pay for.

At the top end, you have the Shimano Talora rods matched with Shimano Tekota reels. Daiwa Saltist and Okuma Coldwater in contention.

Midrange would be the Okuma Convector reels matched with the GTR rods.

Low end would be Bass Pro, Cabelas, or Gander branded gear.

Honorable mention goes to Ugly Stick for decent rods at a good value point.

I prefer shorter rods as the customers seem to manage them better. I like 7' ML on the downriggers with a 20 size reel. Dipsey rods are MH slow action with a 30 size line counter. 7' for the inside rod and 9' for the outside rod. The lead core rods are MH with a fast action tip and large guides for the lead and copper to easily pass through. Also 7'. Both Shimano and Okuma make specialty rods for each presentation and they do very well.

Don't forget to set up the "SWR" or "2-Baller" rod which is 2-3 colors of lead core on a downrigger. Deadly for Kings.

You could possibly expand your planer board spread using differing lengths of lead core and copper to cover more of the water column. Have a mix of 5,8,10, and 13 colors of lead and 150' to 400' of 45# copper. My usual summer spread is 6 planer with lead and copper, 4 dipsey rods (1 braid, 1 stainless, and 2 slide divers). 1 downrigger and 1 SWR. If your going for Lake Trout, nothing beats the 1lb ball "bottom bouncer" rig.
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Old 04-09-2017, 04:09 PM
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popeyeiii.... Thank you for your detailed reply.... I really appreciate that!


I am unfamiliar with 1 of your techniques: "Don't forget to set up the "SWR" or "2-Baller" rod which is 2-3 colors of lead core on a downrigger. Deadly for Kings."


Would you explain how I need to rig for doing that?


On Superior's north shore, for much of the season, we will probably be fishing for Lakers most often.
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Old 04-09-2017, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by ManBearPig View Post
A friend of mine is in the process of getting his new Grady White Gulfstream 23 outfitted to use on Lake Superior. The plan is to run 2 downriggers, 2 Dipsey Diver rods and 2 trolling boards that will have lead line in the warm months.


What are your thoughts about the correct rod for each of these positions/uses? We would like to know what lengths, action, and even brand/models that you would pick? And why?


For reels, we were thinking size 20s for the downriggers and Dipseys and maybe size 30s for the boards with lead core. Is that correct?
Did you see these : http://www.thehulltruth.com/fishing-...=#post10114099
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Old 04-10-2017, 11:47 AM
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I run mostly Okuma Convector's on my charter boat. 20 size for riggers, 35 for wire divers and 45 or 55 for cores and copper. I put them on Diawa Wilderness rods, the whole setup is only about 85 bucks. The rods and reels I get through Frank's Great Outdoor's and they will ship them. I have Shimano Tekotas and Okuma Coldwater reels too but for the price the Convector's are a great, durable set-up. Lakers don't need anything fancy either. When I fish superior we run riggers for lakers, I will put extra's on my boat for them, diver's are ok and boards work too, but mostly steelhead and coho on those. Where are you fishing out of? I run out of Grand Marais, MI. we run to Caribou Shoals, Big Reef and even Stannard Rock from there, LOVE those redfin lakers, one of my favorite fish to eat.
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Old 04-10-2017, 01:18 PM
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I like Ugly Stik BWD1101's paired with Shimano TR-200G's for downriggers. Decent quality that won't break the bank and the rods load up really nice on a rigger. I am actually using those combos for saltwater Spanish Mackerel now and they are holding up well.

Had a pair of 10' Taloras paired with Diawa Great Lakes 47LC's (no longer made) for divers. You will definitely want linecounters for this application. The Convectors and GL47LC's are base models that require drag upgrades to be decent. Diawa Sealine 47LC's are good out of the box, but pricier. I would stay away from the Accudepths, unless they've gotten better in the last 7 years.

My wire divers were Okuma Blue Diamond 8' 6" with Convector CN-30's (upgraded drags). Again, not top-of-the line but adequate enough for the weekend salmon angler.

Leadcore - no line counters needed here. Anything 5 colors or less try and find the old Diawa 47's. Awesome reels! Penn 320gti's are good too. If you are really on a budget, Penn 209's do the trick and can be purchased used for next to nothing, but they are painfully slow. For more than 5 colors, I liked my Convector CV55's. Nice big handles and a fast retrieve rate. I used them for copper too, until I decided I hated that stuff so much that I stopped running it. For rods, you need something fairly stout. I had some Shimano TDR-1802's that worked great for half cores. I don't remember what I used for my full cores, but they were just a basic 8'6" med-heavy rod. For 2 or 3 colors you can use just about anything.
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Old 04-10-2017, 04:34 PM
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Ugly sticks are the best bang for the buck! My go to rod for many things. Only down side is their weight and thats not an issue in some applications.
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Old 04-10-2017, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by ManBearPig View Post

I am unfamiliar with 1 of your techniques: "Don't forget to set up the "SWR" or "2-Baller" rod which is 2-3 colors of lead core on a downrigger. Deadly for Kings."
You take a downrigger rod, and spool it with mono as you normally would, then tie on 2-3 colors of lead core, then tie on 10'-20' of fluorocarbon leader. Attach it to the downrigger just before the lead core and send her down.

The idea is the lead core will pull the bait down below the ball for a stealthy presentation. Not really needed for lake trout, but works well on Kings and suspended steelhead.


For lakers, Get yourself some 11" plastic paddles. Any color will work as long as it's white.... Run a 4' leader to a large spin-n-glow and a 3' skirt. Best colors for spin-n-glows is white, bright green, and Pink, but anything can work on any given day.

The same setup with a Luhr-Jensen in hammered or trashcan also work well, if you can find them.....

These rigs get ran on the bottom. You want to let your downrigger out until it just hits the bottom. You don't want to drag it, but you want it to bounce. Works will with about a 2' chop. Troll at 1.7 to 2.3 kts.

You can do the same with a dipsey. I used to use the Magnum size Walker Deeper Diver. Get that sucker bouncing on the bottom.
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Old 04-11-2017, 04:45 AM
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Popeyeiii has some good info, we have too muck rock to bounce bottom where I fish though, keep stuff within 10 feet and you're golden. The trashcan dodger's are hard to find, Yeck makes some now and are available, just not in many stores. I get them from Cold Water Tackle, Yeck tin can, 7 3/4". As for Convector's needing drags replaced, it's the Magda's that are bad and need them gone through.
http://www.coldwatertackle.com/yeck-dodgers
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Old 04-11-2017, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by guppyii View Post
Popeyeiii has some good info, we have too muck rock to bounce bottom where I fish though, keep stuff within 10 feet and you're golden. The trashcan dodger's are hard to find, Yeck makes some now and are available, just not in many stores. I get them from Cold Water Tackle, Yeck tin can, 7 3/4". As for Convector's needing drags replaced, it's the Magda's that are bad and need them gone through.
http://www.coldwatertackle.com/yeck-dodgers


Actually it was the early Convectors... the CN series vice CV. The CV series improved the drags, but I had issues with the levelwinds on those. I never used Magdas for anything but walleyes, which don't really require drag. Come to think of it, you don't really need drag for lakers either.

Yellow always caught the most Lake Michigan greaseballs for me, not that I was trying to catch them (except when we needed a pig come tourney time and then we only got little ones).
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Old 04-11-2017, 02:28 PM
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I run mostly Tekotas on Talora rods and have a few Convectors on Okuma Classic rods for some lead cores. On riggers I like to use Shimano Charter Specials because I like the lever drags. I set them to desired drag while dropping the ball to keep the rod loaded, then push it all the way up to desired drag for trolling. It is fast to reset riggers this way.

I use mostly 8 ft or 8.5ft for coppers and lead, and 7ft roller for wire divers and 8 ft for braid divers. The TDR rods are okay and are cheap (like $60 for a pair of two cheap).

I am happy to post exact setups that work for me if you decide to go Shimano. I would get a couple of different combos to see what you like fishing with.
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Old 04-15-2017, 06:41 AM
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I like the Shimano Tekotas on th Talora rods. Make certain you have the line counters, it is much easier.
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Old 04-15-2017, 12:33 PM
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I only use counters on my diver rods. Some guys use them on rigger rods too, but I don't think it's necessary the way I fish.

Some people don't like the placement of the line counters on the Tekotas because the way they hold the rod it is in their left wrist.
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Old 04-17-2017, 05:05 PM
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Lot of good info here guys.... Thank you!


He is going to be keeping his boat in the Silver Bay harbor on the north shore up from Duluth. I think that he will occasionally trailer up the Hwy so he can fish Isle Royale island.


The lakers in this area tend to be leaner and larger than the ones in Lake Michigan. A better fight as well, but not like a big salmon. The salmon in this area tend to be much smaller Lake Michigan's because of the environment differences.


He still hasn't pulled the trigger on the rods and reels yet, so and additional thoughts will be passed along to him.
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Old 04-18-2017, 09:43 AM
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Isle Royal... 7 ft spinning rod, 10lb mono, with a J13 Orange/Gold Rap and a 3 oz bottom bouncer. Sweep the rod forward and then follow it back, repeat. Taken over 15 30+lb lakers off the island for us. That is fun.
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Old 04-18-2017, 10:56 AM
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I have family scattered along the North Shore. Silver Bay, Schroeder, Tofte, etc.
Here's a couple fish we took off Isle Royal last summer. Not me in the pics.
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Old 04-29-2017, 11:52 AM
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Lots of good information here. My boat runs takotas on the boards and saltist on the riggers for retrieve ratio. The diawas are much faster retrieve ratio.

The convectors are a very good value for the average fisherman.

I run almost all ugly sticks simply because of toughness and forgiveness. The talora rods are nice but clients tend to beat the stuffing out of everything....

Good luck!
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Old 04-29-2017, 03:52 PM
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Old 04-30-2017, 10:27 AM
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for copper line and leadcore I run shimano torium 50s they will take up a bunch of line when you have the copper or lead out on a board.
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Old 04-30-2017, 06:35 PM
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I'm fishing Superior every weekend, okuma cold water rods and reels with line counters rods and reels will handle anything there, including some big musky we've encountered lately. Size 45 for most everything, better to have too much line that not enough or room to stack leadcore on if needed.
Fish are up high this time of year, planer boards and stick baits are your friend. Xraps size 8 and 10, orange pink and clown work well. Watermelon bay rats and gold bomber long A too. In a few months transition to flasher fly setups for salmon in the water column. start bangin sand with downriggers or dipsys.about this time too with flasher and spin glos for the grease pigs.
I've got plenty of info if you need it for fishing the North and South shore. PM me if you have questions.
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