How Fast Can You Troll With A Downrigger – Best Guide 2023

Downriggers are a trolling tool many fishermen use to help them catch fish. This blog post will explore: how fast can you troll with a downrigger. Also, what the ideal trolling speed is for different types of fish? We’ll also know from experts on the best speeds to troll for certain species. So, read on if you want to know how fast to troll with your Downrigger!

Trolling Speeds

The ideal trolling speed for catching different species of fish varies. Generally, the slower you troll, the deeper your bait will swim and the better the chance of catching a fish. Some fish, like walleye, are more responsive to faster speeds. Besides, certain water conditions or times of day may also influence your trolling speed.

Experts suggest that trolling with a downrigger at 1.5 to 2 miles per hour is ideal for most fish species. This slow and steady approach allows the bait to remain in the strike zone for longer. It increases your chances of a bite. For certain species like walleye, it may be best to troll a little faster, between 2.5 and 3 mph.

How Fast Can You Troll With A Downrigger?

For fruitful trolling with a downrigger, it’s important to ensure you are doing it at the right speed. The speed at which you can troll with a downrigger depends on many factors. These include the size and weight of your boat, the depth of water, and the type of fish you are targeting. This article will discuss how fast you can troll with a downrigger to maximize success. So, read on for more information!

Best Speeds for 11 Popular Game Fish

Best Speeds for 11 Popular Game Fish

There are many things to consider when trying to catch a game fish. The bait to use, what colour line, and where to cast your line are all important decisions while trolling. And these selections need to be specific for the particular fish in mind. But one factor often overlooked is what speed to use when trolling or casting. It can be an important consideration for beginners in particular. They may not know which speeds work best for different kinds of fish. In this blog post, we will take a look at the best speeds for 11 popular game fish. This information will help you catch more and bigger fish!

Trolling Speed Chart For 11 Popular Game Fish

Fish SpeciesSpeed Range for TrollingIdeal Trolling Speed
Walleye0.5 to 3 mph2.0 mph
Lake trout1.0 to 3.0 mph1.7 mph
Brown trout0.8 to 2.5 mph2.2 mph
Rainbow trout0.6 to 2.5 mph1.5 mph
Tiger trout0.8 to 2.5 mph1.2 mph
Kokanee0.8 to 2.0 mph1.8 mph
Coho salmon2 to 4 mph3.3 mph
Chinook salmon1.5 to 3.5 mph2.5 mph
Northern pike2.0 to 4.0 mph2.4 mph
Muskie1.5 to 5 mph3.0 mph
Crappie0.5 to 1.2 mph0.7 mph

Experts’ View On Ideal Trolling Speed

Experts have varying views on ideal trolling speed when it comes to fishing. It depends on the type of fish that is being sought, as well as the size of the lake. Generally, one should travel at a slow speed for trolling. Some believe a slower pace can attract the desired fish species more effectively. On smaller lakes, a speed of about one mile an hour could be ideal. A slower speed may even be necessary for tighter areas, such as around points where currents gather. 

Experts also vary on how often one should change speeds while trolling. But they agree it should not happen more than two or three times during a single pass. As always with fishing techniques, no one set a rule that applies universally. And experimentation can often yield good results. 

The exact trolling speed depends on other factors as well. They are boat size, water temperature, and gear type. But, most experts agree that 3 knots are the golden standard to ensure the greatest chances of success.

How Effective Are Downriggers For Catching Fish

Downriggers are a great fishing tool for anyone looking to catch more fish. They are effective in achieving their purpose. They help to get your bait or lure down closer to the fish at depths that may otherwise be inaccessible. It can help target fish that live and hunt near the bottom of the lake, such as salmon, trout, and walleye.

Downriggers use a weight, also known as an outrigger. These are fitted to a cable that attaches to a rod holder or the boat. When released, they drop down quickly into the water before engaging a small brake. Then slowly lowering your bait or lure at your desired line depth.

With this technique, your bait goes straight and true on its way down. It provides an advantage over other traditional methods like free-spooling or trolling. It allows you to cover more water with greater accuracy and efficiency. All in all, downriggers again prove effective for catching abundant fish!

Downriggers’ Versatility

Downriggers are an invaluable asset to anglers and fishermen alike. It offers significant advantages over other rigging techniques. Downriggers allow for precise, effective control of bait or lure depth. This incredible versatility can pay off when trying to target species that live at different depths, such as salmon and lake trout. 

Downriggers can also place lures in current breaks, eddies, and other hotspots wherein fish like to hide. The most attractive benefits of Downriggers may come from time savings. Downriggers save hours spent re-baiting and resetting rigs to get deeper water faster. As such, downriggers often prove themselves more than worth the investment!

Downrigger Fishing Tips And Technique

Downrigger Fishing Tips And Technique

Downrigger fishing is an effective way to target deep-dwelling fish that may otherwise be difficult to catch. We can deploy Downrigger from many types of platforms. From boats and docks to kayaks and paddleboards. Downrigger fishing requires the use of heavier weights than traditional trolling. So you’ll need a strong rod and backbone. It will help set and play out these heavier rigs. Downriggers also need an understanding of basic rigging methods. These can be tying knots and snelling hooks. So, first-timers should practice before they hit the water. Keeping proper length-to-depth ratios in mind when setting up a Downrigger is important. Longer Downriggers will provide greater depth control. It will enable packing a tremendous amount of line on their spindles. Downriggers are crucial equipment for any angler’s kit. It is because they may assist you in covering deeper depths than flying or casting lines alone.


Where to mount Downriggers

When setting up your Downrigger, deciding on the correct placement is key. Depending on the type of boat you are using, you can mount downriggers in a variety of ways. For boats with transoms, the recommendation is to mount downriggers to the stern. And then adjust the height. But, for boats with side rails, mounting the Downrigger directly on them is often ideal. You will also need to consider the size of your boat when making this decision. It is because larger vessels may need more than one Downrigger to cover all areas. 

Downriggers- Deployment Of Fishing Line

Once you have chosen where to mount your downriggers, it’s time to deploy your fishing line. There are several different techniques you can use. The most common one is the “cannonball” method. It slowly lowers the weight attached to the fishing line until it reaches the desired depth. Then released at an angle, it circles your boat in a circular pattern. It allows your bait to spread out and cover more ground. It increases your chances of hooking up with more fish.

Choice of Depth

Choice of Depth

The depth and speed of your trolling decide the success of your downrigger fishing. Slow speed at a shallower depth is worth it if you target shallow-dwelling species like smallmouth bass. But, a faster speed at a greater depth is often favored for deeper-dwelling species such as salmon or lake trout. It may take trial and error to determine the best trolling speed for your Downrigger. And once you find it, you’ll catches will be great!


Q: What Is The Best Speed To Troll At?

The best trolling speed for a downrigger depends on the fish species you are targeting. A slow speed at a shallower depth works better for shallow-dwelling species like bass. But, for deeper-dwelling species such as salmon or lake trout, a faster speed at greater depths may be more effective. It may take trial and error to determine the best trolling speed for your Downrigger. 

Q: What Speed Do You Troll For Mahi?

A slow trolling speed of 1.5 to 2 mph is usually recommended for Mahi. You should also set your Downrigger at an appropriate depth depending on the location and water conditions. You may need to experiment with different speeds and depths to find what works best for you. 

Q: What Is The Best Speed To Troll For Lake Trout?

A faster-trolling speed of 2.5-3 mph for lake trout is generally recommended. You should also adjust the depth of your Downrigger depending on the location and water conditions. As with any species, you may need to experiment with different speeds and depths to find what works best for you. 

Q: Can You Use Downriggers On A Kayak?

Yes, you can use downriggers on kayaks. The main difference is that you must mount them to the side of the kayak. Not mounting them onto the stern or transom. It would be best if you also chose a smaller, more portable downrigger that is well-suited for use in a kayak. With some trial and practice, you will succeed in using downriggers to catch fish from a kayak. 

Q: Can You Troll For Trout In A River?

Yes, you can use downriggers to troll for trout in rivers. But, in such a situation, you must coordinate your trolling speed with the depth of water. Choose a lighter weight for your Downrigger depending on the current speed of the river. With some practice with downriggers, your trout catching in the river will succeed. 

Q: How Far Behind The Downrigger Should The Lure Be?

The distance between the lure and the Downrigger depends on several factors. The species of fish you are targeting, water depth, speed, and other variables. Trolling the lures between 20-50 feet behind the Downrigger is advisable. But, this can vary depending on the specific situation, and some may need experimentation.

Final Thoughts

Downriggers are versatile, and many anglers use them to catch various game fish. We have seen in this review that there is no ‘one size fits all answer to the question- how fast can you troll with a downrigger? The experts have different opinions on what the ideal trolling speed is. But these are only guidelines, and finally, it comes down to experimentation and finding what works best for you. Please write in the comment box below if you have any questions or observations regarding how fast can you troll with a downrigger. We would love to hear from you!

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