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Kokanee and Trout Downrigger Fishing Tips

Kokanee and Trout Downrigger Fishing Tips

By Gary Miralles

Targeting lakes during the summer months can be rewarding, however fishing deep water requires special equipment. Leadcore, weights and divers can help you get to the depths required to catch fish, but consistency can be an issue.

Downriggers are obviously the most proficient way to work the thermocline effectively. They put you at the exact depth you require and with downriggers, you can fish multiple rods and lures at the same time.

Typical trout and kokanee downrigger setup for fishing multiple rods

A typical thermocline for trout and kokanee is 20- to 60-feet. With that in mind, here's a typical set up with two downriggers, two fisherman and two rods each:

    • Run one downrigger at 60-feet and the second downrigger at 55-feet.
    • Increase your odds and fish more water by running a second rod on each downrigger, typically 10-feet above the bottom set. This would put the stacked rods at 50- and 45-feet, respectively.

Use a Mack's Lure Shuttle Hawk to stack multiple rods on one downrigger

When stacking, I use a Shuttle Hawk because it is the easiest and most productive way to stack two rods. What is the Shuttle Hawk, you ask? The Shuttle Hawk is a downrigger stacking system. Attached to your downrigger cable, the diver takes your release, line and lure down to a preset stop placed on the cable, usually 10-feet above your bottom lure, as mentioned earlier.

The big advantage to the Shuttle Hawk system is that after it's released, it will plane back to the surface so you can reset it without bringing your downrigger up. See the video below to get a better understanding of how to use the Shuttle Hawk and the Ultra Release.

Adding a drop line to your stacked rods 

Now, after setting up my second rod, I like to add a drop line to my stacked rods. A drop line is basically a 3-foot leader with a lure on one end and a snap-swivel on the other end. I like to use the Hum Dinger, Pee Wee Wiggle Hoochie or spinners like the Wedding Ring Classic or Wedding Ring UV Spinner for this particular setup.

Take your snap and attach it do the line going down to your second rod, then toss it back behind in the water. The second lure will slide down to the middle of the bow in the line due to the pressure of the water. So now we have the entire thermocline covered with a total of six lures in the water.

Fish can't escape this setup.

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