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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well I think I’ve begun to figure out some trolling techniques with success. I bought 2 line counter reels and 2 ultralight Kokanee/trout trolling rods, tied up some hoochies, and ran them behind dodgers. I’ve had over 35 takedowns and landed 23 (rainbows) in 2 days fishing (8 - 9 hours total?). My middle son had a big time and can’t stop talking about trolling now. Water was stained, 70-74F, no debris. Best action was 11-1:30PM.

  • 1.5” hoochie skirts. Green and Blue were top performers followed by white then orange.
  • 2 red #6 Gamakatsu octopus hooks snelled
  • 2 4mm beads in body
  • 2.5x length of dodger, or shorter, had the best action
  • 100-150ft behind the boat
  • Trolling motor set to maintain 1.4 - 1.6kts

Kept 4 to eat the first day. One female had eggs.


 

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I always had better luck on the bigger, smarter fish by going 200 feet behind the boat with hoochies. I used a shorter line sometimes but spread it out, away from the boat using a planar board. My favorite Rainbow lure on a planar board line is the Rapala Ultralight Shad with purple or green backs. Those plugs are about 1.5". Rainbows like small minnows till they start getting very big. I like fishing hoochies behind the boat and plugs on the sides.
 

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Nicely done....You're on your way! Sounds like you've made contact with the "stocker" population in Bear. They usually get stocked in April/May. They are great fish to figure out your setup and grow your confidence on. Next time out, you can maybe experiment with small rapalas and spoons and a little more weight to get deeper on one rod. The larger holdover fish are often below the stockers.

It's good to see somebody is out there Fishing! Trolling is a Great way to enjoy the day and the lake. Good Luck and continued success!.....D
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
They were definitely stockies. I only hooked up on what felt like one "good" fish on a crankbait but somehow lost it. I experimented with spoons, Rapala's, etc at varying depths (on downriggers) and only picked up one trout at about 20'. Thermocline looked like it was at about 40' but I don't know what that means for trout fishing. There's still so much to learn.

I do think, however, that the Lamiglass Tournament Kokanee rods I have are a little bit underpowered so I may be looking for something "light" instead of "ultra light." It just felt like I wasn't putting any pressure on the fish, but then again maybe that's the way it's supposed to be since I know they have soft mouths. I was running 8lb Trilene XL mono fwiw. Hoochie rigs were tied with 10lb Seaguar fluoro. I bought a net on Tuesday and didn't lose any more at the boat yesterday (caught 4--was definitely slower).
 

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You can try all sorts of rods.....and invest as much as you want.....but, day in and day out the good ole inexpensive Ugly Stik rods have done the job for me extremely well. I prefer the two piece version to make breakdown and storage easier. I use a medium action in the longest model I can get (9 ft). They're almost bulletproof and usually around 60-70 bucks. They have plenty of backbone with a soft tip for strikes. I generally troll with 12 or 17 lb Lead Core line and an 8 lb flouro leader....(which I may may move up to 12 lbs this year). Line counter reels are Crucial. (You already have those)

On Bear in particular....and Most NC Lakes in general.....you can almost always find the resident trout hanging around 25 ft deep year round. From there they can range up to 100 ft deep in the heat of summer. You'll still find the stockers from 15-25 ft....except for maybe August/September. You can use deeper diving lures like Shad Raps to get another 5 ft in depth.

When you're bored.....there's a TON of info on this forum from over the years about trolling for trout. Best of Luck in your pursuit!....D
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks! I've definitely been reading a lot. Thanks to all of you who have contributed to the tribal knowledge. The Lamiglass rods were pretty reasonably priced at about $99, but I have been looking at the Ugly Sticks like you mentioned. Probably be up there again in a few weeks and hopefully can find the holdover trout.
 

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If you want to get plugs on lead line a little bit deeper, use a longer leader. When I first got into leadcore, Woodstock sold preassembled line, backing, lead line 5 or 10 colors of 18 pound line, and 50 feet of 20 pound leader. I replaced the leader with 50 feet of 8 pound line. That worked OK in Calderwood but not so well in shallow Chilhowee. Hoochies got snagged when I got into Chilhowee's upper end. Plugs got snagged anywhere I pulled them when I got a mile upstream from the dam. So, I went to longer leaders. I used leaders as long as 120 feet in Chilhowee so I could put out 200 feet of line and seldom get snagged. Chilhowee is so shallow and covered in silt, I think that light bounces off the bottom for extra illumination. Light leaders are a must especially when it's sunny.

I took the 120 foot leader outfit to Calderwood and caught Rainbows on hoochies in the top end. When I got into deeper water and the strikes slowed, I put on a gold Countdown Rapala. When I got down to the next to last turn before the dam, I hooked a big fish. Tennessee stocked Lakers in Calderwood twice. I figured that if I didn't have a Brown, it might be a Laker. The fish came to the surface when I got it about 15 yards from the boat. It was a big colorful Brown, probably 7-10 pounds. It took a look at the boat and bolted down, taking some line back. About 10 seconds later it was off. The hook pulled out.

I always use leaders over 50 feet. 70 - 100 is my typical range. At Watauga I use 100 foot leaders. In the early season I can put out 6 - 7 colors of lead and use plugs with not so much dive to get into the strike zone. Come late season I'll put out 8 - 9 colors and use a plug that dives deep. Lakers are far more light sensitive than any other Trout. They sit deep even when the water is cold all the way to the surface. They'll come up and grab something but then they go right back down to 50 feet or more where the lack of light is comfortable. At Watauga, I've had Laker strikes as deep as 100 -110 feet on the downrigger. When I use spoons I prefer 2 -3 inch spoons. If I want a bigger bait, I'll put a plug on the downrigger. I've never gotten a strike on really big spoons, over 4 inches.
 

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Good job! The trout at Bear have kicked my butt! Haven't tried since last Fall however, and currently focused on warm water. Headed back to Santee this weekend looking for big Bream and Shellcrackers, maybe a catfish too. Get's too hot down in the swamp July-Sept. May make a trip or two to Calderwood in the hot months. Gas prices are starting to affect traveling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If you want to get plugs on lead line a little bit deeper, use a longer leader. When I first got into leadcore, Woodstock sold preassembled line, backing, lead line 5 or 10 colors of 18 pound line, and 50 feet of 20 pound leader. I replaced the leader with 50 feet of 8 pound line. That worked OK in Calderwood but not so well in shallow Chilhowee. Hoochies got snagged when I got into Chilhowee's upper end. Plugs got snagged anywhere I pulled them when I got a mile upstream from the dam. So, I went to longer leaders. I used leaders as long as 120 feet in Chilhowee so I could put out 200 feet of line and seldom get snagged. Chilhowee is so shallow and covered in silt, I think that light bounces off the bottom for extra illumination. Light leaders are a must especially when it's sunny.

I took the 120 foot leader outfit to Calderwood and caught Rainbows on hoochies in the top end. When I got into deeper water and the strikes slowed, I put on a gold Countdown Rapala. When I got down to the next to last turn before the dam, I hooked a big fish. Tennessee stocked Lakers in Calderwood twice. I figured that if I didn't have a Brown, it might be a Laker. The fish came to the surface when I got it about 15 yards from the boat. It was a big colorful Brown, probably 7-10 pounds. It took a look at the boat and bolted down, taking some line back. About 10 seconds later it was off. The hook pulled out.

I always use leaders over 50 feet. 70 - 100 is my typical range. At Watauga I use 100 foot leaders. In the early season I can put out 6 - 7 colors of lead and use plugs with not so much dive to get into the strike zone. Come late season I'll put out 8 - 9 colors and use a plug that dives deep. Lakers are far more light sensitive than any other Trout. They sit deep even when the water is cold all the way to the surface. They'll come up and grab something but then they go right back down to 50 feet or more where the lack of light is comfortable. At Watauga, I've had Laker strikes as deep as 100 -110 feet on the downrigger. When I use spoons I prefer 2 -3 inch spoons. If I want a bigger bait, I'll put a plug on the downrigger. I've never gotten a strike on really big spoons, over 4 inches.
@Troutgirl thank you so much for all that hard earned knowledge. I haven't delved into lead core yet since I have down riggers and I'm getting pretty comfortable working them and even stacking lines at different depths. Other than simplicity, is there any big advantage that lead core can offer that down rigging can't match?

Good job! The trout at Bear have kicked my butt! Haven't tried since last Fall however, and currently focused on warm water. Headed back to Santee this weekend looking for big Bream and Shellcrackers, maybe a catfish too. Get's too hot down in the swamp July-Sept. May make a trip or two to Calderwood in the hot months. Gas prices are starting to affect traveling.
@Bigtrout I found a pretty large bream bed on Bear and had some fun with them on Tuesday morning. I even hooked up with some spotted bass and a Crappie! The male bream were defending the beds like crazy! A tiny chartreuse crank bait had them pretty ticked off. It even had that fishy smell to it reminding me of my younger days. PM me if you want the location.
 

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My boat, a fish'n'ski, has one downrigger. To have two downriggers I would have to get rid of the swim ladder on the back of the boat. I was still skiing when I got my first leadcore outfit and same for when I got my downrigger the next year. I like trolling 4 or more lines. So, I've embraced leadcore and Dipsey Divers. I really like leadcore because I've caught more of my biggest fish at Watauga on leadcore plugs than off the downrigger.
 

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For my part......it's all about simplicity. I like things simple and repeatable. I've refined my Lead Core system steadily over the years and can put it where I want it and with control. I also tend to troll pretty specific "Spots".....rather than just dragging my lures through open water and hoping for fish......but that's me. Downriggers would be awkward the way I fish.....though I've considered adding one just to play with.

As long as you're catching fish and enjoying yourself......that's the whole point! Always remember to just breathe and enjoy the day......it should Not be work. Catching a few fish though, always seems to make it better! Thanks for sharing and keep us posted on your progress....D
 
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