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Hi, i'm new trolling the great lakes and have recently setup a boat to go out with my brothers. We live close to Lake Ontario but will also travel to Lake Erie. We want to be able to fish anything from salmon to walleye. Our boat is capable of holding 6 rods, with two down riggers and 2 lines on planer boards. At this stage we are trying to decide which rod/reels would be the best for our needs. Ive cruised around this forum and found people seem to recommend the Ugly Stik BWD 1101 9' medium action. Should I buy 6 of these? if so, what reel and line do you guys recommend? any tips or any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance and take care out there!

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Best thing to do is YouTube bill saiff, or Great Lakes salmon trolling. Unbelievable amount of videos with great info. I’ve been trolling for about 3 years now, started doing salmon out of Ontario last year and was hooked. I’ve been running cabelas depth masters combos for those season and they’ve been fine up until now. I’ll continue to use them for walleye though. My boat setup will have wire roller dipsy rods for those big kings, 30-40lb test mono for the down riggers and either a copper (little trickier bc it twirls and kinks, you’ll need a 600 series reel for copper) or lead core. I currently run braid on my rods and it’s done fine, but the fleas in Ontario crush it. Personally I’d buy Shimano talora Tekota combos for everything if you can. Buy it once and you’ll never have to again. If money is a concern, buy the best you can with the setups above. Lines cheap.

As for rod holders, tube style is nice for dipsys. As well it keeps the rods outside of your boat if it’s a little narrow like my center console is. I’m making some rod trees, if your interested DM me and I can tell you more.


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Salmon gear to walleye gear... There is some gear I use dual species like my rigger rods and wire dipsys. Other than that, I focus on leadcores for eyes.

Salmon - 4 wires and 2 riggers is a great program and fairly easy to manage

Walleyes - as many leads on planer boards as I can legally send, maybe 2 dipsys if the bite is hot and 1-2 riggers.

Brand of rod isn't as important as brand and class of reels is, imo. I've been a fan of the convectors for value reasons. A medium action rod for dipsys with twili tips, and at least 1' difference in length. A Med or ml rigger rod, and board rods I also like a M - ML depending on the backbone of the rod.

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If you ask 10 guys how you should set your boat up, you'll likely get 11 different (probably very different) answers. With the exception of competitive motorsports, I dont know of a hobby or sport that is more complex (or expensive) than great lakes trolling. I was raised by a lifelong outdoorsman/sportsman and he and I spent two solid years researching this sport before getting into it. Reading everything on the internet (LOU.com is a phenomenal resource), books, magazines, going on charters, going to shows, Salmon School, talking to captains, talking to people in the know, talking to manufacturers, product reps; you name it. This will be our third season and I still wouldn't claim to know what I'm doing. 

 

As wackncast suggested, start doing your research, take lots of notes and go from there.

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Start with book " Keatings on Kings " by Captain Dan Keating  ; there are multiple editions , a good place to start ! Go on a charter to fast tract ! Salmon fishing is not cheap be prepared !

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You want dipsey rods for dipseys. You can use any fast rod for down riggers and lead core and planer boards if you use big boards. If your using in line boards, you need a stiffer rod or a rod made for in line boards.

I use wire for my dipsey rods with a twilly tip. I use the same two dipsey rods on Erie and Ontario and they are always in the water, any time of year. Dipsey reels are both big size Okuma's, one Catalina and one cold water. I don't think they make the Catalina anymore.

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Thanks for the advise everyone. I picked up four Okuma 453s and four 9’ ugly sticks. Now only if the province lets us in the water!

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This is a petition to the province of Ontario to open the boat launches. Sign and pass around. 
 

http://chng.it/cBc5rJLfwj

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I see you already bought rods and reels. i've fished for salmon and eyes for yrs. what I would recommend is the daiwa sealine sg27lc3b reels and 8' med action widerness trolling rods from fishusa.com. these will fish both species very well. 1st off you don't need a 9' rod for either fish. no need to go heavier than med action as your fishing open water where you wont need to horse the fish. the wilderness is a cheap fiberglass rod ( no need for anything else for trolling) that will last for yrs. I fish erie's central basin and run 6 divers 3 on each side and 1 rigger per side. I have never used a dipsy rod they are to stiff for me. I like a rod with a little give to it. its much easier to detect fish with a med or even a med/light than with a broomstick. the  dr rods of yesterdays was either 8'3" or 8'6" in med/light action. caught many a big king without a rod failure.

 

I run a 9' med action on my front diver an 8' med action on my middle diver and a 7' med/light on my back diver. some people like all the rods the same length. but this works best for me. I think it helps prevent tangles. I use lite bite slide divers because you set the lure tension to release on small fish. I just use them like dipsies. I attack my line to the front. tie a short leader to a split ring lase it through the back going in the lite bite arm then attach a snubber then use a 6' to 7' fluro leader then my lure. I use swivels on my leader. I set the lite bite arm as loose as it will go so it trips on small fish even most white perch.

 

I use chamberlain releases for the same reason I use the lite bites. it has an adjustment for the lure you set as loose as you can without getting false releases. in my opinion its the only release for eyes. and the lite bite  is the only diver for eyes. I started with dipsies but didnt liked the rings coming off all thed time. I seen the deeper diver without rings. they turned out much better than dipsies. Dreamweaver deeper diver at fishusa.com about 14.00. then I seen the lite bites and tried them and i've never looked back.

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Posted (edited)

Hi @ry646

 

A little late response but I thought I would share my newbie 2 cents after 2 years ago I went through what you are about to...

 

I would suggest you focus on riggers and planers with mono i.e. only the "basic stuff" and wait for everything else. You will not spend as much if you take it one step at a time, get handy with one type of stuff and then move to more advanced such as wire trolling or lead core or whatever... You may eventually hate some of the stuff that goes through your hands until you find something that you like and enjoy. Fishing rods/reels is something very personal to many anglers.

 

I am sure there are many good rods and reels, but my setup for lake Ontario is 6 rods Okuma Blue Diamond BD-C-1002MHa, they are absolutely outstanding rods. They are technically dipsy-diver rods, Medium Heavy, but I am using them for downrigger and planers. All 6 have Okuma Convector CV-30DLX reels spooled with 40lb Big Game mono green color, you can order a big bulk spool that would last you for quite a few seasons.

 

I had initially Okuma Convector and Magda, Daiwa Accudepth, Penn Warfare and Rival reels, I hated the Penns for flimsy handle and malfunctioning drag (to be fair, Warfare had a recall on bag drag but I did not know at a time so I returned them and bought Okuma Cold Water instead, which I am using for my dipsy set up with Daiwa Accudepth ACDDR1062H rods). Certainly, for more money you can buy more fancy and better reels, but budget-wise, Okuma Convector is THE REEL. Cold Water is even a better reel and now you can get them at size 30 from Latulippe ($127). Same for Daiwa Sealine, good reel.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: You must loosen the drag at the end of each trip or it will stop working over time.

 

When I go to lake Ontario with 6 rods, I run either 2 downriggers and 4 planers (Church Tackle Walleye, no flag), or in deeper waters, 4x downrigger and 2 planers. The idea is that 6 rods/reels are the same, no need to focus on what rod goes where, especially when you are just about to start trolling.

 

Next, I have bought a stacker release from Scotty, cut it and made 2 single releases with 1 clip each using nylon coated steel wire (36-48 inch length). The mono on the release will start coiling as soon as you unpack the releases. I also attach an extra snap to each release with the same mono that I snap to the downrigger cable so that when you bring the ball back, you do not lose a release. I always set the tension on just behind the black line on Lake Ontario.

 

I typically use Luhr Jensen dodgers or flashers (8 inch) or 24-28 inch cowbells with Shoehorn spoons or Coyote spoons behind them, on 40-50 lb fluoro leader of 20-24 inch. Last 2 seasons were great with just these. This year will be adding flies, dipsy and spin doctors, flies bought on clearance but re-tied with 40-50lb fluoro, once all this BS with the lockdown is over. Still on braid. May be 1-2 years I will change to wire as it seems to be the preferred dipsy set up for many pros.

 

When you do to lake Erie, you can technically use all these rods/reels you are using for lake Ontario, just use worm rigs or smaller spoons. I would only add 2x rods of 8.6 feet, ML power such as Shimano TDR (TDR86ML2C) or the above Okuma Blue Diamond BD-C-862MLa for downriggers ONLY and either buy or make a dedicated light releases with a smaller clip. Alternatively, you can use the Scottys or others and just adjust the tension. Also I would use planers with flag because depending on the day, the walleye bite is barely noticeable (hence ML rods and light releases for the riggers).

 

That's my 2 cents. Any questions, shoot them down here or PM.

 

Happy Fishing!

Vlad

Edited by Vladislav

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Posted (edited)

ry646 - Vlad gave you some good info for starting out and covered a lot of territory. There aren't too many wrong ways of doing things on here most amount to personal preferences ...just some that make more sense than others. This is a good starting point.

Edited by Sk8man

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