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been following this forum for a while. relatively new (this is the 3rd year) to trolling for salmon. recreational angler.

we have 2 manual cannon riggers, just upgraded to a mag10hs this year. we have a cannon speed and temp sensor.

we still consistently don't catch fish (we fish out of olcott). we definitely have caught some, but we've had many days where we "washed our lures".

so here are some questions in no particular order:

1) what speed should we troll at? i've heard anything from 2 - 3.5 mph.

2) what surface temp should we look for? (i've heard certain surface temps are better than others)

3) in regards to our speed and temp sensor, where/how do you find the thermal break? and once you've found it, do you fish in the colder water? or above it/below it? i usually look for scum lines on the water surface, but then i'm not always sure what to do from there.

4) if nothing is working, what do you change first? direction? speed? rigger depth? spoon color? water depth? there are so many variables, its hard to gauge what to do first.

5) what is a good starting depth? i know certain captains go right out to 400-500 foot depths. yet others have told me you can catch salmon all day long inside 200' if you know where to look. (due to our relative inexperience, we prefer the "inside" water until we get a little more comfortable).

i know this is a lot of questions...any help is greatly appreciated. i've read through most of these topics and have learned a lot, yet it hasn't translated into consistent fishing.

thanks!

--dave

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HI Dave,

It sounds like you would do well to take an on the water class with an experienced charter captain. The money you would spend on such a class would be a small sacrifice for the piece of mind and knowledge you would gain.

I offer on the water classes to fisherman such as yourself. My boat will be docked in Wilson (Sunset Bay) for the entire month of May up until the ProAm in June. After that, I am back at my home port of Oak Orchard. We can do a class on anything you would like.....general salmon fishing, spring, summer, riggers, divers, cores and coppers, etc. I can tailor a class to your individual needs and desires---tell me what you want to cover and we will cover it.

Give me a call at 716-390-0085 and we can discuss details. I will be in Canada fishing the Scotty Tournament from Thursday through Sunday and so my cell will be unavailable. Call me before Thursday or after Sunday.

Paul

Free Spirit

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From 1 rec to another. Charter/water class is a good suggestion.

However my rec answers, in very general terms, would be:

1 speed – 2.2 to 2.5 is generally a good starting place. The majority of lures have good action there. Be sure to throw in some zig-zags in your trolling path. Sometimes just some big gentle arcs. If a fish hits the outside one then speed up. Make notes of the down speed of particular lures when they do produce.

2 Surf Temp – Spring: fish the warmest you can find. Early Summer: go for the cool water or on the edge of it. Learn to visually find temperature changes from wave action.

3 Thermal break (thermocline). As you troll lower your probe, watch for a healthy change in vertical temp. (note thermocline won’t set up for at least another 6-8 weeks) Thermocline will change 6-10 degrees in 10-12 ft. Thermal Bar – watch your surface probe for horizontal changes as you troll away from shore. Scum lines form at thermal bars. Fish both sides of them, through them etc. Go at least 150 yds either side. Thermocline: Generally in or above it, although some awful big fish occasionally come from below it. It’s often better to fish at or slightly above the level where the fish are. This way you’re sure the fish at least saw your lure. It’s very easy to troll under the fish on Big-O.

4 If nothing is working: remember what was going on when you caught the last fish. (speed, direction, lead, wind, currents, atmospheric conditions) Keep a logbook or work on your memory. If I’ve seen the fish, I generally change direction, then leads, then lures all the while monitoring temp changes. (speed changes comes from zig-zag course)

5. Starting depth: Tough one. Where did you fish last weekend? What did the reports say last weekend? Often, when I leave port, I may cruise around a little watching for underwater activity or flocks of birds. Occasionally you’ll spot a pack of boats working a certain depth. I strongly suggest you stay away from the pack but fish a little shallower say a mile away & then work your way deeper. If you find thermal structure inside the 200 ft mark - work it over.

Hope that helps. Good luck.

Tom B.

(LongLine)

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Most of us have been in the same place you have been when we started out. So don't feel bad. Most likely it's just one or two things you need to adjust to have a better day.

Speed, No matter what the other boats say what you have to do is adjust your boat speed to what you are running. The easy things to run are spoons. Attach spoon #1 to your down rigger about 15 feet behind the ball and lower it 5 feet in the water and watch it swim. does it wiggle? or is it just sitting there. If it's sitting there you are going to slow. Is it spinning in circles you are going too fast. When the lure has good action lower it to the depth you want to fish at. Do the same for the other downrigger setting it 25 feet back and run it at a staggered depth. 10 -20 feet higher or lower than the other one. That is the most basic trolling set up. It is better to run 1 or 2 things correctly than run 6 things and have one thing running wrong. A spinning lure or a tangle will stop you from catching fish.

I like to add free sliders to my down rigger lines. but make sure they do not tangle. Watch your downrigger cables as you troll. You want to go in a direction that will keep them straight behind your boat, If there are currents your cables will swing to the left or right and may screw up your lure action.

Where to fish depends on the time of year but before june try close to shore in the morning 40 to 60 feet. sometimes less. After the sun gets high you can head off shore and look for surface temp breaks and scum lines. You will learn over time what works for you. You will see other boats doing the same thing.

Fishing the right temp is important at times but fish will come to you if you have an attractive presentation. As you get better at the basics you can start adding things to your arsenal for better catch ratios but as much as you read about all the methods on these boards, lead core, dipsy, copper, thumper etc. The basic two downrigger set up can catch lots of fish on it's own.

Good Luck

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  • 1 month later...

I have been fishing out of Olcott for many years, and one simple rule I have generally found to be sucessful, is stick to North South troll, or North east, south west, slowly crabing east or west till you find the fish, if you watch the local charter boats they all seem to work that pattern unless weather dictates something different.I usally start around 70 fow and work out over 200 fow back and forth. The fish in that area seem to hold a little shallow right before dawn and a few hours after then they head deeper and return in the evening. Also try and run a program that works good together at the speed you are running, throwing too much at them sometimes spooks the fish. I generally put the lure in the water next to the boat if it looks good there then I put it down. No matter what you run presentation is the key, any lure should take fish if presented properly. Just my 2 cents for what its worth. Jim

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i plan on being in olcott on thursday got room for you to jump on and get a complete instruction trip for free the 4th 607 769 7947

waiting for son to give me answer or ill have room for 3 guys(not 400lbrs) well look like sardines.im 99.9% shure ill be there if i get overwhelmed with request here is how i will choose who goes :1 single goodlooking blind women first 2 single good looking women sighted (far) 3:any woman that allowey me to buffy fish WITHOUT LAFING.......... OMG .... .my wife is comming in the room where is the delete button. all are welcome Ray K.

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WNYsteel,

I am a recreational fisherman out of I-Bay and we fish most every weekend. I am not a charter captain nor am I affiliated with any.

I am certainly not an expert, but we hold our own on the Lake and you are welcome anytime - free of charge - to join us for some fishing. I'd be happy to help you out in any way I can and give you any pointers I can.

You can PM me if you're ever interested,

- Chris

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I am going to add just a little extra, when the bite is tough. When fishing in summer for kings, dont be afraid to throw and keep a rig down in the "cold, out of temp" water 44- 48 degree water. Also when inside 150 ft dont be afraid to keep a rig 10 ft of the bottom, even when you are not marking them. :yes:

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i plan on being in olcott on thursday got room for you to jump on and get a complete instruction trip for free the 4th 607 769 7947

waiting for son to give me answer or ill have room for 3 guys(not 400lbrs) well look like sardines.im 99.9% shure ill be there if i get overwhelmed with request here is how i will choose who goes :1 single goodlooking blind women first 2 single good looking women sighted (far) 3:any woman that allowey me to buffy fish WITHOUT LAFING.......... OMG .... .my wife is comming in the room where is the delete button. all are welcome Ray K.

thanks for the offer, but i just saw this now, sitting at work! DOH!

we went out the Friday before memorial day, and using some of the tips given here, we actually landed 2 smaller kings, and had a 3rd on that we lost close to the boat. also had a few knockoffs. so we are optimistic. that has been just about our best day so far. all the fish came on NBK.

i've learned more here from everyone's knowledge than anything else....THANK YOU! i realize i'm new here, but you all are truly knowledgeable, and (more importantly) willing to share that knowledge.

maybe i'll take some of you up on the offer to go out. its appreciated!

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