Spoons are effective because they closely resemble and imitate the action of cripled baitfish, a food that makes up a large part of the diet of any predatory gamefish.
When trolling spoons anglers are able to cover a large area of water thoroughly in a short period of time. Trolling allows the angler to cover the water more completely than any other fishing technique.
A spoon should wobble from side-to-side and will produce its best all-around fish catching action when trolled between the slowest possible speed that produces a wobble, and the fastest darting action that does not cause the lure to revolve or spin. The best trolling spoons are lightweight and thin, which will provide the most erratic, darting, baitfish action in the water.
Techniques for Effectively Trolling Spoons
With the surface (flatline) technique, the spoon is tied directly to the main line. No additional weights are used. Once the desired trolling speed is reached the spoon is let out behind your boat anywhere from 50' - 200. This technique is effective when trout, steelhead, or salmon are feeding near the surface, especially in low light.
With the addition of a keel sinker 4' - 6' up the line from the spoon, shallow to medium depths can be trolled effectively. Sinker weights, depending upon the depth desired, usually run from 1 - 8 oz. with main line testing from 12 - 30 lbs. As in the flatline technique, let out 50' - 200' of line behind your boat.
Dipsy Diver & Spoon
One extremely effective way to get a spoon or spoon/attractor rig deep without the use of lead is with a Dipsy Diver or Jet Diver. The dipsy is particularly effective due to its ability to adjust to either port/starboard and can be set at a desired depth. Also, since it is drawn away from the boat, it does not interfere with downriggers or flatlines. Standard rigging is 4' - 6' of leader between the spoon and the diver.
In order to attract more fish to the spoon a dodger can be added to the rig. Dodgers should be rigged 18" - 30" from your spoon and 4' from your dipsy.
Spoons are often fished off a downrigger, either alone or in conjunction with a flasher/dodger. A downrigger allows you to work all depths and have no weight or resistance between yourself and the fish once it is hooked. Anglers trolling for spooky or clearwater fish often prefer 10' - 30', and sometimes more, between their release and spoon.
Temperature & Oxygen
Time of day is not as critical as locating the correct temperature level for the species of fish you are targeting. Lakes stratify into (3) layers with the onsetof warm weather and generally stay that way until fall. The middle layer, where there is a large concentration of dissolved oxygen, baitfish, and predator fish, is called the thermocline and can generally be found from 10' - 80' down. This is not only an oxygen saturated layer, but a temperature layer as well, and fish relate it to both a comfort zone and an area where their body metabolism functions efficiently. A probe, such as a Fish Hawk or Moor SubTroll, can greatly assist you in finding the correct temperature.
Peak Feeding and Optimum Temperatures
Coho & Chinook Salmon
- 55 degrees
- Active Range of 44 to 58 degrees
- 50 to 55 degrees
- Active Range of 40 to 75 degrees
- 55 to 60 degrees
- Active Range of 44 to 75 degrees