How to Troll in Deep Water Without Downriggers (Discovered)

Are you sick of downriggers as your only means of deep-sea trolling? You’ve found the proper spot if you’re seeking an alternative method to improve your fishing skills. In this guide, we’ll uncover how to troll in deep water without downriggers. Whether you’re a seasoned fisherman or a first-time ocean adventurer, these methods will improve your odds of catching fish. Prepare to enter the exciting world of trolling and learn new techniques for catching large fish without using downriggers. Let’s get in and see what we can achieve without downriggers while trolling in deep water.

What is Trolling in Deep Water?

To capture fish that live in deeper seas, fishermen use a method called trolling, in which bait or lures are towed behind a moving boat. Salmon, trout, walleye, and muskies are all known to inhabit deeper water, so this technique is ideal for catching them. Trolling allows fishermen to cover more water and display their bait or lures at varying depths, increasing their chances of attracting a bite. Anglers may increase their chances of catching more significant, more elusive fish by trolling in deep water, which is not easily accessible from the coast or in shallow seas.

Understanding the Challenges of Deep Water Trolling

It’s crucial to grasp the specific difficulties of trolling in deep water before diving into the methods. Complexity tends to increase with depth. Thus it’s essential to adjust your strategy accordingly. Without downriggers, you’ll have to use other methods to cast your bait to the proper depth.

Adjusting Lure Depth

When trolling at a great depth, it’s crucial to keep your lures at the proper depth. Adjusting the line release clip on a downrigger allows for precise depth control. If you don’t have access to this tool, though, you’ll have to go elsewhere for a solution that will get you to the necessary depth. Fortunately, several methods have been shown to be successful.

Controlling Lure Spread

When trolling, attracting fish requires a well-maintained lure spread. By allowing the lines to be set at varying depths and distances from the boat, downriggers allow for a more fantastic space. If you don’t have access to this resource, you’ll need to find other ways to add variety and interest to your presentation.

Techniques for Trolling in Deep Water Without Downriggers

Having established the difficulties, we may go on to the methods that will enable you to troll in deep water with confidence. You may improve your chances of catching a large fish by using these techniques with your fishing expertise.

Deep Diving Crankbaits

If you don’t have access to downriggers but still want to fish deep water, a deep diving crankbait is a great tool. These lures can reach great depths because of their weighted bills. Choosing the appropriate crankbait and trolling at the proper pace will allow you to successfully attain the target depth.

Pro Tip: Experiment with different crankbait models and colors to find what entices the fish in your specific fishing location.

Inline Weights

Trolling to higher depths is possible with inline weights, which are multifunctional instruments. You can get your lure to the depth you want by adding an inline weight a few feet above it. When using lighter lures that don’t naturally go deep, this method comes in handy.

Pro Tip: When using inline weights, consider the water currents and adjust your trolling speed to maintain the desired depth.

Lead Core Line

You may fish at specific depths without using downriggers when you use a lead core line, a specialized fishing line made with a lead core. The lengths shown by the different line colors range from 6 to 11 yards. The depth needed to reach fish-holding further in the water column may be attained by letting out the necessary quantity of line.

Pro Tip: Use a line counter reel or mark your line with tape to accurately replicate successful setups for future trips.

Diving Planers

Trolling to higher depths is possible with innovative tools like diving planers. Tiny gadgets with a diving lip that sink with the boat’s forward motion are fastened to your line. You may change how deep your lure will swim by altering the distance of the line between your rod and the planner.

Pro Tip: Experiment with different diving planer sizes and adjustments to find the optimal depth and action for your target species.

Snap Weights

When trolling without downriggers, snap weights are another helpful tool for getting down to the bottom. You may make rapid modifications to your fishing technique by attaching and removing these weights from your fishing line. The depth at which your lure swims may be efficiently managed by adjusting the height of the snap weight above the lure.

Pro Tip: Use lighter snap weights for shallower depths and heavier ones for greater depths. Experiment with different positions and weights to find what works best for your fishing conditions.

Lead Sinker Rigging

When trolling, using a lead sinker to lower your bait to greater depths is a straightforward strategy that yields good results. You may get the depth you want by using a lead sinker in your line configuration. This method shines when fishing for bottom-dwelling species or in swift waters.

Pro Tip: Adjust the size and shape of the lead sinker based on the depth and fishing conditions. Be mindful of potential snags and ensure the sinker is securely attached to your line.

Trolling with Divers

You can go deeper without using downriggers if you dive using gear like a diving plug or a diving board. The added drag and line drawn from these devices keep your lure precisely where you want it to be when fishing. You may successfully go after fish that are located in deep water by using the right diving equipment and modifying your trolling speed.

Pro Tip: Experiment with different diving devices to find the ones that work best with your trolling setup and fishing location. Adjust the length of the line between your rod and the diving device to fine-tune the depth.

Staggered Line Technique

Staggered lines are a collection of varying lengths strung out behind a boat. A wide variety of depths may be shown using lines of varied sizes. This method is helpful for concurrently angling fish at many depths in the water column.

Pro Tip: Use planer boards or outriggers to maintain a widespread and prevent tangles when employing the staggered line technique.

Importance of Downriggers in Trolling

When trolling in deep water, downriggers are an absolute must. These aids allow the angler to set the depth at which the fish are exposed to the bait or lure. The use of downriggers is crucial in trolling for the following reasons:

  • Depth Control: Using a downrigger, fishermen may place their bait or lures at a specific depth in the water. This is very important since several fish species like to live at various depths. With the use of downriggers, fishermen may cast fish at the depths where they are most likely to bite.

  • Consistent Presentation: Using a downrigger, you can reliably and precisely offer your bait or lures to the fish. They prevent the fishing line’s depth from shifting in response to changes in boat speed or currents. This maintains the trick or lures where they need to be for longer, boosting their chances of drawing fish and maintaining the appropriate depth.

  • Covering a Range of Depths: It’s possible that several fish species are dispersed over the various depths of deep water. By altering the depth at which their lines are set, downriggers provide fishermen access to a broader depth range. This allows them to concurrently investigate and fish at many depths across the water column.

  • Precision and Efficiency: The precision depth control made possible by downriggers is essential for recreating productive fishing patterns. Anglers may keep track of the depth at which fish are caught and then use downriggers to fish at the same depth again. This efficiency and accuracy save time by doing away with the necessity for trial and error.

  • Tangle Prevention: When trolling, it’s common practice to use many lines, each with a different bait or lure. These ropes may easily tangle without downriggers. With the use of downriggers, the lines may be kept neat and untangled. The fishing trip will go more smoothly and be more fun if you do this.

Although downriggers are very useful for trolling in deep water, they are not without their drawbacks. However, with downriggers, fishermen may improve their trolling control, accuracy, and success.

Safety Precautions

Without downriggers, trolling in deep water may be a thrilling adventure, but safety must always come first. Here are some basic rules of protection to keep in mind:

  1. Always wear a properly fitted life jacket or personal flotation device.
  2. Be aware of weather conditions and potential changes in water currents.
  3. Maintain a safe distance from other boats and navigational hazards.
  4. Familiarize yourself with local fishing regulations and ensure compliance.

If you follow these precautions, you can go deep-water trolling without worrying about your safety.


Finally, for fishermen looking for a new challenge, learning to troll in deep water without downriggers opens up a whole new universe. If you follow the advice in this manual, you’ll have a much better time fishing and a better chance of catching fish. Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need downriggers to troll efficiently, whether you’re searching in the open ocean or a tranquil lake. With the knowledge gained from this guide on how to troll in deep water without downriggers, you can confidently venture into the depths and reel in your following trophy catch. 

Get out there and experience the excitement of trolling for yourself. Wishing you a day of successful fishing!

How to Troll in Deep Water Without Downriggers (FAQs)

Can I troll in deep water without downriggers?

Without downriggers, you can still go trolling in deep water. Without downriggers, other methods and procedures may be utilized to go to the depths required.

What is the ideal trolling speed for deep-water fishing?

When fishing in deep water, the best trolling speed depends on a number of variables, including the species you’re after and the lure you’re using. As a matter of thumb, however, you should keep your trolling speed between 2 and 3 miles per hour.

How deep should I set my trolling lures?

Trolling lures should be put at different depths depending on the species you’re after and the local water conditions. The best approach is to experiment, but a decent rule of thumb is to start between 10 and 22 feet down and adapt depending on the fish activity and depth finders.

Are there any specific lure colors that work best for deep-water trolling?

The targeted species and the visibility of the water might inform the best choice of lure color. However, silver, blue, green, and white are often used for trolling in deep water. It’s best to play around with a wide range of hues to find the ones that work best.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when deep water trolling?

Using the incorrect trolling speed, not regulating the depth of your lures appropriately, failing to read the water and modify your trolling patterns accordingly, and ignoring your electronics are all frequent errors to avoid during deep-water trolling. To improve your odds of success, you must be able to adjust to new circumstances quickly.

Emma is the wordsmith behind the insightful articles and guides on our website. Her extensive research and passion for fishing shine through in every piece she creates. Whether sharing angling tips or delving into the latest conservation efforts, Emma is dedicated to providing valuable and engaging content.