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Thread: Springer Trolling 201

  1. Default Springer Trolling 201

    I thought I would share a few new tricks I've learned since last season and the early part of this one.

    Keep it Tight...

    I've recently noticed that with a standard plug cut Herring rig (where the rear hook is allowed to dangle freely) when trolled the rear hook remains in the center of the rotation while the tail of the bait whips around the outside of the herring on an axis causing a gap between the hook and bait. I feel like some bites are missed because a short striking fish can sometimes get between the hook and the bait, getting away with a freel meal, meanwhile leaving you with nothing more than raised blood pressure.

    The solution:

    Also note the trimed off tail, this causes the bait to spin easier as it offers less resistance in the water.

    A tiny dental rubber band slipped over the rear hook keeps it pinned right behind the tail no matter how the bait spins. If you cant find these, miracle thread works too it just takes a bit longer. I just started expirimenting with this and haven't had enough opportunities yet to give it a diffinative thumbs up, but so far I'm 3 for 3 on it.

    Watch the Gauges...

    Water height on the big rivers is just as important as it is on the Tributaries. So far this year the lower columbia has been unusually high due to a large snow pack in the mountains. The BPA must spill water in order to make room for all the "inventory" they expect to have as the snow continues to melt this spring. While a good snow pack is a very benificial thing, it doesn't exactly translate to good Springer fishing on the Columbia. High flows put fish off the bite and out of thier usual haunts. Last year with lower water levels we regularly caught fish in water from 20' all way down to 45'. this year with higher flows most fish are being caught in less than 30'.

    the above graph showes previous, current, and projected heights. For good catching we would Generally like to see heights in the 4' to 6' range, much of this season we have been in the 9' to 11' range. this just means you'll have to put in a little more effort and fish shallower to get your Springer. Look for anything that breaks up the current such as jettys and windams and troll downstream from these as these fish will follow the path of least resistance. Large Flats below islands or either side of the channel offer refuge as well. looking at a river chart will clue you into spots you may not have seen before.

    Pay attention to the masses...

    Some days the fishing is easy and Salmon can be found at all the regular places, the airport, 205, Davis, I-5, etc. But some days grinding it out around 200 of your closest friends many of which are stud guides or private boats who have better gear, bait, and are just flat out better fisherman than you and I, doesn't really make sense. It's better sometimes to try a new area you aren't familiar with or that you saw on a chart and thought "hmmm, that just looks fishy". You never know what you'll find, it may be that next honey hole you keep secret for years, taking only your buddies who are willing to take "The Oath of Silence".

    Certainly not a secret spot, but this one was picked up away from the crowds.

    The "One Crank Rule"

    Keeping your baits orientated with the bottom is critical, as I touched on in Springer Trolling 101 these fish tend to hug the bottom. but just how close is the key, too low and you'll have one of those "Just cut and Re-tie" tangles on your hands. Too high and your out of the strike zone, when talking with most angles the rule of thumb seems to be something in the range of a 12"ish dropper that the lead is just off the bottom. What I like to do is drop the line down slowly to avoid tangles, once the lead is just barely touching bottom I reel up 1 crank and put the rod in the holder, if it starts to tap,tap,tap again I give it another crank, when this stops your good to go. At this point it's up to the captain to watch the graph and let everyone in the boat know when either the depth is increasing or decreasing so they can adjust accordingly.

    I plan on adding to this throughout the season as there seems to be something to learn from every trip, regardless of whether we catch fish or not. I've still got a lot to learn but I love sharing the little that I do know, or have stolen from better fisherman than myself. Good luck and Tight Lines out there!!
    Last edited by Metal Slinger; 03-29-2011 at 05:24 PM.
    Team B-Squad

  2. #2


    Thanks for the info. Jack. The situaition you described is exactly what happend to us on our first trip out. We had one bite and zero hookups. All we could do is look at each other and ask "how does that happen?". Some how that darn fish stripped the herring off the rig (getting inbetween the two hooks). I'll have to try the method you've described and see if we can't eliminate missed hookups......
    NW Steelheaders - Sandy River Chapter

  3. #3


    More real good info. Thanks for the tip Jack.
    If we would all concentrate on the important things in life, there would be a shortage of fishing poles!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    SE portland


    I really need a boat

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Lake Oswego Or.


    Nice post captain Jack, your a generous guy to share your know how. I like my first hand lessons better mind you but this is an example of what I love most about this sight, the sharing of knowledge just for the sake of helping others. I think the whole doing your own thing and working to find fish is a biggie. I know as a newbie I was guilty of thinking if everyone was congregated together there must be a reason. But as you showed us last weekend braking away from the crowds can pay off.
    Last edited by Brooks; 03-29-2011 at 06:58 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    17 pulls
    Blog Entries


    One really important thing to consider... For these particular fish(4-5 salt) we will not usually see as many "good" biters, like last year. So good cure, fresh, quality baits, and a good presentation are keys to any fishing success, but it will be very important this year. My best, and biggest Springers that eat Herring, come on whole Red, or even Green labels. Ive got a BBQ skewer method to get them to "kink" for that alluring Chinook slayin' roll. The thing I like about whole Herring, is that it acts like a Kwikfish. It has a "skip beat action" like a plug. So every rotation is a little different... I dunno, it seems to work for me anyways!
    Dinger Jigs
    Costa Del Mar

    Hostess OG Pro-Staff
    Yes, they eat eggs... No. You're WRONG!!!

  7. #7


    We need about a three week moratorium on all this springer talk. I'm starting to get the itch. I can feel it setting in. I've rearranged my egg freezer three times in the last two days.

    I keep telling myself not until May. Not until May...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    on the river


    Quote Originally Posted by GW View Post
    We need about a three week moratorium on all this springer talk. I'm starting to get the itch. I can feel it setting in. I've rearranged my egg freezer three times in the last two days.

    I keep telling myself not until May. Not until May...
    That's just unhealthy!
    I can see you shaking and scratchin your neck from here
    "Chuck Norris talks in the fourth person"

  9. Default

    It's time Grant! join us!
    Team B-Squad

  10. #10


    Quote Originally Posted by Metal Slinger View Post
    It's time Grant! join us!
    Don't give in! The Steelhead fishing has been great and you have most of the river to yourself! Its what we've been waiting all winter for! Besides, You gotta save a few midweek springer days for the Nestucca!


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