Shallow Trolling



Whether you’re fishing walleyes suspended over a mid-lake basin, or holding tight to structure or the edge of cover, trolling is a great way to cover water in search of fish. It’s an option virtually anytime from post-spawn through fall, when the fish are not tightly schooled on a specific location.

Total Solutions Technique

As with any technique, finding the fish is half the battle. My favorite trolling areas are flats or slowly sloping breaks in 10 to 20 feet of water. Weighting systems or leadcore will allow you to fish much deeper later in the summer, but right now let’s focus on relatively shallow fish.

Prime trolling flats are made even better by the presence of nearby feeder creeks, rocky banks, rock reefs and newly emerging beds of vegetation. Such areas will hold food, which attracts walleyes. I cruise over an area looking for fish with my sonar, then flatline crankbaits like Berkley’s Frenzy Floating Flicker Shad 100 to 150 feet behind the boat. I typically troll at speeds of 1 to 1.5 mph, depending on the water temperature (you can speed up as the water warms). The bait should tick bottom occasionally, but not plow along it.

Total Solutions Equipment

My favorite trolling baits are number 5 and 7 Berkley Flicker Shad in ‘eye-catching patterns such as Black Gold, Blue Tiger, Orange Shad or Black Silver. The size 5 will run 13 to 14 feet deep on thin-diameter, 10/4 Berkley FireLine (I like the Crystal color), while the number 7 dives to 17 feet or so. For optimum lure action, I always use a Cross-Lok Snap to attach the bait to my line.

I use a 7-foot, 10-inch Fenwick Eagle (model EA710M-MC-T) with a 6500LC Abu Garcia line-counter trolling reel. A line-counter is critical to controlling letback and running depth. With a setup like this, I can put my rods in holders and flat-line prime flats all day long.


Berkley®  Flicker Shad

Berkley® FireLine Crystal™

Berkley® Cross-Lok® Pocket Pack

Abu Garcia® Ambassadeur® Line Counter Reel

Fenwick® Eagle®