Trolling for Salmon Without Downriggers (The Complete Guide)

Trolling for Salmon Without Downriggers

If you’re looking for a way to catch Salmon without downriggers, this is trolling for Salmon without downriggers definitive guide for you.

There are a lot of causes why people choose to use downriggers when fishing for Salmon.

But if you don’t have access to them or want an alternative method, this guide will help you find success on your next trip out.

You can learn everything from how to rig your line and trolling rod properly, what lures work best in different situations, and even how to set up a fish finder so that it works with your trolling motor.

This ultimate guide has all of the information necessary to make sure that you get more bites than misses!

Salmon trolling Without Downriggers
Salmon trolling Without Downriggers

Here are the 5 best Trolling divers & Snap weights for trolling of 2021

Can you troll without a downrigger? 

Yes! But don’t take my word for it. Keep reading to learn all of the tips and tricks that I have used throughout my years of fishing, and I’ll show you how and why trolling without a downrigger can be just as effective as fishing with one.

There are many things out there that talk about how to use downriggers when fishing for Salmon, but very few resources are available when trolling without downriggers.

This guide is written for those who want to skip the expense of using downriggers or are interested in finding out if they can catch more fish by trolling without downriggers.

What depth do you troll for Salmon?

Well, it depends. We generally like the faster-trolling speeds between 2-4 knots, but if I’m having trouble with my depth and need some innovative ways to attract fish, then that’s when a slow method comes into play: 

Such as jigging or suspending baits from sunken wood so they don’t get caught on bottom flora and fauna – sometimes even just sitting there waiting will yield great results.

If you’re using multiple downriggers, try them out at depths from 15 feet to 40 feet. Troll speed slowing of 2-3 mph and adjust as needed by switching the setting on each separate reel accordingly when catching activity picks up near specific depths.

Once we start getting bites around 25 ft., all our rigs will be set for that particular depth, so there’s no need to go back into storage just because things got more difficult deeper than expected!

What is the ideal trolling speed for Salmon? (Trolling Speed Basics)

You’ll want to set your trolling speed at two mph for coho salmon, but chinook will be more productive with a slower 1.5 mph pace.

Of course, these are general trolling speeds for Salmon and may vary based on what you’re trolling with.

We’ve had excellent fishing success with depths between 20-30 feet; however, trolling at lower speeds than that (< 1.5mph) is more of a challenge because the line tends to tangle more often.

How do you troll without downriggers?

First, let’s talk about lines. What kind of line to use for trolling without downriggers is simple. Any monofilament or braided line will do.

Monofilament Fishing Line is preferable because it’s thinner and more sensitive, making it easier to feel the bites. However, the braided fishing line is stronger and won’t stretch as much, which can handle a bigger load.

The downside to using a braided line is that it’s more challenging to feel the bites than a fingertip-sensitive monofilament line.

How do you rig for trolling without downriggers?

There are many various ways to rig for trolling without downriggers, but I’m going to show you the most common form.

First, tie a barrel swivel to your line about two feet above the lure. After you tie on the barrel swivel:

  1. Attach your leader line with a hook to the end of it.
  2. Connect the fishing leader line to your downrigger balls (or weights if you’re using an inline setup) with heavy gauge fishing wire.
  3. Just ensure that the weights are heavy enough so they won’t come off your line quickly, and you don’t have to be anxious about losing them.

What is the best fishing line for trolling without downriggers? 

Monofilament line of 10-15lb test will be more than enough. The 12lb line is what we have been using for years, and it has never let us down.

If you utilize a braided line, then a much stronger test would be required for your main fishing line because it’s strong enough to pull your sinker rig by itself if the snap weight becomes detached.

If you’re fishing with downriggers, the braided fishing line is more appropriate because it’s much stronger.

Best fishing line for salmon trolling (Top picks)

What type of sinker should you use when trolling without downriggers? 

When we troll without downriggers, we use 3 oz. Sinkers. On all lures and rigs that we use. These sinkers can either be split shots or egg sinkers.

They are fastened to the mainline and provide enough weight for the lures and baits we use to run to the desired depth.

How to get lures deeper when trolling?

When you need to go even deeper, just let out some quality line until your target depth is reached.

On the lure end of this rig, remove a short section and tie on an 18 size barrel swivel before tying onto 10-15 feet mono or fluorocarbon leader with another barrel hook.

Then attach a small snap weight to the leader about 18 inches from the hook. Use a swivel on the weighted end as well.

If you’re fishing in deep water, find out what depth your lures are running at and drop another 18 inches of line off your downrigger ball.

If you need to target specific depths reliably, attach another sinker about 18 inches from the first one and repeat the whole process.

Trolling for Salmon without downriggers 

Salmon tro can be a rewarding experience. If you’re looking to have a trip at trolling for Salmon, then read our article on what equipment you need and how to rig for Salmon when trolling.

Before we get started with tips for trolling without downriggers, let’s look at what you need to know about salmon fishing.

What you need to fish for Salmon without downriggers?

To successfully fish strikes for Salmon without downriggers, you’ll need the following equipment-

Rods – 6-7ft medium action spinning rods

Reels – 4-5:6 ratio bait caster reels

Line – 10-15lb mono or braid (fluorocarbon leaders suggested for braid)

Lures – A variety of spoons, crankbaits, or stick baits

Sinkers – 1-3oz egg sinkers or a 3 oz. barrel swivel with split shot

Anchoring Method – Anchoring the boat in the desired location or using a drift sock for sustained trolling.

When it comes to Salmon fishing, you can use downriggers to get your lures down to the desired depth. Although, there are a lot of ways you can fish for Salmon without downriggers.

If you’re still on the hunt for downriggers that won’t break the bank, then check below Cheap Downriggers:

Downrigger alternatives for salmon fishing!

The problem with downriggers is that they’re expensive and can be difficult to use. If you don’t have loads of experience fishing with downriggers, it might take some time for you to get the hang of them.

This way, no matter where you are or what type of water body you’re on, there’ll always be an alternative method available for catching more fish!

And because these alternatives are cheaper than traditional methods like Downrigger systems or other types of trolling, you can spend more on fun things like lures and bait!

If you have a boat but don’t have the money to afford Downriggers, don’t worry!

We’ve got you covered with our best alternatives to Downriggers. Although they’re not as effective as an actual Downrigger, they cut back on the costs, and you’ll still be able to hunt plenty of fish!

Here’s our list of the best alternatives to Downriggers-

Snap weights for trolling.

If you’re looking for a cheap downriggers alternative, then look no further than snap weights! What you need to do is connecting them to your line, and they’ll put enough weight on it for you to get the desired depth!

They are very effective for Salmon trolling, so if you’re on a budget and don’t have the money to spend on Downriggers, then snap weights are an excellent option for you.

You can get snap weights in a variety of weights, so you’ll be able to experiment with various setups to see what works well for your line, lures, and speed.

And since the snap weights are made of lead, they are extreme. They can take a hitting without breaking or coming off the line. So if you’re trolling in rough water, they’ll stay intact!

The best part is that snap weights are incredibly cheap, so you’ll be able to get more of them without burning a hole in your pocket!

Additionally, snap weights come with swivels attached, so you don’t need to buy them separately!

Bestseller No. 1
FUNORNAM 8Pcs Heavy Tension Snap Weight Trolling Offshore Release...
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  • ★Padded release clips great for all offshore fishing...
Bestseller No. 2
Pro Snap Weight Kit
  • 27 piece Pro Snap Weight Trolling System
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  • USA company based in Michigan!
  • 6 clips, 4 x 1oz, 6 x 2oz, 4 x 3oz
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Bimini Lures Pro Snap Weights for trolling - Red Clip (Red - 10 Clips...
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  • Designed to hold the line tightly with up to 8 ounces of weight...
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  • Used for outriggers and downriggers

Trolling with dipsy divers for Salmon.

The dipsy diver is a diving device that will be very useful to any fisherman.

The tool enables you to dive into deep water and allows for running lures off of it in different directions, allowing anglers access areas they may not have been able otherwise due to spooked fish or engine noise from their boat’s shadow cast upon them while out on the open ocean Currents can also play havoc with your lines if there are too many waves rolling over each other; thus making it essential gear every crabber should invest in!

Best trolling dipsy divers

Bestseller No. 1
Rapala Luhr Jensen Mini Dipsy Diver, Fire/White Bottom, 2 1/4 Inch
  • Adjustable directional trolling diver.
  • Acheive trolling depths of 10 to 20 feet.
  • You'll cover more water when the Dipsy Divers are deployed
Bestseller No. 2
Luhr Jensen 1 Dipsy Diver, Black/Black Bottom (5560-001-0084)
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  • 1 Dipsy Diver Black / Black Bottom
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Luhr Jensen Dipsy Diver, Chartreuse and White Bottom, 3 1/4-Inch
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  • Luhr-Jensen Fishing Lures And Accessories Have Defined Angler...

Best trolling diver

Have you ever wanted to troll a diver? If you have, then the best trolling jet diver is for you. This product allows you to troll any jet diver and watch them become furious as they try to catch fish that aren’t even there. It’s hilarious!

With this trolling device, your diving days will be over in no time. Just connect it to your fishing line and drop it into the water like normal.

When a fish swims by, our device makes an artificial sound of a baitfish swimming around nearby, causing other fish species (including sharks) to go after it thinking it’s food and not yours!

The Best Trolling jet diver is great for anyone who loves fishing but hates catching their food or those who don’t even like eating seafood at all because now they can buy ours instead!

We guarantee that once you see how effective our product works on jet divers, we’re sure that you’ll want one too!

How do you set up a troll for jet divers?

Don’t worry too much about the jet diver jetting system if you’re new to jet diving.

This system is used to adjust the jet divers’ buoyancy, but you don’t need to do anything other than throwing it into the water! The jet diver will naturally jet upwards and downwards when it’s in the water.

The jet diver is very easy to use! All you have to do is drop it into the water, and jet divers will jet up and down in the water.

When a fish comes by, jet divers will jet down towards the fish! If it’s a large fish, jet divers will jet down even more.

How do you use a deep six diver?

Using a downrigger has the weight on it to get the downrigger ball down in the water. You then attach your fishing line to that, and then you can fish off of it.

It’s a lot like fishing off of the bottom, except your fishing line is attached to something that can be pushed along by the current so it doesn’t get stuck on the bottom.

Instead of weight, a downrigger uses a buoyant ball connected to the fishing line. When you let out more lines, the ball rises to the surface because it’s so buoyant. Then you take up your slack by winding in the fishing line.

When you let out more lines, it will make the ball sink back down to where you want your lure to be. It’s like fishing on the bottom, except you don’t have to hold onto the weight to keep it down where you want.

It is suitable for trolling, where you can attach multiple lines (called “trolls”) off of one downrigger.

Now that you know about the pros of owning a downrigger, you should start thinking about purchasing one!

Sometimes it could be wiser to rent one, but if you’re a big spender and want the best choices, then we recommend buying one!

Don’t waste another day without Downriggers; buy one today!

How do you troll with keel weights?

Keel weights are one of the essential trolling accessories that every serious angler should have! The keel weight attached to your fishing line allows you to troll without swaying or tipping your boat, which can be very dangerous.

If you’re trolling, then keel weights are the best trolling weight for you. They provide a nice straight-lead core line pull that is great for trolling in most freshwater and saltwater locations.

There are many different sizes of keel weights that you can purchase. If you want the best trolling weight, we recommend buying one that can hold at least 100 pounds.

What weight should a downrigger use?

Six to eight pounds is the typical depth weight for most freshwater applications, while ten-pound lines are typically needed for saltwater.

The amount of drag on a downrigger will depend upon how fast you’re trolling and where in relation to sea level that your boat sits when fishing; this affects both its effectiveness at catching suspended fish as well as any risk involved due to more incredible speeds required (which can be serious if not done correctly).

How do you rig a downrigger for Salmon?

If you want to rig a downrigger for Salmon, it can be more complicated. It isn’t as simple as just tying the lead core line to your downrigger ball.

For starters, you will need a roller fairlead before using one for Salmon. This is so that the line doesn’t get wrapped around the downrigger.

Second, you should have about three hundred feet of the fishing line because Salmon can be far away. This pulls your weight down more efficiently, which makes it easier to catch fish.

Third, you need to make sure that the lead core line is weighted down to where it’s around two hundred feet. There should be enough slack in the line to reel up any fish strikes that you catch.

Where do you mount a downrigger?

Downriggers can be mounted on the stern of a boat, the gunnels, or on top of the bow. Most people prefer to have them mounted on the gunnels.

This puts them in an easy-to-reach spot while you are standing comfortably inside of your boat.

You might also consider putting a downrigger on the bow of your boat. This is the most accessible place to use a downrigger, but it’s also the most dangerous.

What is the difference between the tall mount and low-profile downriggers?

There are tall mount downriggers, which means that the ball is on top of the gunnel. The low-profile downrigger is more common because it has a roller on the bottom, which allows you to pull the line in from the side.

You should prefer a low-profile downrigger because it is more expensive and doesn’t make much difference.

Frequently Asked Questions about trolling for Salmon (FAQ)

Can you troll for trout without downriggers?

If you’re looking for a way to catch rainbow trout, then try trolling without downriggers. There are other options available for lake trout fishing, and some anglers believe that using light rods works best- but they won’t get the job done as one heavy rod can!

How to troll at a certain depth?

To figure out: the perfect depth and lure speed for your particular setup, it’s essential to deploy a rig at specific distances.

When doing this on flat water or nearshore areas with the bit of current, make sure you’re not going too fast so as not to cause any excess wear-and-tear that could ruin its durability before finishing what we started!

Once deployed, keep an eye on both how far away from shore our vessel is located to determine if there are shallower shelves where I might be able to swing back into them after some time without dragging bottom (which would increase drag), then adjust accordingly by either cranking down more easily when needed.

How fast should I troll for Salmon?

If you want to catch some salmon, the best speed is somewhere between 1.5 and 3 mph, depending on your setup. If I were going out for a day trip with my cousin who lives upriver from me, I would use one of these in order not wake up all his friends by setting off too quickly–it’s also good if we get caught at night when there are no lights because spinning will make them spook more rapidly than usual anyway; then again maybe he wouldn’t mind waking everyone else awake.

What depth does Salmon swim at?

Salmon may be found anywhere from the surface down to depths of 200 feet. They prefer deep water during daylight hours and shallow areas like rivers or lakes at night-time when it’s dark out. A good starting point for an open ocean fish would be between 40 – 80 fathoms (or meters) in terms of depth?

Can you troll for Salmon at night?

Yes, you can troll for Salmon at night. This is a very successful technique for catching fish. Fishing for Salmon at night can be a great way to catch some.

The best times are during new and full moon nights, but if you’re targeting cohos, they’ll probably prefer dawn or dusk when the bites are hottest!

Winter is usually not too good because it’s cold so try again later in springtime – maybe even early summer?

What is the best time to troll for Salmon?

Salmon can be caught from spring until fall or winter, depending on where you are fishing, but the best time to go out trolling for Salmon is when the weather conditions are best.

The optimum time is spring and summer when the water is warmest, but fishing in the winter can be very rewarding as well–just be prepared to battle the elements!

Is it possible to troll without downriggers?

Yes, most definitely. Most people catch their Salmon trolling with downriggers because they are easy to use and very effective.

However, you might not understand that downriggers are just one option for fishing with floats and weights – there are many others!

Are line counters worth it?

Line counters are an excellent add-on when fishing for certain types of fish. If you want to determine how many times the line has been pulled in an hour or day. In that case, they work well because it’s easy and accurate with this type of gear but don’t necessarily need them all the time.

If your favorite spot doesn’t have consistent depths, so sometimes I’ll leave mine at home just depending on what mood my brain decides will make me most successful that particular day!

A built-in line counter would be perfect–however, if you’re planning on fishing an area that won’t require a lot of deep drops, they may not be worth buying depending on your other priorities.

How accurate are line counter reels?

Most anglers think that a line-counter reel is the most accurate way of monitoring trolling lead lengths.

However, these meters are inherently inaccurate and do not account for different types or sizes of fishing lines in use, leading to false data being recorded when users switch between different settings on their devices.

Meters can be fooled into thinking you have more than what’s there because they only measure one aspect – your actual end links/drags, which means if someone has 50 lb test monofilament tied onto an 80; pound rod with no leaders, then he’ll show up as having 60 pounds!

How deep does a Jet Diver go?

No more guessing at what depth you’re supposed to dive; with just one purchase, the whole, five-size Jet Diver system enables you to reach specific depths from 10 – 50 feet! Although jet divers are not widely used with Salmon trolling, they are very effective with Tuna.


Trolling without a downrigger is possible, but it requires some extra knowledge. The depth at which you troll for Salmon will depend on the type of bait that you are using and the time of year.

Generally speaking, trolling speeds should be between 2-8 mph, with faster speeds used close to shore or during peak hours when more fish are active in shallow water.

If your lures aren’t sinking as deep as they need to be while trolling, try tilting them so that the lure head points downward instead of straight out from behind your boat’s propeller shaft. You can also use weightier sinkers if necessary!

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