How Deep Should The Hook Be Set When Trolling For Fish?

Whether a seasoned angler or a beginner, trolling for fish is an enjoyable afternoon on the water. Trolling is fishing where one or a few fishing lines are pulled through the water behind a boat. It’s an effective technique for catching various fish species, but how deep should the hook be set? This article will explore the basics of trolling, including the benefits, tips, and depth considerations. We’ll also examine how different fish types prefer different depths when trolling. Finally, we’ll discuss safety considerations when on the water.

Types of Trolling

When trolling for fish, the type of trolling you use is essential to your success. There are two main types of trolling, passive and active. Passive trolling involves slowly moving your boat through the water while slowly dragging your bait behind you. Active trolling involves moving your bait, such as jigging or casting, to attract fish’s attention. Both methods can be effective when fishing from a boat, but active trolling is best when fishing from shore. 

Benefits of trolling include covering a large area and luring schools of fish. It can also be a great way to target larger, more aggressive fish. It also allows you to fish in deeper water, which is often more productive than fishing in shallow waters.

Benefits of Trolling

When trolling for fish, it’s essential to understand the benefits of this technique. First, trolling allows you to cover more areas faster than you would with conventional fishing methods. You can also target various fish species by trolling, as it’s possible to cover a wide range of depths. Additionally, trolling can provide a more natural presentation of your bait or lure, which can be advantageous in some situations. It can also be used to target specific fish species that are known to school or swim in deeper waters. Finally, trolling can effectively reduce your fishing time without a bite.

Trolling Tips

The correct depth is vital when you’re trolling for fish. A few tips will ensure you are fishing at the proper depth. Depending on the bait you are using, you will need to adjust the depth of your line. For example, if you are trolling with live bait, the line should be set a few feet below the surface. If you are trolling with lures, the line should be set at a deeper level.

Additionally, consider the type of fish you are looking for. Some fish prefer shallow waters, while others prefer deep waters. Identifying the type of fish you are looking for can help you set the hook at the correct depth. Lastly, be aware of the water depth in your fishing area for safety reasons. Ensure to avoid any areas too deep for your trolling line.

Depth Considerations

When setting the hook when trolling, the depth of the hook in the water is a critical factor to consider. It depends on the type of fish you’re targeting and the kind of trolling you’re doing. When trolling with a downrigger, the hook should be about 15 to 20 feet below the surface. If you’re trolling with planer boards, the hook should be 2 to 10 feet below the surface. Lastly, if you’re trolling with a fishing rod or pole, the hook should be set 2 to 4 feet below the surface.

Types of Fish and Depth Preferences

When fishing with a trolling setup, the type of fish you’re after should always be considered. Different fish species prefer different depths, so adjusting your trolling depth to match is wise. In general, walleye, pike, bass, and trout all prefer depths of around 10 to 20 feet. This range is excellent for trolling with crankbaits, spoons, and other lures. If you’re trolling with live bait, you’ll want to adjust the depth accordingly. Walleye and pike prefer shallow waters and can be caught in depths of 10 feet or less, while bass and trout prefer slightly deeper waters of 20 feet or more.

For saltwater fish, consider the different species you’re targeting. Barracuda, mackerel, and tarpon prefer shallow waters and can be caught in depths of 10 feet or less. Grouper and snapper, on the other hand, prefer deeper waters and should be trolled in depths of 20 feet or more. In addition to depth, consider the current and the direction you’re trolling. If you’re trolling up current, you’ll want to set the hook deeper than if you’re trolling down current.

Depth is crucial, no matter what type of fish you’re after. Your chosen depth should be based on your target species and current conditions. With a bit of practice, you’ll be able to hone in on the perfect depth for catching the fish you’re after.

Safety Considerations

When trolling for fish, safety should always be a priority. Regarding depths, anglers should check the regulations for the water they are fishing in. It’s also important to remember that water levels can change, so pay attention to the water depth and be aware of potential hazards. Lastly, when fishing from a boat, ensure it is equipped with the proper safety gear and the operator is familiar with the area.


When trolling for fish, it’s imperative to consider the depth of the hook when setting it. There are several factors to consider, such as the type of trolling, the benefits of trolling, trolling tips, types of fish, and safety considerations. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure the hook is deep enough to get a bite but not so deep that it gets snagged on the bottom. You can have a productive fishing trip with the proper depth, technique, and bait combination. 

In conclusion, setting the hook at the correct depth is critical to trolling for fish. Different types of trolling require different depths to get a bite, and other types of fish prefer different depths. Be aware of the safety considerations when trolling, and make sure the hook is not too deep. You can have a successful fishing trip with the correct depth, technique, and bait combination.

Leave a Comment