How to set up freshwater trolling rigs

Written by mandy slake
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How to set up freshwater trolling rigs
Trolling rigs are towed behind a boat to attract fish. (gpomg fishing image by Elmo Palmer from

Trolling rigs for freshwater fish are made up of a cowbell rig followed by a leader attached to a lure such as a small spoon, spinner or wedding ring rig. Cowbell rigs are made up of a series of spinning blades on a wire attached to a rudder. The rudder keeps the spinning blades from twisting the line, while the flashing and vibration of the blades attracts fish to the lure or bait following behind. Depending on the species of fish, the hook can be tipped with corn, a worm or a variety of artificial baits.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Snap swivel
  • Cowbell rig
  • Rubber snubber
  • Leader
  • Lure

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  1. 1

    Tie a snap swivel to your main line, then attach your cowbell rig to the snap. Clip it to the loop on the rudder. This will prevent line twist should the rudder flip over when being pulled.

  2. 2

    Attach a rubber snubber to the loop at the back of the cowbell rig. This will prevent the hook from tearing out of the fish's mouth when reeling it in.

  3. 3

    Tie a leader to the end of the snubber, then tie the opposite end to your lure. Some lures come pre-tied. With these, just tie the line directly to the snubber.

  4. 4

    Bait the lure with a piece of corn, a nightcrawler, minnow or salmon egg, depending on the species of fish you are after.

  5. 5

    Troll the rig just fast enough to make all the blades spin, usually around 1 to 2mph.

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