How-To Setup a Salmon Trolling Rig for the Rogue River

Two Nice Jacks and 2 Beautiful HawgsOverview

Setting up to troll for Chinook Salmon in the Rogue River is very similar to set-ups in other Southern Oregon Rivers.  Use a rod with enough backbone to handle three or four ounces of weight yet have the tip sensitivity to allow the fish to mouth and chew the bait prior to hook-set.  Team aFISHionados recommends using a mainline of 50 pound test PowerPro, or other braided fishing line, on a level-wind fishing reel with 25 pound test Maxima Ultra-Green monofilament for leaders.

Wire-Spreaders and Drop-Leaders

From the mainline attach a high quality snap swivel and then snap on a wire spreader.  From the dropper side, or the vertical direction on the spreader, tie on a dropper-line.  The length of this can vary from time-to-time but we prefer no shorter than 16 or 18 inches.  Any shorter and the weight tends to tangle with the leader.  I sometimes use up to 30 inches of dropper-line.  Try several lengths out and change out to the length that hooked-up the first fish.  Usually, lighter weight will require a longer dropper-line to prevent tangling with the leader.

Attach a duo-lock snap to the dropper-line for rapid weight changes. We use 15 pound monofilament for dropper-line as it has a small line diameter, which reduces overall line drag for the entire setup allowing you to use a lighter weight, and, if the weight gets caught on something it can easily be broken-off.


On the leader part, or horizontal direction, tie on a 24 to 36 inch section of 30 or 40 pound monofilament with a bead-chain swivel attached to the end.  From this attach a pre-tied 24 to 36 inch leader with a straight anchovy rig, a spinner blade and anchovy rig, or a spinner/lure.  We attach duo-lock snaps to the leaders for rapid bait changes.  We even have a spinner ready to go into the water in place of the bait during bait checks while we thread on a new anchovy in order to maximize our presentation time in the strike zone.  You might be surprised at how many fish are swimming around back there ready to snap at the first thing that looks different.


Often when trolling for Chinook Salmon in the Rogue River and we are trolling 3, 4, or more rods then one of the rods will have an in-line flasher attached.  We do this in an attempt to mimic a school of wounded bait-fish and feeding salmon.  By comparison in the Coos River Fall Chinook Salmon fishery if we have 3 or 4 rods out then most of the rods, if not all, will have in-line flashers or dodgers.  However, spinners sometimes do not run well behind a flasher and we usually run spinners by themselves.

Sliding Weight on the Mainline

If you are using a sliding weight system on the mainline simply thread the mainline through one eye of a barrel swivel, slide on a bead (5 or 7 mm), then tie on a high quality snap swivel.  From the open end of the barrel swivel tie on a dropper-line.  Tie on 16 to 30 inches of dropper-line depending on weight size and current speed.  End the dropper-line in a duo-lock snap for rapid weight changes.

From the mainline tie on 24 to 36 inches of 30 or 40 pound monofilament ending in a bead-chain swivel.  Attach a 24 to 36 inch pre-tied bait rig or lure leader.  We end our pre-tied leaders with a duo-lock in order to facilitate quick bait changes and maximization of lure presentation time.

Spinner-Blade and Anchovy Rig

Spinner-blades above the anchovy are very popular on the Rogue River and most of the fish caught here are caught with spinner-blades on the leader.  Simply slide six or seven, 5mm chartreuse beads onto the leader above the top hook.  Then slide on a clovis with a quick-change system so you can change blade colors.  Finally, snap on a blade in your favorite color.  Solid gold has worked well for us in the past as well as various shades of bright green and chartreuse.


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