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In the Midwest, many trout fishing opportunities exist in stocked lakes. Many of these lakes are backwoods in nature or have crude accesses, making them ideal for kayaks and canoes. The lakes are often bowls with adequate oxygen and temps to support trout year round but lack a complex structure. Meaning the trout can be and will be just about anywhere.

Trolling offers a way to cover water quickly and get your lure in front of more fish. When trolling for trout, the first thing that comes to many anglers’ minds is big, heavy, specialty equipment such as downriggers and cowbells. However, as Virtual Angling staff member McKeon Roberts points out, trolling for trout can be done with a straightforward setup from a kayak.

The program is simple. Robert’s lure of choice is a small 04 Rapala Shad Dancer on a 7′ light spinning rod and 6-pound monofilament line. This setup helps for fighting fish as the light line, drag, and rod absorbs the shock during the fight. This combination can be fished effectively in nearly 100 feet of water, with the crankbait diving down only 6-8 feet. Trout cruising the depths have little structure to pin their prey aside from the waters surface, which is why you will often find them looking up for a meal. This small crankbait offers a silhouette with flash and vibration, attracting trout from a distance. While Roberts emphasizes the simplicity of merely dragging the crankbait around and feeling that bill thump as an added way to attract fish, he suggests periodically popping the rod to give the crank erratic action. This tactic is deadly for drawing in fish and getting trailing trout to trigger.

Traditionally, the thought of trolling in a kayak sounds complicated. Still, with the use of his MinnKota Powered AutoPilot kayak, the only thing to worry about is how fast to set the speed, which is easily manipulated with the use of a trolling motor fob. This takes paddling and even pedaling to steer and produce speed out of the equation for a truly hands-free fishing experience.

As far as speed, McKeon keeps the vessel trucking at around 1.5 to 1.8mph, which he also monitors on the fob. This speed ensures the crankbait engages and gets down to the depth at a rate that allows you to cover water quickly yet allows trout to find the lure and attack it while the rod loads and drives the hooks in without tearing.

Kayaks allow you to access incredible fisheries that don’t see the pressure that lakes with boat access see, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice fishability. Kayaks are light and easy to carry in primitive access, and a light and powerful 50-ah Norsk lithium battery can power the MinneKota-equipped AutoPilot 120 trolling motor for days on end. That trolling motor means you can fish as you would from a boat and focus more on fishing and less on boat control, no matter the conditions.

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