Essential Outdoor Skill: Fine-Tune Your Troll

Successful walleye trolling requires careful boat and speed control, especially if you're trolling with weighted rigs, which run deeper when pulled slower and shallower when pulled faster. You can ballpark your trolling speed with a gas kicker or electric trolling motor. To fine-tune it or work in subtle speed changes, use some of these tricks.

Adjust the Bow Mount: The hottest trend in professional walleye angling is using an electric-steer bow-mounted trolling motor with the gas outboard to fine-tune trolling speed and direction. Set your outboard or kicker to just shy of your desired speed, then creep up on it with the bow mount. You can also steer into the wind or current to maintain a heading, or set it in reverse if you're having trouble keeping the speed low enough.

Drag a Drift Sock: Put one or two socks straight out the back to slow down. Offsetting one to the side can counter crosscurrents or crosswinds.

Use the Boat: Depending on your boat's layout, open storage-compartment lids and closed walk-through windshields can be used to catch a tailwind.

Be the Sail: Two or three grown men standing in a boat can catch a lot of wind. Sit down or stand up to adjust speed.

Lock the Prop: If you troll with a kicker or electric motor and need to slow down, put your main outboard in gear. The prop will lock and create drag.