The Art of Trolling: How to Succeed with 3.5 Spinners and Brad’s Super Baits?

Embarking on the art of trolling with 3.5 spinners and Brad’s Super Baits in the Columbia River demands meticulous attention to your equipment. Let’s delve into the specifics of the ideal rod, fishing line, leader setup, bumper length, color choices, and weight considerations – enriched with insights from seasoned anglers and Columbia River fishing guides. It’s possible to master the art of trolling with Portland Oregon Fishing Adventures!

 1. The Optimal Rod Length

Selecting the appropriate rod is a crucial determinant in the art of trolling, for a successful fishing experience, just as much as knowing how to use 3.5 Spinners or Brad’s Super Baits. When considering the ideal rod, it is paramount to prioritize a length of at least 9 feet 6 inches, and possibly longer.

The extended length is not merely a matter of preference in the art of trolling; it plays a pivotal role in providing the necessary leverage for effective gear control, which is instrumental in navigating the intricacies of trolling.

A key feature to look for in a trolling rod is a semi-soft tip section. This specific attribute holds significant importance as it enables your flasher to execute rotations seamlessly, without hindering its natural movement. The semi-soft tip section adds a finesse element to your setup, allowing for subtle and controlled maneuvers that can be critical in enticing the elusive fall chinook.

The importance of a smooth and enticing presentation cannot be overstated, especially when targeting elusive and discerning species like the fall chinook. The right rod, with its optimal length and the flexibility provided by a semi-soft tip, contributes significantly to achieving this goal. It ensures that your gear moves with a natural flow in the water, replicating the kind of motion that is known to attract the attention of the prized fall chinook.

2. In the Art of Trolling, Line Strength Truly Matters

The choice of fishing line holds equal significance, especially given the forces at play in the art of trolling. When utilizing the bumper, it’s prudent to avoid any line smaller than 50 pounds. In fact, feel confident in scaling up to 150 pounds for this section of the line. Opt for a robust monofilament line, resilient enough to handle the dynamic challenges posed by trolling in the mighty Columbia River.

A monofilament line stands out as an ideal choice for river fishing due to its versatile and advantageous properties. Firstly, its buoyancy is a key factor, allowing the line to stay afloat on the water’s surface, reducing the chances of snagging on rocks or debris beneath the river’s current. This characteristic is particularly beneficial when navigating varied river terrains.

Furthermore, the flexibility and stretch of monofilament provide a forgiving nature that absorbs the shock of sudden strikes or aggressive movements from fish. In the dynamic environment of river fishing, where fish may make sudden runs or engage in erratic behavior, the stretch of monofilament serves as a shock absorber, preventing abrupt line breakages.

The invisibility of monofilament underwater is another advantageous feature in the art of trolling. The line’s transparency reduces the chances of fish detecting it, thereby increasing the likelihood of successful bites. This quality is especially valuable in clear river waters where fish tend to be more cautious and easily spooked.

3. Leader Strength for Chinook Confidence

Fall chinook salmon are renowned for their robust nature, making leader strength a critical consideration. A minimum of 40-pound mono is recommended, but many seasoned anglers prefer the added assurance of 50-pound mono. This heightened strength not only withstands the tenacity of chinook but instills confidence in the angler, knowing their tackle is up to the task.

Reeling in Chinook salmon during river fishing requires a combination of proper technique, equipment, and understanding of the salmon’s behavior. Choose a sturdy rod and reel combination designed for salmon fishing.

A medium to heavy-action rod with a strong backbone provides the necessary power to handle Chinook salmon. Opt for a reel with a smooth drag system to absorb the powerful runs that Chinook salmon are known for. Use a quality fishing line with a higher pound test to handle the strength of Chinook salmon. Many anglers prefer braided lines for their strength and sensitivity.

4. Setting the Bumper Distance

Fine-tuning the distance between your first swivel and the top of your flashers, known as the “bumper,” is crucial for success.

Optimal bumpers range from 16 to 28 inches, offering versatility based on water speed and the desired thump intensity from your flasher. The art lies in experimenting with different bumper lengths to discover the sweet spot tailored to the unique trolling conditions of the Columbia River, just as much as using 3.5 Spinners or Brad’s Super Baits.

5. Color Variety Wins in the Art of Trolling

The palette of colors for your spinner and Brad’s Super Baits holds the key to success. While reds, pinks, and greens are perennial favorites, diversify your options. Keep a broad range of colors on hand to adapt to the ever-changing conditions of the river. Trust the local expertise of Columbia River fishing guides to guide your color choices based on the river’s dynamic and unpredictable nature.

6. Precision with Lead Weight is Essential in the Art of Trolling

Ensuring your gear remains within the elusive strike zone is paramount to achieving success in trolling, especially when utilizing pro troll flashers in the Columbia River. The weight of the lead you choose plays a pivotal role in maintaining the desired depth and control over your fishing setup. It is advised to steer clear of anything lighter than 16 ounces of lead when employing pro troll flashers in this specific fishing environment.

Opting for heavier leads, specifically 16 ounces and above, contributes to superior control over the depth of your gear in the water column. This added weight helps counteract the various factors that can affect your trolling setup, such as strong currents or varying water conditions. The result is a more stable and predictable presentation of your bait or lure, increasing the likelihood of enticing the attention of fish, including the elusive targets like those found in the Columbia River.

To truly master the intricacies of lead weight and refine your precision trolling skills, engaging with experienced guides is invaluable. Seasoned guides possess a wealth of knowledge about the specific nuances of the Columbia River, including the optimal lead weights for different conditions and target species. Collaborating with these experts provides a unique opportunity to learn firsthand about the subtleties that can significantly enhance your trolling effectiveness.


Key Takeaways

The success of your trolling adventure hinges on the harmonious interplay of the right rod, line, leader, bumper length, color variety, lead weight, and using properly using 3.5 Spinners and Brad’s Super Baits.

Armed with these comprehensive insights, enriched by the collective wisdom of local guides, you’re not just angling – you’re crafting an experience on the Columbia, poised for a thrilling and successful day of trolling for fall chinook salmon. Tight lines!

If you’re ready for some serious trolling along the Columbia River, simply call 503.875.3168 today to inquire or book your trip with us at Portland Oregon Fishing Adventures!