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Planner boards are used when trolling for spring Coho and Chinook Salmon, Trout and Steelhead. Using Planner boards allows the trolling fisherman to spread yourSix Rod Planner Board Spread presentation over a much greater surface area. When using a flat line trolled from the back or sides of your boat, your lure presentation width can only cover the area from rod tip to rod tip, maybe 15-20 feet. Using planner boards you can increase the lure presentation area to 100, 200, or 300 feet wide. The diagram to the right shows a six rod trolling spread. Rod number 1 is set 100 from the boat. The rods numbered 2 and 6 are set 75 feet from the boat. The rods numbered 3 and 5 are set 50 feet from the boat. Rod number 4 is 25 feet from the boat. This trolling spread will cover an area with a width of about 175 feet. Trolling with planner boards is an effective method of increasing your fishing area. There are a variety of planner boards available: Yellow Birds, Church Boards and others. We prefer Yellow Bird planner boards for spring fishing. Yellow Bird planner boards can be set to release when a fish hits. The planner board then slides down the line toward the fish. A bead chain sinker on the line will stop the planner board from hitting the fish. If a bead chain sinker is not used, you will need to attach a speed bead on the line to stop the planner board from hitting the fish.

A Bead Chain Inline Trolling Sinker is attached directly to your fishing line. The Torpedo shaped design and multiple bead chain swivels eliminate twisted or kinkedBead Chain Inline Trolling Sinker line. The Keel shaped sinker is designed to track better and eliminate line twists or kinked fishing line. Some fishermen use rubber core sinkers. We do not recommend rubber core sinkers for trolling because they can cause line twist and weaken your fishing line. The length of the fishing line from your planner board and the weight of the bead chain sinker will affect the depth of your lure. For example using a ¾ ounce bead chain sinker with 50 feet of line from the planner board should get your lure to approximately 18 feet of depth. The numbers in the accompanying chart are estimates and can be affected by line diameter and trolling speed. Use the depth numbers provided only as general guidelines. In early spring the salmon and trout can be located near the surface. Close to the surface the water temperature is usually warmer. Set some lures near the surface in the top 5 feet of water. Other lures should be staggered at different depths to cover the top 20 feet or water. If during your fishing trip most fish are caught with lures set to run at 10 feet of depth, you can easily adjust other lures to that same depth, by increasing or decreasing the length of the leader from your planner board. Using multiple planner boards on one side of the boat, the deepest set lure should be the closest planner board to the boat. The shallowest running lure should be the farthest planner board from the boat. Using this tactic will help eliminate tangles.

Dodgers and Flashers are used with Peanut Flies. The leader length from the Inline Bead Chain sinker to your dodger or flasher is usually 4 to 5 feet. 20 to 40Dodgers and Flashers for peanut flies pound test monofilament fishing line is used for the leader; fluorocarbon leader line is not needed. The top spring time dodger used is the Luhr Jensen size 00 Red #0077 dodger, which is 6 inches long. It is not uncommon to see charter boats rigged with the red 6 inch dodger on all of their rods. We usually like to run at least 1 Luhr Jensen size 00 Chartreuse Fire Dot #0054 dodger at the same time, sometimes it will be the hottest rod on the boat. The Luhr Jensen size 00 dodgers require at least a ¼ ounce bead chain sinker to sink below the surface of the water when trolled behind a planner board. Action Flashers (Red, Orange and Chartreuse) are also popular. The Action Flashers can also used without a bead chain sinker, because the bend on the front causes the flasher to dive slightly. Stubby Dodgers from Gold Star / Silver Horde can also be used. The stubby dodger is 6 inches long but wider than the Luhr Jensen size 00 dodger and provides a more aggressive kick to the peanut flies. A bead chain sinker is required for the Gold Star / Silver Horde Stubby dodgers. Size 0 (8 inch) dodgers are not used with peanut flies.

Peanut Flies are tied directly onto treble hooks. Care must be used unhooking fishPeanut Flies with peanut flies in their mouths. Do not grab the thread or fly material directly with your pliers as it can destroy the fly. Leader length for peanut flies is 12-18 inches from the back of your dodger or flasher to the peanut fly. The colder the water temperature, the longer the leader length should be used. The leader material is open for debate and discussion, some use Fluorocarbon leader, most use regular fishing line. Most fishermen use 40 pound test fishing line (Ande or BigPeanut Fly Turned Game) as is gives a great snapping action to the peanut fly. Peanut Flies are tied with the knot at the top of the eye of the treble hook for the best action. Always check your fly whenever a fish hits and misses your fly. Sometimes the leader attached to the fly can slide on the eye of the treble hook or become "turned". That turned fly will never catch a fish and becomes a wasted rod. There are many popular color patterns for peanut flies: Two Tone, Next Generation, Blue Green Gold, Black, Coho Candy, Green Liz, and Little Boy Blue are some of the favorite patterns.

Great Lakes Salmon, Steelhead, Trout and other species Fishing tips, tactics, articles, techniques, and information