g. loomis, powerpro, shimano fishing

Technique- Trolling with Planer Boards- Rick Arnold

Kootenay Lake Rainbow caught on a planer board and flyThe beauty of the system is that it allows you to run multiple lines (as many as are legally allowed) out from the boat to cover a lot of water.  You stagger the line setbacks at different distances ( starting farthest back on the outside) and then keep them approximately 20-25 feet apart as you control where they are on the planer line by your reel.  Because the top of the mast starts at 6-8 feet off the water at the boat and then tapers on down to water level at the board, the shower ring release slides easily down hill with the reel bail open until you reach the desired spot.  We have run as many as (4) lines off one board.  As the boat spooks fish out to the side from it, your lures or flies will then be offered to them.  Believe me it is a deadly technique for trolling!
I started back in 1990 by dragging Apexes  or “hockey sticks” as they like to refer to them up in Canada.  They have produced several large rainbows for me including my best, a 21 LB. hen from Pend Oreille back in 1993.  Pro-Troll’s ELure also produced some big Kams for us when they came out a few years back.  But undoubtedly, what spins my top the most, is “pulling hair” as many refer to the technique of dragging large buck tail flies off of boards.

Kootenay Lake Flies There are many flies tied by several companies but I like the Split-Shot fly that Mike Thompson ties (from the guide service of the same name) and the Kootenay Fly Co. buck tails by Brownie.  I have caught lots of large rainbows on each.  The secret to fishing these flies comes down to one important factor; the proper tuning of the fly.  You can adjust the fly to its best running ability by adjusting the upward stinger hook and/or tweaking the body hook.  If you get them to run absolutely true and straight ( fly doesn’t roll to one side) when jigged at trolling speeds of 2.5-4 m.p.h., you will be much more successful.

Planer boards offer a great way to spread your gear out and also provide a great way to target weary trout by moving your offerings well away from the boat.  It’s a technique that I’ve grown to love and have I’ve learned that planer boards can work in many locations, not just the places where they’ve become so popular.

For more information on this technique, be sure to read my fishing report on Kootenay Lake.  Also check out “Kootenay III” which chronicles our epic, two week trip last November that produced 11 rainbows from 13-19 LB.!  It is a good read with some heart stopping action on the big Gerrards.  You won’t believe how much line these toads can burn off a reel in one run!  An incredible trip we will never forget!


Rick Arnold is the owner of trophytroutguide.com and Rick’s Trophy Mounts.  If you are so blessed and fortunate to finally catch that big fish you have always dreamed about, be sure and check out his taxidermy page at Rick’s Trophy Mounts.  Rick can do a museum quality fiberglass reproduction for you that will look exactly like your fish…..check out their testimonials and photo galleries of some of the hundreds of mount photos they’ve done in the last few years.  Contact Rick for pricing and lead times.