How to Use Fishing Outriggers

How to Use Fishing OutriggersTrolling for salmon, whether on the Great Lakes or the Pacific Ocean, requires anglers to use multiple tactics to catch salmon consistently. Downriggers are one tool used to get lures down deep when the fish are there, and outriggers are another tool that gets the bait out away from the boat when fish are riding high in the water column. (Pictured: Fishing Boat with Outriggers)


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Using the Outrigger

Things You’ll Need:
  • Trolling rod and reel
  • Salmon lure
  • Outrigger
  • Line release
Step 1
Begin by lowering the outrigger into a position that is horizontal to the surface of the water. This will ensure the lure will be at the optimal distance from the boat.
Step 2
Pull on the outrigger pulley rope to bring the line release down to you. This release will hold the line in place while trolling and will let go of the line when a salmon strikes.
Step 3
Take the rod and reel you intend to use with the outrigger and place the lure in the water while disengaging the reel to let line out. Allow the lure to get back 50 to 75 feet behind the boat and then engage the reel.
Step 4
Once the lure is set behind the boat, squeeze the outrigger release with one hand to open the jaws, place the line in the middle of the jaws and let go of the release. The line should be firmly in the outrigger release.
Step 5
Disengage the reel in order to let line go and begin to pull on the outrigger pulley rope to send the release with the line in it to the end of the outrigger. Once the release is in place, engage the reel and tighten up the slack in the line.
When a salmon strikes the lure, the line will come free from the release and you are free to fight the trophy of a lifetime.

Tips & Warnings

In rough seas, raise the outrigger high enough to keep it out of the water. High waves can knock the line free from the release.
Be careful around the outriggers if a storm approaches. This will be the highest point on the boat when lighting could strike.


Article Written By Brian M. Kelly

Brian M. Kelly has been freelance writing since 2003. His work has been published in respected outdoor magazines such as Outdoor Life, Great Lakes Angler and Salmon Trout Steelheader. He holds an associate's degree in automated machine design from Macomb College.

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