Copper Fishing – A Great Way to Catch Walleyes and Salmon on the Finger Lakes


Copper line trolling is an increasingly popular technique in the Finger Lakes to catch lake trout, usually behind inline planer boards.

Copper core lines don’t stretch like lead core lines do, enabling lures to be trolled further back when trolling in deep waters. This approach has proven particularly successful on high current days.

Fishing for copper requires the appropriate gear and attention. Here are a few tips for optimizing this trolling tactic.

The Right Gear

Copper trolling wire has quickly made waves in both the salmon industry and other major river systems, and open water, bay, and walleye anglers alike are quickly coming to understand its value as walleye anglers have discovered its advantages for themselves. Copper’s ability to cut through currents and temperature layers without impacting lure presentation or disturbance from boats has revolutionized trolling techniques for numerous species of fish.

As many anglers use copper in their spread using snap weights or downriggers, inline planer boards offer a great way to run an even spread. Furthermore, their flexible nature enables anglers to change lure selection as needed and extend beyond the stern of the boat for extended casting distances.

When selecting a copper fishing line, you have two choices: light (32lb) and heavy (45lb). Each has advantages depending on your particular needs: light copper is ideal for smaller reels with limited line capacity and shallow trolling depth, while 45lb copper provides greater breadth and deeper trolling depths.

Successful copper fishing starts with using the right gear and setting it up properly. This includes having the appropriate leader line in place to avoid tangling and using swivels to reduce the vibration with copper lines. Be sure to invest in a high-quality terminal tackle that meets saltwater grade standards and corrosion-resistant properties for lasting performance in corrosion-prone conditions – ClearH2O Tackle stocks many Blood Run products specially tailored towards copper fishing!

If you have questions or want to view what’s currently in stock, reach out! Our knowledgeable staff would be more than happy to assist. We aim to offer outstanding customer service and help our customers find gear to make their fishing trips successful. We proudly carry only top products from top manufacturers, so you can rest easy knowing we have everything necessary for any fishing trip! Remember – more preparation equals more enjoyment!

The Proper Rig

We have an ideal starting package if you’re getting into copper fishing. Our “ready rigged” copper comes with 30lb of copper wire and 30lb leader ready to wind onto your reel and fish with. No special rod is necessary, but we recommend an Okuma Classic Pro GLT or White Diamond series rod, explicitly designed to handle trolling copper lines at 300′ distances.

One of the critical points when rigging copper is keeping your lines tight. Copper sinks quickly, and any significant slack could lead to mussels coming onto your lures or, in extreme cases, even tangling your entire spread if left loose on the boat deck. Therefore, complete boat control must be exercised.

Remember, when rigging copper, the type of knot must match its style. A standard method is an Albright or Haywire twist knot; however, weighted Steel Wire does not work well with Albright Knots due to their thickness.

When setting up your copper, consider selecting an appropriate flasher, spoon, and plug type and what kind of leader. All these details affect its effectiveness.

Experienced copper fishermen typically employ diverse flashers and bait in their copper heavy spreads, lead core, and copper planer boards to allow them to fish multiple lures without creating an unruly mess. This enables them to target specific species effectively.

Some individuals prefer shorter copper segments for topwater situations, while others prefer longer 200 or 250-foot components. Whatever your preference may be, we advise running 32lb copper as a minimum requirement, and those looking to maximize its depth-producing potential should consider switching up to 45lb as that has proven more depth-producing capability than the traditional lead core.

The Right Lure

Copper wire has long been a go-to trolling method for lake trout, salmon, and walleyes on the Great Lakes. It is more durable than the lead core line, and its shorter lengths enable you to fish multiple lures simultaneously with greater chances of catch rates. Copper lines also boast unique actions that convert electric energy from your magnets into fish attraction that make presentations come alive; dancing and vibrating indications with every pull of your rod draw in hungry Great Lakes predators!

Selecting the proper copper line size for your fishing expedition requires considering both conditions and the depth of water where you plan on using it. Lighter-weight copper lines (32lb and below) tend to perform best for shallow water applications while 45lb copper is popularly chosen as it can penetrate underwater current layers and temperature zones more effectively than the traditional lead core.

No matter the size or type of line you use for fishing trips, it is vital that you inspect it for any kinks or twists before each fishing expedition. Doing this can prevent it from breaking under pressure, which could save time and frustration down the line.

Once your copper line has been thoroughly checked for any issues, it must be secured correctly to reduce tangles and improve casting performance. When tying your knot, ensure it can withstand pressure from large fish.

Not only should your copper be adequately secured, but it is equally essential that the appropriate lures be used when fishing with this line type. Copper excels when fishing shallow waters when combined with small spoons or flasher fly combinations; however, when used beyond 50 feet distance, short copper segments paired with surface spoons and deep flasher fly sets can prove most successful.

The Right Boat

The copper line has quickly gained in popularity on large lakes, and for good reason. Not only does it cover more surface area in the water column than lead core does, but it also adds an element of stealth that’s difficult to replicate with this method of fishing.

Copper can be efficiently run through any rod, from large charter vessels to small fishing boats, without needing special line counter reels or rods with roller guides. Copper works best when trolling lures that are larger than usual lead core exploring presentations behind a planer board with attractions explored on copper as this soft wire doesn’t stretch as you push deeper with lure presentations; furthermore, it makes setting hooks on hard fighting king salmon much more straightforward when they strike one when using copper-trolled spoons as there is no line slack in copper to allow maximum depths without stretch slack in line slack in line!

Heavier coppers, like 45lb copper, tend to run deeper due to their larger wire sizes and mass. You can use any number of lines per planer board; just be careful that any significant slack in any inner copper will cause your setup to sink to the bottom, collecting mussels or colliding with other lines.

As with wire-line, copper tends to kink easily, and backlash can occur if left unattended – quickly creating an unsightly mess! Be wary when trolling copper, as this may also tangle quickly with itself and require careful handling to maintain an uninterrupted fishing session.

Copper trolling tactics for walleye fishing may require some practice to master, but with experience, it can become one of the most deadly tactics on Lake Erie. To succeed, you need to ensure both line tightness and boat speed remain under control so the copper sinks to its intended depth. While initially, this may prove frustrating, it can quickly become one of your go-to methods of catching Lake Erie walleye.