Here's How To Set Up For Boards
I run a 1/4 to 1 ounce bead chain trolling sinker at the end of the 20lb main line to avoid line twists and get the depth I want. From the sinker to the lure I use 7ft of a 15lb fluorocarbon and a small round cross lock snap. When the fish hits, the board slides down to the trolling sinker. With the sinker in line, it will not knock the fish off as it would if the board ran down to the lure.
When setting this presentation, I set my boat speed at 1 to 2 mph and let out my lure about 30 to 100 feet and attach the board. This distance will change with the amount of light, type of lure and depth you want to fish. When action is slow, adjust this distance and see what happens.
Once the board is attached, carefully lower the board into the water and let out enough line to allow room for more boards, between that board and the boat. Boards should be spaced about 30 feet apart.
Important, put the boards with the least amount of trolling sinker weight on the outside board. When a fish hits, the board releases and it will drop back behind the boat. Land your fish and reset this board by letting out enough line to allow the board to fly back into the same spot it came from. Avoid changing out to many lures if you are getting action because at times one lure feeds off another. By this I mean, a spoon may be attracting the fish but they will hit the crankbait next to it.
Spring Trout Lures By Temperature
Let's continue with lure selection, colors, boat speed, and lure action for spring. The cold water slows down the metabolism of the fish; this in turn requires you to slow down your presentation. I select lures that are small and work well at slower than normal boat speeds.
Your adjustment to these variables is different depending on the preferred temperature of the target species. Brown trout like the warmest water of the five game fish in Lake Michigan and they are looking for above 60-degree water. When you find 60 plus water, fish them as you would in summer. Below 60 degrees the way you fish should be adjusted.
Most active Browns in spring will be found in the top 20 feet of water where bright lures like the Badger Tackle Vulcan OL Sherbet or Orange Slush are best. I slow my boat speed to below 1.5 mph. The small lures become very effective and run well at this speed. Does your boat troll at 1.0 to 4.5 mph? If it doesn't, you will find it difficult to produce all the types of fish in all types of conditions.
Get That Speed Down
Most boats have trouble trolling slowly. When I purchased my new boat, the Blue Max with two 454 engines, trolling slowly was a problem for me. I then added a drift sock to slow down my presentation. Without this tool you will not be successful every trip out. If you adjust the idle down too low on your motor, you will most likely have spark plug fouling or worse.
Slow trolling with planner boards is the way to go in spring or any time the water temperature is below the temp range of the fish you are after. In spring keep it slow, small and bright to be productive. I run a mix of minnow type lures, crankbaits and small spoons. The lures you run is all about the amount of light, baitfish size and the size of fish you are looking to catch. Mix it up! When one lure produces I would double up on that lure.
The Badger Tackle Reaper Peacock, Big Joe and Fish Fry spoon in regular size sold at http://www.badgertackle.com are a popular option.