You can rig up a trolling rod and reel in no time: Simply tie a 1/8 ounce swivel to the end of your line, add a 30” piece of four pound line between that swivel and the Lucky Bug and you’re instantly ready to slow troll for trout. Remember to let your line run out about 100′. Or you can place the swivel about five feet above lure, using what weight necessary to lure down to desired depth. Troll slowly, letting out about 100 feet of line. Tie the lure directly to the leader.
Another method you can use for trolling is to use a lead core fishing line. A lead core fishing line is simply a braided fishing line with a lead core. It comes on a spool and is graduated into 10 colours. For every colour you let out your lure sinks 7 feet. You can set up a large arbor fly reel with standard backing, then 5 colors of lead line, then 30 to 40 feet of leader (5 or 6 pound test depending on where you are fishing), tie your lure directly to the leader. I like to use a 6 wt fly rod and start out near the surface and troll for 15 minutes, then if you have not caught anything go a little deeper. Once you find where the fish are you can go back to that exact depth. It is always a good idea to put in lots of turns and “s” curves, as this will cause your lure to speed up and rise, and slow down and fall, thus covering more water. This method can produce excellent results!
You can rig up a spinning rod and reel quickly too: Simply place your shot or casting bubble about 24 or 30 inches above the lure, working it down and across stream.
Here is another easy set-up you can use to spin cast from a beach or boat: The standard casting set up from beach or boat with the Lucky Bug is an 18″ leader that is a couple pound test strength less than the mainline: example would be a 12lb test mainline with an 8lb test leader, etc. The leader is tied to a Lucky Bug at the terminal end, the other end is tied to a small swivel. The swivel is then tied to the mainline and weights are applied to the mainline above (rod side) the swivel, the idea being the weights if they slide will slide only to the swivel and not to the bug. The weights that are used in this application are usually split shots and the size and number are dictated by the rod/reel combination together with the distance needed for the cast as well as the wind. From the beach I suggest at least 3 split shots about the size of a large garden pea.
A common alternative to the above is used when extreme distance is required, such as the lower Fraser when fish are jumping quite far out in the mainstream. The basic set-up described above is used but lengthen the leader to about 24″ and use a three-way swivel instead of a standard swivel. Tie the leader and mainline to the three-way swivel so they are ‘in-line’ with each other and the third eye of the swivel is at 90 degrees. From the third eye of the swivel a 1 or 1 1/2 oz ‘Bouncing Betty’ style weight is clipped on. When casting this set up a quick retrieve is usually required (Lucky Bugs like being retrieved fast luckily) especially when nearing shore. If you find the leader is tangling often a simple solution is to stop the cast just before the weight hits the water. Stopping the weight short allows the bug to continue past the weight/swivel and the leader lays out nice and straight. Just a note, a Bouncing Betty weight is a round lead weight covered in rubber with a snap at the top. The snap is what is attached to the swivel.
For fly fishing set ups: We suggest you use a sinking line. This will allow the bug to get under water and give the fish the action they just can’t seem to resist.
Fishing Tips for Brook Trout from our pro staff: In most cases size #6 will work best for brook trout, however having said that there are situations that #2′s would be preferred. Examples where you may want to try a few #2′s would be dark or stained water also if you’re fishing for large trout that are used to feeding on large prey items such as mice.
I use Lucky Bugs almost exclusively with a fly rod, they are hybrid fly/lure and work very well fished as a fly. Here are a few tips specific to fly rods and Lucky Bugs. You’ll want to use some kind of a sinking type of line and a relatively short leader. The line you use is dictated by the conditions that you are fishing. Trolling from a boat in a lake that is relatively shallow is best done with a clear intermediate sink line and in a lake that is fairly deep you may want to use a full sink line, such as a type 3 or even heavier. Casting and retrieving in a lake from shore, float tube or a boat is usually best done with an intermediate sinking line, if the fish are deeper just wait a little longer before you start your retrieve.
If fly fishing in a river, using a sinking tip line is almost always the best. This way the tip will sink and bring the bug down to where the fish are and the floating main section of the line will allow you to properly mend the line to get the best swing. In almost all cases I use a 4′ length of fluorocarbon leader in a lb test that matches the fish you are trying to catch – usually somewhere between 6lb and 12lb.
Whether trolling or casting and retrieving the bugs, you want to be moving fairly quickly – definitely faster than when you’re using a ‘normal’ fly. Trout really like these lures moving and they will react with a strike even when they are not actively feeding. I keep my rod tip down very low when retrieving, only a few inches above the water. I make sure the rod is pointing straight at the lure and I use quick pulls approximately 10 to 12″ long. Don’t be afraid to pause briefly during the retrieve, not a long pause just stop stripping for a quick moment then continue on.