A trotline is a long rope or cord with multiple hooks that dangle from it used for fishing. Using a trotline, you are able to completely cover the length of the rope with baited hooks to catch fish. Tie the line to one side of a lake, river, or channel, stretch the line across and then tie it off to the other side.
The wonderful thing about a trotline is that you are fishing without standing there for hours on end. You can put the line out and then in the morning go back to it for your fish. As you take the fish off that you have caught, you can even replace the bait so that you can throw it back in the water for more fish.
Caution and Local Laws
Make sure to always clearly mark your trotline, as it can be dangerous to others who are swimming or fishing in the area. Many states have laws in place limiting how long a trotline can be out, how it has to be marked, and a limit to the number of hooks that can be used. Check with your local game and wildlife ranger for more information.
Making a Trotline
The easiest way to get a trotline is to buy a premade one, like this one from Bass Pro Shop. You can also create one out of rope, cord, and fishing hooks, dangling a hook from the rope every three to five feet or so.
Why a Trotline?
Trotlines are fantastic for catching a large number of fish in a relatively short period of time, particularly catfish. These edible fish are perfect for throwing a big get together at the lake, such as a fish fry!
Or you can always filet and then freeze the fish, which can keep for up to six months and is an excellent source of protein.