Believe it or not, downriggers are put to use in states other than those surrounding the Great Lakes. Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina all have lakes that benefit from fishing with a downrigger. The gear is simple to use and increases the likelihood of catching fish that spend time lower in the water column. What exactly is a downrigger. 

What Is A Downrigger Used For

The specialized fishing equipment is used to present baits lower in the water while trolling to reach trout, walleye, and striped bass are present. A downrigger mounts to the gunnel of a vessel or in the rod holder.

A large spool with a hand crank or electric motor is wound with a steel cable. The steel cable extends outwards along a 2 to four-foot pole with a roller on end. Attached to the wire is a large ball. The ball is between 5 and 12 pounds and is called a cannonball. 

Fortunately, fishing lines are attached near the ball and along the cable. Keep in mind, the ball is lowered into the water with the fishing lines and lures attached and dropped to a depth that fish are showing on a depth finder. 

The line pops free of the cable when the fish strikes. Also, once the line is free of the downrigger, the fish is fought by rod and reel. However, the ball must be cranked up and reset after a fish hits the lure or bait. 

How Fast Can You Troll With A Downrigger

A downrigger is made for trolling at slow to moderate speeds between 3 and 8 miles per hour. The components of the fishing gear cannot tolerate high levels of stress for a multitude of reasons.

The weight of the balls increases resistance when dragged through the water, putting pressure on the mounting platform, wire cable, and cannonball. High speeds can permanently damage the internal components or snap the arm. However, if you are conscious of speed, the damage is unlikely.

Do You Need A Downrigger To Troll

Replicating the functionality of a downrigger is challenging. The purpose of the equipment is to present baits at precise depths. 

Without having the ability to measure a ball dropped below the surface to exact depths, rods and reels equipped with line counters and weights will not be precise. 

To catch more fish, invest and buy downriggers if you troll deep water consistently. 

What Is The Difference Between A Downrigger And An Outrigger

The difference between the two is simple. An outrigger increases the width of trolling spreads by long poles extended outward from the port and starboard side of the vessel. Fishing lines are attached to the poles allowing for more rods to be fished simultaneously. 

Downriggers function differently by dropping lines deep beneath the boat while trolling. Multiple lines can be attached to a single downrigger. As a result, six or more rods are fished with downriggers are put to use.  

What Type Of Fish Are Caught By Downriggers In Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina

The three most popular fish to catch while trolling with a downrigger are the walleye, trout, and striped bass. 


Despite the walleye being considered a northern fish, they are abundant in cold water lakes through the southeastern United States. 

Walleye make excellent table fare because of the flaky white meat and, as a result, are highly sought after by anglers.

The walleye will strike worm harnesses with a nightcrawler tipped on the hooks or lures like Rapalas trolled over rocky bottoms. 

Striped Bass

Stripers do not require cold water for survival and are widely distributed in the lakes across Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. 

Striped bass are aggressive feeders and will strike large bucktail spinners and fish imitation plugs. 


There are three species of trout found in the northern cold-water lakes of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. These include brook trout, brown trout, and rainbow trout. 

Remember, the best baits to present when trolling for trout are spoons. Spoons create a flash in the water, imitating a baitfish which draws the trout to strike. 

The Best Lakes For Each Type Of Fish In Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina

Take a shot at catching trout, walleye, or striped bass, fish in these lakes. 


In Georgia, Carters Lake is positioned due north of Atlanta before the Tenessee border. In addition, Carters Lake offers excellent fishing for walleye, trout, and striped bass.

South Carolina 

In South Carolina, Lake Russell is ideal for catching walleye, trout, and striped bass with downriggers. The lake is positioned on the South Carolina and Georgia border. However, even for those in North Carolina, Lake Russell is not all that difficult to get to.

North Carolina

Nantahala Lake in North Carolina also offers the opportunity to catch walleye, trout, and striped bass. The lake is positioned near the northeastern border of North Carolina and Tenessee.

Are You Ready To Fish With Downriggers In The Southern States

It seems unimaginable that gear used on the Great Lakes is equally as effective for fishing in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. However, it is true. You can catch walleye, striped bass, and trout by using downriggers in deep cold water lakes. The battle with the fish and table fare is well worth the adventure.