Rigging instructions and tips

The staff at Deathwish Lures, Inc. has many years of experience successfully targeting Great Lakes salmon and trout. Our success over the years is reflected in the rigging recommendations listed below. However, don't be afraid to experiment with variations.

Dodgers and flashers

The primary difference between flashers and dodgers is the action they develop when being trolled. Flashers are usually designed to rotate in a complete 360 degree revolution. Dodgers impart a side-to-side action without spinning. Both types of attractors are designed to impart a darting, erratic action to the trailing fly or lure.


Popular models, including the Les Davis Herring Dodger, Jensen Dodger, Gold Star, etc., generally work best with a leader length of 1 1/2 to 2 times the length of standard size "0" (approx. 8" x 2 1/2"). This will mean a leader length of 12 to 16 inches from the rear swivel to the nose of the fly.

Larger or smaller dodgers will require a corresponding change in leader length. Speed should be maintained to provide a brisk side-to-side movement with only occasional spinning.

Rotating Flashers

Attractors such as the Abe n' Al, Fishcatcher, Spin Doctor, Wolverine Flodger, and the Luhr Jensen Coyote usually perform best with a leader 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 times the attractor length to your Bugeye Fly. It's easiest to start long and shorten leaders until you find the preferred setup. Most flashers will handle more trolling speed than dodgers and have an effective range of 2 to 3.5 MPH.

Dipsy Divers and Slide Divers

These popular directional divers are equally effective when used with your favorite Bugeye Fly. Keep the leader length from the dipsy to the attractor between 36 and 48 inches so that hooked fish will be manageable at boatside. A leader that is too long can make controlling and netting fish nearly impossible. Slide divers offer the advantage of running a long leader which shortens when the diver is tripped.

The Bugeye Fly is very effective on late summer salmon staging in shallow water. By running your attractor out 50 feet or more before cocking the slide diver, lures can be fished shallow while keeping well away from boat noise and disturbance.

Prolonged offshore winds can create cool water conditions near the shore, often bringing predator fish into shallow water. Long leaders on slide divers can be very effective in these situations.


Lead lengths from downrigger releases to attractors is the subject of much debate. The Deathwish Lures staff prefers to run short leads of eight to twelve feet when fishing 50 feet or deeper. Shallower conditions require longer leads up to 50 feet. Snub lines as tight as practical to reduce belly created by longer leads.

Bugeye Fly is designed to work effectively with a wide range of attractors and to provide you with consistent fish-catching performance. Generally a trolling spread will consist of multiple lines with various lure combinations. Mixing your combination with various attractor styles, fly colors and leader lengths will help you find the hot setup. The fish catching "window of opportunity" can be brief and it is important to give the fish what they want rather than waiting for them to turn on to what worked last year or even yesterday. When you hit the effective combination, try to repeat it on two or more lines. Since the pattern and mood of the fish are ever-changing, be flexible in your presentation and adjust with changes in trolling speed, attractor size, style and fly leader lengths and colors.

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