Best Rod Holders for Successful Walleye Trolling on Your Boat

The importance of rod holders for successful walleye trolling cannot be overstated. As any experienced angler knows, walleye fishing requires precise control of your trolling speed and lines to attract strikes. Free hands allow anglers to adjust speeds and lures on the fly, crucial for maintaining a consistent presentation. But without stable, secure rod holders, your lines would flail in the wind, making it nearly impossible to detect any bites. This article will focus on the various rod holder options available and factors to consider when choosing the best setup for effectively trolling multiple lines to consistently put walleyes in the boat.

rod holder

Understanding Walleye Trolling

Walleye trolling is a productive technique for covering water in search of suspended fish. It involves slowly pulling specialized lures through likely habitat areas using downriggers or planer boards to control depth. By trolling multiple lines spaced apart, anglers can efficiently present baits to cover water without making numerous parallel casting runs that would allow fish to flee. Rod holders are crucial for trolling because they allow anglers to focus on boat control, line maintenance, and strike detection rather than worrying about rods sliding around or falling in the boat. With rod holders securely holding lines, presentations remain consistent, and anglers can feel subtle bites that may go unnoticed without the rod firmly in place. This increases the chances of hooking fish and filling the live well during a successful trolling outing on the water.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Rod Holders

There are several factors to consider when choosing the best rod holders for your walleye trolling setup.

  • First, the type of rod holder depends on your boat and fishing style. Common options include hump rod holders mounted on the gunnels, overhead models that allow rods to hang down from above, and pedestal rod holders fixed on the floor or bases that can be positioned around the boat.
  • Material and construction quality also vary between plastic, metal, clamp, or screw mount holders. Make sure to get rod holders durable enough to withstand bouncing in waves but not so heavy that they can't be easily adjusted.
  • Additionally, consider how rod holders will attach to your boat - whether clamped on gunnels, screwed to benches or bases, or bolted through the hull require different mounting solutions.

Choosing rod holders compatible with your boat type will ensure a secure setup for effective trolling.

Top 5 Rod Holders for Successful Walleye Trolling

Here are brief reviews of five top-rated rod holders for walleye trolling:

  • PLUSINNO RH20 Rod Holder: This fishing boat rod holder is totally made of high-quality and eco-friendly material--strong & anti-corrosion, constructed with high impact resistant heavy duty ABS. The construction is very easy to hold on the boat or kayak, which is very steady. Great fishing rod holders for boats or kayaks include stainless steel hardware.
  • Scotty Downrigger Rod Clips: Ideal for overhead mounting, these no-tools-required clips securely hold rods close to downriggers without stressing lines. Their rubber inserts cushion without slipping. For small boats, they free up deck space and perform consistently year after year.
  • Plano Edge Rod Vault: This clamp-on rounded hump-style holder swivels 360° for easy access from any angle. Molded from impact-absorbing materials, its form withstands dings while cushioning rods. Multiple reviews commend its smooth motion and non-marring design.
  • Richter Adjustable Rod Holder: Mounted via screws to the side of the boat or deck, its articulated two-piece base positions the pole at a precise angle of 45-90°. Stout zinc construction stands up to punishment. Customers highlight its adaptability for serious walleye anglers.
  • Cannon Downrigger Rod Holder: This compact suction cup mount sticks securely to most non-porous boat surfaces without tools or holes. Ideal for pontoons or small boats with little mounting space, its rubber-padded jaws gently yet assuredly grip rods immobile. Budget-friendly yet highly praised.
boat rod holder

Tips for Properly Using Rod Holders

Positioning rod holders strategically around your boat is important for effective walleye trolling. Rod tips should be able to comfortably clear the side of the boat yet remain low enough to detect even subtle bites.

Front-mounted holders let you troll lines to either side while observing fast-moving lures. Overhead models best cover greater widths for lateral trolling but require adjusting rod heights. Boat layout may necessitate rotating hump holders to access different areas.

Proper rod security also ensures consistent presentations - from simple rubber tube holders to mechanical clips or tension locks that prevent rods from slipping free if hit by waves.

With practice, you'll learn to hear, see, or feel subtle strikes rather than watching rods constantly. This allows you to fine-tune the boat's operation for consistent trolling speed, make course corrections, and maximize your catch.

Maintenance and Care of Rod Holders

Maintaining your rod holders is important to ensure a secure and consistent trolling setup on every trip.

  • After use in salty or dirty environments, washing rod holders with mild soap and rinsing removes residue and promotes anti-corrosive treatments.
  • Periodic lubrication of moving parts like pivot points or tension screws keeps adjustments smooth.
  • Check periodically for wear and replace stripped fasteners or broken components before they fail on the water.
  • Bring rod holders inside to air dry completely to prevent damage from moisture and freezing.
  • Considering your boat's storage location, secure rod holders are loosely fastened to avoid noise or damage while trailering. In winter, rod holders can be lightly greased, bagged, and stored.

Performing simple maintenance extends the lifetime of investments and avoids critical failures when fish are biting.


In conclusion, rod holders are an essential yet often overlooked equipment for successful walleye trolling. From proper selection matching your boat to thoughtful positioning around the vessel, a well-planned rod holder setup allows anglers to focus fully on boat control, monitoring lines, and detecting subtle bites. Taking time to choose sturdy, secure rod holders suited to your needs and giving them regular care ensures high-quality presentations and consistency on the water trip after the trip. People utilizing a functional rod holder configuration tend to outperform those without, resulting in more walleyes caught and shipped home for the table.


Q1: How many rod holders do I need?
This depends on your boat size, but 6-8 rod holders generally allow efficient trolling of multiple lines.
Q2: What's the best placement for holders?
Locate some centrally facing each side for varied trolling angles and front-facing ones to troll lines to each side while running.
Q3: Do rod holders damage my boat?
High-quality plastic or metal holders mounted securely will not damage boats over time. Avoid undersized cheap holders.
Q4: How tight should the rod be secured?
Snug but not overly tight - you need some play to prevent breaking rods on hard strikes but not so loose it falls out.
Q5: When should I adjust rod heights?
Initially, you should frequently adjust your rod heights to establish the optimal position. Once you've determined the best height, regular adjustments are only necessary when changing lures or lines or based on specific fishing conditions.

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