Always avoid wasting time fishing unproductive water. Use your electronics to locate schools of fish outside the weeds, on flats, and around main lake structures in 8 to 30 feet. (Fishing tip: Catch more fish by eliminating unproductive water)
After locating fish, troll through them with small stickbaits on a three-way rig or an improvised bottom-bouncer rig. Determine which one to use according to where the fish are in the water column. If I am targeting fish near the bottom, then I use a bottom bouncer with about a 6-foot snell laced with a No. 3 or 5 Original Floater Rapala. If fish are suspended off the bottom, you can drop down to the bottom as you are trolling and lift your rod up to the depth you marked the fish, or you can use a three-way rig with a dropper line in a length that correlates with how far you want to be off the bottom.
When it comes to the weight, I generally use about 1/2-ounce for every 5 feet of water (for example, 1-1/2-ounce in 15 feet). This will keep your line at about a 45-degree angle to the water.
Speed can vary from .8 to nearly 1.5 miles per hour. The faster you troll, the deeper your lure will dive. I usually move at about 1 mph, but sometimes you have to pick up the pace to trigger bites.
I have been employing this technique recently and been catching all sorts of fish. We can catch crappies, sunfish, perch, bass, walleye, northern, catfish and more using this tactic. That means hours of steady, entertaining fishing.
Work this technique through schools of panfish and you will target the larger fish in the school. You’ll also eliminate wasted time adding live bait to your lures.
Good luck fishing and stay safe!