How Do You Tie a Trout Dropper Rig?

A trout dropper rig is a popular setup used by anglers to increase their chances of catching fish, especially when Targeting trout. This rig consists of a main line, a leader, and one or more dropper lines attached to the leader. In this tutorial, we will learn how to tie a trout dropper rig step-by-step.

Materials Needed:

  • Main fishing line (usually monofilament or fluorocarbon)
  • Leader material (slightly heavier than the main line)
  • Dropper line material (lighter than the leader)
  • Fishing hooks
  • Swivels
  • Split shot weights
  • Fly or bait for the dropper line

Step 1: Attach the Leader

Start by cutting a length of leader material that is approximately two times the desired length of your final rig. Take one end of the leader and tie it to the main line using an improved clinch knot or your preferred knot. Ensure that the knot is tight and secure.

Step 2: Attach Swivel and Dropper Line

Tie a small loop at the other end of the leader using a perfection loop knot or any other loop knot of your choice. Attach a swivel to this loop using a strong and reliable knot like an improved clinch knot.

Note: The swivel helps prevent line twist caused by spinning lures or baits.

Next, cut a length of lighter dropper line material that is slightly longer than you want your droppers to be. Tie one end of this dropper line to one eyelet of the swivel using a clinch knot or any other strong knot.

Step 3: Attach Dropper Line and Weight

Slide a split shot weight onto the dropper line, approximately 6-12 inches above the knot attaching it to the swivel. The weight helps to sink the rig and keep it at the desired depth.

Note: The distance between the weight and the dropper line can be adjusted based on your fishing conditions and Target species.

Step 4: Attach Fly or Bait

Tie your chosen fly or bait to the free end of the dropper line using an appropriate knot. Ensure that the knot is secure, as you don’t want to lose your fly or bait when casting or fighting a fish.


  • When tying dropper lines, it’s common to use two or three droppers spaced evenly along the leader. This allows you to present multiple flies or baits simultaneously, increasing your chances of enticing a trout.
  • Experiment with different fly patterns, bait types, and colors to see what works best for your Target trout species and local fishing conditions.
  • Always check your knots for strength before casting. A weak knot can easily result in lost fish.

In conclusion, tying a trout dropper rig is a valuable skill that every angler should learn. This versatile setup allows you to effectively Target trout by presenting multiple flies or baits at different depths. With practice and experimentation, you can refine your rigging techniques and increase your chances of hooking into that trophy trout!

Photo of author

Lindsay Collins