How to Set Up a Fishing Rod for Lake Fishing? [It's Easy]

How to Set Up a Fishing Rod for Lake Fishing

Your equipment has to be chosen and used properly to catch a fish. Read more to find out how to set up a fishing rod for lake fishing. It's easy!

Lake fishing is a great experience and suitable for both beginners and experienced anglers. There are various possibilities, and setting your equipment is important if you want to be successful.

If you are a beginner, you are probably using the basic gear for any of the given techniques. Here I will focus on the most basic setups.

First of all, you need to choose a proper rod, and then you have to pair it with suitable line and reel. And of course, depending on a fishing technique, you will need different lures, baits, floats or weights. Setting it up is fairly easy, but can be stressful for those who are doing it for the first time.

Which setup to use depends on what fish are you planning to catch. But, a complete beginner will most likely be fishing for smaller species, so tips stated here should work well.

There are three main options, and those are bottom fishing, bobber fishing, and spinning. Rods for those techniques are different, but all are fairly easy to use.

If you want to know more about how to set up a fishing rod for lake fishing, read the following chapters to learn the basics.



Get my FREE fishing e-book where you will find my PRO Tips!

Free Fishing Ebook

What is the Best Way to Fish in a Lake?

Not all lakes are the same. Some are natural, some are man-made.

There are small lakes that resemble ponds in a certain way, and there are lakes so big that you will have a feeling like you are on the sea.

Smaller to mid-size, easily accessible, and calm lakes are the best for a beginner. In my home country Slovenia, we have a lot of those and some of my first fishing experiences are related to those lakes.

As a beginner, you should find a location within a lake that is interesting to fish, has some hiding and feeding grounds, but not too many obstacles where your hook and line could get tangled. Try to avoid very dense weeds and find a place where you will have a clear line between your position and a place where you will cast and present your bait.

For a beginner, there are three main options, and those are:

  • bottom fishing,
  • bobber fishing,
  • and spinning.

All three are very effective if done right. To choose which one to use, think about the depth where the fish are feeding. If they are feeding on the bottom, naturally, you will present your bait there. For fishing higher up the water column you can use bobbers which are loved by many beginners.

If you would like to catch a smaller predatory fish like trout or pike, spinning is an excellent option, but for a complete beginner, working a lure in a natural way may require a bit of practice.

What Equipment is Needed for Lake Fishing?

To learn how to set up a fishing rod for lake fishing you have to know what kind of equipment to use.

Let’s start with spinning.

First of all, you will need a versatile spinning rod suitable for a beginner and smaller fish you will probably catch. Get a relatively light rod, about 5-7.5ft long which is easy to handle and cast. Rods like that go well with smaller reels, lighter lines, and small lures and baits. Also, if you are spinning, you will be casting all day long so having light equipment will not make your arms tired.

Choose medium action rod as that will work well with a majority of setups. For spinning, fast one may work better, but don’t worry, you can manage with a medium.

Float fishing is most often done with match, float, or telescopic rods. Telescopic rods are great for beginners because they are easy to transport and store. When collapsed, they are very short, and to use them you just have to extend them (check my rod and reel combo recommendations). The best length for a beginner would be about 13ft. Maneuvering a longer rod (like bolognese rod) can be tricky, but the sooner you start practicing, the faster you will master it. Match and float rods are designed for float fishing, and that enables better line control which is important when using floats.

Bottom fishing is often done with stiffer rods, especially for carp fishing. Those rods are also longer, around 12 ft, and go with larger reels.

And what about lines and reels?

As a beginner, use mono lines that are easy to tie, they are not visible to fish, and even when used with light lures like spinnerbaits, their stretchiness is not a problem. Of course, if you are going for a heavier setup (like for big carp fishing), you may need to use a braided line.

Choose a reel in accordance with the rest of the gear. Size around 2000 is enough for smaller fish, and anything bigger than 3000 is definitely too big for smaller fish like panfish, trout or small carp. Medium gear ratio around 6.0:1 is the most versatile option for a beginner who wants to try spinning.

For bottom fishing for heavier fish anglers use larger reels, and you can choose those in size range from 5000 and larger, depending on a size of the fish you are planning to catch.

And of course, depending on a technique you will practice, you will need baits or lures interesting to a fish species you are trying to catch. You will also need suitable hooks. Circle ones are easy to set, baitholder hooks are great for baits that can easily slip from the hook, and treble ones are not allowed everywhere so make sure that you check the local rules.

Also, you will need a suitable bobber for bobber fishing. Your options are various, but as a beginner, choose highly visible ones that you can easily see.

How to Set Up a Fishing Rod for Lake Fishing - Equipment

How to Set Up a Fishing Rod for Bottom Lake Fishing?

First of all, you need to have your line spooled. This is a fairly easy process that I described in one of my previous articles that you can find here.

You have to have your reel attached onto the rod and line has to be pulled through the guides. These steps are something that is always done, no matter the technique you are practicing and the rod type you are using.

So, for bottom fishing, you have to position your bait onto the bottom. To do that, you need weights that will lower it down.

Weight of a sinker is chosen in accordance with the bait weight. Also, various types of sinkers exist. Split shots are versatile, easy to attach and remove, and are great for various situations. Sliding ones are also popular and the line goes through their center, coin sinkers are used to stay in one place without rolling or moving with the current...

To create a simple but effective rig, you will also need a hook and a bait like boilies. Sometimes, anglers will also use leader lines, especially if the main line is braided, but for smaller panfish when fishing with a mono, you may skip that step.

Carolina rig and knocker rig are your best and easiest options. Carolina rig consists of a sinker (egg or bullet shape) attached onto the main line. There is also a bead, and a swivel. Swivels are a connection between the main line and leader, and they will prevent line twisting that could occur. At the end of this rig is a hook and a bait. Use around 16 inches of a leader line for this.

Knocker rig consists of a sinker that is egg-shaped. You should position the sinker above the hook and under the swivel. But, for the most basic option you do not necessarily need a swivel or a leader line.

How to Set Up a Fishing Rod for Bobber Lake Fishing?

For bobber fishing you will need a bobber. Size is chosen in accordance with the fish size and baits used. If the bobber is too big, fish will feel too much resistance and it will get scared.

When it comes to type, there are fixed bobbers that are easy to set up but harder to cast. Another option is using slip floats like free wagglers that can move up and down the line. Fixed ones are great for shallower waters where your bait will be suspended relatively close to the bobber.

For bobber fishing you will also need a splitshot that prevents your bait from floating on the surface. Many anglers like to use baits like worms and corn which are very effective.

Attach a fixed bobber to your fishing line. The distance between a bobber and a hook can vary, depending on the depth at which you want to fish. Split shot should be positioned a few inches above the hook. And that’s it. This is a great beginner`s setup!

How to Set Up a Fishing Rod for Lake Fishing - Bobber

How to Set Up a Fishing Rod for Spinning in a Lake?

Depending on a fish you are trying to catch, you should choose a suitable lure, which is most often a wobbler, a spinnerbait, or a spoon. They all have certain advantages. With light spinning equipment, choose light lures for spinning.

The technique itself sounds simple, but retrieving the lure in a natural way requires practice. Lakes are great for this as they are calm and there are no strong currents. It is perfect to practice casting and retrieval that should include variations in speed, as well as twitches and pauses to appear natural.

To set it up, you should use swivels to prevent line twisting that is a frequent problem with lures like spinnerbaits. Lure type, weight, and your retrieval technique can control the depth of the lure.

With mono lines, you will be able to tie knots much easier, and to tie a spinnerbait, you could use a simple clinch knot that is easy to tie and will hold the lure firmly.

And basically, that’s it! You are ready for some exciting lake spinning!


Lake fishing is great for beginners and learning how to set up a fishing rod for lake fishing is a simple process.

As a beginner, keep it simple, and make sure that everything is in a good working order. Forget complicated items and demanding techniques until you get a bit more experience.

Spinning rods are so easy to use and versatile that even anglers with decades of experience frequently use them. Match and float rods are great for fast reaction and picking up the line, while stiffer rods for bottom fishing will help you land even a big fish like carp!

When you know how to set it up, you will catch a lot of fish. Simply follow the tips stated here and enjoy the experience!

About Me

Slo-fishing - About Us


I am Siniša Pintar (friends call me Sina), the guy behind and eBook writer. This site is base camp for fishing enthusiasts from all over the world. I love fishing and want to share all my stories, knowledge and my experience with any and all potential anglers. Read more ...

Affiliate Disclaimer:

Slo-fishing is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. We also participates in eBay Partner Network, FishingBooker, ClickBank and Teespring affiliate programs. We are compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.