A trot line is a long cord with a lot of fish hooks dangling from it. In this area you can run 25 hooks on a non-commercial license. I have known commercial fishermen who ran hundreds of hooks at a time, but 25 is quite enough for me.
With a trot line you can completely cover the width of a channel with your hooks. Tie your line to one side of the channel, stretch your line across and tie off to the other side - any fish passing thru will come near one of your hooks.
You can run your line out into a lake, too. Just tie a brick to the end of your line to weigh it down or tie a floating marker to it.
So, here's how you make a trot line:
You will need to go to a fishing supply store and gather your materials. To make a 25-hook line you will need:
40 - 50 yards of strong, heavy cord
50 feet lightweight cord
1. Leave 10 - 15 ft of line at the end for tying off, then start placing a clamp- swivel- clamp ...spaced a yard apart. The clamps are to keep the swivels and drop lines spaced apart from each other so they don't get tangled together. If you can't find good clamps, tie knots in the main line instead.
2. Make 25 drop lines. Take 2 foot lengths (longer if that suits your needs) of your lighter weight line, knot them into a loop and add a hook to each one.
3. Attach a drop line with hook to each swivel. You may want to do this part as you rack the line.