Looking to upgrade your trout tackle or just starting out for the first time? Choosing a trout spinning reel and spinning rod that are perfectly matched will mean better, more accurate and delicate casts.
Make no mistake about it trout are one of the most finicky fresh water fish.
Whether you are fly fishing or using spinning tackle being able to accurately place your lure on the lightest tackle possible is the one of the most important aspects on how you should approach catching trout.
Unless you are trolling for lake trout your trout reel should generally fall into the light spinning reel category.
For line we would generally be looking at 6lb fishing line or under. Unless you are fishing a large river that has a very strong current and a lot of snags you shouldn't need anything stronger than 6lb rated line.
To truly get the optimal casting performance your reel, rod and line all need to be compatible.
A lightweight trout spinning rod with a medium to fast action, length can vary depending on your venue but on average for most streams and small rivers then a 6-1/2 foot rod should be suitable for most applications.
Our top rated spinning reel is the Shimano Stradic Ci4+. It is one serious performer. The Stradic Ci4+ is one of the smoothest casting spinning reels available. It can be purchased in either a normal of a high gearing model for quick retrieval.
If you are looking for something a little lower in price would have to be the Pflueger President Spinning reel. For the money it represents great value for what is very well built and reliable reel.
Best Trout Spinning Reels
1. Pflueger President
If you are looking for a quality spinning reel for trout and are on a budget then the Pflueger President is a firm choice.
It's a great low cost alternative to the Stradic CI4+ below and is an extremely popular choice with beginners that are new to lightweight spinning.
A lightweight graphite body, instant anti-reverse and 9 stainless steel bearings all for less than half the price of most other reels!
If you are just starting out or are looking for a cheaper reel as a backup or an extra to keep in your truck for those sneaky evenings after work the the President is a solid choice.
It has a pretty decent drag system even at that price point thanks to a multi-disc drag system. Sizes to look out for are the 20, 25 and perhaps the 30. The 25 can hold about 110 yards of 4 lb mono-filament.
It also makes a great second reel for a child. If you kid has learned how to cast on a cheap combo from a large retailer then the next step is buy a well balanced rod and reel.
The president is light, great value and more importantly can take a lot of abuse.
The best trout spinning reel for the money hands down!
- 9 ball bearings in total
- Braid ready spool
- 5.2:1 gearing
- 5.9 ounces in weight
- Superb value
2. Shimano Stradic CI4+
If money was no object then the Shimano Stradic CI4+ would be our number one choice.
It is built using Shimano's Carbon Infused(CI) technology. Which allows the reel casing to be one and a half times stronger and almost twenty percent lighter than the regular graphite that Shimano normally use.
With the CI4+ Shimano have delivered a lightweight, smooth casting and extremely durable trout spinning reel that in the 1000 and 2500 sizes is a perfect match to a light weight setup.
Combine the Stradic CI4+ with a suitable light weight, fast action spinning rod and light line and you should be able to throw some very light/small lures with pin point accuracy.
The durability of the Stradic is second to none. It has a waterproof drag housing that maintains the drag pressure even after being submerged for up to a minute in water.
The internal gearing uses Hagane precision forges gears and X-Ship pinion gear support. Whilst these may not matter during normal retrieval they really become apparent when fighting a fish under load.
All of the cranking power from the handle is transferred through the gearing and feels much smoother against a heavier weight.
- 7 ball bearings
- Extremely resilient to saltwater/dirt/grit
- 5.6 ounces(1000 model)
- 6.7 ounces(2500 model)
- Hagene internally cut gears
- CI4+ lightweight construction
- Available in high gear model(HG)
3. Abu Garcia Revo 2SX10
The Revo 2SX10 is Abu Garcia's contender to the Shimano Stradic.
It features Abu's Insert-Molded C6 carbon body a similar graphite/carbon blend technology to the Shimano.
These blends allow reel manufacturers to reduce weight while also increasing the rigidity of the reel housing.
One of the highlights of the Revo 2SX10 is it's line management system. The spool has what's known as "Rocket Spool" in other words it has a specially shaped lip on the spool that allows line to run off of it with less drag. Less drag means longer and more accurate casting.
The arbor on the Revo is also fairly large which should result in less line memory. The less memory in your line the better your casting and over time the less often you will need to replace it.
The Revo comes in at a price point between the President and the top of the range Stradic. It is an exceptional caster, although the Stradic beats it for drag performance.
For the money it gives you high end performance without the higher rice tag.
- 9 bearings in total
- Carbon Matrix Hybrid drag
- Rocket Spool, Everlast Bail System
- Amgearing precision machined gears
- X-Craftic gearbox
- Gear Ratio 6.2:1
4. Okuma Helios HX-25S
The Okuma Helios HX-25 Extremely Lightweight High speed Spinning reel is a solid little performer.
It is priced at roughly the same mid-range price point of the Abu Garcia above.
Again it has a carbon/graphite blended material for the frame, sideplate and the rotor to help keep weight to a minimum.
It is also a pretty smooth operating reel thanks to 10 HPB stainless steel bearings and a computer balanced Rotor Equalizing System.
The HX-25S can hold 200 yards of 6lb mono line and has a max drag capacity of 8 lbs which is more than sufficient for most trout spinning on small streams and rivers.
- 10 Stainless steel bearings
- C-40X carbon frame, rotor and sideplate
- Carbonite drag system
- AlumiLite internal gears
5. Shimano Sedona F1
A small bit more expensive than the President which is the cheapest reel in this line up, the Shimano Sedona is excellent value for money.
If you are more inclined to stick with one of the biggest brand names in reel manufacturing then Shimano will rarely let you down.
The Sedona although one of the cheaper reels in Shimano's spinning reel range is still packed with some of the technology that is found in some of it's higher end reels.
You get the same Hagene internal gears as on the Stradic but with only 4 bearings in total.
The 1000 can hold 140 yards of 4 lb mono line while the slightly larger 2500 can hold 200 yards of 6 lb.
The drag on the 1000 maxes out at 7 lb and on the 2500 it is rated up to 9 lb.
The Sedona is also available in a high gear model throughout the range sizes should you require a quicker retrieve rate.
- 4 bearings in total
- Hagane internal gears
- G Free Body design
- High Speed models available
- Varispeed II
- Ar-C Spool
Trout Reel Buying Guide
A good reel for trout fishing will generally be rated for line in the 2 to 8 lbs range, unless of course you trolling for lake trout which would require a much bigger trolling reel.
The usual line strength used should be some where in the range of 2 to 6 lbs for monofilament as a reference. If however you are fishing on larger faster rivers then an 8 lb main line and a 6 or 4 lb leader.
Smaller lures and bait rigs will always excel when used with light line on a decent trout fishing reel.
Rods should be a 6 to 7 foot light weight spinning rod with a fast action.
Now you know what kind of rod and line to use you can then match the reel to them.
Trout fishing reel sizes are usually 1000 or 2500. However, some manufacturers can make reels in the 3500 size that are not much heavier but may be able to store more line.
A 1000 sized reel should be capable of holding at least 100 to 150 yards of 4 lbs and a 2500 sized reel for trout fishing should be able to hold roughly about 150 yards of 6 lb line.
If you can always try to buy the highest quality reel possible. There are plenty of cheap reels available on the market and although they may seem like a good option they generally don't last.
The main performance area that a cheap reel is likely to let you down is usually the drag.
Trout per pound are very strong fighters especially in a fast current and they tend to keep their heads down and stay deep for as long as possible. Once you have them close to being landed they will commonly make one last hard run upon seeing a human.
Having a quality drag in this scenario is crucial. Cheap drags under pressure can seize up easily resulting in line breakages and lost fish.
Weight is a very important consideration to take into account and you would usually not want to go above about 8 ounces for a good trout reel setup.
Pairing a heavy reel with a light line and rod is not a good idea, you will generally tend to tire more easy throughout the day and your casting distance will also be affected.
The spool on an reel will also make a difference, the smoother the lip of the spool generally the better the casting performance.
Having a smooth, curved spool lip will mean less friction between it and the line, less friction means longer casts especially if you are casting very light weight lures.
Choosing the righ reel really only comes down to getting the right size and picking a reel from a high quality brand.