Finding the best trout spinning reels is pretty easy. Get a smaller sized reel, match it with your rod, get a monoline that won’t twist, know which lures to use and you will be reeling in trout like a pro.
Notice that I’ve said smaller sized reel because anything above 2500 will be too heavy if you prefer lightweight setup for trout fishing. Match up that line ration to the rod, and that’s going to get you a good fit.
In a Hurry? Our List of Top Rated Trout Fishing Spinning Reels
Now, when you go to the stores, you will see a lot of different options. There are a lot of numbers you are going to see and words that you are probably not going to understand.
Fret not, as I have made a definitive buyer’s guide that will make your shopping for a spinning reel much easier. If you are already familiar with spinning reels, here is a quick comparison chart to buy the best reels for trout fishing.
You can buy a rod and reel combo which comes together and save some money. But sometimes the reel quality will be bad or the rod. If you don’t want to take that risk and assemble the fishing equipment on your own, get yourself a decent reel.
I would recommend any 1500-2500 sized reel if you have a light to medium action rod. You can enjoy tiny brook trout with a 500 series reel but anything bigger than that, you will have to put up a fight.
Top 10 Best Trout Fishing Reels
If you haven’t been fishing lately or don’t have the slightest clue about where to start, here is a list of top 10 best reels for trout to get started.
1. Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel
The Pen Battle II is the new and improved version of the original Battle. They have made some improvements to this one that made this reel stand out from the rest of the spinning reels in this list. It’s available from size 1000 and all the way up to 8000 with the addition of a new 2500 size. From light inshore or freshwater reel to all the way up to heavy inshore/offshore reel, they have it all.
In addition to the graphite construction of these reels, there are some features that set this Battle 2 apart. They have added a line capacity ring to the spool which is something you will see on all Pen Battle II reels. It helps the anglers understand how many lines they have left on the reel.
Especially when fishing for larger fish, this feature is very important. For example, how much fishing line you have left, can you go or stay on the spot and that sort of stuff, this feature takes the guess work out. All of the Pen drag systems are greased. Since this reel is able to use both sides of the drag washers, Battle 2 can provide 20% more drag than the previous model.
Another big upgrade in the sealed bearings. By having a sealed bearing, saltwater won’t get into the reel, and you don’t have to take the reel to the repair shop anytime soon. This spinning reel is ideal for big saltwater gamefish. This reel is braid ready, features instant anti-reverse bearing, 6.2:1 gear ratio and a powerful drag without compromising any smoothness.
- Line capacity rings tell you how many lines you have left.
- Durable and lightweight graphite construction.
- Heavy-duty aluminum bail wire for durability.
- HT-100 carbon fiber drag system.
2. Daiwa BG Spinning Reels
The Daiwa BG is an almost perfect spinning reel for trout. It’s usually meant for saltwater fishing, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t use it for trout fishing. It’s a powerful workhorse of a reel that can stand the test of time. The reel is available from microlight to really heavy-duty big game reels. There is a model for every type of fishing you are going to do.
When it comes to spinning reels, you should always check the weight of the reel and the amount of drag you are going to get out of it and the line capacity. When it comes to Daiwa BG reels, they are able to hold a lot of line for the actual weight and size class. They have a really deep spool, which is great for line capacity.
This reel has a good and smooth drag with a good drag capacity. The housing is a black anodized machined aluminum which is great for saltwater fishing. This reel also features a lightweight air rotor design, dynamic cut ABS spool and is braid ready. It has a waterproof drag system and also features an anti-reverse system.
Finally, all I can say is that the Daiwa BG is a solid, tough reel for the money. The construction is solid, has a fast retrieve, holds its smoothness for a long time, and has a ton of power behind it. You might think that this reel is probably overkilled for trout, but you are here to get the best trout spinning reel, and this is the one.
- Solid construction and made from premium components.
- Fast retrieve, very smooth with a good drag system.
- Ideal for saltwater and freshwater fishing.
- Machined aluminum housing for durability.
3. Piscifun Flame Spinning Reels Light Weight Ultra Smooth
The Piscifun Flame series of spinning reels are affordable, compact, and buttery smooth. From size 1000 to 5000, they have a good collection of reels with a lot of important features built-in. If you use a very lightweight rod, the Flame has the perfect size to weight ratio for you.
This reel has a smooth line retrieval and line let-out, and you won’t hear any noises or vibration while reeling or casting. The drag is smooth and stays smooth even when tackling larger fish. The Piscifun Flame reel has an exquisite appearance and visually appealing. The red aluminum spool with the matte black body looks great on any rod.
It’s also very durable and lightweight. Because of its stunning appearance, you are sure to get lots of compliments from your fishing buddies. It also has a great casting distance and the lines up perfectly when you put lines on the spool. It has a perfect 5.2:1 all-around gear ratio. The graphite reel is lightweight, and you won’t experience any fatigue even if you cast all day.
Finally, let’s talk about the specs. It features a triple drag washer to give smooth drag operation, which reduces line break and provides consistent line out. On top of that, it has 9+1 high-quality stainless-steel ball bearings for buttery smooth retrieve and cast. This one also features an anti-corrosion zinc drive gear. The unique X shaped spool has a hollow design which is unique and looks great on any rod.
- Stunning visuals with a combination of a black body and red spool.
- Lightweight graphite body.
- Buttery smooth and is able to cast a mile.
- The reel has an amazing drag power.
4. Pflueger President Spinning Reel
The Pflueger President Spinning Reel has a flawless drag system with smooth operation. This reel is a joy to use because it’s super tough and lightweight. If you don’t have the budget for expensive reels but still want to experience premium quality, this is the reel to get. This reel can hold up for a long time without compromising quality. For the quality, this is a great budget option.
The small model 20X model is a great trout reel because of the size and weight. If you use a small diameter braided line, you can easily catch everything from Northern pike to panfish. With an ultra-light setup, you can cast all day long. This 10-bearing spinning reel is very smooth, and you won’t have to worry about gears clogging up or replacing the bail spring.
For a great day of trout fishing, this is all you need. It’s the best overall freshwater reel because it’s heavy-duty, has spring assisted click open and close, solid bail wire and a great bail system. The casting is very smooth, feels good and solid in hand. Overall, you won’t have any problem regarding the build quality of this reel.
Finally, let’s talk about the features. It’s a 7-bearing system reel with a 5.2:1 gear ratio and features stainless steel ball bearings which are corrosion resistant. The graphite constructed rotor and body are durable and lightweight. This reel is braid ready, which means you can tie brad lines directly to the spool.
- Graphite constructed rotor and body.
- Seven corrosion-resistant stainless steel ball bearings.
- Smooth line retrieval and line-out.
- Sealed drag system.
5. Cadence Spinning Reel, CS5 Ultralight Carbon Fiber Fishing Reel
The Cadence CS5 series of spinning reels offer the same quality features seen in more competitive products but at a significantly lower price. I don’t know how they do it, but the competition on the market is always good for the consumers. The CS5 contains eight ball bearings and one instant anti-reverse bearing to make the reel smooth and durable.
The carbon fiber drag system makes for a smooth fight with the fish while the carbon composite frame and machined aluminum spool and stainless-steel components make the CS5 strong, lightweight, and corrosion-resistant along with great reliability. This spinning reel has an oversized ergonomic EVA foam handle giving you comfort for those long days on the water.
This high-performance fishing reel gives you all of the premium features at an amazing value. You don’t have to break the bank to fish with dependable and quality fishing gear. This lineup of the reel is available from size 1000 to 4000. It’s built ultralight high concentration meta carbon mainframe makes it lighter and stronger than aluminum.
The machined aluminum spool is strong and robust with a good line holding capacity. To make the reel ultra-smooth, this reel has a unique torsion control body design that improves stability and the drag smoothness. It also features a high 6.2:1/5.2:1 gear ratio to maintain smooth performance.
- The stopping power is up to 36 lbs. which is enough to handle big fish.
- Super high 6.2:1/5.2:1 gear ratio.
- Unique torsion control body design.
- The carbon mainframe is stronger than aluminum.
6. KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reels
The KastKing Summer and Centron spinning reels are low on price yet loaded with features. At any level, whether it’s just for fun fishing or competition, these reels will offer the best value. Even though these are lower priced reels, but they can turn any angler into a pro. It has a narrow graphite frame design which reduces the overall weight of the reel.
It’s high performance and compact spinning reel that has a computer balancing system that distributes the weight evenly. This reel has a superior drag system which is capable of generating an incredible stopping power up to 17.5 lbs. The main shaft is hardened metal. To further increase fish fighting power, this reel features a precision machined pinion gear and a perfect mesh drive gear.
With all these powers, don’t think that this reel lost any of its smoothness. In fact, this reel has nine high-quality ball bearings, and one instant anti-reverse stop one-way bearing that gives this trout spinning reel ultra-smooth performance. KastKing didn’t skimp out on aesthetics. This one has an attractive and brilliant finish.
The anodized aluminum spool features a high strength dual-tone color that looks very stunning. It also features a power launch lip that allows you to cast further. The spool is capable of holding more line than other competitive reels that sell at a higher price than this one. Overall, all I can say is that this reel is loaded with features.
- 9 + 1 quality ball bearings.
- Compact and lightweight reel design.
- Corrosion-resistant graphite frame.
- Stunning appearance and unique designs.
7. SHIMANO Stradic FL Spinning Fishing Reel
Let’s get up close and personal with the latest and greatest iteration of SHIMANO’s well known, been around forever SHIMANO STRADIC. The ST1000HGFL weighs only 6.5 OZ, has 6+1 bearings and 6.0:1 gear ration. The 1000 size has a max drag of 7 lbs. 2500 has max drag of 20. You can see their official site for more info on max drag.
This reel is buttery smooth and has nice and slow oscillation stroke. The stroke of the spool is very tall. One of the selling features of the new FL is the taller, long stroke spool. There is no on/off anti-reverse switch. The body of the reel is called the Hagane Body, which is essentially a metal reel body that has high rigidity.
The body has literally zero flexing thanks to the stiffness and impact resistance feature. It’s strong, super strong and you can direct your attention into cranking power and not have to worry about the reel. The X-Ship feature supports the pinion gear on both ends of the bearings to improve gear durability. Go to their official site to know more about X-ship.
They also have other unique feature like G-free body technology, which means the center of gravity closer to the rod and also closer to the angler’s hand position. This helps enhance casting comfort and reduce fatigue. Thanks to the cross-carbon drag, you now have a wider range of drag settings with Shimano’s famous smooth drag performance.
- The S A-RB bearings now feature shields on both sides.
- Smooth drag performance.
- Solid-body construction.
- Wide range of drag settings.
8. Penn Fierce II Spinning Fishing Reel
For light tackle, the Penn Fierce 2 spinning reels are great. These are great little reels that are mid-low range in price, but they are built to last. These spinning reels can easily hold up to any angler’s abuse. The best part is the oversized handle, which is comfortable to hold and work with. Since they don’t have any reverse switch, you won’t have to worry about getting any birds nest.
For the price range, these are the best spinning reels money can buy. For freshwater and inshore salt/brackish water, these reels are perfect. For starters, the 1000 model is ideal as it has smooth cast, easy line retrieval, tiny plunk, and a good amount of fish action. For an ultralight setup, this reel is hands down phenomenal for the price.
For steelheads to channel cats, go with the 2500 sized reel. It might be too much for small trout, but for bigger trout species, this reel won’t leave you disappointed. For trout, kokanee, pike, etc. these reels are absolutely fantastic. The drag works without fail, and the reeling experience is smooth as butter. They also go well with ugly stick fishing rods.
The Superline spool of this reel is braid ready and requires no backing, and the line capacity rings are also marked. Penn uses the Techno-Balanced rotor that gives the angler superior leverage and torque. This reel features four shielded bearings and one instant anti-reverse bearing. The full metal body is durable, and it also features heavy-duty aluminum ball wire for increased durability.
- Excellent value, premium components, and highly durable.
- 4+1 shielded ball bearings.
- Smooth casting and line retrieval.
- Full metal side plates and body.
9. Sougayilang Spinning Fishing Reels for Trout
When reeling or casting, this spinning reel from Sougayilang is smooth, reliable, and casts long. Although it’s a mid-tier product, you won’t go wrong with this one. Don’t worry about its foreign name and low price; this one has all the features and quality components you need to enjoy a pleasurable fishing experience. It has a wooden dole handle that gives you that outdoor feeling. It also looks premium.
It’s lightweight, small and casts light lures a mile. Once you install this one, you won’t be able to tell the difference between expensive reels and this one. Although it is cheap, it doesn’t have any flimsy cheap plastic components. It’s all metal. This spinning reel has 11 ball bearings and a gear ratio of 5.2:1.
The handle on this one is interchangeable left and right. It’s also collapsible. The metal line spool comes with high-tensile gear and is very strong. This one also has a power drive gear to increase strength. The oscillation system has an S-shaped curved which helps in line winding. The rotor is computer balanced the reel also features thick coiled bail spring.
Even though it is dirt cheap, it actually comes with a CNC aluminum spool. This spool has more line capacity, which is rare at this price point. The streamline designed body is ultra-thin, and the drag system has powerful stopping power. However, sand and dirt might get in, and you need to maintain it properly if you want to keep using this reel and maintain the smoothness.
- Smooth and corrosion resistant ball bearings.
- Carbon drag system.
- Collapsible and interchangeable handle.
- Aluminum spool with large fishing line capacity.
10. SHIMANO Sedona FI, Freshwater Spinning Fishing Reel
The Sedona FI from Shimano is a freshwater spinning reel, and the best part about this lineup of fishing reels is that they are affordable and include cold-forged Hagane gears. Which means, there are no flexing parts. Every component is solid, strong, and durable. Compared to their previous models, the drag power has been upgraded along with the construction quality.
The gear ratios have been increased, which means now you can pick a model from light freshwater to heavier offshore fishing. For trout fishing, you can choose the SE1000Fl model. It has a 5:1 gear ratio with 26 inches per crank. You will get three ball bearings and one anti-reverse ball bearing. The reel is on the lighter side weighing only 7.6 oz.
With the Shimano Sedona spinning reel, you will get a number of performance upgrades that make this reel a great value for the money. Along with Shimano’s flagship HAGANE gearing, this one also features double-anodized machine-cut spools. The gearing gives this reel long-lasting and durable performance while the unique spool increases line capacity.
They managed to keep the reel body compact and maintain its smoothness for both offshore and inshore action. The Sedona FI also features a Propulsion Line Management System which gives you longer casting distance and prevents wind knots and backlashes from forming. With a maximum drag of 7 lbs. on its 1000 model and a gear ratio of 5.0:1, this reel is more than enough for trout fishing.
- Shimano’s flagship cold forged HAGANE gears.
- Strong and durable performance.
- Double-anodized machine-cut spools.
- Propulsion Line Management System and increased line capacity.
How to Choose the Best Spinning Reels for Trout?
You need to know how to match the reel with your rod. So, when you go into your local shop or search online, you need to look for a spinning reel.
There are a couple of different types of fishing reels out there, but we are only going to focus on spinning reels.
On every reel, you are going to see a line section that gives you the ratings of the line that you can use. Smaller reels will hold lighter lines. If you prefer a lightweight setup, go with smaller reels.
When you look at your reel, you will see something like 500, 1000, 1500, 2000… and the number goes on. This is how companies mark the size of their reels.
There are no set reasons for it. It is just an easy way to distinguish sizes. But that’s about it. Don’t let the numbers freak you out.
You need to match the line capability reel to the rod that you are using. So, the next thing you need to look at besides the line capability is bearings. The higher the number, typically the smoother the reel will be.
It’s not always the case because there are other factors that come into play. You want to find something that balances with your rod better. A 10-ball bearing reel doesn’t guarantee to be smother than a 7-ball bearing reel.
You don’t want to be carrying heavy equipment around all day because some of these spinning reels can get pretty heavy. That’s really it.
You don’t need to go crazy. Just find a decent reel that is in your budget, look for that line capability, ball bearings and build-quality and you are set.
Now that you know how to find the best reel for trout fishing, it’s time to take a more in-depth look at spinning reels and see what each of the features means and does.
Features to Look for When Choosing the Best Trout Reels
Before purchasing a trout spinning reel, here are some things you should consider. As I’ve said before, you need a light to medium action rod and lightweight reel to match with your rig.
A lightweight rig is suitable for trout species such as brown trout, rainbow trout, and golden trout. If you fish in a place where there are abundant species of steelhead, lake and speckled trout, you need to use a medium action rod and reel combo.
Selecting the ideal rig is the first thing you should do because many anglers make their first mistake in this step. You cannot just choose any reel that comes your way.
You need to look for some specific specifications of that reel. Ignoring essential factors like the drag, gear ratio, weight, ball bearings, etc. might lead to wrong selection of your reel. And for that, here are some of the essential factors you need to look for before buying the best trout spinning reels.
These following criteria will not only influence better selection but also result in more pleasant fishing experience.
If you pick a reel with a high gear ratio, the line will recover faster. That is essentially what gear ration means. It’s the amount of turn done by the spool to recover the line.
For example, a 6.4:1 gear ratio on a spinning reel means that when you turn the handle, the outcome will be a turn of 6.4 times. Each time you turn the handle, the spool will turn 6.4 times. You can find low, medium, and high gear ratios.
Up next, let’s talk about reel size. There are numbers designated on the reel like 500, 1000, 1500, 2000, etc. These numbers determine the size of the reel. Larger reels will have higher numbers, and they can easily tackle larger and heavier fish.
On the other hand, they will become heavier. Smaller reel size will result in lightweight reels, which is what you need to set up for trout fishing. Since most trout species are small and small to medium-sized reel will be more than enough.
However, having a bigger reel means you will have greater drag power, gear ration, and line capacity. But that’s not always the case. Some reel makers make a less heavy reel that has a size of 3500 but with more line capacity and higher gear ratio.
Check the specs first before you buy one. Usually, you will need a 1000 or 2500 or somewhere in between for most trout fishing. Anything bigger than that will be too heavy for your light action or medium action rod.
This is the essential part of your trout fishing experience. This system adds the required resistance on the reel spool that prevents fish from falling off. Look for a reel that has a minimum 20 lbs. of halting force at the base.
Having a high drag system will allow you to control and reel in larger, powerful, and heavier fish species easily. A high drag control will also assure you that your reel or rod doesn’t break easily under pressure.
Ball bearings are inserted to keep the moving parts of the reel smooth. There are two types of ball bearings. One is a corrosion-resistant ball bearing, and the other one is a stainless-steel ball bearing. The first one is treated to resist moisture while the later one is naturally corrosion resistant.
Relative to the size, the weight of the reel can significantly influence your purchase decision. For trout fishing, the reel should be lightweight and paramount.
If you prefer small trout fishing, your rod and reel combo should be lightweight, which means you will experience less fatigue and fish for longer.
Spinning reels are generally easy to use ad they perform well with lighter braided lines. However, some reels don’t perform well with fluorocarbon and monofilament lines because of the line width. Branded reels won’t have any problem with line spooling but keep this in mind when buying one.
Most of the reels in this list are usually made from either graphite or aluminum. Some may include both. Having both of these components in the construction will result in better durability. You will also find aluminum constructed bodies on quality freshwater reels.
If you plan on fishing in saltwater, or if the sea is your preferred fishing ground, graphite reels should be your preference. Graphite constructed reels are made for saltwater fishing because they are more resilient and can withstand the rigors of seawater and air.
Anti-Reverse Off System
On a reel, this system is that setting that keeps the reel from turning in reverse. It also connects with the drag. On some reels, you will find a switch that will allow you to choose whether the setting is locked in or not.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are a good ultralight rod and reel setup for trout fishing?
– Pair a Pflueger President spinning reel with an Ugly stick gx2 light action rod. For trout, this setup is more than enough.
2. What line weight is ideal for this setup?
– The reel should be able to hold twice the line of how far you will be able to cast. Any cheap 4lb mono will be good enough. Or you could upgrade to floro later.
3. Is a medium-heavy action rod good trolling?
4. What reel size should I get for trolling trout?
– For a lightweight setup, 1000 sized reel should do the job. If you have a medium action rod, go for a 2000 sized reel.
All you need is a good ultralight spinning reel that you can pair it with a light to medium action rod. This is good enough for trout fishing. This list contains some of the best trout spinning reels on the market that are lightweight, durable, smooth and will last a long time.
Depending on how you fish, some of these reels will last for years. Now, there aren’t any dedicated trout only reels on the market. It’s not about the product; it’s about how you set up your rig to suit different types of fishing.