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Best Trout Fishing Rods 2020| Reviews and Tips

best trout fishing rods

All you fishing addicts welcome back to another Outdoor Stuff Guides article. If you are new to our website, you should know that we are a group of dedicated outdoor enthusiasts and we release new content almost every day! Our content inspires and motivates a lot of outdoor addicts all around the country to go out and explore the Great Outdoors.

Today, we will show you from start to finish how to choose the best trout fishing rods. When it comes to trout fishing, it is absolutely necessary to have a balanced setup and you should be able to cast accurately lightweight lures or flies. You will find many specialized rods on the market, which promise to land every trout, but you should be careful because not all of them are suitable for this finesse fishing style. 

trout fishing

Table of Contents

How to select the best trout fishing rods | Handy Buying Guide

If you are trying to start out with trout fishing, you should definitely gear up right. The rod is the first thing you might want to consider when fishing for trout. You need an ultra-light, which is able to withstand harsh conditions but also be sensitive to bites.

There are lots of models available for fly-fishing, spinning, or casting and all these models feature different characteristics. If you are interested in a fly rod and not specifically in a trout fly rod you can find some useful information here.

We are going to go through the basics with you and we promise that it is not going to be highly technical.

You should know that there are different trout fishing techniques like spinning, fly-fishing, trolling, or stream casting. If you are going to target any kind of trout, you should have three things in mind.

  • Attractive Bait or Lure
  • Balanced Rod-Reel Setup
  • Suitable Rigs
trout info

Best Lures and Baits | Successful Trout Fishing 

I rate the difficulty of fishing according to this scale: easy, moderate, and hard and trout fishing can be really hard if you don’t use the right gear. Trout will give a good fight before you manage to land it because it is quite aggressive. It feeds on almost everything like insects, worms, small frogs, flies on the water, and even small fish.

Consequently, it is not difficult to choose the right bait or lure. You should observe their natural environment. There are five types of lures-bait, live bait, artificial lures, flies, dead bait, and powerbait.

 

  • Live Bait

live bait

Undoubtedly, every angler knows that live bait is the most effective option when it comes to trout fishing. Natural live bait is extremely tempting because it smells and mimics its prey perfectly.

 

 

 

  • Fishing Lures

lures

You can use a fishing lure, soft bait, or spoons when trolling, but only choose attention-grabbing colors. After testing some lures, we would recommend shiny spoons used with fluorocarbon leaders.

 

 

 

  • Powerbait

Powerbait is probably the most used bait for stock trout and I am sure that you are all familiar with the iconic powerbait little jar. So, you get a little piece and roll it up into a small ball and just stick the hook into this ball. That’s it! Cast it and wait for half an hour. If you do not see your rod tip bouncing, reel in and have a look at your powerbait rig and change the spot. 

Remember that you should use approximately 6-8 in leader line and attach a small split shot weight. This bait works wonders if you are fishing for stock trout because it looks like these hatchery pellets they feed on. Trout can see almost everything in the water so you should use fluorocarbon leader line. 

  • Flies

diy fly

There is no doubt that trout fishing is associated with fly-fishing. It is the most common fishing style for trout and to my way of thinking the most successful technique. For this technique, you will need a lightweight fly rod and of course, a good fly.

You can find different flies on the market but don’t forget that you can make your own flies with natural fibers. Hand-made flies are better than factory-made flies. However, fly tying is quite tricky so we attached a helpful video.

Fiberglass VS Graphite | Who’s the winner?

The most traditional trout rod is made of bamboo, but modern trout rods feature fiberglass or graphite. Despite the fact that fiberglass is a sturdy material, it is not really suitable for trout because it is quite heavy and stiff.

On the other hand, graphite is a high-end material and also sensitive to trout bites. We reviewed the best trout fishing rods on the market and also tested some fiberglass rods which was a disaster. Firstly, a fiberglass rod is so stiff that it does not bend properly. Secondly, fiberglass rods do not come in Light, Ultra-Light actions.

When choosing a trout rod, you should know that there are many products on the market that combine graphite and fiberglass, which is not the best option. Popular rod companies like St Croix invented their own graphite technology that makes their rods light like a feather and they are hard to beat.

 

Best Trout Rod Power

Before choosing a trout rod, you should look for the power rating. There is no denying that the perfect power for trout is light and ultralight. Just to let you know power is the force that someone or something should apply until the rod bends. This translated to a very sensitive rod if you select a light or ultralight rating and you will feel every bite. 

However, if you want to achieve this result, you should pair the rod with the right line weight. You should definitely avoid medium power rods. If you are fishing in larger rivers or large lakes go for a light power rod because you will need to perform long casts.

Basic Split Shot Rig 

The fact that trout live in clear waters makes it slightly more difficult to catch. An effective catch should be a good combination of attractive bait-lure and a good rig. Today we will show you the basic split shot rig which is not super easy to set up, but also highly effective.

Tackle you will need:

  • 2 Simple split shot weights
  • 1 Size 8 Hook for Trout
  • 1 small Bobber
  • 1 Swivel
  • 6-test Monofilament Leader Line

You will need to attach the split shot sinkers 2-feet up the line of the hook and tie your hook to the end of the line. The distance between the sinkers should be 1-2 inches. Now you have to attach the swivel to the main line with a clinch knot.

Do not forget the bobber! The bobber should be attached to the leader line approximately 1-feet above the sinkers. Lastly, make a small loop on the end of the leader line and attach it to your swivel. If you are fishing for big trout, it would be better to use a snap swivel because you might change leader lines very often. 

 

Rainbow Trout Fishing Tips

Many anglers will agree with me that rainbow trout is the best trout type to catch because it will give a good fight and it can grow up to 20lbs. You can find it in streams or clear lakes. However, you should know some secrets before you head out to the water. These tips refer to almost all types of trout but more specifically for rainbow trout.

  1. The best fishing time for trout is during the morning
  2. Undoubtedly, deep waters hold big fish
  3. The best fishing season is summer because there is plenty of food on the water surface (insects, flies)
  4. These fish have very good eyesight so you should use lightweight tackle and fluorocarbon leader lines. 
  5. The best fishing lures for trout should be shiny and attractive like spoons or spinnerbaits. However, you should have different types of lures in your tackle box. When I am fishing with a specific lure, I cast it and watch if they will react. If not, I reel in quickly and replace it with another lure.

Best Fishing Rod Length for Trout

You can find fishing rods on the market from 4 feet up to 15 feet, but you should know that for trout you will need a rod from 5.5 up to 7. Length is an important factor when selecting a rod because it depends on the environment you will going to fish.

It goes without saying that with a short rod you will be not able to cast long because the rod will not bend too much. If you are fishing trout from a riverbank, you should definitely go for a slightly longer rod than a 5.5-foot rod. We would recommend the St.Croix Trout Spinning Rod which is a UL 6’0″ rod made of graphite.

10 Best Trout Fishing Rods | Reviews and Comparisons

1.Moonshine Fly-Fishing Trout Rod

 

Undoubtedly, fly-fishing is the most common trout fishing technique. Number one in our review list is the Moonshine Fly Rod, which is an excellent choice for every fly angler. It comes with a hard-case where you can store your rod safely and it is also a 4-piece rod.

Moonshine constructs high-quality rods and they also provide a lifetime warranty. It is a company that deserves more attention because they provide really good products and their customer service is excellent as well.

It is made of sturdy graphite and it is a medium-action rod that will not let you down when it comes to accurate casts. You can use it for fly-fishing or drifting (effective in running waters). 

If you take a closer look at the rod, you will notice that it has an excellent timeless design with a high-grade cork grip. It is available from 3 up to 8 weight models and sports durable guides. The combination of quality and cutting-edge design clinches the deal. To be honest, I got this rod for Father’s Day and my father found it out and he was so excited so I gave him the rod earlier. He tested it on the water and told me that this is a really tough rod and he came back with a bucket full of fish that day. 

PROS

  • Timeless Classic Design
  • You can easily store it in your room (4-piece rod with case)
  • Ergonomic Cork Grip that withstands mud, dust, and water corrosion
  • Multiple weight options
  • Lifetime Warranty

 

CONS

  • Expensive rod
  • Slightly small guides and thick inserts

2.Fenwick AETOS Fly Rod

 

Memories come flooding back when I hear the word “Fenwick”. The company’s history dates back to 1940 when they first started and actually Fenwick is a Lake in Washington. Let’s take a look at the rod parts and starting from the bottom. So, we have an anodized reel seat that will keep your reel steady on the rod.

As we move up we can see the excellent grip which might not look like a high-quality grip, but believe me it was the most comfortable and functional rod I ever held in my hands. 

The blank is made of graphite and it features nice black wraps. One thing makes this rod unique and it is the fact that it has the traditional snake guides. We tested the rod by aiming a target and I was surprised when I managed to hit my target 4/5 times and also performed tight loops. 

PROS

  • Reliable Brand with outrageous customer support 
  • The black wraps make the rod more durable
  • Unique Snake Guides
  • Smooth and Tight Loops

CONS

  • Slower casters might not like the rod
  • Slightly thick cork grip
  • Unfortunately there is not case

3. Ugly Stik Spinning Rod Elite

 

In addition, since we are talking about trout fishing, we should definitely include a spinning rod in our review list. The Ugly Stik Spinning rod and more specifically the 7′ medium-light rod, is a single-piece construction, so there are no parts that can fall out or not align perfectly.  To my way of thinking, one-piece rods are sturdier than multiple piece rods. 

There is no doubt that 3-piece or 4-piece rods are super convenient especially if you have a small car, but it cannot replace a one-piece blank. This rod features stainless steel guides, which is very important as they expand the rod’s lifetime. 

Sometimes, when I come back from a long fishing day, I am just too tired to rinse my rod with fresh water. If the rod does not have stainless steel guides it will definitely rust. 

Moreover, this spinning rod comes with a soft bag. If you want a spinning rod for other target fish, click here and learn more about the best spinning rods for bass. 

PROS

  • Lightweight Rod
  • Excellent Cork Grip (Cork grips are rare when it comes to spinning rods)
  • Stainless Steel Guides
  • Sensitive Tip
  • There is a small hook keeper where you can attach your lure

CONS

  • You may find it quite stiff
  • Might not fit in your car

4. Shimano Trout One Rod

 
 

If you are wondering whether this rod is worth investing in, you should know that the answer is YES for many reasons. It is a Japanese finesse Ultra-Light 5’0″ baitcasting rod. Unfortunately, it does not come with a transportation bag, but once I saw this plastic box with the Shimano Trout in there, I was really surprised.

It is a two-piece rod and it is very thin that translates in perfect precision and accuracy. The reel seat is quite sturdy. Despite the fact that it is extra thin, it will never break thanks to the Shimano Hi-Power X carbon tape wrap.

This special weaving protects the rod when high-pressure is applied. We tested this rod with ultralight jerk baits for stream trout fishing and the results where fantastic. It goes without saying that it is made for one-handed pinpoint-accurate casts. For perfect balance, just pair it up with a finesse baitcasting reel. 

PROS

  • Sturdy construction that features Hi-Power Tape Wraps
  • Extra Thin
  • Very accurate casts
  • Will definitely last a lifetime
  • Japanese Technology

CONS

  • Not really affordable
  • The package does not include a carry bag

5. Okuma Voyager Spinning Combo

 

It is probably the most affordable spinning kit on the market and I was a bit skeptical about this combo before testing it. It is a light action 6’0′ inch rod that can handle big-size trout. 

The transportation bag is very convenient and can keep your rod and reel safe and sound. This compact 5-piece spinning rod is a nice little option for the weekend trout angler or for the “spontaneous” angler who always needs a rod in his/her car!

These days, it is very difficult to find a nice combo, but Okuma offers this great value package. It comes with a small plastic tackle box and one ball bearing reel. It goes without saying that you can always upgrade to a better reel when it comes to trout fishing.

PROS

  • Affordable all-in-one package
  • Nice little bag with adjustable shoulder strap
  • Suitable for big trout
  • You can always store it in your car

 

CONS

  • The reel might not be absolutely suitable because it features only one ball bearing. A reel with more ball bearings could make it ideal for smooth trout fishing.

 

6.St Croix Trout Spinning Rod

 

Additionally, since we are reviewing the 10 best trout fishing rods, we should definitely include a St Croix rod. You should choose the Ultra-Light 6’0″ 2-pieces rod for trout as it will give you the accuracy and sensitivity you need. St Croix promises that the rod is 33% stronger than other traditional rods and it is constructed for trout fishing.

It feels very nice and the handle features a special design that will definitely surprise you as you will feel every fish bite and it casts pretty far. Moreover, I think that it is my favorite spinning rod for trout because it has stainless steel guides and it is backed with a 5-year warranty.

The high-strain SCVI and SCII graphite material is definitely a key feature of this St Croix spinning rod. If you want to read further about this special St Croix materials click here.

PROS

  • Specialized for trout fishing 
  • Excellent and unique graphite blank 
  • Cutting-Edge reel Seat 
  • Ergonomic grip
  • Finesse fishing rod and extra-light
  • Performs long-distance casts

CONS

  • Not suitable for very small lures because the tip is quite stiff

7.St Croix Triumph Spinning Rod

 

If you are looking for the best value trout fishing rod, the St Croix Triumph should be your first choice. You will use this versatile not only for trout but also for salmon and musky. It will satisfy even the most demanding trout anglers. Therefore, it is a must-have rod for every angler. 

Another thing that you should know about this rod is that it features high-end aluminum oxide guides.  St Croix is a reliable company and the Triumph rod is one of their best-released products. 

You can choose between many lengths and actions, but our suggestion would be the medium-light fast action 7’6″ Triumph rod. It combines great value with extra accuracy and the sensitivity you need. 

Lastly, the rod is made of SCII Graphite which is not like common graphite. It is a special graphite material which makes the rod not heavy and also can handle big-size fish. 

PROS

  • Unique Graphite Material
  • Cork Handle suitable for saltwater and freshwater
  • Sensitive Rod
  • 5-Year Warranty and Good Customer Service

CONS

  • Could have a better reel seat

8.Okuma Celilo Ultra Light Trout Rod

 

When it comes to finesse trout fishing, this Okuma rod is probably the best option. It is specifically constructed for trout fishing and many avid trout anglers believe that it is one the best trout fishing rods ever made.

Moreover, it is an ultralight and affordable option. Despite being so thin and sensitive, I can ensure you that it can even handle medium-size trout. The result of this sturdiness is that Okuma uses high-quality graphite and always makes the guides extra durable. 

It is definitely a rod that deserves some attention if you are looking for the most affordable trout fishing rod. Another feature is that the reel seat is hooded and that means that it will provide extra protection. The only downfall here is that it does not come with a carry bag.

PROS

  • Finesse fishing rod
  • Highly affordable
  • Aluminum Oxide Guides
  • Suitable for Trout and small Crappie

CONS

  • It is too flexible
  • Carry bag not included

9.St Croix Avid Spinning Rod with IPC 

 

The All-new St Croix Spinning rod is hard to beat when it comes to smoothness thanks to the IPC technology (Integrated Poly Curve). According to St Croix it is a special technology that only a few rods feature. The wall blanks of these rods are slightly thicker than normal rods. TheAvid Series is the most popular spring spinning rod amongst the fishing community.

Starting from the bottom, we can see that the rod has a Fuji SKM reel seat with the characteristic black frame. Additionally, the high-strain blank is made of graphite, so it is a big plus when it comes to trout fishing. As mentioned in the buying guide, graphite is the best material for trout rods.

Lastly, it is very important to mention that the company covers the rod with a 15-year warranty! Concerning the blank construction, it is a powerful spinning rod with the sensitivity of a fly-rod. 

PROS

  • Sensitive to every fish bite
  • Excellent Cork Handle
  • Sturdy Reel Seat with Gunsmoke Hoods
  • 15-Warranty

CONS

Not affordable price

10. Zebco Spin Fighter UL

 

Despite the fact that it is a crappie rod, you can perfectly use it for small trout! The best trout fishing rods list should definitely have a low price fishing rod and this Zebco rod is just perfect. If you are a beginner you should definitely go for this option. 

It is not a graphite blank, but it sports high-end fiberglass that will not break easily even if you catch a big trout. It might not be the best option for an experienced trout angler, but I was surprised with its ultralight action!

The length of this pole is 5ft and 6in, so do not expect long-distance casts. However, it is the perfect rod for small ponds.

PROS

  • Affordable rod for beginners
  • Durable Blank made of fiberglass
  • EVA handle
  • UL Action which is perfect for small trout lures

CONS

  • The angler will not feel every fish bite
  • Quite Short rod
trout faqs

Best Trout Fishing Rods FAQs

Q: Can I catch trout only by fly-fishing?

A: Of course not! There is no doubt that almost all people associate trout with fly-fishing, but spinning and baitcasting work wonders as well. If you are a fly angler, you should definitely try something different. We would recommend St Croix Trout Spinning Rod because it is a good graphite spinning rod with the sensitivity of a fly rod.

Q: Does the number of guides play an important role when it comes to trout rods?

A: If you are going to choose a baitcasting rod, you should definitely check the number of guides. The baitcast rod should feature 8-12 guides. As far as spinning rods are concerned, there is no important difference.

Q: How far should I cast when fishing for trout?

A: Most people believe that you should just reach the fishing spot, but we would recommend casting a bit further so you do not scare the fish away. 

 

 

Take the quiz that wont take up more than one minute! You will find out if you are a real trout angler or not! Good Luck! 

Trout Fishing Quiz

Are you a real trout angler? Find out!

Final Verdict

Finally, we hope that our 10 best trout fishing rods buying guide helped you with your buying decision. Between the sensitive blank and the ultralight action, you will definitely feel every trout bite. We picked up the best options available but the clear winner in this roundup is the St Croix Triumph Spinning rod.

It is a versatile blank, which you can use for many fish species made by a well-known rod company. I tested this rod and I think it can handle any type of fish. The 5-year warranty is a major advantage. 

Keep in mind that you should select your products according to your fishing needs including target fish, location, and bait. If you have any questions about the best trout fishing rods please do not hesitate to contact us. We are more than happy to help you since we tested these rods in real conditions.

Thank you for your time and stay tuned!