Best Trout Spinning Reels – 2021 Ultimate Round-up

| Last Updated June 13, 2021

Among the wide range of freshwater fish that anglers like to target, trout are one of the most finicky. Luckily, however, there is plenty of angling gear that can make the process easier.

If you’re looking to improve your trout set up, the first place to look is a new reel. 

Comparison of the Best Trout Spinning Reels

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Super smooth casting and retrieval
  • The best trout spinning reel on our favorites
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  • 10-ball bearing system
  • Slow oscillation gearing
  • Our favorite budget pick
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  • Great value
  • Perfect for beginners
  • Best ultralight reel on our list
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  • Easy to use
  • Large line capacity
  • Corrosion-resistant
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Can Any Spinning Reel Be Used For Trout?

The majority of spinning reels are versatile enough that they can be used for trout fishing. However, some setups can be more effective than others. When you are looking for a new trout reel, look for one that is light or ultralight in weight. This will allow for a fatigue-free day of fishing without the unnecessary weight of a heavier rig. 

A spinning reel for trout should also have a sturdy backbone. Because this particular species of fish like to put up a pretty good fight, it’s important to not skimp on durability. Keep an eye out for a reel that uses a material that is a little more heavy-duty, like a structurally enhanced graphite or a graphite composite. 

How to Choose a Spinning Reel Specifically For Trout

If you are in the market to upgrade your trout gear, there are several qualities that you should seek out. To give yourself the best chance at coming home with a boat full of these feisty fish, keep the following aspects in mind:

Drag System

Incorporating a high-quality drag system into your list of priorities is a good idea. An exceptional drag system will be buttery smooth, leaving no room for jerking that could lose a potential catch.

It should also have enough power to allow for control when it comes to a tense standoff; look for a system that has at least 10 pounds of pressure, if not more. 

Material Quality 

The use of high-quality materials in a trout reel is the easiest way to guarantee that your pick will last for season after season. Although it may be tempting to go for something on the cheaper end of the scale, avoid reels with plastic parts at all costs; they are much more likely to break under the pressure of a tough fish.

Weight and Balance

There’s not a huge need for a super heavy-duty reel for trout fishing, but make sure it is lightweight and balances really well with your rod of choice. This will result in control and a nice handfeel to your combo. 

Review of the Best Trout Spinning Reels  

There are some great trout reels on the market, and to help you out, we’ve compiled them into a list of the best of the best. Check it out! 

Best Overall:
Okuma Helios

Okuma Helios SX HSX-40 Lightweight Spinning Reel


  • Powerful drag system
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Powerful enough to handle trout of all sizes
  • Created with a quality-made carbon fiber frame
  • Smooth operation when it comes to casting and retrieval


  • Too quick for some
  • Bail wire is a little stiff
  • Outer finish isn’t super durable

What Recent Buyers Report

Those who went for the Okuma Helios reel for trout fishing gave extremely positive feedback on the reel’s performance. Buyers were excited about several aspects of their purchase, quick to praise the smooth operating drag and ball bearings as well as the well-made construction. There were a couple of complaints concerning the durability of the outer finish and the bail wire.

Why it Stands Out To Us

We are pretty big fans of Okuma, and the Helios reel comes out on top of our list for many reasons. As a trout reel, this product delivers solid performance time and time again. We were impressed by its powerful drag system and butter-smooth casting and retrieval. 

Who Will Use This Most

The Helios reels are a very versatile reel choice that would work great not only for trout fishing but as an ultralight reel in general. For anglers who are not sure they want something totally-trout specific, the Helios reel is a great choice as it can handle a variety of fish and techniques very well. 

What Could Be Improved and Why

It’s pretty tough to find a bad review of the Helios reel, but of course, no product is absolutely perfect. One issue that comes up has to do with the bail wire being a little sticky right out of the box. Some say that this improves over time, but it can be pretty annoying nonetheless.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, we are pretty pleased with the performance that the Helios reels from Okuma deliver, especially in terms of control and smooth operation. We’d recommend this option to anglers who want a trout reel that can handle versatile angling settings.

Best for the Money:
Pflueger President

Pflueger PRESSP30X President Spinning Fishing Reel


  • Powerful
  • Smooth drag system
  • Super lightweight frame
  • Large line capacity for the size
  • Comfortable on the hands and wrists


  • Tough to adjust the drag
  • Outer finish scratches up easily
  • Needs to be oiled and cleaned regularly

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers of the Pflueger President reel were excited with the performance of this product. They had several praises to give, focusing on the smooth casting, retrieval, and drag. Buyers also were happy with the actions achievable with the reel but were not so impressed by the lack of sealed components. 

Why it Stands Out To Us

Pflueger has a commitment to the creation of reliable angling equipment at a fairly low cost, and the President reel is an awesome testament to these values. We love this reel’s lightweight frame, the ease of use that comes along with it, and the smooth, powerful action that can be used for trout fishing and a variety of other angling styles.

Who Will Use This Most

The President reel is our budget pick, which means it is an awesome pick for anglers who can’t afford to break the bank with new trout fishing gear. This reel has all the components of a luxury reel without the high price—it’s also a great weight to make the perfectly balanced ultralight combo. 

What Could Be Improved and Why

The common issue that arises in reviews of this reel from Pflueger is the periodic maintenance required to keep it running smooth and steady. It’s now pretty common for reels to included sealed elements that can prevent dirt, sand, etc. from invading, but this reel doesn’t have that. This means that anglers may need to make more of an effort to keep their reel in good working order. 

Bottom Line

Another reliable reel we feel confident in recommending, the President reel can provide a great handle on trout fishing and many other angling styles for that matter. We’re huge fans of this reel’s ability to provide comfort, tough power, and excellent action for trout fishing. 

Best Ultralight Reel for Trout:
Daiwa D-Spin Ultralight Reel

Daiwa D-SPIN1000-B D-Spin Ultralight Spinning Reel, 1000,Black


  • Good for travel
  • Very reasonable price
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Smooth for ball bearing count
  • Super lightweight, easy on the body


  • Very stiff bail
  • No anti-reverse
  • Bad drag system

What Recent Buyers Report

Anglers who purchased the Daiwa D-Spin ultralight reel were relatively pleased by the value of this cost-effective setup. Many buyers commented that while this wasn’t the most high-quality reel they’ve used, it does the job well. They liked that it was light and easy to throw in a backpack for a hiking trip.

Why it Stands Out To Us

Daiwa is a great company for spinning reels, and the D-Spin was an ultralight pick that we believed belonged on our list because of its great value. This reel is incredibly affordable and also performs well, providing smooth casting and an easy set up for beginners and kids.

Who Will Use This Most

Because this isn’t the highest-quality reel, we wouldn’t necessarily recommend it as a primary set-up for expert anglers, but for beginners and kids, the D-Spin is perfect. There’s virtually no learning curve and it’s a great setup to pull in smaller panfish. The compact size makes it a great travel or backup reel as well.

What Could Be Improved and Why

Like some other reels on the cheaper end of the price scale, the D-Spin is lacking in a quality drag system. If Daiwa could put a little more effort into creating features that could provide an angler with more control, the reel would be improved tremendously.

Bottom Line

Although this may not be a top-of-the-line reel compared to the others on our list, the D-Spin shouldn’t be overlooked as a great little setup for a beginner, kids, or as a secondary reel for trout fishing. It is easy and simple to use and it gets the job done.

4.Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 4000 XG FB

Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 1000 FB Spinning Fishing Reel With Front Drag, STCI41000FB


  • Durable
  • Small and light
  • Consistently smooth casting
  • Versatile; can be used in salt or freshwater
  • Created with high-quality, corrosion-resistant materials


  • No anti-reverse
  • No automatic bail
  • May need to be oiled before use

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers of the Stradic from Shimano had many praises to give about the design of the reel. Mainly, anglers commented on the reliable performance they experienced with the Stradic in varied angling settings including both fresh and saltwater. They were pleased with the durable construction but upset by the lack of special features.

Why it Stands Out To Us

We include the Shimano Stradic on our favorites list because it is a versatile spinning reel that would be a great choice for trout fishing, but can also be carried over into a variety of other angling activities. We were impressed by the consistency of performance with casting and retrieval and we’re also fans of the materials used.

Who Will Use This Most

This is a great reel for anglers who want a versatile option. It is corrosion-resistant, so it could be used on the ocean, and also has great action for different kinds of angling techniques. This is also a durable pick for those who want something that won’t break down over time.

What Could Be Improved and Why

One thing that stuck out to us and buyers of the Stradic is that this reel is lacking in a special feature that can make or break a purchase for some anglers: anti-reverse. While this isn’t an issue for many, for others it is an annoyance that could cause them to pass up the purchase.

Bottom Line

Although the Stradic from Shimano many not be the frilliest in terms of special features, it is a very reliable, consistent spinning reel that offers a versatile design that can be used in many different angling settings.

Aspects to Consider Before Buying 

Now that you have some specific products in mind that you may want to incorporate into your own angling gear, it may be tempting to jump right into the purchase. But to guarantee that your rod is a solid choice for you, it’s important to take a moment of introspection and consider the following:


One thing to think about is how much versatility you’d like to get out of your reel. Are you primarily a trout angler? Or do you dabble in targeting a variety of fish species?

Although trout fishing doesn’t require a very heavy-duty power reel, other angling styles might. If you want the power to switch back and forth, go for one of the more versatile picks on our list. 


Spinning reels are well-suited for a variety of techniques, but some require a more powerful drag, a higher gear ratio, or other special features. Know your preferences before buying so you can cater a reel towards your personal style.

Fishing Line 

If you love using braided line, you may need a higher line capacity—less so if you prefer monofilament. It’s also nice to have a braided-line ready reel, if that is your preference. 


With some tips, tricks, and product suggestions, you should be well on your way to your next trout fishing excursion. Hopefully, we’ve given you the confidence to make your next trout fishing purchase. Happy fishing! 

My name is Jeff and I have been hunting and fishing for over 40 years. I am an avid archery lover, bass fisherman, and all-around outdoorsman. Currently, I'm obsessed with elk hunting but I'm sure I'll move onto a different favorite soon. You gotta love hunting for that reason :) If you have any questions, or just want chat about your latest hunting score or big catch, you can reach me at Read more about Big Game Logic.