There’s a reason why trout fishing is so popular – it’s a range in skill. Trout come in all sizes, making the smaller targets easy for novices, while the larger fish become the catch for the more skilled anglers. Equally, you’ll find trout in all kinds of hiding places, from big open water to small creeks and streams.
While trout fishing is accessible to all, trout are easily spooked, so a smooth rod with decent strength is needed. Unfortunately for the novice angler, there are a whole host of trout spinning rods on the market, and deciphering between them can be a little tricky. With a menagerie of features and significant range in pricing, understanding which trout rod is right for you can be tough.
Luckily for you, we’ve composed this guide to help you select the best spinning rod for trout fishing. We’ve put together some helpful hints on what to look for while showcasing our top five spinning rods for trout. You’ll see that we’ve included some pros and cons of each product, as well as our expert summary to help you decide which type of trout rod is best for you.
Do You Need a Special Rod for Trout?
While trout fishing is relatively easy - with trout accepting most types of bait, from maggots to artificial lures - trout are easily scared. With this in mind, it’s really important to reduce the impact you have on the water, as the ripples will startle trout.
In this sense, when choosing a rod, you want to ensure your whole setup is as light as possible. Spinning rods are generally light, as there is a great deal of casting involved with this type of fishing. Therefore the rods are made from lightweight materials such as graphite, to prevent your arm from aching. For trout fishing, this lightness enables you to accurately cast lures, hitting the water smoothly and gently, reducing the shock.
Equally, the spinning rods and reels are designed to work with lighter line, around 8 lbs. This lighter line also increases accuracy on casting and, due to being thinner, this weight of line is harder for the trout to see as it doesn’t get swept up with the push and pull of the current.
In terms of rod length, you need at least a seven-foot rod when fishing for trout, even as a beginner. While people may try to convince you to start on something smaller, it’s actually far simpler to learn to cast on a longer rod. Bear this in mind when making your choice, as shorter rods tend to be stiffer and don’t cast out as far.
How to Choose a Spinning Rod Specifically for Trout
Whether you’re a novice or an old hat, choosing the right spinning rod for trout fishing can make an extreme difference to your overall experience. The main features to look for include a longer rod (at least seven feet), with fast-action and light power. This will likely lead you to graphite or graphite-composite spinning rods.
Here are a few more details about what you should be looking for when choosing your spinning rod for trout. Always remember that you need a spinning reel to go with a spinning rod, otherwise you’ll end up with issues!
When we think about rod length, we need to consider the size of the body of water in which we are working. Smaller bodies of water command a smaller rod as you don’t need to cast so far. That said, as noted above, you need at least a seven-foot rod when casting for trout.
While seven feet is not necessarily needed for a small stream or river, when we’re looking at more open water, a seven-foot rod is the minimum length. Moreover, for those learning to fish trout with a spinning rod, it is far easier to learn on a rod this size – as noted above. The reason for this is that the longer rods have more ‘potential energy’ due to the flex and leverage, allowing them to cast much farther, much more easily. That said, they do need more energy input when loading the rod blank.
Essentially, however, once you load that rod blank, the ‘potential energy’ stored up now generates a higher tip speed on release. In this respect, whether you’re learning or angling with experience, a longer rod will enable faster, more accurate, further casting.
That said, if you’re fishing for trout in smaller streams with overhanging trees and underbrush, you may want to consider something a little smaller - just for practicality's sake. A large rod will get caught up in the foliage and you’ll spend half your day untangling yourself! If this is your situation, keep your rod to below 6’6”, but try to still keep it as long as you possibly can.
The action refers to the deflection of the rod, or how much it bends when you apply pressure to the tip of the rod and also determines where the rod flexes. The action you choose is dependent on the type of fishing you are doing, the amount of sensitivity you need, and the power requirements.
When we fish for trout, we need a spinning rod with a fast action. While slow action rods flex starting from the lower third section of the rod, and medium action rods flex in the top half, fast action rods bend only toward the tip. Usually only bending in the top third, fast action rods give higher sensitivity.
Equally, as the bend ends higher up on the blank (sometimes referred to as the rod ‘shutting off’ quicker), you’re not moving the rod as much to get the stiffness you need. This allows for the speed, accuracy, distance, and smoothness needed for trout fishing.
The ‘power’ refers to how strong the spinning rod is. Often termed as it’s ‘lifting power’, heavier rods have a lot more ‘backbone’ and can cope with carrying heavier loads. Rod powers are listed from heavy to ultralight and are teamed with lines that complement those weights.
For trout fishing, you need to have a light or ultralight spinning rod. Not only does the lightness prevent your arm from aching throughout numerous castings, but it also enables faster casting and a smoother landing. Team your lightweight spinning rod with light line. The rod should indicate the best line to use.
Spinning rods constructed from graphite are lightweight and fast, making them ideal for trout fishing. It is important to care for your graphite rod, as graphite is a more sensitive material than older fishing poles made from fiberglass. While some fiberglass and graphite composite rods improve the durability, the fiberglass compromises the sensitivity of the graphite. In this sense, a graphite rod is better, but you need to understand how to maintain and store it correctly to ensure longevity.
Quick Take | Best Spinning Rods for Trout
Just looking for the top three best spinning rods for trout? Here they are:
Review of the Best Spinning Rods for Trout
We’ve scoured the markets to bring you our top five spinning rods for trout fishing. Having considered a whole bunch of models, we’re presenting the best spinning rods we could find, showcasing some of the pros and cons of each model. We’ve given you a breakdown of the basic features, combined with our final verdict to give you an idea of what the experts think.
Whether you’re a keen trout angler or a complete trout novice, these spinning rods give you a great place to start your considerations.
UglyStik GX2 Spinning Rod
The spinning rod is made from a composite of fiberglass and graphite. The rod comes with durable one-piece stainless steel guides and lightweight EVA grips. The rod is six-foot in length, with a light power and heavy action.
This model comes with a seven-year warranty, and while short, is a super option for people looking to fish in areas with a large amount of overhanging trees and surrounding foliage.
While shorter than most trout spinning rods, this setup is a great choice for those working in smaller streams and areas with overhanging branches. The ergonomic handle and light action make this easy to use, and the seven-year warranty demonstrates its high quality.
That said, be careful with the reel seat as it can come loose. Aside from that, the fiberglass composite helps strengthen the rod for durability, while the stainless-steel guides are resistant to corrosion.
Constructed from sensitive graphite, this rod has aluminum oxide guide inserts for durability and corrosion resistance. The fore and rear cork grips are made from high-grade cork, while the hooded reel seat is constructed from top quality stainless steel.
This rod is only 5’6” long and has ultralight power and lightweight action. While short, this makes it an ideal model for those looking to fish in smaller streams and creeks.
An excellent two-piece spinning trout rod for smaller spaces, you can thank the top-grade graphite for its very light weight. Its fast action enables great accuracy and longer casting than would be expected, while the stainless steel features help increase its durability. The cork grips are super comfortable, enabling you to fish easily for hours before feeling any kind of arm pain!
With a B2 Burled Cork Designed handle and stainless steel fixtures, this rod is made for longevity and durability. Made from solid graphite, this rod has a very sensitive soft tip, allowing greater detection of nibbles. This spinning rod is seven feet in length and is medium action.
Boasting Fenwick’s 60 years of experience, this rod still has the timeless look that showcases the company’s high quality. That said, the shipping could be improved to prevent damages in transit. Despite this, you’ll find this to be a great spinning rod, that’s lightweight and sensitive. A good length, you’ll get a good distance on your cast. This is a great choice for new trout anglers or experienced fishers.
Available in a choice of sizes, actions, and powers, the seven-foot or seven-foot, six-inch spinning rod with light power and fast action is a great choice for trout fishing. Constructed from premium-grade SCII graphite, this model is both durable and sensitive.
Built for strength and sensitivity, this model has great hook-setting power and comes with a top-of-the-line cork grip. The guides are made from hard aluminum oxide for longevity.
This two-piece rod is ideal for trout fishing. The range in choices for the length, power, and action enable you to select your preferred rod, but for beginners, you’ll find the fast/light rod to be a perfect fit. The fixtures and materials are all of the highest quality, while the ergonomic design represents that 70 years that St Croix has been in business. The five-year warranty really clinches the deal, as it shows off the longevity of the rod and all its components.
This rod is made from a fiberglass and graphite composite and hosts aluminum oxide guides. The Shimano reel seat is revered for its quality and durability, while the cork handle is custom-shaped for better ergonomics. This rod is seven feet long and has a medium power and fast action. It comes with a multi-purpose hook keeper and a one-year warranty.
While a little jazzy in color, this rod is a great choice for those looking to cast out a bit further. With a one-year warranty, this model has durable fixtures and is made from a fiberglass graphite composite to improve its longevity.
The cork handle is very comfy and is made from top quality materials, while the corrosion-resistant fixtures make this ideal for saltwater use. Bear in mind that this is a medium power rod, however, the fast action does enable you to cast easily and smoothly.
So, whether you’re just taking up trout fishing for the first time or you’ve been at it for years, hopefully, our guide has given you a thing or two to think about. Showcasing some of the best trout spinning rods on offer, we hope you get a better idea of what you should be looking for.
It’s key to remember that you need a longer rod – at least seven-foot long– with a fast action and light power. This will enable you to cast farther distances again and again, without your arms weighing you down while keeping the speed and accuracy you need. All that, without startling the fish! That said, if you’re going to be subject to overhanging trees and a whole load of brush, you may want to consider some of the smaller rods we’ve shown you.
Always keep in mind the body of water you’re working on, as this will help to determine your rod length. Nobody wants an eight-foot rod tangled in an overhead willow! Bear in mind your fishing style, location, and tackle before making any choices on the right spinning trout rod for you!