Top 5 Best Trout Fishing Rod of 2020 (Buyer’s Guide)

Trout fishing is one of the most popular forms of fishing the world over, and especially in the USA.

After considering all the options our top picks were…

Trout live in often beautiful lakes and rivers that are found in almost every state.

Not only is trout fishing accessible but a lot of fun too, it’s a great species to target for beginners and pros alike.

Having the right trout fishing rod is the key to enjoying your day on the water; without the right rod, you could miss out.

Why Do You Need A Specific Rod For Trout Fishing?

Fishing Rod
Fishing Rod

Trout are a relatively small species, the average size you’ll be catching is around 1-2lbs.

Catching small fish on heavy gear isn’t fun at all; without feeling the fight or the fish you won’t get to enjoy the challenge.

Feeling the eat and the battle is all part of the joy of trout fishing.

The aim is to experience the excitement of catching them, rather than just winching them in. You want the trout to give you a run for your money.

How to Choose a Spinning Rod Specifically for Trout

The best spinning rods for trout are designed to provide as much contact and feeling as possible.

The best trout rod is light, with a rod length around 6-7ft, and has the right power and action ratings, which we will discuss later.

Trout spinning rods are also designed for using light lures and light lines.

NOTE

You’ll use a small lure because trout eat small things, and fool them into eating it with the light line they can’t see. 

Length 

The rod length of a trout spinning rod defines a few things and can range from 5-8ft long.

The longer the rod, the further you can cast as you’ll get a bigger load and therefore more momentum.

But, you’re often fishing tight to trees or bushes when trout fishing and a long rod length could mean you end up hooking shrubbery on your backcast. 

Ideal Length

The ideal length of a spinning rod for trout is around 6-7ft, in the middle of the range.

This will give you a long enough cast while being short enough to fish tight to any snags that might be behind you when trout fishing. 

Power Rating 

A rods power rating defines how stiff, thick, and therefore how powerful it is.

A spinning rod for trout is designed to provide enough bendiness to enjoy catching them, and because trout are on the smaller side, the best trout rod for fishing will be a one that bends easily.

Ideal Power Rating

The best rod power rating for trout is either ultralight, light, or medium-light power rating. This means you’ll feel the fight and have a great time trout fishing. 

You can pick between any of the three when looking for a trout fishing rod.

Ultralight

Ultralight spinning pole power will be the most sporting and maybe the best for fun, but it would have to be used as a dedicated rod for trout fishing and other fish of similar size.

Medium-Light

A medium-light rod power will allow you to enjoy trout fishing for smaller fish and be more versatile as it will handle larger fish species.

Action

Rod action defines which part of the rod will bend.

Rod action is measured between slow and extra-fast, with the medium in the middle.

Slow rods will bend near the butt section, a medium in the middle, and a fast action rod at the tip.

But what does this mean for one’s fishing? 

Man Fishing at a River
Man Fishing at a River

How Action Affects Fishing

The faster the action, the more sensitive a rod is, meaning you’ll feel any fish bites a lot more. This is especially useful when fish like trout are likely to bite very subtly.

Fast Action

Fast rods are the best for trout, especially when using an ultralight spinning pole.

You feel every bite and still have the fun of a bendy fishing rod. 

Slow Action

Slow rods bend at the butt and are helpful when casting.

The rod bending near the butt section allows the full rod length to load, giving you extra momentum for your cast, and hopefully increasing your distance.

Slow rods are a bit sluggish when it comes to sensitivity though, and more suited to heavy weight fishing where currents are prevalent and the longest of casts required. 

Materials 

The materials used for the best trout fishing rods vary quite a bit. The main three materials trout fishing rods are made from are fiberglass, graphite, and carbon fiber, graphite is one of the most common. 

Fiberglass

Fiberglass is one of the least expensive materials and bends a lot.

It is handy for use in a slow action rod for trout where presentation is key, but it’s got nothing on graphite or carbon fiber when it comes to strength and sensitivity.

Slow action is not something we want, as it will make the rod sluggish and harder to feel bites. In the end you may end up missing a lot of opportunities with a slow rod.

Graphite & Carbon Fiber

Graphite and carbon fiber are much stronger, powerful, and more sensitive materials.

They are the best for a trout fishing rod, as they will provide the fast action, strength, and sensitivity that is best for trout fishing.

You’ll feel more bites, have a better hook up rate, and cast more accurately. 

Graphite

Graphite is a bit less expensive than carbon fiber, and you’ll find the most affordable performance rods are made out of graphite.

If you’re on a budget you could look to a graphite composite fishing rod, which is when graphite is mixed with fiberglass.

You would still get the benefit of the graphite in the spinning rod but for a smaller price. 

Spinning Rod Placed on a Dock
Spinning Rod Placed on a Dock

Weight 

The weight of the fishing rod you choose is an important thing to think about.

When fishing for trout, you are inevitably casting all day long, trying to cover as many pockets of fishing water as you can.

This does get tiring no matter what rod you choose, but the last thing you need is for your rod to hold you back.

TIP

Weight is also affected by the reel you choose and is worth thinking about when looking for a reel to pair with your rod. 

Consider Other Features

My advice is not to focus on weight as a buying factor initially but to focus on all the other more important features first.

Then once you have found a few rods that make the cut, begin to look at the weight of each one to make your final decision, knowing that the lighter the rod, the better your long days on the water will be. 

The Best From The Review

Top Pick

St. Croix Triumph

The balance of quality and affordability make these rods ideal for fishing trout and other small species.

St. Croix Triumph

The all-round best trout fishing pole is the St Croix Triumph.

The balance of quality and affordability make these rods ideal for fishing trout and other small species.

The range of fish rods available is ideal for whether you want a dedicated trout rod or one that is more versatile. 

Best Value

OKUMA Celilo

It’s made from top materials, has all the features you’ll need from a dedicated smaller species rod.

OKUMA Celilo

The best trout pole on a budget is the Okuma Celilo.

It’s hard to believe that something so great to fish with could be so affordable.

It’s made from top materials, has all the features you’ll need from a dedicated smaller species rod, and your wallet will be smiling at the prospect. 

Editor’s Choice

G.Loomis Classic Trout Spinning Rod

If you’re looking for the best performance, with the most durability. This is the one to choose. This rod, in particular, is designed specifically for trout, unlike any other rod in the review.

G.Loomis Classic Trout Spinning Rod

My personal choice is the G.Loomis, and it usually is. 

G.Loomis are one of the best manufacturers around.

Their quality is almost unbeatable.

If you’re looking for the best performance, with the most durability. This is the one to choose.

Editors Choice 

Our Best Trout Rods

Top Pick

St. Croix Triumph

The balance of quality and affordability make these rods ideal for fishing trout and other small species.

St. Croix Triumph

St. Croix is one of the best trout rod manufacturers around.

Their dedication to making quality but affordable rods is what has made them so popular over the years. And you’ll see a lot of people using them when trout fishing. 

Available Options

The Triumph range of rods incorporates everything from ultralight spinning rods to heavier longer options for targeting bigger fish than trout.

Each one is a one-piece rod, giving them a high level of performance, but this does make it harder to travel with them. 

Build

The rod is made from premium SCII graphite, a mid-modulus graphite fiber that makes the rod light, durable, sensitive, and affordable.

You’ll be able to cast well, feel every bite, and have some backbone for a good hook set, the key ingredients to a successful day out on the water. 

The aluminum oxide guides are great at reducing friction, while the Fuji DPS reel seat is excellent at resisting corrosion. 

Real Seat

The reel seat does seem to come loose and can drop your reel at critical points when fighting a fish.

This could be a user error, however, it is worth thinking about as having your reel fall to the floor while fighting the trout of your life, is nothing any fisherman wants to go through. 

Power

The rod model chosen below has a medium-light power, with fast action and a rod length of 6ft 6 inches.

This combo is awesome for trout fishing and also targeting larger, stronger fish like bass. You can also see this is the case when looking at the line you can use.

The largest line to use on this rod is 10lbs, which is a heavy enough line for those trophy targets. 

Specs

  • Model: TRS66MLF2
  • Power Rating: Medium-light
  • Length: 6’6”
  • Line: 4-10lbs
  • Lure Weight: ⅛-½ oz
  • Action: Fast

Pros

  • The range of rods covers lots of combinations of action, power and rod length
  • Made from quality graphite for sensitivity and strength
  • The model chosen will work well for trout and larger fish
  • This trout fishing rod is excellent in terms of performance and casting
  • Comes with one awesome 5-year warranty

Cons

  • Reel seat comes loose from time to time, dropping your reel at critical fish moments
  • One-piece rod is harder to travel with

Best Value

Okuma Celilo

It’s made from top materials, has all the features you’ll need from a dedicated smaller species rod.

Okuma Celilo

The Okuma Celilo is a range of ultralight trout spinning rods that is incredibly affordable for the quality.

They come in a range of lengths from 5-8 feet, and the model we have chosen is 6ft 6inches, the best trout rod length, ideal for fishing near close snags. 

Build

The rod is made from graphite making it light, durable, sensitive, and affordable. All the ideal things for fishing gear.

It comes with aluminum oxide guides and a stainless steel hooded reel seat.

Other Features

Both the guides and the reel seat are durable and perform well, but you might need to keep checking the reel seat is tight. 

Specs

The model below is a two-piece rod, ultralight with medium power.

This is one fun fishing combination, as you’ll feel every pull of the trout while still having the action’s sensitivity.

It might be better as a fast action rod but that combination isn’t available in this range of rods. 

It can take line weights from 2-6lbs, ideal for fishing for shy fish, as the small diameter if this line makes it inconspicuous.

Although the limited line range does make targetting larger fish a bit of a no-no.

Specs

  • Model: CE-S-662-UL-1
  • Power Rating: Ultralight
  • Length: 6’6”
  • Line: 2-6 LBS
  • Lure Weight: 1/32-3/8
  • Action: Medium

Pros

  • One of the best trout rods if you’re on a budget
  • Made from graphite, giving you all the best trout rod features you might need
  • The power and rod action make it a fun pole for trout fishing
  • Two-piece rod makes it easier to travel with
  • Ideal as a dedicated rod for smaller fish

Cons

  • Reel seat loosens on its own
  • Rod is a bit bendy for medium action
  • This will have to be a dedicated rod for smaller fish and trout

Cadence CR7

The model chosen below is the best trout combo, giving you the strength but fun of a medium-light power with the supersensitivity of extra-fast action.

Cadence CR7

Cadence are another manufacturer who knows how to make some of the best affordable rods.

Their range covers every combination you might be looking for, allowing you to pretty much hand select your action, power, and length to build your ideal rod. 

Specs

The model chosen below is the best trout combo, giving you the strength but fun of a medium-light power with the supersensitivity of extra-fast action.

Fishing with this will be a lot of fun, you feel every bite and every part of the fight without fail. 

Build

The rod is made from 40-ton graphite, again an ideal material for ensuring the rod is durable, light, sensitive, and affordable, covering all your fishing needs.

It’s a one-piece rod, ideal in terms of performance, but not ideal for traveling with. 

Guides

There are some drawbacks to this rod, but only a few.

The guides are very small in diameter and your line can get stuck, especially when connecting mono to braid, as the knot is quite bulky.

Rod Tip

The rod tip is also a little delicate and some people have had it snap in moments when it shouldn’t.

These negatives are few and far between and they shouldn’t deter you from taking a good look at the CR7. 

Overall it’s one fun fishing pole that is ideal for trout and smaller species.

Specs

  • Model: CR7-631S-MLXF
  • Power Rating: Medium-light
  • Length: 6’3”
  • Line: 4-8lbs
  • Lure Weight: 1/16-3/8 oz
  • Action: Extra Fast

Pros

  • The range covers a great amount of rod action, power, and lengths
  • Made from great materials to make it light, sensitive, and durable
  • The rod casts beautifully for fishing trout
  • One-piece gives it great casting performance
  • It’s affordable considering the quality

Cons

  • The guides are very small and the line can get stuck
  • Rod tip is a little delicate and snaps in some cases
  • Comes in 1 piece making it hard to travel

Shimano Solara

The Shimano Solara is one great fishing tool. Made with a special material called Aeroglass. The rod is also extremely light compared to others, ensuring your arm doesn’t suffer from casting fatigue

Shimano Solara

The Shimano Solara is one great fishing tool and a lot of this comes down to the material it is made from.

Unlike the other fishing poles in the review, it is made from aeroglass.

Build

Aeroglass is like a hybrid of fiberglass that instead of being soft and sluggish, is tough, durable, and sensitive, great for fishing for trout.

It actually provides the middle ground between carbon fiber, graphite, and fiberglass giving you the best of both worlds. 

Guides

The rod’s guides are made from aluminum oxide to ensure no friction when you’re casting. This will help with both your distance and accuracy and improve your fishing.

Locking Mechanism Feature

It also comes with a locking graphite reel bed, one of the only rods with a locking mechanism to ensure your reel doesn’t pop off. 

Specs

The action, power, length, and line range on the rod is aimed at smaller fish, ideal if you want a dedicated rod for them, but it does reduce its versatility.

The rod is also extremely light compared to others, ensuring your arm doesn’t suffer from casting fatigue on those long days hunting for your trophy fish.

Specs

  • Model: SLS56UL2
  • Power Rating: Ultra Light
  • Length: 5’6’’
  • Line: 2-6 lbs
  • Lure Weight: 1/32-3/16 oz
  • Action: Fast

Pros

  • Aeroglass material used makes the rod very sensitive to all bites
  • The rod is light and you won’t get tired casting it all day long
  • The ultralight and fast combination makes fishing for small fish a lot of fun
  • Ideal as a dedicated rod for smaller species

Cons

  • A little too light to handle larger species

Editor’s Choice

G.Loomis Classic Trout Spinning Rod

If you’re looking for the best performance, with the most durability. This is the one to choose. This rod, in particular, is designed specifically for trout, unlike any other rod in the review.

G.Loomis Classic Trout Spinning Rod

Loomis are one of the best at making rods in my opinion, and if I had the money, I would only buy from them.

This rod, in particular, is designed specifically for trout, unlike any other rod in the review. 

Build

It uses a carbon fiber blend only G. Loomis uses and is an amazing performance rod.

The fiber blend makes it tough, durable, sensitive, light, and expensive. But, if you want your fishing experience to be the best possible fishing experience, then it might be worth spending a bit extra on this rod. 

Other Features

The guides and the reel holder are all top-notch.

Your line will flow through the guides effortlessly and you’re reel once tightened in, isn’t going anywhere.

This means you can fish in peace without the worry of your reel landing by your feet. 

Weight

The rod is light to ensure you don’t get tired casting all day, and it also casts beautifully thanks to the design and balance.

This means that less effort is required from each cast, and if you cast 300 times a day, that’s going to make a big difference to your arm and your state of mind. 

Available Options

The rods are available in a large range that mixes length, rod power, line weight, and action, so you can find the ideal match for your fishing needs.

Whether you want some dedicated rods or some all-rounders, is up to you.

Specs

  • Model: SR781-1 IMX
  • Power Rating: Ultralight
  • Length: 6’6”
  • Line: 2-6lb
  • Lure Weight: 1/32-3/16 oz
  • Action: Fast

Pros

  • Made from carbon fiber, it’s one of the toughest rods in the review
  • The rod comes in a large range to pick what suits you best
  • Top-quality guides and reel holder makes for stress-free fishing
  • Perfectly balanced for great casting and fishing

Cons

  • The rod is very expensive compared to the others

Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Rod

Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Rod

You’ll be able to feel every bite that comes along but still have the backbone you need for a good hook set.

Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Rod

Well-Known Brand

The Ugly Stik from Shakespeare is a bit of a legend in the rod market.

The rod has been around for years and has made a name for itself as one of the hardest rods to break the world over.

Some say it’s unbreakable, which is a sure sign of lasting durability. 

The only concern is that some Ugly Stik veterans have seen a drop in quality and believe the build is a bit different and not as tough as it used to be. 

Build

The rods are made from a composite of fiberglass and graphite.

This makes them very strong but still quite sensitive.

You’ll be able to feel every bite that comes along but still have the backbone you need for a good hook set.

The composite is also what allows this rod to be so affordable but it also makes it heavy. 

Weight

Heavy rods cause fatigue when fishing on the water, especially when doing your best trout fishing, as you’ll be casting and retrieving the entire time. 

Length

The series has quite a large range of rod lengths and the model below is the best trout rod length at 5’10”.

This will give you the length you need for casting well while trout fishing but not be too long to see you snagging yourself on the bank. 

Specs

This a fast action rod for trout that has great sensitivity in the tip to help your trout fishing excel. It comes as a two-piece rod that packs up pretty small making it much easier to travel with. 

The line rating on the model below is a bit of a higher line rating than all the others.

The top end of the line is perhaps a little high for trout fishing but is ideal in terms of versatility. You could very easily find yourself fishing for larger species with this rod. 

Specs

  • Model: USSP5102M
  • Power Rating: Medium
  • Length: 5’10”
  • Line: 6-15lb
  • Lure Weight: 1/8-5/8 oz
  • Action: Fast

Pros

  • Made from strong fiberglass/graphite composite
  • Comes in a variety of models to suit your differing needs
  • Excellent guides made of stainless steel to ensure long-lasting durability
  • Exceptionally affordable for the quality your getting
  • Comes in two pieces making it easiest to travel with

Cons

  • The rod is a little heavy and you might get tired fishing with it all-day
  • Some are concerned they are not maintaining the quality they used to

After considering all the options our top picks were…

Top Pick

If you want a rod you can rely on, has high standards and is still pretty affordable, then the St Croix Triumph is your best bet.

The range covers all lengths, powers, and actions for trout, allowing you to choose if you want a dedicated setup or something a bit burlier that’s more versatile. 

Best Value

If you’re looking to spend as little as possible but still want a setup worth having, the Okuma Celilo is the one to go for.

Light, powerful, sensitive, and ideal for smaller species only, it’s amazing that it’s so affordable. 

Editor’s Choice

Looking for a rod that might be with you forever?

Then G.Loomis is the pole to go for. The quality, performance, and durability are undeniable.

You’ll have to spend a bit more, but you’ll understand why it’s better than the rest once it’s in your hands.

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