Best Trout Fishing Rod: Our Top 8 Picks Reviewed

Trout fishing rod best feature image

Experience anglers for any species will tell you that there is a huge difference when comparing a cheap and poorly made rod to a high-quality one. The action, power, and feel are very noticeable to those who know what they are looking for in a fishing rod.

Trout fishing is one type of fishing where a high-quality rod can make a huge difference, and in this post, we will take a look at some of the best trout fishing rods on the market today.

Best Trout Fishing Rod: Quick Picks

Best Overall
G.Loomis Classic Trout Rod

It's hard not to have a G Loomis rod on a top-three list. The quality of G Loomis is just superb all around. While the rod may be more expensive than other trout fishing rods on the market, for the serious trout angler, it's worth every penny.

For these simple reasons, the G Loomis is our pick for the best trout fishing rod.

Best Value
OKUMA Celilo Ultra Light Spin Rod

The Celilo is a perfect blend of affordability and quality. You get a rod that features some components that are only found in rods that are much higher and priced, and the trout fishing rod itself performs very admirably in the categories that are crucial for any fishing rod, like durability, strength, and sensitivity.

Next Best
St Croix Triumph Spinning Rod

Like G Loomis, St. Croix arguably creates some of the best fishing rods in the world, and the Triumph spinning rod goes above and beyond most rods in the market, with high-quality blanks and components throughout and even a stellar warranty against defects.

Best Rods For Trout Fishing: Full Reviews

St Croix Triumph Spinning Rod
St Croix Triumph Spinning Rod
St Croix Triumph Spinning Rod
Our Score

St. Croix is well known around the fishing world for creating some of the highest quality rods on the market and has been doing so for years with a vast array of rod designs to choose from. 

The Triumph is built using premium-quality SCII graphite blanks, all of which feature two coats of flex coat slow-cure finish for added protection and an excellent gloss finish. Other features include Hard Aluminum oxide guides with black frames to help keep overall rod weight low while maintaining great casting performance and a smooth retrieve.

The Triumph also features a Fuji DPS reel seat with frosted silver hoods and a grade-A quality cork handle and rod butt.

  • SCII graphite blank
  • Fuji DPS reel seat
  • Two coats of flex coat
G.Loomis Classic Trout Rod
G.Loomis Classic Trout Rod
G.Loomis Classic Trout Rod
Our Score

G Loomis is known for manufacturing some of the best rods on the market, and they have a loyal community of anglers to testify to their high-quality construction and performance on the water.

The G. Loomis classic trout rod comes in various forms, from ultra-light to medium power ratings and moderate to fast action.

The G Loomis trout fishing rods are also constructed with high-quality materials, and feature premium-grade cork handles, a great reel seat, and exceptional graphite. The line guides and rod are designed to protect and excel at fishing with the light lines typical with an ultra-light or light rod.

The classic trout fishing rod is available in several lengths from 5 to 7 feet, allowing you to get the rod that best suits your fishing situation.

  • Multiple length choices
  • Ultra-light to medium power
  • High-quality across the board
OKUMA Celilo Ultra Light Spin Rod
OKUMA Celilo Ultra Light Spin Rod
OKUMA Celilo Ultra Light Spin Rod
Our Score

The Celilo by Okuma is another great option as a trout spinning rod. The Celilo has an ultra-light action which makes it a great choice for small streams and creeks.

The rod comes in four different models to choose from in total, and all of these models feature a high-quality graphite blank that is ultra-sensitive yet still strong enough to handle large trout, aluminum oxide guide inserts, top-grade cork handles and reel butt, and a stainless steel hooded reel seat for excellent corrosion resistance and years of reliability.

This trout spinning rod is one of the best out there for trout fishing and has options in length. Starting at 4.5 feet for fishing those small streams and creeks in areas like dense woods where small under-handed flip casts are essential, up to 7.5 feet for trout fishing anywhere that is suitable, like medium to large rivers. 

  • Multiple lengths and models
  • Great sensitivity
  • Aluminum oxide guide inserts
Shakespeare Micro
Shakespeare Micro
Shakespeare Micro
Our Score

The Shakespeare Micro is a great rod for those who are on a budget, it's very affordable, but despite its low price, it still works very well for trout fishing.

Shakespeare has the rod lengths completely covered and offers lengths of 4'6" to 7'. Rod power options are perfect for small stream fishing and fit the namesake of the rod, with ultra-light and light power options.

The guides are stainless steel and will resist any corrosion, and the rod itself is constructed from a premium graphite blank. To finish it off, the rod comes with EVA handles to give you comfort and grip in any weather conditions.

The micro is a great all-around budget trout spinning rod.

  • EVA grips
  • Good length choices
  • Stainless steel line guides
KastKing Perigee II
KastKing Perigee II
KastKing Perigee II
Our Score

KastKing has made some serious waves in the fishing industry in the last few years, and they have pumped out some products from tackle boxes to fishing rods that are turning some heads, and they have gained a following as a result.

The Perigee II is a two-piece rod constructed of Toray 24-ton matrix KastFlex carbon blanks which excel in performance, power, strength, and accurate casting.

Other great features are put into this rod setup, with Fuji O-ring line guides, high-strength graphite reel seats, High-quality EVA grips, Saf-T hook keeper, and an amazing graphite finish that makes it one of the best-looking rods out there at this price point.

KastKing incorporates its power transition system or (PTS). This system features hybrid spigot joints that transition power smoothly throughout your fishing rod blank. Specialized high-technology computer control wrapping at four angles keeps the power transition smooth from start to finish.

The Perigee II has the potential to be a great trout fishing rod

  • Power transition system
  • Great features from top to bottom
  • Toray 24-ton Carbon blanks
Cadence CR7
Cadence CR7
Cadence CR7
Our Score

Built from 40-ton graphite, the CR7 by Cadence doesn't lack in the durability and strength department, and it isn't the only feature to help this rod stand out.

The CR7 also features SiC inserts, a Fuji reel seat, And a hybrid handle system with portions being EVA and cork. The rod also features a split-grip design to help with keeping the red light along with giving it incredible sensitivity.

The carbon blank is also wrapped in a carbon veil for even more durability to complement the 40-ton graphite and protect it from scratches and nicks.

The CR7 line has a wide range of models to choose from, but starting from the shortest length rod, the first five rods will be suited for trout fishing in a variety of trout fishing situations and makes for a great trout spinning rod.

  • 40-ton graphite
  • SiC inserts
  • Fuji reel
Shimano Solara
Shimano Solara
Shimano Solara
Our Score

The Solara trout spinning rod was designed by Shimano to give anglers an incredibly affordable rod that would last for years.

The rods use quality Aluminum Oxide Guides providing long-lasting durability and decreased line wear. The use of aluminum oxide also virtually eliminates corrosion issues and provides years of use. 

The Solara is also equipped with a durable graphite composite blank, and for this price point, it offers great durability, strength, and reliability that rivals rods at higher price points. The Solara also comes with premium-grade cork handles for excellent comfort and grip and a high-quality reel seat.

 This ultralight rod comes in great lengths, actions, and power choices for trout fishing. 

  • High-grade cork handles
  • Aluminum oxide guides
  • Graphite composite blank
Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Rod
Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Rod
Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Rod
Our Score

Ugly Stik is a name that every angler is familiar with, and the rods created by Ugly Stik are known to take a beating after beating, and they can last a lifetime at a very affordable price.

The durability the Ugly Stik is known for is due to its hybrid graphite/fiberglass construction that gives the rod an overall low weight and great sensitivity.

The GX2 also features EVA grips for great comfort and grip, and there are 12 models to choose from, so you should have no issue selecting from the light to medium power models for trout fishing.

  • Hybrid graphite/fiberglass
  • EVA grips
  • A large number of variants to choose from

Trout Fishing Rod Buyers’ Guide:

Why Choose a Spinning Rod for Trout?

Spinning reels are the chosen style of fishing rod simply because baitcasting rods are overkill for the average trout caught, with the exception of lake trout.

Spinning rods are also easier to fish with compared to a fly rod setup. Fly fishing for trout is incredibly popular and has a hardcore community of anglers who solely fish for trout with fly rods, but for the casual angler, a spinning rod is more convenient and easier to use when trout fishing.

Best Length Rod for Trout Fishing

The best length rod depends on your fishing situation. If you fish in areas such as the northern Great Lakes region or other heavily forested areas, you will want to use a short rod. Branches, bushes, and trees all become massive issues when fishing small streams and rivers and will result in constant tangling and loss of lures. For these situations, a rod about 6 feet in length is best.

For areas that are in open surroundings, or when fishing moderate to large rivers, you don’t have these hazards to worry about like you would a small stream in a dense pine forest. Thus you can comfortably fish with a longer length rod of 7 to 7.5 feet in length.

Best Rod Action for Trout Fishing

When choosing trout spinning rods, I would recommend a fast-action rod. This allows you to make quick and snappy hooksets in tight areas without smacking your rod into a tree or branch, tangling your rod or line, and causing issues or the loss of the fish. As with most forms of sport fish and predatory fish, a fast rod action typically offers the best performance.

Much of trout fishing is close in and is hand-to-hand fishing combat, and for these situations, a fast-action rod will typically be your best choice.

Best Rod Power Rating for Trout Fishing

Like with rod action, rod power is also an important consideration. Light to moderate/light rod power is great for trout fishing, and it once again depends on the environment and fish size in the body of water you’re fishing.

For small streams with smaller-sized trout, a light or even ultra-light action rod will serve you well, while rivers and streams with moderate to large-sized trout would see anglers better off with a medium/light to medium rod power.

Materials: Carbon fiber vs. fiberglass for Trout Fishing

In decades past, anglers looked to fiberglass rods when trout fishing, and while they aren’t as common today, they are still used. Fiberglass today is more popular with fly anglers, but many fly anglers have since switched to carbon fiber.

Carbon fiber is great when used in the construction of a rod, and it will come as no surprise that carbon fiber/graphite rods make up the majority of our picks for trout fishing rods.

Best Rods for Trout Fishing in Small Streams

A Small and light trout fishing rod with a fast rod action is your best choice for small streams. They allow great sensitivity when small trout are biting light, allowing you to feel everything.

They are also great for the tiny flipping casts that are needed to fish tight cover and spots when trout fishing in these small streams.

Best Trout Fishing Rods for Trout Fishing in Larger Rivers

For trout fishing in larger rivers, you can still use a light power rod if the average trout size is small, but for some trout, like rainbow or brown trout, that grow to a decent size, a medium power rod with a fast rod action can serve you well, this gives you enough strength to fight the fish as well as the current.

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Shawn Chapin is an experienced fishing writer and guide based in Wisconsin, where he loves targeting muskie and a range of other species. Shawn's fished extensively for pike, largemouth bass, smallmouth and panfish species. He's developing a passion for chasing trout on the fly rod.
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