Trout fishing takes light and sensitive tackle. The top choices in trout fishing rods need to perform. Equipment not suited for trout will result in fewer fish caught. In other words, the correct rod is more productive leading to more enjoyment.
Table of Contents
- Trout Fishing Rods
- Salmon and Steelhead Rods
- Best Trout Rod
- Best Budget Trout Rod
- Best Salmon or Steelhead Rod
- Best Budget Steelhead or Salmon Rod
Estimated reading time: 10 minutes, 2 seconds. Contains 2008 words
An angler must identify the species of trout they intend to target. The majority of trout are small, but a few species are larger. The ultra-light or light power rods are for small trout. A medium-light or medium power rods are used on larger species of trout or salmon. Salmon rods go up to medium-heavy.
The key element of a trout fishing rod is sensitivity. A rod without sensitivity, will not let you feel the lighter bites. It is true, trout will bite hard, but often they do not bite hard. You need a rod that lets you feel both types of bites.
You may think a rod for trout only is not a wise purchase. These rods can also double for panfish or other small-sized species. An ultra-light is preferred for panfish. A light power rod will work for finesse fishing for smallmouth or walleye.
There are times a lighter power rod is better for certain conditions or presentations in fishing. The light lures or baits will cast farther with better accuracy on a light power rod. These choices in trout fishing rods can serve multiple uses.
Buying fishing gear is investing in your pleasure. This applies to rods and reels. The cost is spread out over years of use and enjoyment. This results in the equipment costing a few dollars to pocket change on each outing.
St Croix is a leading manufacturer of fishing rods. The trout series is an offering made for small trout and panfish. The rod has exceptional sensitivity and is lightweight. You can feel what is happening with a lure or bait in the water. The lightweight makes fishing hours easy without fatigue. The cork handle has a nice feel, plus the reel seat transmits the sensitivity very well.
Some people may consider the rod a bit on the high price side. The performance merits what an experienced angler will consider a good value. Each angler must decide on their own needs in a rod.
The choices in these trout fishing rods are limited. The offerings do fit almost any situation you may encounter trout fishing. A short model is great on small streams. In a lake or larger stream, the longer rod is the better option.
- Ultra lightweight and sensitive trout fishing rod
- Constructed with blend of SCII and SCVI graphite
- Pac Bay Minima guides reduce weight
- Pac Bay Minima reel seat
- Premium cork handles
- Flex Coat slow-cure finish
- Manufacturer’s 5-year warranty
- Limited selection of actions and lengths
St. Croix Eyecon
The Eyecon is marketed as a walleye rod. Walleye and trout rods share the same performance features. These rods come with great sensitivity and are lightweight. This rod does not have an ultra-light model. Yet the light and medium-light powers are suitable for many trout fishing situations. If you fish an area with a good population of trout over 12 inches this is a good choice.
The Eyecon is available in more lengths and powers giving you more options. Look at the light or medium-light choices. This rod performs well casting light lures or bait rigs. Plus is able to crossover to finesse fishing for bass or walleye.
The multiple-use capability of these rods is something that you need to consider. This aspect makes the rod a great value to a multi-species angler.
- Technique-specific walleye rods designed and built for superior performance
- Premium-quality SCII graphite
- Batson Forecast hard aluminum oxide guides
- Fuji IPS reel seat
- Split-grip/premium-grade cork handle with EVA trim
- Two coats of Flex Coat slow-cure finish
- Five-year warranty
- Only one light power model
Fenwick HMG or HMX
Fenwick offers two rods with the sensitivity and a lighter weight a trout angler needs. Each model performs well casting and has a cork handle for a nice feel in the hand. The HMG is a little better with the guides and reel seat of higher quality, plus the warranty is much better. Both of the models come in ultra-light to medium light models for trout or smaller fish. These are also crossover options for bass and walleye anglers.
The two choices are affordable for any angler. I do recommend the HMG due to the warranty and higher-quality of the guides. The performance of the rods is close to equal. These rods make a higher quality rod available to anglers on a tight budget.
- High-end lightweight blank technology
- Carbon Bound spiral wrapped
- Fuji guides with Alconite inserts
- Positive Lock soft touch reel
- Premium grade cork handle
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Exceptional action with great sensitivity
- Modulus carbon fiber blank construction
- Sea Guide stainless steel guide frames
- Zirconium oxide inserts
- TAC and cork handle
- 5-year warranty
The Okuma Kokanee is a budget-friendly rod. It comes in 2 lengths of 7 feet and 7 1/2 feet. The power is light with moderate action. The action allows more of the rod to bend. This will help keep the hooks in a thrashing or jumping fish. The lure rating is amazing at 1/8 to 3/4 of an ounce. You can throw light lures or go with heavy spoons or spinners for bigger fish.
The rod is a light power but will handle steelhead also. You need to consider the size of the trout where you live. At the cost, the rod is a good value for people not fishing a lot. In other words, if you are the fair-weather type, this is a rod you will like.
- IM8 graphite blank
- Premium ferrule connections
- ALPS stainless steel guides with zirconium inserts
- Premium cork fore and rear grips
- Non-slip butt cap and hook keeper
- Low cost
- Limited to light power
- Only 2 lengths available
Bass Pro Shops Panfish Elite
The Panfish Elite is for anglers strictly targeting small trout species. The rod is good for brook, rainbow, and brown trout, plus others in the size range. It does offer a good selection of lengths and powers. You can get a length good for tight spots or go longer for casting distance. Depending on the model lures as light as 1/32 or 1/16 will load the rod and cast well.
This is perfect for the small spinners and other lures needed for small trout. Few rods are capable of casting these lighter lures. Use a light line in the 2-4 pound test range and it will perform well with light lures. These models are good choices in all-purpose small trout or panfish fishing rods.
- A pro-level rod for the panfish specialist
- Extremely light, sensitive RT3 Graphite blank
- Fuji FaZlite guides with Corrosion Control frames
- FaZlite inserts provide smooth line flow
- Fuji TVS skeletal reel seat
- EVA split-grip with X-wrap
- Cork-rubber butt
- Eva handle
Anglers looking to tackle salmon or steelhead need a rod made for the fish. These are larger than typical trout. The rods are longer with different power ratings and actions. They are designed specifically for larger salmon species.
People fishing a few times for salmon can get by with about any rod. Yet going after salmon regularly with the correct gear. Leads to better success and enjoyment.
G. Loomis rods are the option when money is not a concern. These rods are designed for specific presentations and perform better than other rods. The float model has a moderate action for better casting. The twitch model is for jigging with very fast action. Both rods provide accurate casting using as intended. Investing in one of these rods requires knowing how you are using the rod.
The float model will load better for casting when using a float or bobber. The moderate action allows more of the rod to bend, loading the blank for better casting. This rod is for strictly float fishing.
The twitch models have a faster action to improve sensitivity. Using jigs you need more sensitivity. The rod allows you to detect light bites and get good hook sets. This rod is for use with jigs and similar presentations.
- Specifically designed for float fishing
- Built long, light, and responsive
- Maximum control for covering water in current
- Extra forgiveness when using lighter line
- Fiber-Blend models: optimized strength, balance, sensitivity
- Fuji guides and reel seats
- Manufacturers limited lifetime warranty
- Technique-specific features
- For twitching marabou and feather jigs
- Extra-fast actions
- Extremely sensitive
- Powerful butt-sections
- Light tips cast the jigs easily
- Cork handle
- Manufacturers limited lifetime warranty
These rods are for dedicated salmon or steelhead anglers. The average angler will not like the cost. People living near the Great Lakes or Pacific Northwest will generally need one of the rods.
The X-11 is an affordable rod for salmon and steelhead fishing. These rods come in many lengths, powers, and actions. You can select the aspects to fit your needs in fishing. Anglers float fishing will like the moderate action rods with their choice of length. Using jigs, fast actions are the best choice. The power ranges from light to heavy adding to making the rod specific to your needs.
The shorter rods are for jigging and the longer rods work better for float fishing. Knowing the method of fishing helps narrow the choice. Anglers fishing both methods will find the cost low enough to consider buying one of each.
- Incredible sensitivity and control
- Burgundy-colored graphite blanks
- Actions customized for salmon and steelhead
- Deep-pressed chrome guides in stainless frames
- Exposed reel seats
- Premium cork handles
- Occasionally a rod with quality issues gets through
Fenwick HMX Salmon/Steelhead
The Fenwick HMX model is an affordable rod with good performance. The choices in length are good, but actions are limited to moderate. The power covers a range from ultra-light to medium. These rods are good for float fishing or live bait bottom bouncing. If you fish one of these methods, it is a perfect choice. Fenwick tends to make rods for all-around use. This rod can be used for any method of steelhead or salmon fishing except jig use.
The action is not suitable for jigging. The slower action affects the hook set and sensitivity to a slight degree. Anglers planning on jigging as their primary technique should consider a fast action rod.
- Blanks constructed of proprietary blend of carbon fiber
- Sea Guide stainless steel guides
- Zirconium inserts
- Fuji reel seats
- TAC and cork handle
- Incredible power and sensitivity
- It will break if you high stick the rod. Do not high stick the rod.
- Fast action not available
If you are unfamiliar with what high sticking is look it up. All rods can break when high sticking, these rods are slightly more prone to breaking when high sticking. This is a result of formulating the rods for better sensitivity. There are always trade-offs in gaining performance.
Okuma SST Carbon Grip Spinning
The Okuma is a rod for anglers seeking durability. The carbon grips allow sensitivity and last. This grip is great for wet conditions being easy to grip when wet. The zirconium inserts reduce friction plus last longer than stainless steel inserts. Reduced friction helps you cast farther. The lengths range from 8′ to 10′ 6″ for multiple choices.
The rod comes in spinning and casting models. In general, spinning rods are preferred for steelhead or salmon. The options in the rod include spin, twitch, and float fishing models. Then choose the model and length best for your style of fishing. This rod has a one-year limited warranty.
- Heavy-duty salmon and steelhead rod
- IM8 graphite blank and reel seat
- Woven 3K carbon fiber fore and rear grips
- Strong, sensitive, easy to grip when wet
- Stainless steel guides with zirconium inserts
- Compressed EVA butt cap
- Stainless steel hook keeper
- Prices vary greatly between sellers
- finding specific power and action may be difficult
Fishing for trout or salmon takes specific techniques and gear. The rod power determines the lure rating and how big of fish it will handle easily. The action is how much of the rod bends. Length needs to fit how you fish. Do you need accuracy or distance? Plus having room is another length consideration. Think about all elements of the rod before buying.