Best Trout Spinning Reel 2020 -[Buyer’s Guide]
Fishing for trout in small rivers and streams requires a more finesse style setup than when trolling or fishing on really large rivers.
The best spinning reels for trout will usually be sized in a 1000 up to a 2500. It is very rare to use anything larger.
The majority of trout fishing will be done on an ultralight setup. To be able to cast light spinners or bait rigs you need to have a matching rod, reel and line that is suitable for casting smaller weights.
The above ranges should be seen as a guide for how most trout anglers would go about putting together a decent trout combo.
If you are bouncing a night crawler downstream using light line like 4 pound mono really does need a decent spinning reel in a size 1000 or maybe a 2000.
Throwing a chunky Kastmaster spoon on size 8 lb line then a size 2000 or 2500 reel would be more appropriate.
A high quality reel from the big name brands makes a great investment and should last years of use if you look after it properly.
A high quality spinning reel is an investment rods will come and go but a good reel if looked after should last at least ten years of use.
Best Trout Spinning Reels
The Revo SX is the best trout reel available. You get super smooth high end performance at a low to mid range price point.
Casting with very light lines is where the Revo shines. Line falls off the spool with very little friction, meaning longer and much more accurate casts.
The Revo's stand out feature is it's line management system.
A combination of the Everlast bail system and it's Rocket Spool lip allows line to fly off the reel even when trying to cast very light lures.
The Everlast bail system lays line down in an almost perfectly even pattern across the spool even when you are reeling back in the line under heavy pressure.
Uneven line lay can result in bunching and low/high spots of the previous layers of line. When this happens the chances of the next layer getting bed down into the bottom layers is increased.
When line gets caught in lower layers like this it can have a massive negative effect on casting performance.
The Rocket spool is specifically designed to allow line to run over it with the minimum amount of friction.
The body is super rigid and made from a carbon composite material called C6 with the frame being made from X-Craft alloy for reduced flex under load.
A size 20(Abu Garcia's version of 2000) makes trout spinning reel, loaded with 6 lbs monofilament and you can cast light lures and bait rigs/bobbers with ease.
- Rocket Spool Lip
- Everlast bail system
- 8 stainless steel ball bearings
- Carbon Matrix drag system
- Super rigid housing/body
If you are on a budget or this is your first reel then the President spinning reel from Pflueger has built a solid reputation as one of the best value spinning reels for trout.
Boasting no less than 7 stainless steel bearings it puts some other high end reel to shame in terms of how smoothly it operates.
Pair one of these with an Ugly Stick Elite spinning rod and you have your self a pretty decent trout combo for under 100.
It has a braid ready spool so you can run braid on it without any backing required.
It comes with a host of features that are normally found in much more expensive reels.
A multi-disc drag system, sealed drag washers and a really light body make for a really good first reel.
- Braid ready spool
- Great low price point
- 7 stainles steel ball bearings
Shimano have a number of models in the Stradic range with the Ci4+ being not only the most expensive but also the one crammed full of it's best technology.
The Stradic HG however, gives you access to a wealth of those features without the high end price.
All Stradic reels use a cold forging process called Hagen that results in both the internal gears and the body being super stiff.
Lower warp and better stiffness means the alignment of the internal gears run super smooth with reduced wear and tear.
Nothing screams "I'm a cheap reel" more than there being lots of flex in the body.
With the Stradic line of trout reels you can be sure you are buying the very best of technology and quality.
The HG is virtually identical to the Ci4+ except that it is slightly heavier. The HG uses a Hagene body whereas the Ci4+ shaves off a small bit of weight from the use of a carbon infused material CI.
For the money the HG offers much better value than the more expensive Ci4+ and most anglers will barely notice the slightly lighter weight of the Ci4+ for it to make a difference.
- Propulsion line management system
- Hagen gear and body
- 6 ball bearings
- Cold Forged aluminum spool
The Sedona sits somewhere in the middle between the Stradic HG and the Pflueger President in terms of price.
As you would expect it is a step up from the President in terms of quality.
This is the third incarnation of the Sedona model over the past ten years and looks to be the best yet.
The Sedona FI replaces the much loved FE and FD models.
With the newer FI model you actually get the same build process, materials and quality that is found in the Stradic line, namely Hagane cold forging.
The cold forged Hagane internal gears are stronger and lighter than the equivalent machine cut gears.
It also has increased gear ratio's(except for the 1000) and an upgrade to the drag power over previous models.
You also get the propulsion line management system as found in the Stradic's for a more even line lay on the spool.
The spools are machine cut double anodized and come in a beautiful gold tint.
There is also a reduction in weight over previous models. The reel also has it's center of gravity sitting closer to the rod thanks to a new design called G Free.
The Sedona is arguably the best trout fishing reel for those on a budget. You get a host of some of Shimano's best reel technolgy without paying the premium prices.
- Hagene gears
- Magnumlite rotor design
- Double anodized machine cut spool
- Propulsion line management
The Supreme XT is Pfluegers offering in the mid-range market.
It is a step up in terms of quality and performance from the President line that we featured earlier.
It is far from being a repackaged President however, and is a very solid reel in it's own right.
Although not really aimed a lighter spinning setups there is a size 2500 available and if you are working long stretches of bigger rivers then that extra size is definitely advisable.
A big wide spool helps line fly out when casting and also reduces coiling as monofilament line can be prone to having quite a bit of memory.
A silky smooth set of no less than ten ball bearings make for a very solid retrieval system and the drag housing is really well sealed.
- 10 stainless steel ball bearings
- Sealed carbon drag
- Magnesium body and rotor
Penn have built some of the most loved reels particularly in the bigger offshore segment but they also do a mean line of spinning reels.
The clash is normally considered a saltwater spinning reel but in a size 2000 can make an excellent trout reel.
These reels if properly maintained will last decades. They are built for the harsher environment that salt water creates so the seals on the drag and reel housing are second to none.
A full metal body and heavy duty aluminum bail arm scream quality. The internal gears are CNC machined for extreme accuracy and provide a very tight and accurate knit which makes the Clash feel very smooth during operation especially under high loads.
A set of HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers maintain a very smooth drag that does not buckle under pressure regardless of how it is set.
Not the lightest reel in this list but almost bullet proof in terms of durability and longevity.
- HT-100 carbon fiber drag
- Leveline line management
- 8 sealed stainless steel bearings
If money were no objest then the Stradic Ci4+ is the best spinning reel for trout hands down.
It is regarded as one of the bet performing spinning reels ever built.
Aimed at the upper end of the freshwater spinning reel market you get all of Shimano's very best technology and materials rolled into one reel.
Although it is the most expensive trout reel in this list it really does beat out all other competitors in terms of performance.
You will never use a reel that runs as smooth as a Stradic Ci4+. It is built using Shimano's new CI Carbon Infused technology that makes the reel casing twenty percent lighter and one and a half times stronger than conventional methods.
A lighter stronger spinning reel for trout is always going to make your trout rod feel more balanced than a heavier one making all day casting less of a chore.
- Carbon Infused built process
- Hagene cut gears
- Extremely well sealed
Buying a good trout reel from the start will actually save you money in the long run.
Spinning rods come and go and of all of the component of your trout setup the rod will most likely to be the first to break.
Rod tips get broken all the time, but reels are a different story.
A goof spinning reel for trout should last 10 years if you look after it properly and get it serviced every few years.
Given the option I would rather spend the bulk of my budget on a high quality spinning reel.
When choosing a trout reel the first main decision to make will be just what size reel will you need.
As a general guide most spinning reels for trout fishing will fall into the 1000 to 2500 size range.
A lighter size 1000 would generally be considered to run best with some pretty light fishing line. Monofilament in the 2 to 6 lb breaking strain range.
At the upper end of the scale a size 2500 will run best on 6 lb up to 10 lb. That means roughly 200 yards of 6 pound line and 120 of the bigger 10 pound line.
Smaller trout fishing lures will generally perform better when using the lightest line possible.
It all depends on how big the body of water you will be fishing the most is. Really small rivers and streams you could well be using a 6 foot rod and a size 1000 reel.
This will allow you to throw really small lures up close. A bigger river might demand a beefier reel and rod with heavier line.
The internal component of a reel are it's beating heart and the quality of the gears and bearings are what a great reel differ from a junk reel.
There are plenty of cheap reels available that are built to a low standard. Spend any kind of time using one of these and it will become quickly apparent that they are not really fit for purpose.
Cheap internal gears will warp and flex when put under any king of pressure. Helical cut gears and those that are machined from high quality metals are the only things that you should be concerning yourself with.
The quality of a spool is often one of the most over looked components on a fishing reel.
The best casting reels will have a wide spool arbor and a lip design that helps to reduce as much friction as possible.
Fishing line, especially monofilament has a memory and if it is tightly wound onto a small spool it can become very coiled which results in a lot of knots and shorter casting distances.
The lip of a spool needs to be a smooth as possible to allow the line to run freely over it.
How the line is laid on the spool as you retrieve it will also have a massive impact on your casting performance.
Badly laid line will tend to bunch up at certain points which evetually results in it bedding down into the previous layers.
The drag setting on a reel is one of the first things to break if it is not properly sealed.
Even the most careful angler will eventually put their rod and reel down on the ground on the banks of a river.
Grit, sand and dust can be the end of the drag on a reel if it is not properly sealed. Once any kind of grit makes it's way into the drag then it is very likely to seize up.
A seized drag when you have a fish on the line will generally result in a snapped line and lost trout.
All of the best trout reels have a high quality drag that is well sealed and can take a lot of pressure.