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Best Trout Spinning Rod 2023 – [Buyer’s Guide]

best trout rod

Throwing small lures on light line takes a certain amount of finesse. The best trout spinning rods will tend to be small, light and have a fast action.

By all means if you are seeking out larger trout on trolling gear then choosing a high quality reel will be generally more important than the rod.

However, if you are using an ultralight setup for trout on smaller waters the it is the rod that is the most important piece of tackle to get right.

What Size Rod for Trout?

On smaller waters the go to trout pole setup should be an ultralight spinning with a fast action.

Depending on how and where exactly you are fishing your rod, reel and line should fall somewhere in the following ranges:

  • Length – Between 5 and 7 foot
  • Action – Fast 
  • Power – Light to ultralight
  • Reel – Spinning reel size 1000 – 2500
  • Line – Usually monofilament in the 2lb to 6lb range

Best Trout Spinning Rods

1. Ugly Stick Elite Spinning Rod

The best trout spinning rod available on the market right now is hands down the Ugly Stick Elite.

If offers the best performance for the money than practically any other rod in it’s price range.


  • One-piece Ugly Tuff line guides
  • High graphite construction process
  • Great tip sensitivity
  • Extremely durable
  • Best value for money

If you been using spinning rods for trout over the last two decades then you’ve surely either used or seen an Ugly Stik rod.

Their massive popularity is built on providing near high end performance at a very affordable price.

They are also built tough too. I’ve seen Ugly Stik’s take a lot of abuse. Far more than some of the pricier brands such a G. Loomis or St Croix.

The original GX2 line of rods were a massive hit. And so too has their replacement line the “Elite”.

Like the GX2 series the Elite are built to a simple design but with a very high quality manufacturing process. The new rod blanks boast 35% higher graphite levels which result in a lighter rod with even greater sensitivity and action.

Every aspect of the rods have been tweaked to help save weight. The Ugly Tuff guides are a one-piece design without inserts.

Dropping the inserts means less weight. And, assuming you don’t damage the guides also means slightly less drag on the line during casting.

These rods also come with a high quality cork handle, stainless steel reel hood and  7 year warranty.

They have one of the biggest ranges available with ultralight, light and medium rods available at several different lengths from 4’6″ up to and including 7’6″.

2. Fenwick Eagle Spinning Rod

Fenwick have positioned themselves firmly in the mid-range of the trout rod market.

Their Eagle line of spinning rods boast a wealth of high quality materials resulting a very well balanced rod blank.


  • Aluminum oxide guides
  • DPS Fuji reel seat
  • SCII graphite construction

Built from SCII graphite the rod blanks are a result of decades of testing and refining graphite rod construction. In fact it is Fenwick who first brought graphite rods em masse to the trout fishing world.

The Eagle comes with a burled cork handle which is less chip resistant than traditional cork. Stainless steel guides and inserts are used throughout.

If you are looking for a well balanced rod with a great tip action then look no further.

Like the Ugly Stik above there is also a large range of sizes to choose from, which tops out at a rather large 8 foot in length.

3. St Croix Triumph Spinning Rod

Just like Fenwick, St Croix offer a high quality range of trout rods that aim to span the middle ground between price and quality.

The Triumph series prides itself on having some of the best rod actions available for ultralight trout spinning rods.


  • Fuji reel seat
  • SCII graphite rod blank
  • Aluminum oxide guides
  • Traditional cork handle
  • 5 year warranty

Made from premium SCII graphite, the rod blanks have been finely tuned to provide the perfect blend between action, power and tip sensitivity.

If you are looking for a rod that lets you know just what is going on at the hook then look no further. Tip sensitivity is extremely important when using small lures.

A dull, lifeless heavy action will mean more missed strikes, getting the taper right on the rod blank is crucial.

The Triumph series are not all about the rod action though. They line guides a reel seats are top notch. A premium grade cork handle, hardened aluminum oxide guides and a Fuji DPS reel seat round off a very high quality rod.

4. G Loomis Trout Series

If you are looking for the very best trout rod available then the Trout series from G Loomis is it.

Bear in mind these rods are considerably more expensive than every other rod listed here.


  • Ultra fast tip design
  • Fiber blend rod blank
  • Single foot Fuji Alconite guides

Given it’s price tag the G. Loomis Trout series is not for beginners. I have one and they are a serious step above almost everything else I have tried.

Feather like performance and a clear and extremely crisp fast tip action make them perfect for the lightest of setups.

Small jigs, nymphs and F3 Rapala’s are easily managed with maximum feedback available through the rod.

 Casting is always an issue on very light gear and the Trout series makes it easy. These rods reel like a fly fishing rod they are that well balanced.

5. St Croix Trout Freshwater

The St Croix Freshwater Trout series is a lighter more high end version of the Triumph mentioned earlier.

As a comparison a 7 foot Trout series weighs only 3 ounces, whereas a 7 foot Triumph series will weigh roughly 4.2 ounces. 


  • Blended SCII ad SCVI graphite blanks
  • Pac Bay Minima lightweight guides
  • Pac Bay Minima reel seat

A combination of weight and action is usually how an ultralight set up is judged and this is what St Croix do well.

If you are on the look out for a rod that can be used for the small of finesse style fishing then you won’t put a foot wrong with the Freshwater Trout line of rods.

6. Okuma Celio Lightweight Trout

A great budget option the Celio Trout series from Okuma is a solid little performer for the money.

If you are choosing a trout rod for a kid or are looking for a decent second rod that is easy on the wallet then you can’t go far wrong with one of these. 


  • Graphite blanks
  • Aluminum Oxide guide inserts
  • Stainless steel reel seat

The graphite rod blanks offer a great combination of light weight and decent sensitivity. Although these are a budget option but by no means mean they are “cheap” in terms of quality.

Trout Fishing Rods

As stated above your best bet to use as a trout fishing pole on rivers, streams and small lakes is to use an ultra light spinning setup.

Matching your rod to the best trout spinning reel you can afford will give you the best casting performance.

Once you know the size of lure and line rating that you will be using the most often you can then match your rod and reel to them.

Casting with small lures requires a trout fishing rod that can load up even when using lightweight lures or single hook bait rigs.

What Length Rod for Trout ?

The most popular length for a trout spinning rod will be roughly 6.5 foot.

On really small creeks, rivers and streams you can will find some fishermen that will drop down to a rod length as short as 5 foot.

Trout fishing rods of this length make life a whole lot easier if you are fishing off of banks that have a lot of tree branches and bushes. 

Also Read: Types of Trout

You will generally find that 5 foot rods come as a single piece blank only. They can be great to keep in your truck or car for fishing on the move(just be sure they are stored safely).

On much larger faster flowing rivers you can go all the way up to a 7 foot rod. A longer trout fishing pole has the ability to cast heavier lures a longer distance.

So if you are using heavy spoons or spinners and are looking to cover a lot of water then the extra length is probably better.

7 footers will almost always come as two piece rods.

For most people however a 6.5 foot rod is more than suitable for the average river or small stocked lake.


There are generally 3 main types of rod action:

  • Slow – The bend in the rod blank starts lower down towards the reel seat
  • Moderate – Bend starts in the middle of the rod blank
  • Fast – Bend starts higher up the rod blank towards the rod tip

Casting lighter lures on light line means that you need a rod that will load much higher up the rod blank. This, combines with better sensitivity is why you should use a fast action trout rod.

Although we have listed three main types of actions manufactures have designed a lot of rods to operate in between the actions.

So, for example you can have a slow/medium action and a medium/fast action.

Slow action rods start bending lower down in the blank. This is fine if you are through larger lures a long distance.

But, it also means that the tip will not register a delicate strike as easily as a fast action, which can result in losing some fish.

Trout fishing rods need that extra sensitivity that and fast action gives using something with a moderate or slower action will lose that precious feedback from your lighter terminal tackle.

That is why it is rare to see an angler use a spinning rod for trout with anything else but a fast action.


Power effectively means how hard it is to “bend” the rod. Or in other words what size fish will you be looking at catching.

The power rating will have a direct relationship to what weight line you should be using.

Most trout fishing poles will be in the ultralight power rating range although on larger rivers you may need something with a bit more backbone like a light power rating.

Can you use a medium power rod for trout?

You can but it will limit the types and sizes of lures that you can realistically use.

The best trout lures are pretty light in weight and will only really be cast-able on a rod that is rated for 4 to 8 lbs line.

Anything heavier and your casting distance will be severely affected.


Traditionally trout rods were made from split cane, then as technology developed and more modern materials became cheaper they were built from fiberglass.

Both of these materials are a little too heavy for a light trout spinning rod. Modern day trout rods are a usually made from graphite.

Or a carbon graphite blend.

Graphite is extremely light and can be manufactured in a way that gives a very consistent performance.

The one drawback to a graphite rod is that they can be very easy to break if stepped on or mistreated. Fiberglass poles however can take a lot more punishment.

You can find some spinning rods that are a blend of both fiberglass and graphite.

Some fishermen prefer this as they claim it gives the performance of a graphite rod blank with the feel and durability of fiberglass.

Regardless of the material a trout rod needs to be light and have a lot of sensitivity down through the rod blank.

To recap the best trout rods will have a fast action, ultralight power rating, and be between 6 and 7 feet in length.

  • Updated January 3, 2023
  • Trout