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Trout Fishing Gear and Tackle

trout fishing gear

Trout fishing is one of the most accessible forms of fishing if you are just starting out or are looking to introduce a child to their first time out fishing.

Trout are pretty widespread, with both natural and stocked waters being available in almost every state.

Whether that’s a small river or on a stocked lake the type of trout fishing gear you will need is pretty simple.

Trout offer great sport and can be caught on some very simple and inexpensive tackle

For the majority of trout anglers a lightweight spinning setup(technically referred to as an ultralight setup) is going to the best option.

At a quick glance the following trout fishing gear is what the most would use especially for small brown and rainbow trout that weight less than 4 lbs:

  • Rod – Ultralight spinning rod, roughly 6 feet in length with a fast action
  • Reel – A 1000 or 2000 size spinning reel
  • Line – Monofilament fishing line from 2 to 8 pounds 

Trout Fishing Gear List

1. Rod

When fishing with light tackle a spinning rod will be the better option when compared to a casting rod.

Spinning rods are paired with spinning reels. A spinning reel is much better at casting light tackle than a baitcaster reel.

Light lures and rigs need a rod that is also light. Using a heavy rod will be a disaster.

You won’t get any decent casting distance and the rod will be far too heavy to give you any kind of feedback.

Sensitivity is key, the best trout fishing rods will have an ultralight power rating and have a fast action.

  • Rod Power – Rod power describes how heavy a lure or line weight a rod is rated for. An ultralight rod is suitable for very light lures and line that is between 2 and 10 pounds breaking strain.
  • Rod Action – Rod action defines where on the rod blank the rod will start to bend naturally once pressure is applied to it. A fast action will start to bend higher up closest to the rod tip. A slow action will bend lower down towards the reel seat.
  • Rod Length – A shorter rod is better for use on smaller rivers and streams were casting distance is not much of a concern. They also give you better control of the fish at landing time.

Throwing small lures requires a fast action. This means the rod tip bends higher up on the rod blank. It also means a lot more sensitivity is translated from the line back into the rod.

You need to be able to detect soft bites and to be able to set the hook quickly, a fast action rod is the bet choice for this.

2. Reel

As stated above when using a spinning rod it needs to be paired with a spinning reel. A good trout spinning reel will be roughly a size 1000 or 2000. On a larger river you may need a size 2500 for the extra line capacity.

  • Reel Type – A spinning reel is the number on go to type of reel for trout fishing. They are easy to cast and are better than a baitcaster when using light weight trout fishing gear.
  • Reel Size – Spinning reels that fall in the range of between 1000 and 2500. For very small rivers a size 1000 is fine and it should be able to hold 100 yards of 4 lb monofilament fishing line. A size 2500 is suitable for much larger rivers and should be able to hold 100 yards of 8 lb mono. 
  • Materials – Cheaper reels will be made from graphite. If you are looking to buy a quality reel then aim for a reel that has as much metal as possible used in it’s construction. Carbon drag washers and a well sealed body and gearing system is preferable too.

Most small reels for the big brands such as Shimano, Abu Garcia, Pflueger and Daiwa will all be suitable.

Look to invest in a quality reel as if they are well looked after they should easily last 10 years.

3. Line

Monofilament is the number one choice when fishing for trout on light gear. It is easy to know and casts well with lighter lures.

It also floats which can be an advantage and is virtually invisible when compared to braided fishing line.

It is also quite cheap and modern monofilament is quite durable and can take quite a few knocks and scrapes before it needs snaps.

Mono does suffer from having a large memory so if you leave it on a reel with a small diameter spool for a long period of time it can become coiled.

4. Bobbers, Hooks and Weights

Bobber can be as simple as a wine bottle cork with a slit in it to run the line through or the can be store bought models that can be tuned to vary how high or low the bobber or float sits in the water.

If you are introducing kids to fishing then bobber fishing for trout can be one of the most fun ways to introduce them to fishing.

Most trout fishing hooks will be single hooks. If you are using a light bait rig with some powerbait or a night crawler on it then a single hook is the best choice.

Treble hooks are usually reserved for use on lures rather than when using bait.

Split shot weights are usually the better option when trout fishing. You can simply pinch them on lightly with a pliers and fine tune how deep you line and hook will run quite easily.

5. Lures

The best trout lures will usually be small spinners and spoons. Trout love to chase a small spinner and the flash and vibration that they give off is what attracts them to them.

Classic spinners like the Rooster Tail and Panther Martin are none to be super reliable when fishing across deeper pools in rivers.

The Kastmaster and Acme Little Cleo are some of the bests small spoons that you can use.

Most trout setups will be able to fish both small lures and bobber rigs so you shouldn’t need an extra rod or reel.

6. Net

A fishing net although not crucial definitely makes life easier when you are trying to land a small trout.

They are also a lot easier on the fish. If you are practicing catch and release then you will want to handle the trout as little as possible.

Modern trout nets are made with a soft rubber mesh. Older style knotted string mesh is rarely used anymore as it can cause a lot of damage to small delicate fish.

  • Updated October 16, 2021
  • Trout