This article may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on a link we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Trout Fishing Setup for Beginners

Trout Fishing Setup

If you are new to trout fishing or have decided to take your kids to a local stream that is known to contain trout then you might not be aware of what kind of trout fishing setup you will need.

Most people fishing for trout on rivers or streams will be targeting fish that are roughly 3-4 lbs or under.

Although that may sound small, trout can give a very spirited fight and pound for pond are one of the most exciting freshwater fish you can catch on light gear.

Trout Fishing Setup

A good all round setup for catching trout will be an ultralight spinning combo. The ultralight is basically what is known as the power rating of the rod and the size of the spinning reel.

Look for a setup with the following attributes:

  • Rod – ultralight power, fast action, length 5’5″ to 6′
  • Reel – size 2500 spinning reel
  • Line – monofilament of roughly 6 to 8 lbs breaking strain

This type of trout fishing setup will cover you for most small rivers, streams and small lakes. 

Also Read: Catching Trout at Night

You can reliably land fish up to roughly 10 lbs in weight on this kind of tackle but you’ll end up having to give them a lot of line before they tire which isn’t ideal.


Smaller waters definitely require a shorter rod. Using a rod that is 7′ or more in length can become extremely cumbersome as the extra foot or so of rod will be less maneuverable in and around large bushes and bank side trees.

A smaller rod is also better when playing smaller fish as you have a bit more control when using the shorter length.

Look for a 6’6″ rod as this gives you a bot more versatility than something as short as 5’6″.

The kind of rod should be a spinning rod as they perform better in terms of casting when compared to a baitcasting setup.

Baitcasters really shine when you need to cast medium and heavy weight lures.

But when it comes to lighter lures or using a bait rig then it is the spinning setup that really shines.

The best trout spinning rod will have an ultralight power rating. This rods are built to run best with light lines in the 2 to 8 lbs breaking strain range.

Lighter rods have much more feedback and pairing a heavy rod with light line would be a disaster as the rod would not allow you to feel what was going on with your lighter terminal tackle.


A small trout spinning reel in the 1000 to 2500 size range will be the best option to pair with the rod above.

These smaller reels are designed to use light lines and have a small drag setting on them that is suitable for trout fishing.

A good reel needs to be serviced regularly and always make sure that you keep your reel free from grit or sand.

One of the most common mistakes to to leave your rod on the ground with the reel in the dirt.

Over time sand and dirt will get into the reel housing and damage the gears and the drag washers so always be careful when placing you gear on the ground.


Monofilament is the line of choice when using such small small tackle.

Mono has a lot more stretch in it than braid as this can help to act as a shock absorber for small trout when striking.

It also casts much better when used on a spinning reel in smaller breaking strains than braid.

Of all of your trout fishing gear and tackle make sure to regularly inspect your line so that there is no defects or abrasion marks on it. 

Failing to do so can end up in a snapped line just as you hook a fish.


The best trout lures are generally small and will imitate what the trout are naturally feeding on. Small spinners such as a Rooster tail for trout and Rapala’s imitate minnows and other small bait fish that trout absolutely love. 

When looking to imitate smaller sub-aquatic insects such as larvae you an use a small trout jig in either a black or chartreuse color used in the tail.  

Bobbers, Hooks and Bait

When using bait for trout you will need to use a single hook.

If you are practicing catch and release then always make sure to use a barb-less hook. Barb-less hooks make de-hooking much easier and you are less likely to injure a fish.

If you cannot get a barb-less hook you can take a pliers to a normal barbed hook and flatten the barb using the pliers.

A size #8 or #10 single hook is best when fishing for small trout.

A simple trout bobber can be anything from a wine cork to a smaller store bought option.

Bait can be anything from nightcrawlers to Powerbait or even sweetcorn. It is best to experiment and see just what exactly they are biting on.

  • Updated October 16, 2021
  • Trout