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While it may not be as popular as bass fishing, trout fishing is perhaps the real All-American staple.
Whether you are fishing a lake, creek, river, or stream, you are likely to find a variety of trout at various times throughout the year.
In our complete beginner’s guide to trout fishing, we explain that there are numerous species of trout. As such, some are much larger and will require heavier model reels (and rods) than the ones we list below (yes, we’re talking about you, brown trout and lake trout).
If you are fishing for most other species, including rainbow trout (and golden rainbow trout), brook trout, and tiger trout, however, the following reels should more than suffice.
Much like crappie and panfish, smaller species of trout are fairly well populated (especially if your state stocks them throughout the year). They are also pretty easy to catch, making them a popular fish for younger or inexperienced anglers.
Looking at Some of the Best Reels for Trout Fishing
As part of Daiwa’s “Light but Tough” reel series, the Regal LT is an affordably-priced additional the any angler’s smaller-species arsenal. Its build allows for a reliable and durable option that won’t break the bank. For those looking to add a solid trout fishing reel to their collection, it’s hard to go wrong with the Regal.
Making use of a 9+1 bearing system, the Regal LT Spinning Reel stakes its reputation on providing anglers with a smooth casting and retrieval experience. The reel’s lightweight carbon frame, air rotor, and ATD drag (which allows for both power and smoothness) are major selling points of this rod.
When it comes to spinning reels, Abu Garcia is a personal favorite of the staff here at Premier Angler. The brand is one of the most popular in the world, largely because it produces quality products at a variety of price points. If you are an angler who is looking to add a quality setup to your trout fishing catalog, then Abu Garcia’s Pro Max Spinning Reel is a solid candidate for that spot.
As with most of AG’s line, the Pro Max incorporates high quality materials with top-notch technology. This particular model features a 7-bearing system, an Everlast bail, machined aluminum spool, and a Rocket spool lip design.
For the majority of anglers across the country, trout fishing is a fun, simple, relaxing, and often rustic pastime. As such, it doesn’t often require top-of-the-line gear.
For those who may be a bit more competitive, then the Quantum PT Smoke S3 might be more in line with your particular tastes.
As a higher-end model that uses top-flight technology and materials, this is the type of reel that would sit competitive trout tournament anglers or those who simply have to have “the best of the best” in life. While the PT Smoke S3 will carry a heftier price tag than other reels on this list, it is engineered for performance.
Sporting an impressive 11+1 bearing system with a handful of other branded features (including a CL4F Carbor Fiber Razor Rotor, Reel Engine Design 2.0, and Braid Ready Maxcast 2.0 Spool), it’s easy to get lost. Often, when we hear about such “advanced” features, it’s hard to tell where the marketing ends of the performance begins.
In regards to the Quantum PT Smoke S3, however, the results speak for themselves across countless 5-star reviews from satisfied anglers.
If the Quantum PT Smoke S3 is the expert-level reel for trout fishing, then consider the Pflueger Trion Spinning Reel “Level One.”
That in no way should be seen as a slight on this reel, however, because if you are throwing the right rig at the right time in the right place, you’ll definitely be able to pull in trout on the Trion.
Unlike the previous entry, however (or some other mid-to-high-end reels on this list), the Pflueger Trion is intended to be an affordable reel for those anglers who may not want to make the type of financial commitment to fishing that often comes with the territory.
Featuring a 6+1 bearing system (with a modest 4+1 system in the TRI20X model), the Trion keeps it nice and simple. The reel is lightweight and features a graphite body with aluminum spool.
My experience with the Pflueger President Spinning Reel is definitely mixed. I picked one up from a big-box retailer on a whim a couple years ago — they are definitely attractive reels — and threw it on one of my older rods. Within a couple minutes of fishing, the handle dislodged and I wrote it off as being a “junk” reel.
After getting more familiar and comfortable with it, though, I decided that it was a reliable part of my collection. I’ll admit, this is not my top-choice reel for trout (or crappie, or really any other species for that matter), but if I’m hitting the water with multiple rigs, the President will make an appearance.
So, if you don’t absolutely love it, why is it on the list?
In reality, I haphazardly threw the reel on my rod without making sure everything was functioning and equipped properly and that may have soured me on an otherwise solid reel. For anglers who are looking to give a modestly-priced reel with a good deal of name value and a solid reputation a try, though, it’s hard to know the President.
At the same big-box retailers when you’ll find the Pflueger President, you’re likely to come across the Mitchell Avocet RZT.
And there’s a reason.
Mitchell has established itself as a solid, workman’s brand and offers nice, affordable, and “safe” reel options to anglers who are just cutting their teeth in the fishing game.
If you are planning to hit the water for some trout fishing once or twice this year, or if you aren’t comfortable making a considerable investment into your fishing gear, then the Avocet RZT is definitely available to you are a solid option.
Featuring 8 bearings, an aluminum handle, and graphite body, the Avocet may lack some of the elaborate technological features of other models on the list, but if a modest-sized trout hits your line, this reel is more than capable of helping you bring it in.
I am an unabashed Shimano fan and I’m proud to admit it.
My love for the brand came the first time I used the Sedona, which I picked up as part of a rod and reel combo at my local Cabela’s. Since then, I’ve made sure that I have a Sedona on at least one rod every time I leave the house.
While not the highest-end Shimano reel on the market, the Sedona is versatile enough (across its numerous sizes) to work wonders for both the most casual angler and those who take their fishing game more competitively.
As a lightweight reel with a 3+1 ball bearing system, it’s easy to think that the quality of the Shimano may be lacking. That said, this is much more than a sleek and attractive reel. Over the past year, I’ve pulled in largemouth, smallmouth, and rock bass, rainbow trout, numerous types of panfish, crappie, sauger, and channel catfish on the Sedona and it’s still holding up nicely.