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Best Trout Spinning reels

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Trout fishing is one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences an angler can have. Whether you’re casting in a calm lake or a rushing river, the excitement of catching trout is unparalleled. But to make the most of your trout fishing adventures, you must have the best trout spinning reels which are one of the essential fishing gear.

It can be tough to know where to start the gear market is flooded with so many options for spinning reels. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to the best trout spinning reels, so you can find the perfect reel to help you reel in the big one.

Top 3 Picks for the Best Trout Spinning reels

best for finesse
best for finesse techniques
Daiwa Regal Lt Spinning Reel
  • Carbon material reel frame
  • 5.2:1 to 6.2:1 gear ratio
  • 9+1 ball bearings
  • 11 and 22 pounds max drag power
best for inshore
best for inshore trout fishing
Okuma Helios Spinning Reel
  • Carbon body frame
  • 8+1 Stainless steel Ball bearings
  • 5.0:1 Gear Ratio
  • 13 pounds Max drag
best high-end trout reel
Shimano Vanford
  • Aluminum housing
  • 5.1:1 to 6.4:1 Gear Ratio
  • 6 lb. to 24 lb. Max drag Power
  • 6.3 ounces weight

List of Best Trout Spinning Reels Reviewed in Detail

1- Daiwa Regal Lt Spinning Reel

best for finesse techniques

best for finesse techniques
  • Carbon material reel frame
  • Aluminum handle
  • 9+1 ball bearings
  • 6.7 to 7.7 oz. weight
  • 1000 to 3000 size
  • 5.2:1 to 6.2:1 gear ratio
  • 11 and 22 pounds max drag power

The Daiwa brand never disappoints with its high-quality fishing gear for almost every fishing type and the Daiwa Regal Lt reel is its perfect example.

Its standout feature is the carbon frame reel at this price point. You are offered the best spinning reel for trout under $100 with enhanced and latest building materials.

You can set up whatever finesse technique you are up to for catching trout whether it’s Texas rig, drop shot rig, split-shot rig, or slip bobber. The reel is easy to operate and easier to cast with.

It is available in 4 different sizes from 1000-3000 with 5.2:1 and 6.2:1 gear ratios. This indicates it is specially designed for pan fishing and trout is in the same category.

The big plus is the reel’s large arbor spool also means you can pack on plenty of lines, which is a major plus when you’re targeting larger trout in deep waters.

You can fish a full day long without any arm fatigue. All size models weigh less than 8 ounces in total. In addition to being light in weight, it is versatile too, you can target both types of fish i.e. fresh water and saltwater due to durable corrosion-resistant reel components.

Featuring 9+1 stainless steel ball bearings and an improved air rotor, this spinning reel is super smooth and works perfectly under heavy loads or when casting long.

Instead of matt reel cosmetics, it features a shiny appearance that gives it an attractive look. Its sleek and modern design also gives it a stylish edge over other reels on the market.

Overall, a recommended reel with a smooth drag, and impressive casting for every skill-level angler.

  • Durable reel construction
  • Lightweight reel
  • Can easily land even the bigger trout catches
  • Small and slim design model
  • Limited size availability

2- Okuma Helios Spinning Reel

best for inshore trout fishing

best for inshore trout fishing
  • Carbon body frame
  • 8+1 Stainless steel Ball bearings
  • 5.0:1 Gear Ratio
  • 20 to 40 size
  • 13 pounds Max drag
  • Power EVA knob

Among the list of best trout fishing reels, Okuma Helios prominently makes its place. Another carbon fiber reel body, with an affordable price tag.

This one is a bigger size reel than Daiwa Regal LT, so if you aren’t confident that a 3000-size reel can handle your giant brown or lake trout, Okuma Helios is there for you.

It is available in three different sizes 2000 to 4000. Although it is mentioned as 20, 30, and 40 don’t be confused it is the same as the 2000, 3000, and 4000 size ranges.    

The reel features plenty of premium features that mostly come with high-price tag reels. Its advanced drag system offers multiple drag settings that can be fine-tuned for specific fishing situations, such as targeting different species of fish or using different types of fishing lines.

With 8 stainless steel ball bearings and 1 anti-reverse bearing, this reel is built to deliver consistent, reliable performance no matter what the conditions. A reliable spinning reel for freshwater and inshore fishing conditions.

Its tension control armor makes it perform exclusively smoothly under stress and heavy loads. Its medium spool speed made it a suitable choice for relatively bigger catches as a 5.0:1 gear ratio isn’t considered too fast.

Overall, its frame and rotor provide excellent durability while keeping the weight 25% less than before. So recommended reel for trout catches up to 13 pounds as it is the max drag power.

  • Lightweight
  • Rust-free internal components
  • It readily dries away after getting wet internally
  • Low gear ratio
  • Less Max-drag power
  • The bail position disturbs on line retrievals

3- Shimano Vanford

best high-end trout reel

best high end reel
  • Aluminum housing
  • Ambidextrous Handle
  • 5.1:1 to 6.4:1 Gear Ratio
  • 6 lb. to 24 lb. Max drag Power
  • 500 to 5000 size
  • 6.3 ounces weight

Although the Shimano reels have higher prices as compared to other brand spinning reels. But is the perfect example of precision engineering, unparalleled performance, and reliability for anglers of all levels. The buttery smooth performance that a Shimano reel offers are unmatched.

Its well-built structure and additional premium features than Stradic Ci4, make it a perfect choice for serious anglers. That does not compromise on quality and performance.

Its smaller size reels i.e. 2500 and 3000 allow you to catch any size trout from pan fish to monstrous lake trout. Both these size models are recommended for trout fishing out of 7 different size variations.

Instead of one, many standout features of Shimano raise its rank. First, its innovative Magnumlite rotor, which is incredibly lightweight and provides perfect balance and smoothness. This makes it incredibly easy to cast and retrieve your line, even over long periods for any skill-level angler.

Next comes the Shimano’s MicroModule Gear II technology, which provides ultra-smooth gearing and a flawless, frictionless feel. This lets to reel in even the most stubborn fish and additionally reduces line twists and tangles for a more efficient fishing experience.

In addition to all these, Shimano Vanford also features an impressive drag system. With a maximum drag of up to 24 pounds, this reel can handle even the biggest and strongest fish with ease.

With its high gear ratio, i.e. 6.0:1 to 6.4:1 fast hook sets are a plus. Overall, the Shimano Vanford provides the finesse and control you need for different delicate fishing situations.

The only drawback is that the Shimano reels require regular greasing due to their aluminum housing. Learn more about Shimano spinning reels in this guide.

  • Suitable for serious anglers
  • Smooth Drag system
  • High-end Shimano features
  • Longer Casts
  • Lasts longer if maintained properly
  • Heavier than other graphite trout reels
  • Prone to corrosion

4- Pflueger President Spinning Reel

best trout reel for beginners

best trout reel for beginners
  • Graphite body and handle
  • Braid Ready Spool
  • 10+1 ball bearings
  • 5.2:1 Gear Ratio
  • Sealed Drag System

A very basic reel to operate and perfect for novice trout angles to start with.

Pflueger features a lightweight graphite body along with 10+1 stainless steel ball bearings. It has more bearings count than Okuma but it is half its price.

This reel might have almost the same features as the Daiwa and Okuma. But what’s promising about this reel is its fully sealed drag system.

Although other mentioned reels are also corrosion resistant, salt or dust particles can make their way to the reel’s internal components and can affect the reel’s performance.

The fully sealed bearings and drag system offer 100% protection from rusting. So a recommended reel for your rough fishing conditions.

Moreover, it has a braid-ready spool so you can use the full braided fishing line on the reel rather than adding any mono or fluorocarbon backing.

It is available in 5 different reel sizes from 20 to 40. So better pick right according to your type of trout fishing.

  • Lightweight reel
  • Even line lay on the spool on retrieval
  • Versatile reel suitable for different fishing conditions
  • Saltwater friendly
  • Size 20 reel has less bearing count

5- Lew’s Laser Lite Speed Spinning Reel

best trout reel under $50

best trout reel under $50
  • Graphite reel body
  • 7 Aluminum ball bearings
  • Ambidextrous Graphite Handle
  • 5.1:1 Gear Ratio
  • 7.8 pounds reel weight
  • 1000 size reel

Lew’s Laser reel breaks all the stereotypes that low-budget reels aren’t a good choice. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting high from this reel but later I was thoroughly impressed by its performance and value. It surprised me with its impressive drag power in lifting 20 pounds of fish.

A perfect package of budget and performance. Like other durable reels, it also features graphite housing i.e. it’s all in weight to hold for a longer period and suitable for saltwater fishing with protection from rust.

In addition to trout, I was successful in catching carp, and crappie, and giving a try to bass fishing. So it’s a bunch of features packed into an economic reel.

Lew’s Laser Lite features 7 bearing system to ensure smooth operation and casting flawlessly. The downside is the aluminum material ball bearings that aren’t fully resistant to corrosion.

Novice anglers who aren’t trained in disassembling reel components for greasing and then placing them are recommended to use it specifically for freshwater catches.

It is easy to adjust the drag on this reel to match the conditions, and the line lay is also consistent and tangle-free. It also has a fast gear ratio of 5.0:1 to 5.1:1, which allows for quick retrieves and efficient hook sets.

Overall, it’s a versatile spinning reel suitable for a wide range of fishing applications, from light spinning for trout to heavier freshwater species.

  • Budget-friendly spinning reel for trout
  • Smooth drag
  • Compact size reel
  • Easy drag adjustment makes this an ideal choice for beginners
  • Perfect for low-pound test fishing line (2-6 lb.)
  • Easy dry spool
  • The reel components aren’t fully corrosion free
  • Fixed line rating

6- Tempo Apex Spinning Reel

best low-budget trout reel

best low-budget trout reel
  • Graphite reel
  • 10+1 Stainless steel ball bearings
  • Sealed Drag System
  • Aluminum Ambidextrous Handle
  • 1000 to 4000 sizes  
  • 6.2:1 Gear Ratio
  • 36 pounds Max drag Power
  • 7.4 ounces

I prefer sealed ball bearings and drag system reels as saltwater never shows mercy on reel components and mostly found its way to reaching internal components.

Tempo Apex is one of those high-quality reels that offer proper sealing and protection from saltwater rust. Its spool also features holes that offer quick drying.

It is the best not only for trout but also popular among bass anglers. Its 3000 size serves as a versatile option suitable for various fishing situations. You can easily pick from 1000 to 4000 reel sizes according to the target fish.

Featuring a fast gear ratio i.e. 6.2:1 for efficient hook sets and retrievals. It is clear that this reel is built to withstand the rigors of heavy use and can handle anything you throw at it.

More ball bearings count usually increases the reel price but surprisingly you are offered 10+1 stainless steel ball bearings for under $70.

It total weighs 7.4 ounces, so super lightweight and easy to hold for full-day fishing. Moreover, the spool is braid-ready, and throw trout and bass lures at longer distances with a lot of braided fishing lines on the spool.

Whether you’re targeting freshwater or saltwater species, this reel is sure to exceed your expectations. Its size 3000 is highly recommended from my side!

  • High max drag power i.e. can easily land bigger catches
  • Lightweight reel
  • Fully sealed Components
  • Automatic bail arm
  • Some anglers faced the issue of reel handle breakage

7- Penn Pursuit III Nearshore Spinning Reel

best surf fishing reel for trout

best trout reel for suf fishing
  • Graphite reel body
  • 4+1 stainless steel ball bearings
  • EVA knob Aluminum Spool
  • 6.2:1 Gear Ratio
  • 20 pounds Max Drag power
  • 2500 to 8000 size reels
  • Front Drag Adjustment

Trout fishing isn’t always casting from lakes and inshore. Sometimes you need to have a bigger sized reel for surf fishing for trout. All the above-mentioned reels all maximum big as 4000-5000 but PENN Pursuit III is available up to size 8000 reel.

You can throw heavy crankbaits, and natural baits, with heavier lines with bigger size reels i.e. 6000 or 8000. Overall, for trout 3000 is best.

The reel also features a machined aluminum spool that is braid-ready, allowing anglers to spool up with their favorite braided line without the need for backing.

To target a wide range of nearshore species, including snook, redfish, and even small tarpon this reel features a powerful drag system with a combination of felt and steel washers to deliver up to 20 to 25 pounds of drag pressure.

Although it features less number of ball bearings i.e. 4+1. The anglers previously using reels with more than 7 ball bearings will feel the difference but for newbies, it isn’t a major issue. 

Overall, it’s a long-lasting reel, a friend of mine has been using it for about 5 years and still carries it to most of our surf fishing trips.

  • Suitable for bigger shore catches
  • Supports Longer Casts
  • Fewer ball bearings count
  • Heavier reel

8- Abu Garcia Silver Max STX Spinning Reels

best trout reel for the money

best for the money
  • Graphite body and rotor
  • 5+1 ball bearings
  • Aluminum Spool
  • 5.2:1 to 5.8:1 Gear Ratio
  • 6.4, 6.5, and 14 lb. Max drag Power
  • 6.40 to 9.80 oz. reel weight
  • 500 to 4000 size reels

Using Abu Garcia reels, it always feels like you are using some professional reels. The brands well thought and built designs make it a pleasure casting with these spinning reels.

Silver Max is also a great addition by the Abu Garcia, although a bit heavier as compared to Okuma and Lew’s reels, their smooth casting operation covers all its allegations.

A great reel for finesse fishing techniques. Those anglers who love finesse trout fishing, then they should consider Abu Garcia Max STX. It is one of the best trout reels mainly because of this feature. 

Its ergonomic handle design, graphite body, and rotor, along with 5+1 ball bearings serve as a perfect package of casting ease with a lightweight structure and smooth performance.

It features a 5.2:1 to 5.8:1 gear ratio, with 14 lb. max drag power. Available in 5 different sizes 500 to 4000.  I like its compact slim design that perfectly fits on the spinning rod and is easy to hold on a cast.

Overall, these reels can handle tough fishing conditions, are designed to meet the needs of finesse anglers, and are suitable for use in both fresh and saltwater ultra-light fishing environments plus light on the pocket.

If you think Daiwa Regal Lt is expensive then Abu Garcia max STX is a good alternative.

  • Best low-budget reel for finesse fishing
  • Fast line retrievals
  • The manual bail arm is stiff
  • Heavier reel than Daiwa Regal Lt

How to choose the best Trout Spinning reels

To catch smart fish like Trout you must pick the fishing tackle wisely. Keeping in view the factors like gear ratio, size, drag, and ball bearings, you can pick the right reel easily. Make sure to read till last.

Reel Size

The length of the line depends on the size of the reel. The bigger size reel you have, the more line on the spool and the longer you can cast. The size also depends on the type and size of the trout you are up to. Usually, smaller-size reels are a top choice by trout anglers as longer casts aren’t a requirement for this fishing type.

The size 2000 to 4000 is the normal size range for this type of fishing. My personal preference is often the size 2500. This offers enough spool capacity to catch smaller to larger lake trout.

Gear Ratio

The gear ratio of a spinning reel refers to the number of times the bail rotates around the spool with each turn of the handle. It is usually expressed as a ratio, such as 5.2:1 or 6.2:1. The Higher the gear ratio is, the fast the reel will be.

For example, a gear ratio of 5.2:1 means that the bail rotates 5.2 times for every full turn of the handle. A higher gear ratio means that the bail will rotate more times with each turn of the handle, allowing you to retrieve the fishing line more quickly. However, a lower gear ratio will provide more power, and be more suitable for larger catches.

The spinning reels with a gear ratio of less than 5.1 are considered slow-speed reels.

For trout fishing, the fast-speed spinning reels of 5.1 to 6.1 gear ratios are best recommended. These speed reels offer fast hook sets and hook leverage for catching trout.

Drag system

The drag system comprises friction plates that are located between the spool and the reel body. The drag system is adjusted to apply more or less pressure to the spool. This creates friction and helps to slow down the fish’s movement when pulling on the fishing line.

The drag adjustment allows the angler to control the fight and prevent the fish from breaking the line or escaping. The higher the drag adjustment is, the bigger fish can be handled decently. Modern spinning reels often feature advanced drag systems that are designed to be smooth, reliable, and easy to adjust.

Setting up drag too tight can lead to line breakage while a loose setting leads to more line leaving the spool. In general, the drag system is set at 1/3 of the line’s breaking strength.

For example, the drag pressure will be set at 7 pounds for a 20-pound test fishing line. For trout fishing, drag smoothness is preferred over drag power. Make sure to pick the well-built smooth reels as they absorb the shock and prevent sudden jerks, which can cause the line to snap.

Overall, a 6 lb. line with a drag adjustment at 2 lb. is recommended as an all-rounder option for targeting smaller trout. However, if you are up to giant brown, brook, or lake trout, exceed up to 20 pounds test line.

Ball bearings

Ball bearings are the small, steel balls that are placed within the reel’s internal mechanism. Their main function is to reduce friction between the moving parts of the reel.

Normally, the bearings count is considered responsible for the reel’s smoothness but their construction material also has a significant impact on its performance.

Higher-quality reels often have more ball bearings, and they are usually made of higher-grade materials, such as stainless steel or ceramic both of which offer smoothness and corrosion resistance. Aluminum oxide is also a durable option but not suitable for saltwater fishing.

For trout fishing, prefer to pick reels with more than 4+1 ball bearings. Reels with less than this count are at minimal preference so more is recommended.

Reel body

The outer covering of the reel and its construction material does have a significant impact on the performance. The lightweight reel allows the angler to cast easily and for a longer time.

The reel’s body and spool come in two options i.e. graphite and aluminum. Graphite reels are lightweight and offer protection against saltwater rust.

While aluminum reels are sturdier than graphite reels. Aluminum reels are better suited for heavier catches but it requires regular maintenance i.e. greasing the internal components with synthetic oils as it isn’t fully resistant to rusting.

High-quality reels also come with carbon fiber construction which is an enhanced form of graphite, more lightweight and durable but does have higher prices as compared to graphite and aluminum.

Overall, for trout fishing, graphite reels are recommended from my side as they last longer and are also available at a suitable price range.

Still, you aren’t bound to one option, pick one that best suits you and you are comfortable with.

Frequently Asked Questions


With the best trout spinning reel in hand, you’ll be well-equipped to reel in the big one and create unforgettable fishing memories. We hope this guide has helped you find the perfect reel to suit your needs. We just have made sure to add all price range reels to better suit your budget too. At last, we wish you the best of luck on your next trout fishing adventure!

Make sure to pair the selected reel with one of the best spinning rods for trout.