9 Best Trout Fishing Rods Reviewed

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Best Trout Fishing Rods

Aloha! If you’re looking for the best trout fishing rods, you’re in the right place.

It’s no secret that trout are one of the smallest gamefish. Most of the time, this tiny species won’t give you much notice that they’ve taken the bait, which means your rod has to be really sensitive. And on the rare occasion that a big one comes along, I don’t think you’ll wanna pass it up, which means your rod has to be strong too. 

But fret not, this doesn’t mean you’ll go broke trying to get a proper trout fishing rod. Most of the rods on this list don’t even exceed the 100-dollar mark. 

The few that do are top-of-the-line rods made with only the finest materials and technology. One such rod is the St Croix Premier Spinning Rod. With the sensitivity for the smallest trout and the power for the largest ones, it’s everything you’ll need for trout fishing.

I totally understand if you’re a casual angler who isn’t interested in spending so much on a dedicated trout rod though. That’s why I included 8 other rods.

Let’s begin!

Our Top 9 Picks

  1. St Croix Premier (Best Overall)
  2. St Croix Triumph (Best Premier Alternative)
  3. Ugly Stik Elite (Best Sensitivity)
  4. Ugly Stik GX2 (Best Strength)
  5. Okuma Celilo (Best Budget)
  6. Fenwick Eagle (Best 2-Piece Rod)
  7. KastKing Perigee II (Best Budget 2-Piece Rod)
  8. G.Loomis Classic (Best Splurge)
  9. Cadence CR5 (Best Customer Service)

The 9 Best Trout Fishing Rods

In case you’re wondering whether these rods are spinning or casting rods, they’re all spinning rods. The reason for this is that spinning rods are more compatible with light line and lures. A casting rod just isn’t suitable.

Now that I’ve cleared that up, let’s get started.


Best Overall

1. St Croix Premier

  • Blank Material: Carbon Fiber
  • Handle Material: Cork
  • Rod Length: 5.5-7.5 ft
  • Action: Fast

Handcrafted in the USA, the lightweight St Croix Premier Spinning Rod has the muscle for big trout and the sensitivity for small ones. It also comes with a Kigan hook-keeper.

St Croix achieved this level of strength by incorporating its exclusive Fortified Resin System (FRS) and SCII carbon. The FRS strengthens the rod by 33% and SCII carbon fiber is stronger than normal carbon fibers. The result is a robust rod that’s capable of handling even the largest trout.

SCII carbon is also lighter and more sensitive, giving you a rod you can comfortably cast all day that can also feel the slightest nibbles.

To top it all off, this spinning rod is equipped with a Kigan hook-keeper. This keeps it safe from damage during transportation and storage.

To sum it up, the St Croix Premier gives you the freedom to go after trout of any size and comes with a nice-to-have extra feature. It’s slightly more pricey than most of the other rods on this list, but you get what you pay for. If you’re looking for a top-notch trout fishing rod at a reasonable price, look no further.


Best Premier Alternative

2. St Croix Triumph

  • Blank Material: Carbon Fiber
  • Handle Material: Cork
  • Rod Length: 5-7.5 ft
  • Action: Ranges from Moderate to Fast

For those who liked the St Croix Premier but found it a bit too expensive, here’s a more affordable option. The St Croix Triumph is the perfect alternative to the Premier because they’re similar in every way.

Both rods are built with FRS and SCII carbon, giving them immense strength. And just like the Premier, the SCII carbon makes the St Croix Triumph light and sensitive.

The only differences between the two rods are that the St Croix Triumph is about 10% heavier than the Premier and doesn’t have the Kigan hook-keeper.

For more than $50 cheaper though, those drawbacks are only to be expected. If you really liked the St Croix Premier but it was just out of your means, this is a great rod as a second option.


Best Sensitivity

3. Ugly Stik Elite

  • Blank Material: Composite
  • Handle Material: Cork
  • Rod Length: 5-7 ft
  • Action: Ranges from Medium Fast to Extra Fast

On to the next rod, the Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod offers incredible toughness and sensitivity.

Featuring a composite blank, the fiberglass in the composite gives you a stronger rod than other carbon fiber rods. For decades now, Ugly Stik has been known for making indestructible rods with their unique Ugly Tech Construction. Combining the fiberglass and the Ugly Tech Construction, the rod becomes practically unbreakable.

The graphite in the composite, along with the Ugly Stik Clear Tip provides amazing sensitivity. In fact, this spinning rod even offers an extra fast action version, which is about as sensitive as any rod can get. Not only will you be able to feel the most timid tugs, but you’ll have a lot more fun reeling in the smallest trout.

The one downside with this spinning rod is that it’s a touch on the heavy side.

Other than that though, it’s an excellent trout spinning rod worth every penny you pay. Oh, and don’t worry, it isn’t a lot of pennies.


Best Strength

4. Ugly Stik GX2

  • Blank Material: Composite
  • Handle Material: EVA Foam
  • Rod Length: 4.5-9 ft
  • Action: Fast

Another Ugly Stik rod, the Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Rod has the best power among all the rods on this list.

Once again, with the signature Ugly Stik Clear Tip and being a graphite rod, this rod has great sensitivity. 

But with more of a focus on muscle, Ugly Stik developed an even sturdier rod. As is routine for all Ugly Stik rods, this rod contains fiberglass and Ugly Tech Construction, making it extremely sturdy. 

At just 6 ft, this graphite rod is already rated heavy power. It doesn’t sacrifice sensitivity either, as it’s a fast action rod.

Strong yet responsive, the Ugly Stik GX2 is the best trout rod for those who want to take on the largest trout, and more. With this spinning rod, you’ll be able to take on even fishes larger than trout like bass.


Best Budget

5. Okuma Celilo

  • Blank Material: Graphite
  • Handle Material: Cork
  • Rod Length: 4.5-8.5 ft
  • Action: Moderate

Low-cost and functional, the Okuma Celilo was made for those on a really tight budget.

Designed for trout, every part of this spinning rod aids it in accommodating light lures and line.

Most notably, as its intended use is for small trout, it’s a remarkably lightweight rod. You can expect to feel fresh at the end of the day even after long hours of fishing.

While you won’t be landing any prize fish with this trout spinning rod, you’ll be able to get started trout fishing at the lowest price possible.


Best 2-Piece Rod

6. Fenwick Eagle

  • Blank Material: Graphite
  • Handle Material: Cork
  • Rod Length: 5-8 ft
  • Action: Ranges from Moderate to Fast

When it comes to 2-piece rods for trout, the Fenwick Eagle Spinning Rod has no rival.

With a graphite blank and minimal reel seat with as little material as possible, this spinning rod for trout possesses sensitivity that’s better than most other 2-piece rods. It’s also worth noting that the action is even faster than stated, meaning it’s even more sensitive than advertised.

Power-wise, it’s also stiffer than the product page’s rating. You can take your pick from ultra light all the way to medium heavy power.

As 2-piece rods go, you won’t find a better one to catch trout with than this.


Best Budget 2-Piece Rod

7. KastKing Perigee II

  • Blank Material: Carbon Fiber
  • Handle Material: EVA Foam
  • Rod Length: 4.5-7.5 ft
  • Action: Ranges from Moderate to Fast

This next spinning rod for trout is a worthy contender to the Fenwick Eagle. The KastKing Perigee II is comparable to the Fenwick Eagle in every aspect, with the only significant difference being its weight.

Like the Fenwick Eagle, its ability to detect fish exceeds that of usual 2-piece rods. 

In terms of power, you also have a wide range that spans from ultra light to heavy. 

Unfortunately, compromises were made to keep costs down. The KastKing Perigee II is noticeably heavier than the Fenwick Eagle.

Other than that though, the KastKing Perigee II doesn’t have many flaws. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly but still first-rate 2-piece rod for trout, this is the best trout rod for you.


Best Splurge

8. G.Loomis Classic

  • Blank Material: Carbon Fiber
  • Handle Material: Cork
  • Rod Length: 6.5-7 ft
  • Action: Fast

If you’re looking for the best of the best, this is the rod for you. The G.Loomis Classic is an unbelievable rod that excels in every aspect.

The G.Loomis Classic boasts a Multi-Taper Design which specifically strengthens the areas that are under the most pressure during fishing. By focusing material on the areas that need it most, it can reduce material on parts that aren’t put under much pressure. This translates to a spinning rod that uses less material and thus has exceptional lightness. 

By reinforcing weak parts, this state-of-the-art technology also creates an outstandingly strong and durable rod that’s built to last.

Finally, you’ll notice that its handle is split into 2 sections. This exposes the reel seat and boosts sensitivity. Coupled with the sensitive carbon fiber, the end product is a rod that can feel the pull of the tiniest trout.

In short, the G.Loomis Classic delivers on all fronts and is the best trout rod on the market. It’s truly a cut above the rest, so if you want only the best trout fishing rod and won’t settle for anything less, congratulations, you’ve found it.

The product page is a bit lacking in details though, so you’ll have to find them here.


Best Customer Service

9. Cadence CR5

  • Blank Material: Carbon Fiber
  • Handle Material: Cork + EVA Foam
  • Rod Length: 5.5-7 ft
  • Action: Ranges from Moderate to Fast

Last on the list, the Cadence CR5 is another solid option for trout fishing. 

It’s getting repetitive, so I shan’t elaborate too much on its sensitivity and hardiness. The carbon fiber can speak for itself anyway.

What really impressed me though, and earned it its spot among the best trout rods was its customer service

When my hook got stuck in a tree and I tried pulling it out, the tip actually snapped. To my pleasant surprise, when I emailed Cadence, I got a speedy reply. Once I showed them the picture, they promptly sent me a replacement hassle-free. 

Cadence is a brand that really cares about its customers. They’re unlike other rod manufacturers that take days to reply or even go back and forth arguing about how your broken rod is your fault. With Cadence, you’ll never have to worry about whether your warranty will be honored.


Trout Fishing Rod Buying Guide

Now that you know which rods to use for catching trout, you’ll need to select the right choice from the numerous options available. 

This buying guide will teach you how to choose the right length, power, action, and material.

Rod Length

Typically, the longer your rod, the further you’ll be able to cast.

A rod that can cast far will also be able to cast near. 

While you could always get different lengths to cast different ranges, the more economical path is to get a rod that can cast far and use it to cast shorter distances too.

That said, for trout fishing, go for a 5-7 ft rod. 5 ft is the minimum length to achieve adequate casting distance, while a 7 ft rod will give you all the range you need.

Do take into account that a longer rod will obviously be heavier, so don’t simply get the longest rod you can find. This is also why I recommend getting a trout rod length of no longer than 7 ft. 

I’ve found that with proper casting technique, I can reach my desired distances with just a 6 ft rod. 

If you’re having trouble deciding on the exact length, a 6.5 ft rod is a good fit for most trout anglers.

The only time when you’ll need a longer rod is if you’re planning on going surf fishing. If you intend to catch fish at the beach, you’ll need a 8-12 ft rod. For more information on choosing the right length for catching fish in the surf, read our buying guide.

Rod Power

As you can probably guess from the name, rod power is the strength of the rod. To be more exact, it’s measured by how much force it takes to bend the rod.

Since trout are one of the smaller fish species, you can get either an ultra light or light power rod for trout fishing.

If you fish for the sake of fun and don’t care about the size of your catch, you should get an ultra light rod for trout fishing. Ultra light rods will make fighting trout more enjoyable as it allows them to put up more of a fight. 

On the other hand, if you want to be able to snag the bigger trouts, go with a light or even medium power rod.

Rod Action

Rod action refers to how high up your rod bends when you apply pressure to the tip. The closer to the rod tip it bends, the faster the action and the more sensitive the rod is.

Given that trout are usually small in size, you’ll need faster action rods because they have very weak bites.

Ideally, your rod action should be fast or extra fast to feel the softest fish bites. The most I would stretch it is moderate fast. Any slower than that and you’ll miss many of the trouts’ bites.

Construction

Most fishing rods will be constructed from either carbon fiber (aka graphite), fiberglass, or composite.

There are marked differences between the three materials, but essentially, carbon fiber is the most sensitive and fiberglass is the strongest. Composite is a mix of the two, so it’ll be pretty strong and sensitive.

For trout fishing, it’s best to get a carbon fiber or composite rod. Carbon fiber rods will be more sensitive while composite rods will give you good sensitivity and strength.

How To Rig Your Trout Fishing Rod

Some of you may also need help with setting up your trout rod. If that sounds like you, this video here will show you what line and baits to use, as well as how to set them up:

My Verdict

Hopefully, you found the rod that you were looking for.

Not every rod can be used for trout fishing because of how soft their bites are, but you can rest assured every one of the rods on this list won’t let you down. 

If you’re still on the fence about which one to get, I suggest getting the St Croix Premier. You’ll be able to take on the biggest trout and still have no trouble feeling the weak tugs of small trout.

To end off, here are the best trout spinning reels for you to pair your trout rod with.

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AUTHOR

Reuben went on his first fishing trip when he was 9. That's when he fell in love with fishing. When he's not fishing, he's searching for new gear and ways to fish better.