Best Trout Spinning Reels

Best Trout Spinning Reels in 2023 – 6 Reels That’ll Never Fail You

Rivers are one of the most famous waterfronts; they are exciting, intimidating, and, at the same time, quite relaxing. Those said rivers are often filled with trout which will require a specific trout reel in order to capture.

Fishing for trout is an excellent pastime as they are quite a tricky species that will always put up one last attempt at an escape. Throughout this article, we will show you our best trout spinning reels and why they are on our list.

List of the Best Trout Spinning Reels:

Comparison Table:

Trout Spinning ReelWeightMaximum DragBall BearingsGear Ratio
Pflueger President 8.8 oz.10 lbs.105.2:1
KastKing Sharky III Fishing Reel9.2 oz.33 lbs.10+15.2:1
Shimano Stradic Ci46.7 oz.20 lbs.6+16.0:1
Okuma Helios Lightweight9.1 oz.13 lbs8+15.0:1
SHIMANO Sedona7.6 lbs7 lbs.3+15.0:1
Abu Garcia Revo SX7.2010 lbs.8+16.2:1

The 6 Best Trout Spinning Reels in 2021

1. Pflueger President Spinning Fishing Reel – Best Overall

Pflueger president spinning reel. This reel has been named president for a reason. It offers you the most impressive package of luxurious features for an affordable price. 

It is entirely made out of graphite, which gives stability, strength, flexibility, and is lightweight. It weighs only 8.8 oz. It also sports an aircraft-grade aluminum handle that is ergonomically designed with a soft-touch knob in order to boost your comfort. 

Moreover, it has a gear ratio of 5.2:1 plus 9+1 ball bearings with the anti-reverse one being instant. Furthermore, it boosts slow oscillation gearing, which keeps your line in place and prevents it from twisting and tangling.

The drag system on this reel is a sealed multi-disc one with oiled felt washers and a stainless steel shaft. It has a maximum of 10 lbs and is lubricated continuously so that it will not seize-up on you.

We would advise you to pair this reel with a sturdy rod such as the Ugly Stik for maximum gain. 

One more thing is that the handle can be switched from left to right in order to accommodate both left-handed and right-handed fishermen.

The only downside to this reel is the fact that it’s not wholly sealed, which can be an extreme problem if you’re fishing in saltwater.


  • Compact
  • Light
  • Strong
  • Ergonomically designed


  • Not sealed all the way

Final Verdict

This reel is perfect for anglers of all ages and all levels of expertise. You can either give it to your child in order to teach him/her the basics or use it yourself for trout fishing. The thing is, trout is a freshwater fish, so you will not face a lot of problems with it, and if you do, users have reported that once you disassemble the reel and just clear out any sand or debris, it will work perfectly.

You can check my recommended Trout Fishing Rods here that go perfectly well with these Spinning reels.

2. KastKing Sharky III Fishing Reel – Best Budget

This reel by KastKing Is designed to work anywhere and everywhere. It’s made entirely out of reinforced graphite, which ensures anglers flexibility, lightweight, and strength. It weighs only 9.2 oz.

It is sealed completely due to the K.I.S.S system, which stands for KastK Intrusion Shield System. This seal makes this reel completely safe from water, sand, debris, and anything that could cause the reel to seize-up on you.

It boasts a gear ratio of 5.2:1 and 10+1 ball bearings, which contribute to smooth casts and equally smooth retrievals. 

One of the most attractive features of this reel is its drag system, which has an impressive maximum of 33 pounds. It has pinion gears that are made out of precision mesh brass, an oversized stainless steel main shaft, and the entire thing is made out of triple disc carbon fiber.

Impressively, this excellent package does not come for an extravagant price; the tag on it is quite affordable; actually, it is the most affordable reel on our list today. That is certainly an attractive feature. 

The complaints regarding this reel have not been very consistent; this would lead us to believe that they are related to some quality control errors and not a structural fault with the reel itself. 

Some people have found the reel to be a lot more comfortable for left-handed fishermen, while right-handed fishermen have not been so lucky. Other anglers have reported loud cranking and binding noises. Lastly, some say that it’s not a heavy-duty piece and that wear and tear will take its toll on it rather early on.


  • Premium materials 
  • Affordable
  • Impressive drag 
  • Comes in a variety of sizes 
  • Works with fresh or saltwater 
  • Sealed


  • Not heavy duty 
  • Noisy 
  • Suits left-handed people better

Final Verdict

This reel has been taken care of down to the very last detail. It is robust, flexible, durable, versatile, and ergonomically designed.

All of the materials that were invested in its creation are of high quality. Hence, if you want to go for an excellent drag system, 10+1 ball bearings, and durable materials all for an affordable price, then this would be an excellent choice for all trout.

3. Shimano Stradic Ci4 – Best Lightweight Trout Spinning Reel

This reel is full of technologies. Shimano has tried its best to take care of every single detail when designing this reel. It was built using Shimano’s carbon-infused technology, which allows the reel to be one and a half times stronger and 20% lighter than the standard graphite. 

Furthermore, it has a Magnum Light rotor, which allows for lightweight as this reel weighs only 6.7 oz. It also boasts a Fluidrive II System and  Shimano’s Propulsion Line Management system. These two systems boost the level of precision and smoothness that this reel enjoys quite a few notches. 

Other technologies that have been applied to this reel include its Hegane Body and X-ship, which work together towards the smoothness of the internal gears. It also enjoys a CoreProtectx360° water-resistant system, which enhances its tolerance for the elements.

The spool on this reel is constructed out of cold-forged aluminum. Moreover, it has a drag maximum of 20 lbs. and a gear ratio of 6.0:1, which provides anglers with sleek fishing every time. It has 6+1 ball bearings, so it is quite smooth. 

Another exciting thing about this reel is that it’s quite versatile and can be used for fish that is smaller than trout and for fish that is quite larger than trout.

Although this reel enjoys a power roller that maintains a straight line, it has no anti-reverse system on it. Also, the price can prove to be a bit too much for a lot of people.


  • Revolutionary 
  • Sealed
  • Infused Carbon
  • Lightweight 


  • No anti-reverse system 
  • Pricey

Final Verdict

This reel is quite interesting. It enjoys a considerable number of technologies and concepts which have allowed it to take second place on our list. Yet the price is not something that everyone can afford, so if money is no problem for you and you wish to enjoy all these options and features, then this reel would be a perfect choice for you.

If you are looking for light spinning reels, you can check my guide to ultralight spinning reels here to find more options that suit all kinds of needs and different situations and scenarios.

4.Okuma Helios Lightweight – Best Technology 

This reel is entirely made out of carbon/graphite blend which allows for lightweight, strength, and durability, as this reel weighs only 9.7 oz.. All these qualities render it pretty efficient. It has 8+1 corrosion-resistant ball bearings, which produce a fantastic performance.

The rotor is the Cyclonic Flow Rotor, which keeps the reel completely dry no matter how much water gets into it. Plus, it maintains the line where it should be and prevents it from tangling up. Besides, the gearing system is a precision elliptical one.

This reel boasts a gear ratio of 5.0:1 and a maximum drag of 13 lbs. Furthermore, the Torsion Control Armor keeps the stability of the entire reel, especially the gear system itself. Moreover, this reel enjoys the RESII system, which is an abbreviation for Rotor Equalizing System. What this system does is that it simply stabilizes the spool and prevents it’s wobbling. 

Lastly, the handle here is a soft EVA machined anodized aluminum handle, which is ultra-light and ergonomically designed. The only complain that we have received regarding this reel is that the Centrifugal Disc Bail bail was a little bit sticky 


  • Strong 
  • Revolutionary 
  • Ergonomic design
  • Smooth
  • Anti-reverse


  • Sticky bail
  • Not fully sealed
  • Relatively heavy

Final Verdict

The final verdict regarding this reel is that it is a robust, lightweight reel that will go through many years of abuse thanks to its sturdy construction.

5. SHIMANO Sedona – Best Durability

This reel by Shimano screams durability. It enjoys Hegane internal gears that supply fishermen with an incredibly smooth experience. Moreover, it enjoys G free body design, which takes the focus off your hand in order to delay the onset of fatigue as long as possible. 

Oval oscillation gear maintains a uniform speed for your line and therefore prevents it from tangling and breaking. It also enjoys propulsion line management, which allows anglers to cast far and wide. It boasts a double anodized machine cut spool with a specially designed lip that works on eliminating backlash.

This reel weighs 7.6 lbs, has a gear ratio of 5.0:1, a maximum drag of 7 lbs. and 3+1 ball bearings.


  • Durable 
  • Lightweight 
  • Strong 
  • Anti-reverse
  • Smooth 
  • Spacious spool


  • Only four bearings 
  • Low drag

Final Verdict

Although the low drag capacity can be a dealbreaker for a lot of people, this reel has a lot to make up for it. The smoothness of your fishing is exemplary when using this reel, and the price tag is not huge. Consequently, you will get a lot of money for your investment if you choose this reel. 

6. Abu Garcia Revo SX – Best Spool

This reel is made out of a carbon composite material known as C6, with the frame being constructed out of X-Craft alloy. These materials reduce the overall weight of the reel while maintaining and increasing its rigidity and durability. The final result is a blend between graphite and carbon, which combines strength, flexibility, and lightweight as this reel weighs only 7.20 lbs. 

The drag system here is a hybrid which consists of an adjustable brake system that utilizes magnets to diminish and eliminate backlash in addition to carbon washers that maintain a consistent maximum drag of 10 lbs. 

It also boasts 8+1 high-quality ball bearings with the anti-reverse one being the K-clutch. Along with Amgearing precision machine gears, the ball bearings produce a smooth and sleek fishing experience.

The spool on this reel is what’s known as the Rocket Spool. This particular spool has a lip that is designed in a certain way that allows the line to run freely without drag, therefore, reducing friction and allowing for more precise casts.

This reel has a gear ratio of 6.2:1, a flat EVA knob, and an interchangeable handle that can be switched from one side to the other.

The only downside to this reel is its price, which is quite extreme.


  • Rocket spool 
  • Carbon matrix hybrid drag with a maximum of 10 lbs. 
  • X-Craftic gearbox 
  • Rocket school 
  • 8+1 bearings 
  • Durable


  • Pricey

Final Verdict

As you can see, you can hardly find fault with this reel. Attention to detail has peaked with this fishing equipment; you will be able to cast efficiently and retrieve smoothly. Hence, if money is not a problem for you, then this reel would be an amazing choice that you will not regret.

How to Pick a Trout Spinning Reel

spinning reels in store to showcase the best trout spinning reels

Now that we have shown you our top six trout spinning reels, we will walk you through the primary features and options that you ought to have on your checklist when searching for a spinning reel for trout fishing. 

Nevertheless, do not forget to pair your reel with a complimentary rod because otherwise, your gear will be useless if they do not work well together.

1. Reel Size

Trout is not a massive fish, which is why reels sized 1000 to 2500 should do the job quite nicely.  Some companies have experimented with 3500 size reels making them quite lightweight so that they fit the lightweight category. The thing about such reels is that they offer superior strength. 

Remember that size correlates with drag, gear ratio, ball bearings number, and all the components of a reel, so the higher you go, the more features you will get.

2. Reel Weight

Always remember that fishing trips take time; you will be standing there for God knows how long waiting for the trout to catch bait. Hence, always try a reel in your hand to see if you’re comfortable with it and if you can withstand holding it for prolonged periods.

One advantage of trout fishing is that it uses ultra-light to light spinning reels, which are generally lightweight.

3. Drag

Drag is crucial to any reel as it is simply the only thing standing between your prey getting away and the snapping of your line/rod. It produces resistance to keep your prey engaged. With trout, a 20 lbs. maximum drag should be more than enough. 

Of course, the stronger your drag system is, the heavier and stronger your catch will be. If your drive is too weak, it might not just snap your line, but it might as well take your rod with it. 

One last thing about drag is that you should always go for a completely sealed one. If your drag gets any debris, dust, or sand in it, it will most probably cause it to malfunction and ruin your entire fishing trip.

4. Gear ratio

Gear ratio is the relation between the number of full spins that your spool will make per a full crank of the handle. So, simply, the higher your gear ratio is, the quicker your retrieval will be.

5. Ball Bearings

Ball bearings are the cogs inside the reel. They eliminate friction to allow a smooth process and are crucial parts of any reel. Hence, try to invest in ball bearings that are both high-quality and numerous. 

Plus, try to go for ones that are corrosion resistant, as they are treated to resist the elements, or go for stainless steel ball bearings that are naturally resistant to corrosion.

6. Spool

A spool is where you place your line; therefore, try to opt for a high-quality, capacious spool with a smooth lip design. A well-designed spool will help reduce friction and prevent the breaking or tangling up of your line.

7. Reel Type

A spinning reel is the best choice when trout fishing due to its versatility. It offers you various sizes that can work for every type of trout. For instance, a light or medium reel will work for smaller trout while lake steelhead and speckled trout will require a medium spinning reel.

If you are interested in baitcasting reels, you can also check out my guide to the best budget baitcasting reels here.

8. Anti-Reverse System

This system works with the drag system to prevent the line from going backward and eventually losing the catch. Some reels are designed with a switch that you can turn on and off according to your own preference. However, it’s still quite a handy option to have on hand especially when you are dealing with a fussy catch like trout.

9. Suitable Line

The cohesiveness between your line and spool is mandatory for a successful fishing trip.

Spinning reels, in general, are designed for light braided lines with small lures while monofilament and fluorocarbon do not work well with spinning reels due to the fact that they are a bit too wide. Consequently, they might hop off the spool and get all tangled up. 

I have a guide for the best braided lines here, these are the ones that go really well with spinning reels.

Also, don’t forget to correlate the size of your reel to the line. If you decide to go with a light reel of size 1000, then that should be able to hold 100 to 150 yards of 4 lbs. line. While the larger 2500 size will be able to hold around 150 yards of 6 lbs. line.

10. Versatility 

Everything that we have spoken about up till now has been related to trout spinning reels. Nevertheless, you should think about whether your fishing will focus solely on trout fishing, or would you want to experiment with other fish species as well. So, if your intent is the latter, then you might want to go for a reel that is a bit more versatile, maybe a larger size like the 3500 that we have spoken about.

11. Reel Construction and Housing

The structure of the reel ought to be high-quality and durable. The general options for the construction and housing of spinning reels are either graphite, aluminum, or composite. Graphite is exceptionally durable and flexible; however, it is a little bit pricey.

Aluminum is probably one of the most common materials used on the market due to its strength and its ability to be reinforced for even extra strength. Plus, it is quite affordable, yet, if you are going for saltwater, you might want to steer clear from aluminum as it’s not suited for the damage caused by saltwater. On a more exciting note, companies have now manufactured oxidized aluminum, which is a lot more resistant to saltwater. 

Lastly, composite, on the other hand, is quite new to the market. It’s strong, durable, and withstands extreme conditions such as ice fishing

Final Thoughts

As you can see, trout fishing is quite a popular hobby. It needs certain equipment, but that does not mean that you can’t use the same equipment with other fish as versatility is always a great option. 

If you are headed to your local river in search of trout, then we would recommend that you take the Pflueger President with you as it is our top choice for a trout spinning reel. 

Our second-best trout fishing reel will have to be the KastKing Sharky III Fishing Reel because it also features a multitude of options that are guaranteed to make your fishing trip a lot smoother and more enjoyable. 

If you want the lightest reel, then go for the Shimano Stradic Ci4 as it will allow you to fish for much longer periods.

If you are going trout fishing soon, don’t forget out guide to Trout lures here.

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