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Best Trout Rods 2020

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St. Croix Spinning Rod

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Fewick Eagle Spinning Rod

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Best Budget Choice

Ugly Stik Elite

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Ian Fortey by Ian Fortey Updated on August 17, 2020. In Fishing

Every trout angler has their preferred rig and bait for trout fishing. Trout are more jittery than many other kinds of fish. For that reason, you want to make sure you have the best rod. Most trout anglers will choose a spinning rod for trout. An all-purpose sort of rod will not do the trick. If you’re serious about trout fishing, a spinning rod is what you need. But that doesn’t mean just any old rod will do.

When it comes to fishing rods for trout, you need a good mix of strength and finesse. A light and quiet spinning rod will be your best bet. You never want to spook the trout with a heavy cast. Part of the fun of trout fishing is knowing what tools work best to get the job done. While any trout spinning rod could work for catching trout, these rods are going to give you an advantage.

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1. St. Croix Spinning Rod

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St. Croix is one of the most premier makers of fishing rods in the game. They have over 70 years of experience. You can count on the quality of a St. Croix trout spinning rod. The rod is made from something called SCII graphite. That is extremely high-quality, strong, and durable.

The reel seat is high-quality. These rods are priced for their accuracy, fast action and smooth casting. They may be pricier than some rods, but the quality reflects that.

With aluminum oxide line guides and a cork handle, every part is built to last. This is a solid spinning rod that should last years.

Pros

  • Five year warranty
  • Comes in a variety of sizes and powers
  • High quality construction

Cons

  • The tips may not be as flexible as you’d expect
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2. Fewick Eagle Spinning Rod

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No list of trout fishing rods is complete without a Fewick Eagle. There’s a reason everyone includes these. When it comes to industry powerhouses, this is it. They are pioneers in the graphite rod industry. They know how to make a well-balanced rod that casts really well. After 60 years in this business, you can rely on their skill and know-how.

The Fewick Eagle comes with a 5 year limited warranty. There’s an incredible list of sizes for this rod as well. One to fit every angler for sure. The 7-foot rod will give you a 10 to 20 pound line weight. That’s perfect for catching plenty of decent size trout.

For an added bonus, you can get these rods as either one-piece or two-piece. Very few companies offer you the choice. It is worth noting that there have been reports of the guides installed on the rod incorrectly.

Pros

  • One-piece or two-piece construction
  • Well-balanced
  • Good warranty

Cons

  • Quality control issues
  • Reports of poor customer service
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3. Ugly Stik Elite

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The Ugly Stik Elite is a mix of fiberglass and graphite. That means you’re looking at high strength and low weight. At 7 ft long, it’s a good rod length. And it can handle 6 to 10 pound line. If you’re looking to reel in some lively trout, this is the one for you. It can handle Browns and feisty Rainbows.

Ugly Stik rated this rod for 6 to 10 pound line. Many anglers have reported using a much heavier line without damaging the rod. Just be aware that if you go heavier, it’s possible damage could happen.

The molded cork handle makes this spinning rod not just light but comfortable in your grip. As light as this rod is, it’s not as light as a pure graphite rod. That doesn’t make it heavy by any means, but it may be heavier than what you want for trout fishing. Remember, you need to cast this again and again for as long as you’re out there.

Pros

  • Comfortable handle
  • Strong Construction
  • Comes with a 7-year warranty

Cons

  • Heavier than a pure graphite rod
  • Cheap stainless steel guides

4. Cadence CR7

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The CR7 from Cadence is a very versatile trout fishing rod. It comes in a range of lengths from 5 ft and 10 in up to 7 ft 6 in. That makes it a little more diverse than some spinning rods. It can handle smaller fishing holes, and larger lakes and ponds with ease. When spinning for trout, the fast action from Cadence won’t let you down.

Available with split or full handles, these rods cost under $80. The blank is made from 40-ton carbon. It’s extremely powerful and able to stand up to abuse. Along with the great rod length, that makes this one of the bets rods for trout.

The split handle is EVA foam as well as cork. This makes for an extra sensitive response. It’s designed to provide maximum comfort. You’ll be able to feel right away when you get a hit on your line. For the price, you will not find a stronger and more durable trout fishing rod.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Comfortable
  • Light

Cons

  • One piece construction
  • May be too fragile for some fish

5. Abu Garcia Venerate

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One of the big selling points for the Abu Garcia Venerate is the sensitivity of this rod. The tip is sensitive enough to notice even the most subtle of bites. It also comes in sizes ranging from a 6ft 6 inches to 7 ft. That’s a decent rod length for trout designed to provide a great cast.

This rod is strong and versatile. Even if it does suffer some damage, Abu Garcia is known for their excellent customer service. Send in a picture of some damage, there’s a good chance they’ll send you a replacement part if necessary.

Designed for 6 to 10 lbs test, it’s great for pulling in medium size trout. Many anglers have hit the lake only to come back with a good number of 10 lb fish for dinner.

Pros

  • Ultra sensitive
  • Good price
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Unexpected breaks are not unheard of

6. Okuma Celilo Ultralight Trout Rod

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The Okuma Celilo is a massive trout spinning rod. At 8 feet 6 inches, it’s definitely not for a tiny fishing hole. If you like a long cast, this is great. If you’re in the market for accuracy, you may not feel this is the best trout fishing rod for you.

Despite that long length, it’s still incredibly resilient. Hook a big lake trout and watch this rod bend right to the surface of the water without breaking. That resiliency is thanks the fact the rod is one single graphite blank.

Factor in the price, which is incredibly affordable, and this rod is a sure-fire stand out.

Pros

  • Long casting
  • Ultra lightweight
  • Good price

Cons

  • Lacks accuracy
  • Not the highest quality construction

7. Ugly Stik GX2

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If you prefer a shorter rod for a trout fishing, the Ugly Stik GX2 is the best option for you. It’s still ultra lightweight, but not as cumbersome as some. In fact, you can get these under 5 feet in length. The grips are EVA foam. The blank is fiberglass and graphite composite. It also comes with a 7 year warranty in case you’re worried about the construction.

With a comfortable handle, the Ugly Stik is great for long-haul fishing. The size is well suited for narrow streams and tight spaces. The weight makes for fast action. As dynamic trout spinning rods go, this is a solid choice.

Pros

  • Well priced
  • Quality construction
  • One of the best warranties in the game

Cons

  • The reel seat may come loose
  • The short length is not suited for large bodies of water

8. Piscifun Sword Graphite Fly Rod

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When it comes to trout fishing, you need to try a fly rod at least once in your life. The Piscifun Sword Graphite Fly Rod is one of the best in the business. You can get these at lengths up to almost 10 feet. The action is light and smooth. The accuracy is pinpoint.

The machined aluminum reel seat is sturdy. The IM7 graphite blank is durable and stands up to wear and tear. It also breaks down into four pieces for easy travel. They even include a tube to store it all in.

If you’re new to fly-fishing, this is an affordable place to start. You definitely don’t want to hook any big fish on one of these, though. It’s cheap enough that if it gets damaged, you’re not breaking the bank.

That said, you do need to be on the lookout for stress here. This rod is not for reeling in trophies by any means. If you hook something unexpected, you risk snapping the end of your rod. Fortunately, Piscifun is usually good about replacing parts.

Pros

  • Exceptional length
  • Smooth fast action or slow action
  • Good for freshwater or saltwater fly-fishing

Cons

  • There is a learning curve to using this rod
  • Some anglers have reported frequent breaks

9. KastKing Calamus

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If you want a true ultralight rod, the KastKing Calamus is the one for you. This is not a rod for reeling in trophies. But, if you’re looking for smaller trout, this is perfect. It works best with 2 to 6 lb test. It’s also only 5 feet long. You’re not heading out on the lake with this one, but that’s okay. For small rivers and streams, this is a great choice.

KastKing designed this with titanium guides. It also has small -diameter graphite construction. That is how they were able to keep weight down while maintaining strength.

The split handle is EVA foam. The five foot model, and there are other sizes, weighs just 3 oz. That could be the lightest rod on the market. Despite a small size, you can still easily pull in 5 lb trout.

Pros

  • Super lightweight
  • Affordable price
  • Surprisingly durable construction

Cons

  • Very poor warranty
  • Short length

Things to Remember

When you’re serious about trout fishing, you mean to take a few things into consideration. Not every rod is created equally. With that in mind, keep an eye out for these factors.

Spinning vs. Casting

There are two kinds of rods that are generally used for fishing. Those are spinning rods and casting rods.

Casting Rods: A casting rod requires a casting reel. That’s one of those traditional kinds of reels with the crank on the side. The reel is on top of this kind of rod.

Spinning Rods: A spinning rod requires a spinning reel. That’s the open-faced kind of reel that should be on the underside of the rod. These rods also have larger guides for your line.

With a spinning rod, you’re casting lighter lures. Lighter is always better for trout fishing. Heavier lures and more splashing are going to spook trout.

You can go trout fishing with a casting rod, but a spinning rod is the better choice. Lighter lures and a longer cast are excellent for catching trout.

Weight

You can’t underestimate the value of a lightweight rod for trout fishing. If you are out on the water for hours on end, the weight of that Rod is going to start getting to you. The later it is, the longer you can stay out there doing what you love. It’s just basic human endurance. At some point, even a rod that feels light is going to start wearing on you.

What you need to be aware of in terms of weight is the trade-off. Super lightweight rods are not super strong rods. Technological advancements have made rods stronger, but there is always a breaking point. A 3-oz rod will not be able to reel in a 30lbs fish for you.

Materials

Fishing poles are made of a variety of materials these days. You’re mostly going to find graphite rods and fiberglass rods.

Graphite: Graphite rods are stronger than fiberglass rods. They’re exceptionally sensitive and flexible. That’s the big selling point of these rods. However, they are also brittle. That means they can shatter more easily than fiberglass. A sudden shock can break graphite.

Fiberglass: This is the old school material rods were made from. Fiberglass tends to be more durable than graphite. Even though they are not as strong, they are much cheaper which makes them desirable.

Composite Rods: A composite rod is a rod with a fiberglass core and a graphite shell. This tries to give you the best of both worlds at a reasonable price. Generally, composite rods are a good deal.

Line Weight

You always need to be aware of the line wait on a rod. Contrary to what some people believe, the line weight is not the weight of a fish you can catch. If your line weight is 10 to 20 pounds, that does not mean you’ll get a 10 to 20 lb fish. Instead, it refers to the normal braking weight of the line when set with the correct reel and drag. This can be very confusing to some people, because it is dependent on a number of factors. And it does not really relate to the size of the fish.

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a fun afternoon fishing, any old rod will do. If you’re serious about catching trout, then you need the right rod. Some of these can be a large investment, but they could be worth it. Try out a few to see what feels most comfortable in your hand. Keep in mind where you’re going to be fishing and when. Remember that the point of fishing is having fun, so don’t stress over it too much.

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