Trout Fishing Spinning Reel And Rod Setup: Essential Tips For Anglers

Trout Fishing Spinning Setup

If you live anywhere near the Upper Connecticut River, Beaver Kill, or Au Sable River, Oregon you may get that itching sensation to go trout fishing when the season comes. Trout is relatively easy to catch, and it is a great addition to any meal.

Thanks to these features, catching trout appeals to both newbies who have just familiarized themselves with angling, as well as professionals who have spent years perfecting their skills.

But still, trout fishing being beginner-friendly does not necessarily mean that it is a piece of cake.

To land a trout successfully using the least effort possible, you have to learn how to prepare things beforehand and sharpen your expertise.

This is when the guideline on trout fishing spinning reel and rod setup comes in handy! Keep reading the step-by-step instructions if you ever find yourself struggling with this sport!

What To Prepare Before Going Trout Fishing

Admittedly, there are various external factors that decide how trout fishing may pan out. But on your part, make sure to get the following items ready so as to make the most out of your trip.

Trout spinning rod

Trout spinning rod

Spinning rods are a perfect choice for people wanting to catch trout, as their structure is specifically designed to handle medium-sized fish. So, what are the characteristics that a trout spinning rod should have?

  • You may want to start looking for anything longer than 7 feet, an equivalence of 213cm. If it is too short, your casting distance will be gravely compromised.

If it is too long, you may not be strong enough to hold it the entire time and cast it effectively. 7 feet is an average length that works well for most people.

  • Count the number of guides and choose a rod with at least 7 to 8 guides. Not only do fishing guides help to increase the precision of your cast, but they also reduce line slap. 

Furthermore, the more guides your rod has, the easier it is to control the line flow. It is because the guides keep your fishing line in check by ensuring it peels off from the spool, runs along the pole, and finally releases into the air at the tip of the rod. No twists and turns in the middle!

  • Check out the weight and choose a rod ranging from 2 to 4 kg. Do not attempt to use ultra-lightweight rods, as the force exerted by the fish may break it in half.
  • Go for a slow – or at least medium action rod. It allows the pole to bend in one direction to the maximum, essentially increasing its flexibility. Using such a rod to land a trout leaves your catch fewer opportunities to get off the hook once you detect a bite. 

However, bear in mind that slow-action rods are mostly used for small fish. If the intended trout are heavier than expected, the rods will not be steady enough.

Trout spinning reel

Trout spinning reel

A spinning reel is a must-have tool to complete your trout fishing toolkit. With the spool attached under the bottom and a bail arm to slip off the line, spinning reels grant you a sense of freedom and control when it comes to casting. Below are a few notes on what makes a great trout spinning reel.

  • If you want to use an ultralight reel, choose a 1000-size. A 2000-size or even 2500-size would also suffice. But you need to know the pros and cons that come along with each size. 

See also: How do you know what size spinning reel to buy?

While larger reels leave more space for the spool and more line capacity, they are considerably bulkier and more cumbersome.

Vice versa, small reels are compact, but they do not hold as much line as you wish. Thus, the casting distance is limited. 

  • Ensure the drag of the chosen spinning reel works as smoothly as possible. You can spin it a few times to see how the performance is. To manually increase the effectiveness, feel free to unscrew the knob, then the spool, and wipe off accumulated dirt using a damp piece of cloth.
  • Hold the reel in your hands, mount it on the rod, and swing the pole around for a quick test. A fishing trip can last for hours. If your reel does not feel comfortable, you might as well encounter several problems during your trout fishing.

See also: Top 5 spinning reels for salmon (Detailed Review)

Trout fishing line

Trout fishing line
Trout fishing line

The fishing line plays a vital role in making sure your rod does not snap, you can retrieve it quickly, and the casting distance is unlimited. 

  • Get at least 100 meters. If you want to be extra careful, you might as well raise the number up to 150 meters. In most cases, this line capacity might not be at all necessary. But one can never be too well-prepared, right?
  • Regarding the line type, you will be pleased to know that braided, mono, and fluorocarbon lines are all ideal for trout fishing. Still, depending on each type, the breaking strength required can vary. 

For example, a monofilament line only needs to be 2 to 6 lbs, especially if the anglers are new to the game. But if we are talking about braided lines, look for 6 to 10 lbs to truly sense the movements of the trout around your lure. 

  • Another point to consider is the necessity of a leader line. As monofilament and fluorocarbon lines are pretty much invisible underwater, a leader is not called for. 

But if you choose the braided line, embrace the fact that it can be seen easily by your catch. Therefore, having a leader line is a must. A 1 to 6-lb fluorocarbon line of up to 4 feet will work well with your mainline.  Feel free to adjust the numbers by evaluating the clarity of the water and the estimated size of the trout. Remember to use a knot to connect the mainline to its leader. 

Trout fishing lures

Trout fishing lures

Lures to catch trout are relatively versatile. They can be in various colors, sizes, and materials. If you are having trouble deciding which one to use, you may have a look at these most popular choices.

  • Rebel Wee-Craw: These lures are shaped like crawfish, with one hook placed at the tail and one at the side. Each lure is 2 inches in length and can dive up to 7 feet.

Rebel Wee-Craw

  • Spinmax: The lures from this manufacturer stand out with their spinning blade position right at the front. They can also create tiny vibrations and flashes that attract fish from afar, making it easier for anglers to land a trout.


  • Smithwick Rattlin’ Rogue: Are you interested in landing bigger trout? Pack the Rogue lures along with you, as their frantic movements and noises will surely do the trick.

Smithwick Rattlin’ Rogue

  • Strike King Bitsy Minnow: Do not underestimate the power of these tiny lures. With their reflective eyes and enticing action, inviting fish over is not a big deal. And since they are easy to use, even kids can have a go at the baits.

Strike King Bitsy Minnow All in all, there are no fixed criteria as to which lures your trout fishing rod must have. But overall, you are recommended to go with small, lightweight lures.

Stronger ones may strain the rod and they do not make good company with the braided fishing line.

See also: Top 7 Spinner Lure For Trout And How To Use Them

Weather Conditions Needed To Go Trout Fishing

In freshwater environments, you can go trout fishing any time of the year. However, there are seasons when trout are much more active than the rest.

Should you want to land as many trout as possible, wait until late spring and early summer.  The temperature will be moderate enough for you to cast comfortably for hours.

While the ideal range is anywhere between 40 and 70 Fahrenheit degrees, you can increase your chances of success by aiming for hours before dusk settles in, as the heat during that particular time frame tends to be just right.

Another factor to take into account is the lighting. Because trout are not known to favor sunlight, you might want to go out on cloudy days.

Avoid brightly lit moments when trout must seek refuge by staying in the dark.  Last but not least, water clarity is also essential in ensuring the outcomes of your trout fishing.

If the water is crystal clear, you will not get much luck landing trout. The best environment occurs when the water is slightly muddy or when it turns a milky blue. 

Worry not about the trout not being able to see your lures. If given sufficient time, they will be able to adapt to their surrounding area and make out what stays in the way.

You can always lend trout a helping hand by choosing bright-colored, vibrating lures that entice them to come closer. 

How To Cast Trout Fishing

You can spin for trout in all kinds of places, from giant rivers, and large ponds to tiny streams. Each destination has a mild difference regarding the setup, so make sure you do not mix them up.


Lakes Trout Fishing

Lakes tend to be vast, widespread areas where trout can lurk around and move fast from one place to another. Therefore, keep in mind to cast your lure further forward using a 7-feet rod.

If the rod is shorter, your casting distance will be gravely compromised. Regarding the line weight and line capacity, it is best to go with at least 100 meters of 10 lbs mainline. Should you use a braided line, remember to stack in 4 lbs of fluorocarbon or monofilament leader. 

Rivers and streams

Rivers and streams provide a hideaway for trout with tree roots and trunks, so you might need a 5-feet rod that allows deeper – instead of further – casting. Such a length provides you with more accuracy, especially when your fishing area is narrow.

As for the reel, we recommend that you go with a small size. It might prevent you from getting a heavy-duty spool, but it certainly lifts off the unnecessary weight and makes trout fishing easier. 

See also: Lakes and Streams trout fishing rigs setup


Now that you have read everything about trout fishing spinning reel and rod setup, it is time to review the key takeaways from this article.

First off, you get to learn about the characteristics needed in a trout fishing rod, reel, line, and lures. Getting the right tackle box is the first step that helps you create a solid framework for your trout spinning experience.

Secondly, you have grasped a basic understanding of how external elements can affect trout spinning.  Thirdly, there are specific instructions on how to spin for trout in various situations.

Are there any questions left? If yes, feel free to forward this article to your fellow anglers and ask for their advice. If not, let’s get ready for your next fishing trip!

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