Best Trout Rod Choices: Ultralight, Sensitive, and Perfect for Trout Anglin’

Last Updated on June 9, 2021 by Coty Perry

Best Overall

St. Croix Triumph

4.9/5

Best Spinning Rod For Trout

Fenwick Eagle

4.7/5

Best Ultralight Spinning Rod for Trout

Okuma Celilo 562UL

4.6/5

The best trout rod matches superior sensitivity with the highest-quality materials in the game. When shopping for a trout fishing pole, you need to deploy a new way of thinking. It’s not all durability and strength now; instead, it’s about feel, touch, and technique.

I love this style of fishing. It’s what made me fall in love with the sport and it’s what keeps me coming back year after year.

In this article, you’ll find my top five picks for the best trout rods. You’ll also find some of my methodology behind these choices, why I picked them, and factors you need to consider before purchasing a trout fishing rod. 

Reviews of the Best Trout Fishing Rods

St. Croix Triumph

Best Overall 

SPECIFICATIONS
BENEFITS
DRAWBACKS

Fenwick Eagle

Best Spinning Rod for Trout

SPECIFICATIONS
BENEFITS
DRAWBACKS

Okuma Celilo 562UL

Best Ultralight Spinning Rod for Trout

SPECIFICATIONS
BENEFITS
DRAWBACKS

G.Loomis Classic

Editors Pick 

SPECIFICATIONS
BENEFITS
DRAWBACKS

Shakespeare Ugly Stik Elite

Best Trout Rod for Beginners 

SPECIFICATIONS
BENEFITS
DRAWBACKS

Choosing the Best Trout Rod

rainbow trout

Let me explain some of the methodology and thought-process behind these decisions. We have five great rods above and they’re all incredible for trout fishing but they each have their own unique pros and cons. As you go through those reviews, refer back here to determine which one you should choose for your individual fishing style and technique. 

Sensitivity 

The first and most important aspect of a trout pole is sensitivity. You’ll hear me say it over and over that you need a rod with superior sensitivity if you want to catch trout. They’re skittish, they don’t stick around long, and they don’t strike hard like bass. 

When a bass decides that they want to bite something, they stalk it and swoop in like a bat outta hell. Because of this, it’s much easier to feel a bass biting the lure than it is trout and panfish. 

These guys will come along, look at the lure, give it a nibble, back up, give it another nibble, and repeat this.

Since they don’t strike the lure, you’ll have a harder time setting the hook. It requires a lightning fast reaction and you can’t second guess yourself. If you jerk too soon you’ll pull the hook right out of their mouth and if you jerk too late you’ll reel the hook in and find out that the trout took your bait. 

Certain things will improve the sensitivity of the rod. First, it’s material which I’ll cover in more detail in the next section. Second, it’s unique features from each manufacturer. Some use glass tips, one-piece blanks, graphite joints, and so on. 

Material 

This point goes hand-in-hand with the previous one. To reach the maximum sensitivity in a rod you need a material that flexes in a way that translates vibration quickly. Graphite is the best material for this and fiberglass is the worst. This is the reason why you only find graphite in these types of ultralight rods. 

Graphite is fragile which makes it the best material for transferring vibrations up and down the rod. What is the result of this? 

The result is that every single nibble you feel from a small trout or panfish is the result of superior material and craftsmanship. This material also comes at a premium cost and most rod manufacturers can’t economically produce rods entirely of graphite. Some do and that’s what makes their rods so expensive and their brands so premium. Fenwick, G.Loomis, and Lamiglas are some examples.  

Keep in mind the importance of having the right ultralight spinning reel to pair with your rod. For beginners, I suggest getting a rod and reel combo because you won’t have to worry about pairing the right reel to fit the reel seat. 

Action/Power

The action and power of your rod is something you need to pay attention to as well. The action refers to the amount of flexibility in the blank. A light action rod will not bend very much at all which is ideal for small fish because it will transfer those vibrations better. If the rod bends far down the blank, it will require a lot more weight on the hook for you to feel anything. 

Power refers to the amount of pressure necessary to bend the rod. Much of the time these two factors are interchangeable and very few actually know the difference between them. Typically when you purchase an ultralight rod it will come with fast or moderate action. 

You’ll find that all the spinning rods recommended above are at least moderate action light rods. This means that they won’t bend much too much at the tip and they won’t require too much weight to flex. This is perfect for light fishing applications like trout and panfish because you’re using light fishing lines and light lures. 

Weight

If you choose any of the rods above from Amazon I suggest going for something weighing in the 2.5-4.0 ounce range. Anything heavier than that and you’re overcompensating. Fishing for trout in rivers and small streams requires a lot of hands-on presenting. You’ll be reeling and casting a lot, moving the lure around, and clutching tight onto the cork grip to make sure you feel everything. 

When you’re standing there with a 7.5 foot, 10 ounce rod, you’re going to tire yourself out and put unnecessary strain on your body. As you do this across a few hours you’ll find the fatigue weighing down on your ability to focus. When this happens you’re decreasing your chances of catching the fish you want because you’ve tired yourself out. The lighter the better in most cases with the best trout rod. 

Ideal Components of the Best Spinning Rod for Trout Fishing

Ideal Components of the Best Spinning Rod for Trout Fishing

Now let’s talk about the ideal components of my best trout rod. If I was to build my own rod perfectly dedicated for lightweight trout fishing, here’s what I would like to have. 

Graphite Blank – You want a graphite rod or at least a graphite composite hybrid because it offers unmatched sensitivity and rods made with this material are usually superior in terms of their overall craftsmanship. 

5-6 Feet in Length – This rod length is ideal for trout because you need something long enough to give you the casting distance you want but you also need to have control over your fatigue. As you increase in length you’ll likely increase in weight as well. 

Thru-Blank – The thru-blank design means that the blank runs all the way down to the butt of the rod. This will improve the durability and decrease the chances of something bad happening. 

One-Piece Design – I like one-piece rods for trout fishing because that little union where you connect the two pieces causes you to lose a little sensitivity. This is a difference that only the most experienced anglers will notice so don’t make or break a deal over it but it’s something to consider. 

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re fly fishing or baiting, choosing the best trout rod is all about understanding and respecting the limitations of your gear. Trout fishing rods are fragile on purpose, they’re sensitive, and they require special care. Make sure to pair them up with the best trout lures and flies for the ultimate presentation and performance. 

But, if you know how to handle them and how to use them properly – you’ll find yourself in the best position to catch more trout than the dude who has been hugging your spot for hours. Be smart, be safe, and enjoy the hunt. Good luck out there! 

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