Here’s our guide to the best trout spinning rods and our reasons why. Trout rods come in various lengths and actions, but there are a few common rules of thumb that separate decent rods from great ones.
Let’s first look at the rods then we’ll get into more details.
7 Best Trout Spinning Rods For 2023
1. Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2
Best All Around Rod
- Strong, yet balanced graphite and fiberglass construction
- Durable ugly tuff one piece stainless steel guides
- Pre-spooled with 6 pound line
- Composite of graphite and fiberglass construction
- Lightweight EVA grips
- Clear tip sensitivity
- Two-piece rod (easily broken down)
The best of both worlds, the Shakespeare Ugly Stik provides the capabilities of both a hammer and a scalpel.
This fiberglass and graphite combination offers a sturdy, well-balanced rod, while its precise tip offers an incredibly responsive sensation for soft-mouthed trout.
Incredibly durable, this rod comes with stainless steel guides, a comfortable handle, and a lightweight EVA grip with the ability to take on the most aggressive of any freshwater game fish.
2. Shakespeare Micro Fishing Rod
Most Compact Rod
- Micro Series Spinning Rod 7'
- Micro Series Spinning Rod 7'
- Micro Series Spinning Rod 7'
- Cork wrapped handle
- Comprised of graphite composite
- Incredibly reliable and durable
Ounces equal pounds, and when it comes to backpacking or keeping it light, anglers will be hard-pressed to find a more efficient rod than the Shakespeare Micro. Portable and easy to use, this compact backpacking fishing rod works well anywhere.
Its graphite composite build improves sensitivity, while its traditional reel seat, stainless steel line guides, and cushioned hoods mean anglers don’t have to sacrifice quality for efficiency.
With its cork-wrapped handle, the action in this rod is fast, making it the perfect lightweight backpacking trout rod.
3. St. Croix Trout Spinning Rod
Highest Quality Rod
- PREMIUM SCII CARBON FIBER CONSTRUCTION: High flexural...
- PREMIUM EVA HANDLES: Split-grip handle configurations...
- FEATURES: Sea Guide Atlas Performance guides with stainless...
- 5-year warranty
- Quality Carbon Fiber build
- Durable yet sensitive
- Split grip handle
The St. Croix Trout Spinning Rod is a premium carbon fiber rod built to handle the most brutal fights and maintain the price tag’s high-quality performance.
Easily broken down into two pieces for storage, this premium rod snaps back together with a single twist. Built for light to medium fishing, this pole can be bent repeatedly and yet maintain its integrity.
However, it does not sacrifice sensitivity as this cork-handled, fast-action rod can detect the slightest of nibbles.
Anglers looking to buy top-of-the-line gear should invest in this ergonomic and comfortable rod because of its storability, quality material, and durability.
4. Okuma SST Ultralight Trout Spinning Rod
Best High-Performance Rod
- Precision casting
- Compatible with multiple fishing lines
- Incredibly lightweight
- High-performance carbon blank rod
At the intersection of precision and efficiency comes the Okuma SST. This high-quality yet durable rod was built for one thing and one thing only, performance.
This rod has it all with stainless steel guides, zirconium inserts for friction reduction, IM-8 construction, and a cork handle.
The rear and fore grips provide a comfortable purchase on the rod, while its two-piece construction makes it easy to break down.
Due to its sensitive nature and precision casting, this rod is a favorite amongst trout anglers worldwide when working streams. It is the perfect tool for lightweight lures or drifting baits like worms or grasshoppers. Despite being an ultralight rod, it can handle lined up to a 6-pound test.
5. Berkley Lightning Spinning Trout Rod
- Durable, sensitive fishing rod engineered for Trout angling
- Blank specially designed for Use with light lines and dough...
- 24 ton multi-modulus carbon composite blank construction...
- Rubberized cork handles
- Oxide inserts to prevent corrosion
- Aluminum and stainless steel design material
- The crossroads of strength and sensitivity
This lightweight aluminum and stainless steel combination form a sensitive and durable rod engineered to angle for trout. With a reel seat with double locks and full handles wrapped in rubberized cork, the Berkley Lightning Spinning Trout Rod was meant to last a lifetime.
Aluminum oxide-coated inserts prevent the stainless steel guides from corroding, while its 24-ton blank construction graphite means this rod can handle a battle with any trout and still provide years of service. Because of its strength and sensitivity, this rod excels at rapid hook sets.
Defining versatile, this rod manages to be both affordable, durable, high-performing, and lightweight all at the same time.
6. KastKing Calamus Trout Fishing Rod
Most Cost-Effective Rod
- Ultra-Light IM7 Graphite Spinning Rods – KastKing Calamus...
- Premium Components – To keep weight to an absolute minimum...
- 9 Ultra-Light Weight Spinning Rods – The KastKing Calamus...
- Titanium guide frame and rings
- Incredibly lightweight design
- Two-part frame for transport
- A well-made but cost-effective rod
If an angler was looking for a rod that worked well with just about every species, the KastKinging Calamus is as sure of a bet.
This rod is straightforward to travel with and store using titanium guide frames, given its two-piece design. Very light, these graphite-bodied rods are some of the latest on the planet while still composed of all premium components.
Perfect for finesse fishing, these lightweight rods place of premium on sensitivity. With high-density comfortable EVA-wrapped handles, this rod strikes a balance between comfort and efficiency and manages to do well with both.
Because of its titanium components, this rod manages to shed weight and yet stay incredibly durable. It should not surprise anglers that this rod will continue to perform as well as it did off-the-shelf for many years due to its quality build.
There’s a time for hammers, and there’s a time for scalpels. Trout fishing involves the latter. With delicate bites, tentative nibbles, and small, fast-moving bodies, angling for trout requires a certain amount of finesse.
In the place of sturdier rods, heavier tackle, and larger bait, anglers often find success with lighter, more sensitive rods, more lightweight pound tests, and smaller lures.
Though fly rods are susceptible, they require a high skill level. Thus most anglers utilize spinning rods when starting.
7. Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod
Most Durable Rod
- Line rating - 8-17 pounds
- Ugly tech construction with added graphite for lighter...
- Ugly tuff one piece stainless steel guides provide maximum...
- Nearly indestructible design
- Single-piece stainless steel
- 35% more graphite
- Precise tip for enhanced sensitivity
Ugly Stik has shown up on this list twice for a good reason. Yet another quality rod produced by the company, this Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod brings incredible strength without sacrificing sensitivity due to its 35% more graphite.
Damn near-indestructible due to the incorporation of fiberglass and graphite into its build, this clear-tipped rod can feel the gentlest brushes of trout against the hook.
Easy to manipulate and beginner-friendly, the Ugly Stik Elite is a strong rod that doesn’t sacrifice its high-quality build for power. With its comfortable cork handles, angles would be able to maintain a solid purchase on the rod even after hours on the water.
Just as with all angling, the proper trout fishing equipment can be the difference between some tall fishtails and an empty icebox. Anglers looking to maximize their time on the water searching for trout must select the correct rod, drastically increasing their chances of success.
Whether anglers are looking for lightweight, two-piece, longevity, or strength, a multitude offers many rods that will fit the criteria needed to bring home a full stringer of trout. As always, good luck and stay safe on the water.