The Ideal Trout Fishing Spinning Rod Setup

Spinning rods are a good option when fishing for trout. Many anglers find spinning rods make casting easier, as well as offering more accuracy. This type of rod is particularly good for beginners, but whatever your level of experience you will still need the ideal trout fishing spinning rod setup.

The ideal trout fishing spinning rod setup uses an ultralight to light rod, between 6 and 7 feet in length and with a fast action. The accompanying tackle includes an ultralight reel, monofilament or braided line, fluorocarbon leader line, size 8-12 single hook, and lightweight lures or baits.

In this article we’ll look at a common spinning rod setup which is ideal for trout fishing, which can be used effectively in most circumstances. As with all angling, the setup can be adjusted to suit the waters fished and the size of fish being targeted, and this itself requires some experience.

What Is The Ideal Spinning Rod?

A spinning rod with an ultralight to light power rating is the best option when trout fishing. The power rating of a rod relates to the size of the line and lure for which it is designed. The lures and bait used in trout fishing are often delicate and lightweight, making an ultralight spinning rod ideal for this form of angling.

An ultralight rod allows easier and more accurate casting of lightweight lures. The extremely light lures used in trout fishing would not have the weight for effective casting on a heavier setup. The lighter rods also make frequent casting easier on the body and offers more line sensitivity when you have a bite.

Rod Length

Ideally, you want to be using a spinning rod with a length between 6 and 7 feet. A rod within this size range will act as a good all-rounder when you are fishing for trout, as it will manage most of the trout fishing waters you will experience. However, you do still need to consider the area you intend to fish.

A narrow stretch of water with plenty of bushes and trees will favor a smaller size rod, while a 7 foot rod or possibly larger would be better suited for larger rivers and lakes. While a rod of 6 to 7 feet will cope with most scenarios, an alternative length of rod may be needed in certain settings to improve your chances of catching trout.

Rod Action

When trout fishing you are looking to use a spinning rod with a moderate to fast action. The action of a rod refers to the point where the rod starts to bend when placed under a load. A faster rod action sees the rod bend slightly higher up toward the tip.

Lightweight rods generally have a faster action and therefore bend more toward the tip. A fast action rod is good for trout fishing as the bend at the tip offers more sensitivity to help feel the smaller bites, while also helping to give you a better hook-set.

The Best Spinning Reel Option

When considering the ideal spinning reel for trout fishing you are looking at reel sizes between an ultralight 1000 and a slightly bigger 2500 reel size. You are ideally looking to match the reel to the ultralight or light rod you will be using. The 1000 size reel is designed for use with 2 to 4 lb monofilament line, which makes it a good choice for trout fishing.

You generally don’t need a reel which holds too much line when fishing for trout on rivers or lakes. With your spinning rod and its simpler casting technique, you can follow trout along the water on foot, again minimizing the amount of line required. The smaller reel can limit your casting distance, but this shouldn’t become an issue too often.

Which Line Should I Use?

The most common line an angler will go for when trout fishing is monofilament, and this is the best option for beginners. Ideally, the range you will use is between 2 and 6 lb breaking strain. Indeed, if you are trout fishing using line with a 6 lb breaking strain or below it is recommended you always use monofilament.

Monofilament is particularly good when learning your craft as it is versatile as well as being the cheaper option. It also doesn’t require additional fly leader in waters where the trout are not that shy or easily spooked.

The one main downside to monofilament is it has what is termed ‘memory.’ This means line coils can form, which has a negative impact on casting and how the line sits on the water.

Braided Line

Braided line is another popular choice for trout fishing as part of a spinning rod setup. This type of line is stronger than monofilament but is still thin, making it a good option to use with lightweight lures. Braided line also has little ‘memory’ and next to no stretch, providing more sensitivity to the line as well as more precision and greater casting distance.

The point to bear in mind is braided line is highly visible, and if used on its own it can spook the trout. Therefore, if you are going to use braided line you will want to attach fluorocarbon leader to reduce the chance of the trout seeing the line.

The braided line should be 6 to 10 lb breaking strain, as anything less than 6 lb can lead to problems with wind knots. For the fluorocarbon leader you are looking between 1 and 6 lb breaking strain, using 2 to 4 feet of length. There is a balance to strike here between the stealth needed in order not to spook the trout and the size of the fish to be caught using line leader.

Fluorocarbon Line

Fluorocarbon line has grown in popularity yet remains the least commonly used line when trout fishing except as line leader. The additional cost of fluorocarbon line can make it prohibitive to many anglers, although its near invisibility in the water doesmean it’s less likely to be seen by the fish.

This combination of the fluorocarbon line being more expensive yet less visible than other options is why it is often preferred as leader attached to monofilament or braided line. It is certainly a better option to use just 2 to 4 feet of fluorocarbon line as leader if you are on a budget, rather than as the sole line employed over the whole cast.

A feature of fluorocarbon line is it has a higher density than monofilament or braided line. This means it can be a good choice when you need to fish at a lower depth. The fluorocarbon line is easier to sink in order to position the lure exactly where you need it near the bottom of the water channel.


Small, single hooks are the best option when fishing for trout using a spinning rod setup. Ideally, you want to be using a size 8 to size 12 single hook. The size of hook will depend on the size of fish you are looking to catch and the lure needed, but trout are easily spooked by anything they deem unnatural, so the smaller the hook the better.

Most anglers will use a single hook as it will cause less damage to a trout that misses the bait. In waters where a catch and return policy is operated, using a barbless hook makes it easier to release the fish, while also causing less potential harm to the trout.


While most anglers will have their favorite lures and ones they swear by, you want to have a reasonable selection to take into account different water and feeding conditions through the year. With a spinning rod setup that usesan ultralight rod you will also be looking to cast lightweight lures.

The following are examples of the type of lightweight lure you may consider for trout fishing with a spinning rod setup:

  • Micro jigs
  • Ultralight swimbaits
  • Finesse worms
  • Soft plastic swimbaits
  • Ultralight poppers
  • Shaky heads

There is not a one-lure-fits-all scenarios solution. You will find which lures work best in different situations over time with experience. However, by using lightweight lures as part of your spinning rod setup, you will be able to cast further and with more precision, as well as having more feel for the bite.

Final Thoughts

A spinning rod setup is an effective way to catch trout. An ultralight rod, using a small reel with monofilament line plus fluorocarbon leader is a common setup designed for better casting of lighter lures. This setup should work in most situations and is ideal when first learning to catch trout.