The Best Trout Spinning Reels: 2021 Buying Guide

Kenneth ReavesEdited by: Kenneth Reaves
Michael DarmontReviewed by: Michael Darmont

Last Update:

The Rundown

Best Overall: Pflueger President (click to see)
“With a slow oscillation gearing, a sealed drag system, and a graphite body and rotor, the Pflueger President offers unparalleled reliability so you can make the most out of your day.”

Premium Option: KastKing Summer and Centron (click to see)
“Offering silky-smooth performance beyond belief, the KastKing Summer/Centron features a lightweight, compact design, 17.5 lb. drag system, and 9-ball bearings – great for anglers looking for a quality spinning reel that operates seamlessly.”

Best Budget Option: Piscifun Flame (click to see)
“Enjoy a powerful 19.8 lb. drag system, lightweight graphite frame, and an ergonomic design, all at an affordable rate with the Piscifun Flame!”

Check Other Models on Amazon

Nothing spells happiness quite like a clear running stream and an abundance of pole bending action but in order to make the most out of such a trout fishing outing, an angler’s gear must be well engineered and up to the task at hand.

Few such pieces of gear are as essential as that of an angler’s spinning reel.

The best trout spinning reels typically feature robust drag systems, high-quality ball bearing assemblies, and durable internal gear train components.

Additionally, the majority of top-tier trout spinning reels are also largely corrosion-resistant, providing enhanced longevity and reliability.

Here are the best trout spinning reels on the market.

Sources researched
17
Sources researched
Customer reviews
14,246
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
18
Hours spent testing
Products tested
7
Products tested
Product Name
Best Overall
Smoothest Performance
Best Budget Reel
Our Rank
Ranked #1
Ranked #2
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
Pflueger PRESSP20X President Spinning Fishing Reel, 100/4
KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reels, 9 +1 BB Light Weight, Ultra Smooth Powerful, Size 500 is Perfect for Ultralight/Ice Fishing.
Piscifun Flame Spinning Reels Light Weight Ultra Smooth Powerful Spinning Fishing Reels Red & Blue
Our Grade
Our Rating 93/100
Our Rating 86/100
Our Rating 82/100
Feature 1
Sealed drag system for superior corrosion resistance
Lightweight, compact design for enhanced angler comfort
Lightweight graphite frame for enhanced angler comfort
Feature 2
Graphite body and rotor for enhanced angler comfort
9-ball bearings for ultra-smooth performance
Ergonomic design for the minimization of hand fatigue
Best Overall
Product Name
Our Rank
Ranked #1
Thumbnail
Pflueger PRESSP20X President Spinning Fishing Reel, 100/4
Our Grade
Our Rating 93/100
Feature 1
Sealed drag system for superior corrosion resistance
Feature 2
Graphite body and rotor for enhanced angler comfort
Smoothest Performance
Our Rank
Ranked #2
Thumbnail
KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reels, 9 +1 BB Light Weight, Ultra Smooth Powerful, Size 500 is Perfect for Ultralight/Ice Fishing.
Our Grade
Our Rating 86/100
Feature 1
Lightweight, compact design for enhanced angler comfort
Feature 2
9-ball bearings for ultra-smooth performance
Best Budget Reel
Product Name
Our Rank
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
Piscifun Flame Spinning Reels Light Weight Ultra Smooth Powerful Spinning Fishing Reels Red & Blue
Our Grade
Our Rating 82/100
Feature 1
Lightweight graphite frame for enhanced angler comfort
Feature 2
Ergonomic design for the minimization of hand fatigue

Best Spinning Reels For Trout 2021

  1. Best Overall: Pflueger President
  2. Smoothest Performance: KastKing Summer and Centron
  3. Best Budget Reel: Piscifun Flame
  4. Most Powerful: KastKing Sharky III
  5. Best Corrosion Resistance: PENN Pursuit III
  6. Best Ultralight: Sougayilang
  7. Most Versatile: Okuma Ceymar

Pflueger President Spinning Reel

Best Overall: A reel that is as reliable as the day is long

Pflueger PRESSP20X President Spinning Fishing Reel, 100/4
Check Price on Amazon

Check Price on Bass Pro

KEY FEATURES

  • Specialized gearing for the minimization of line twist
  • Sealed drag system for superior corrosion resistance
  • Graphite body and rotor for enhanced angler comfort

If you strive to make the most efficient use out of every second on the water, and are searching for a trout spinning reel that offers unparalleled reliability, then the Pflueger President spinning reel should be deserving of your attention. This spinning reel for trout features a proprietary gear set that slows oscillation to prevent line twisting and kinks, and is fitted with a waterproof sealed drag system that provides enhanced line metering capabilities under any circumstance.

CLICK TO SEE MORE

The Pflueger President takes reliability to the next level, with the use of slow oscillation gearing to prevent line from being wound in a fashion that is too quick for proper spooling. This leads to even line distribution, which means fewer “birds’ nests”, and more time spent trout fishing, instead of fixing line-related issues.

Anglers are also likely to find promise in the Pflueger President’s sealed drag system, which resists water intrusion, thereby maintaining the viability of the unit’s internal lubrication. This should be a highly regarded characteristic among anglers, as the onset of water intrusion-related corrosion often signals the end of the line for the majority of reels found on today’s market. A compromised drag system often leads to the rapid onset of numerous operational issues.

KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reel

Smoothest Performance: Silky smooth performance beyond belief

KastKing Centron Spinning Reel,Size 500 Fishing Reel
Check Price on Amazon

KEY FEATURES

  • Lightweight, compact design for enhanced angler comfort
  • 17.5 lb. drag system for significant fighting power
  • 9-ball bearings for ultra-smooth performance

If you are currently searching for the best trout spinning reel that operates in a seamless manner, there are likely few better options than the KastKing Summer and Centron series of reels. Each Summer and Centron series reel utilizes a total of 9 ball bearings, which should offer ultra-smooth performance, free of any hard spots or operational lag. Additionally, all reels within this series feature a lightweight graphite frame that is compact in design, and should be quite durable as well.

CLICK TO SEE MORE

KastKing Summer and Centron series reels also feature a robust 17.5 lb. drag system, which is likely to be substantial enough to battle even the most sizable of trout to the bank. This drag system is engineered for enhanced durability, featuring a hardened metal main shaft, perfect mesh drive gear, and precision machined pinion gear.

Most anglers are also likely to find favor in the outright visual appeal associated with KastKing’s Summer and Centron series reels. These reels are offered in two separate color combinations, which include black with blue accents, and white with blue accents. This allows every angler to choose a particular model that best suits his or her individual tastes.

Piscifun Flame Spinning Reel

Best Budget Reel: Rich performance at a subdued price

Piscifun Flame Spinning Reels Light Weight Ultra Smooth Powerful Spinning Fishing Reels Red 2000 Series
Check Price on Amazon

KEY FEATURES

  • Lightweight graphite frame for enhanced angler comfort
  • Powerful 19.8 lb. drag system for improved line metering capabilities
  • Ergonomic design for the minimization of hand fatigue

If you are currently searching for a lightweight, compact trout spinning reel, at a more than reasonable price point, then the Piscifun Flame should be atop your list of contenders. This spinning reel features a lightweight hollow graphite frame, and an ergonomic grip and handle, which should keep you fishing for hours, void of any discomfort.

CLICK TO SEE MORE

Weighing in at only 8.5 ounces, the Piscifun Flame spinning reel for trout is unlikely to cause any noticeable amount of hand or arm fatigue, even with hours of use. This minimization of weight is largely a product of the Flame’s hollow graphite handle, which minimizes unnecessary weight. The Piscifun Flame also features an ergonomic handle, which is likely to be a favorite feature of many, especially in regards to overall comfort.

Another feature of significance is the Piscifun Flame’s robust drag system, which should be ideal for handling any fish that takes the hook. With triple drag washers, 19.8 lbs of total drag capacity, a high quality drive gear, a precisely machined brass pinion gear, and a reinforced metal main shaft, the Piscifun Flame means business and is likely to adequately handle any situation that is encountered on the water.

KastKing Sharky III Spinning Reel

Most Powerful: Power that you must experience to believe

KastKing Sharky III Spinning Fishing Reel,Size 1000
Check Price on Amazon

KEY FEATURES

  • Class-leading 39.5 lb. triple-disc drag for next-level fighting power
  • KastKing Intrusion Shield System for enhanced durability
  • Includes 10+1 saltwater rated, double-shielded ball bearings for smooth operation

The KastKing Sharky III is a spinning reel engineered to manhandle even the most sizable of fish, including large lake trout. This spinning reel features a class-leading 39.5 lb. triple-disc drag system, and 10+1 saltwater rated, double-shielded ball bearings, which should prove advantageous, even in the most extreme of circumstances.

CLICK TO SEE MORE

The KastKing Sharky III's drag system is specifically designed to deliver unparalleled power, no matter the task at hand. This trout spinning reel features precision mesh manganese brass pinion gears, triple-disc carbon fiber drag discs that’s heavy-duty, and a stainless-steel main shaft that’s oversized, which should culminate in a winning combination for wrangling trophy-size trout, with no questions asked.

Many anglers should also find immense favor in the KastKing Sharky III’s unique Shark Fin Braid Ready aluminum spool. This spool allows anglers to fit their spinning reel with braided line, in absence of any monofilament backing, as is standard protocol with the vast majority of best trout spinning reels on the market. This feature should minimize the amount of time and effort which is expended on trout reel maintenance, allowing anglers to spend more time on the water, putting fish in the boat.

PENN Pursuit III Spinning Reel

Best Corrosion Resistance: A reel that can not be stopped by any fish, nor the element

PENN Pursuit III Spinning Fishing Reel, Black/Silver, 2500
Check Price on Amazon

KEY FEATURES

  • 4 + 1 stainless steel shielded ball bearing system for seamless operation
  • Lightweight graphite body for enhanced angler comfort
  • HT-100 carbon-fiber drag system for significant fighting power

If you spend every available moment on the water, no matter how nasty the weather becomes, and are looking for a fishing reel that is up to the task of fishing in the most relentless of manners, then the Penn Pursuit III should be worthy of your consideration. This spinning reel features an ultra-lightweight, corrosion-resistant graphite body and a 4+1 stainless steel shielded bearing system, which should allow it to withstand constant bombardment by the elements, without suffering from a shortened service life.

CLICK TO SEE MORE

The PENN Pursuit III features the company’s HT-100 drag system, which utilizes carbon-fiber drag washers to effortlessly meter line dispersal. This drag system is designed to dissipate heat, minimize wear, and provide consistent operation, no matter how big the trout on the end of your line might be. This should be a favorite characteristic of those who regularly pursue trophy-size lake and brown trout.

Anglers are also likely to find favor in the Penn Pursuit III’s Instant Anti-Reverse mechanism, which prevents the inadvertent backspooling of line, and allows for instantaneous hook sets. This is a feature that is likely to be a favorite of those who fish for trout in heavily pressured bodies of water, where light bites are often the norm.

Sougayilang Spinning Reel

Best Ultralight: An excellent ultralight that comes at an incredible price.

Sougayilang Spinning Fishing Reels Smooth 11BB for Inshore Boat Rock Freshwater Saltwater Fishing-DK1000
Check Price on Amazon

KEY FEATURES

  • Interchangeable right/left-handed handle
  • Extremely light and smooth to use
  • Anti-water/dust drag knob

The Sougayling spinning reel is an excellent option for trout fishermen looking for more play out of their hookups. Designed for lighter lines and a more finesse style of fishing, you won’t have to worry about overpowering river trout with your gear and can fully enjoy the fight.

CLICK TO SEE MORE

The first thing that stands out about the Sougayilang Spinning Reel is the incredibly low price. While that may turn off some fishermen who think the reel is junk, a quick look at the reel’s specs proves otherwise. With a body made from CNC machined metal, a solid-sealed drag, and an overall smooth performance thanks to its 11 ball bearings, this spinning reel holds up as a great ultralight.

The overall size of the reel is small, with a spool designed for ultralight braids and monofilaments. The 5.2:1 gear ratio gives you a quick retrieval even with a thin spool, and the lower drag power really lets you feel the fish on the end of your line.

Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel

Most Versatile: A versatile series of reel, with sizing options to meet every need

okuma Ceymar Lightweight Spinning Reel- C-30
Check Price on Amazon

Check Price on Fish USA

KEY FEATURES

  • Multi-disc, pre-oiled drag system allows for increased fighting power
  • Quick-set anti-reverse roller bearing for superior hook sets
  • Offered in a range of sizes for unmatched versatility

The Okuma Ceymar line of spinning reels is offered in numerous sizes, which should be appreciated by those who have a specific set of product characteristics in mind, but are rather selective in the size of reel which they intend to use. This trout fishing reel also showcases a number of premium-tier features, such as a multi-disc, pre-oiled drag system, a quick-set anti-reverse roller bearing, and a high-torque pinion gear.

CLICK TO SEE MORE

Included in the Okuma Ceymar is the C-30/C-40 for freshwater use, the C-55 for inshore saltwater fishing, and the C-65 for open water excursions. With such a wide array of purpose-specific models, most anglers will be able to easily locate an Okuma Ceymar reel that is perfectly suited to their needs. This is a fact that is likely to be appreciated by trout anglers, who often find themselves fishing particular locations of a specific size, such as large cool-water lakes, or small clear-running streams.

The Okuma Ceymar’s Multi-disc, pre-oiled drag system should also find favor among many anglers. This system utilizes felt-style drag discs that efficiently meter drag and line dispersal, leading to a pronounced degree of fighting potential, even when faced with less than ideal circumstances. This series of spinning reels also features an anti-corrosive anodized coating. This can come as a significant benefit when factoring in the longevity of a particular reel, as the elements can quickly compromise uncoated reels, rendering them useless in a matter of only a few years in the most inhospitable of conditions.

What To Look For When Buying a Trout Spinning Reel

Drag System

A spinning reel’s drag system plays a pivotal role in the efficiency of a unit’s line metering capabilities.

Much of a reel’s fighting power is derived from its drag system. A reel’s drag system uses a series of specialty drag washers to create friction, which is metered by the unit’s drag adjustment. As this adjustment is tightened down, more friction is applied, which ultimately increases the amount of force that is necessary to cause outward line slippage.

Ball Bearings

The number of ball bearings in a spinning reel is directly related to how smoothly the reel rotates, as their main function is to reduce friction in the reel.

While the quality of ball bearings is important, typically try to look for spinning reels with a higher number of ball bearings regardless. The more bearings the reel has, the more opportunity there is to reduce friction in the reel, making it smoother and easier to use.

Gear Ratio

A spinning reel’s gear ratio directly determines how quickly its line can be retrieved, as well as the amount of torque that it is capable of producing.

When searching for a new trout spinning reel, it is immensely important to locate a model with an ideal gear ratio for your specific needs. In the vast majority of cases, this comes down to a matter of personal preference. The higher a reel’s gear ratio, the faster its retrieve will be. Alternatively, lower gear ratios offer more torque, but less retrieval speed.

Reel Housing

The composition of a spinning reel’s housing effectively determines its strength and durability.

Today’s best trout spinning reels feature housings of many different sizes, shapes, and configurations. However, aluminum and graphite housings remain the most popular models in service. This is largely because of each substance’s weight reductive properties.

Reel Size

Locating a spinning reel of the correct size to meet your specific needs, is crucial when attempting to make the most out of your time on the water.

Trout spinning reels come in numerous different sizes, with each being designed for specific applications. By selecting a reel of the correct size for your specific application, you can avoid many unforeseen issues in the future.

Weight 

The lighter a spinning reel, the more comfortable it will be to use when fishing for hours at a time in search of trout.

A bulky, heavyweight trout spinning reel can be quite cumbersome to use, and often leads to hand, arm, and back fatigue. As a result, an angler becomes frustrated and often discontinues the use of such a reel. On the contrary, lightweight spinning reels can be an absolute joy to use, and are quickly growing in popularity.

Questions and Answers

What is the best setup for trout fishing?

The best setups are usually a matter of preference, however, there are some better suited to trout fishing. Aim for a lightweight, six-foot spinning rod, a spinning reel from this list, and a four to six-pound monofilament line. Size #8 bait hooks are a great choice for the baits you’ll be using as well. Be sure to use lightweight gear to help hide your trout line from the fish and make it an enjoyable fight instead of overpowering the trout.

What size hook is best for trout?

Trout have good eyesight and can see larger hooks in the water so the smaller the better. You’ll usually want to go with sizes between #8 and #14 bait hooks. Remember to use barbless hooks for easier and healthier catch and release fishing.

Final Thoughts

While selecting a spinning reel for use when trout fishing can often be difficult, this process can be simplified by knowing exactly what to look for. The ideal trout fishing spinning reel should be comfortable to use, largely impervious to ill-effects at the hands of the elements, smooth in operation, and powerful when in the midst of a fight.

A reel of this nature should also be extremely durable, as even the best spinning reel is of little use if it cannot stand up to the test of time. A well-engineered spinning reel will often last an angler a lifetime if properly taken care of.