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Trout Fishing Gear & Tackle

As a beginner trout angler you might be surprised by just how light most trout fishing gear and tackle really is.

If you are coming from the bass or musky fishing world then chances are you are used to heavy power rated rods and big baitcasters spooled with braided fishing line.

Trout on the other hand need a somewhat gentler touch and the tackle needs to match their size and the lighter lures you will be using.

Most trout fishing will fall into the ultralight category i.e gear that is rated for line in the 2 to 6 lbs range.

Rods need to be light and precise and reels need to be small and light to keep the rod perfectly balanced for casting.

Ideally you would be looking at the following type of setup all of which are within certain ranges:

  • Rod - between 6 and 7 feet in length with an ultralight power rating and a fast action
  • Reel - size 1000 to 2500 spinning reel.
  • Line - monofilament fishing line in the 2 to 6 lbs range.

On really small streams when targeting brook trout or small wild brown trout you can use the lower end of the range for the above, for larger rivers and bigger fish use the upper end of the specifications.

Trout Fishing Gear

1. Rod

The best trout spinning rod will generally be a spinning rod and not a casting rod. A casting rod does not fair to well with very light lures as the reel needs a decent amount of weight to get the spool running up to speed.

Look for an ultralight power rated rod with a fast action.

An ultralight rod should be rated for line in the 2 to 6 lbs range. These lighter rods are extremely sensitive and coupled with a fast action will give you a lot of feedback through the tip.

A fast action rod blank bends in the upper one third of the rod towards the rod tip. This means better sensitivity and a much quicker hook set.

Most beginners fishing rods will be okay but after a while you might want to upgrade to a more specialist rod.

2. Reel

Spinning reels are the top choice for fishing with smaller lures as they can cast smaller weights with much more ease than a baitcasting reel.

A size 1000 up to a size 2500 spinning is what should be paired with the rod described above.

They should hold enough line for most trout waters.

A high quality drag and reel housing is important for almost any reel but for such light lines the lip on the spool is one of the most important features as it will have a big impact on how well you can cast small lures.

3. Line

The number one choice as a fishing line for trout has always been and probably will always be monofilament fishing line.

Mono is cheap pretty low viz and can take a few knocks and scrapes. It also knots quite well particularly if you are a beginner.

Fluorocarbon is a good second choice as it has pretty much all the same attributes as mono apart from the fact that it has a much lower in built stretch.

If you are jigging then fluoro makes a lot of sense as you do not want much stretch or delay in the system.

Braid is just too visible and does not fair well when worked over rocky bottoms as the individual strand can fray quite easily.

4. Lures

The majority of trout lures will be small spinners, spoons and Rapala like small baitfish imitators.

Spinners are probably the most popular trout lures that are in sue today and they really haven't changed all of that much over the past 50 years and the same can be said for spoons too.

Rapala style lures can be extremely effective and on certain waters out-fish any spinner on the right day. 

5. Hooks

Depending on your particular trout fishing setup how you rig your bait can have a big impact on what style and size of hooks that you use when fishing with bait.

Single hooks are preferred although some anglers will use treble hooks when using something like Powerbait.

If you are planning on releasing your catch and not keeping them then please use a barbless hook as it lessens the chance of gut hooking the trout.

6. Net

Although a net is not a requirement if you are practicing catch and release then a modern rubber meshed landing net is a good idea as it allows you to de-hook the trout safely and easily without too much handling involved.

Older style knotted string mesh nets unfortunately will end up scrapping the slime off of the scales and skin of a small trout. That slime is a protective barrier that helps reduce infections in the trout so these types of nets can do more harm than good.

If you have to handle a trout then please do so with wet hands that are clean. Dry hands will remove the slime so simply wetting them can make a massive difference.

As we have seen trout fishing gear and tackle is quite light and in essence very simple.