5 Best Fishing Reels for Chinook (Reviews Updated 2021)

Chinook, also known as king salmon, top the list of large sports fish anglers target as they grow to impressive sizes and weights – over 40 lbs., and are highly nutritious as food. Their impressive fighting power and deep dives when hooked have to be tackled by the right reel for a successful catch.

The ideal fishing reel for chinook must be exceptionally durable and corrosion-resistant, come with a large line capacity, high drag, an ergonomic design, and should be compatible with your choice for a rod.

Best Fishing Reels for Chinook

To help you in your search for the best reels for chinook, some spectacular products are listed and reviewed below.

1. Pflueger President Spinning Fishing Reel

Pflueger President Spinning Fishing Reel

This reel comes with ten bearings, with each bearing made from corrosion-resistant stainless steel, and it is ideal for chinook fishing. It has a sealed drag system with washers that are always lubricated and slow oscillation gearing that reduces line twisting, boosts the overall line lay, and provides smooth operation. Also, the rotor and body of the reel are both made from graphite, which is lightweight.

  • Spool is braid ready.
  • Strong and durable.
  • It is affordable.
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2. Okuma Magda Pro Trolling Reel

Okuma Magda Pro Trolling Reel

The spool of the Magda Pro reel is made from graphite, and it is protected by reinforced stainless steel side plate rings. The reel has a mechanical line counter function, a multi-disc carbonate drag system, and a gear system that self-lubricates. Also, the gears are made from machine-cut brass, and the two ball bearings are made from stainless steel.

  • Resistant to corrosion.
  • Lightweight frame.
  • Reliable and durable.
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3. Penn SQL20LWLC Squall LevelWind Reel

Penn Sql20lwlc Squall Levelwind Reel

This reel has an attractive black-and-gold design, and its build includes a frame and side-plates made from graphite. The HT-100 drag system is made from carbon fiber and it ensures smooth operation combined with a strong drag, enabling it to pull in chinook. The bearing system consists of two ball bearings and an extra anti-reverse bearing, all made from stainless steel.

  • Machined aluminum spool.
  • Bronze alloy main gear.
  • Weight of 0.45 kg.
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4. PENN Battle II Spinning Reel

Penn Battle Ii 3000 Spinning Reel

First among the features that make this one of the best reels for chinook is the HT-100 carbon fiber drag system that provides a considerable drag while remaining fluid. The reel’s durability is top-notch, with its body, rotor, and side-plate all made from metal, and the bail wire made from heavy-duty aluminum. The spool is braid ready, requires no backing, can accommodate great lengths of line, and has capacity rings that mark one-third, two-thirds, and full line capacity.

  • 5 stainless steel bearings.
  • Anti-reverse bearing.
  • Impressive line capacity.
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5. Shimano Stradic Ci4+ Spinning Reel

Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 2500 Fb Spinning Fishing Reel

This reel features a carbon body and a spool made from cold-forged aluminum, both ensuring that the reel is lightweight and durable. The special X-ship technology removes friction between the gear and the spool shaft, boosts the durability of the gear, and helps provide longer cast lengths. There is a unique Magnumlite dyna-balance rotor that gives a smooth, light feel when in use, and the bearing system consists of six ball bearings and one roller bearing.

  • 0:1 gear ratio.
  • Weight of 0.45 lbs.
  • Durable hagane gearing.
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Fishing Reels for Chinook Buying Guide

As the largest species of salmon, your equipment is everything if you want to successfully reel in the pacific monster that is chinook. Of all your equipment in your gear, your fishing reel takes special priority as it is the central hub of all your reeling effort and the battle arena between you and your target.

In this buying guide, we have reviewed the five best fishing reels you can buy to tackle chinook based on their specified features, price tags, and tested performance. To further help you in your search, we will now take a look at the key factors you should consider and the qualities you want to see in a fishing reel for chinook before you make a purchase.

Material Composition

Your fishing reel for chinook should be built from the best materials that will resist corrosion and ensure long service, more so for the reason that chinook is anadromous. It should combine low weight with high strength for the best performance. When choosing a fishing reel for king salmon, you should not compromise on quality for affordability. Cheap plastic reels should be avoided. Instead, materials like graphite, aluminum alloys, and composites like carbon fiber are what you should look out for.

Graphite is a great material in fishing reels for chinook as it is very lightweight and tough. It is also very resistant to corrosion. For the best performance, aircraft-grade aluminum alloys and composites like carbon fiber fishing reels for chinook are the ideal choice but are more expensive.


While fishing reels come in many different types, baitcasting reels, spinning reels, trolling reels, and fly fishing reels are the most commonly used for chinook.

Spinning reels are the most popular reel type and are very easy to use. They offer the advantage of being less prone to backlash, impressive casting range, and are very beginner-friendly.

Baitcasting reels are more common among experienced anglers and are used to tackle larger chinook. They can accommodate heavier lines and deliver higher torque than spinning reels. While they don’t cast bait as far as spinning reels, they offer more accurate casts. They are, however, more prone to backlash.

Fly fishing reels allow anglers to cast very light lures and greatly imitate insects, raising the chances of a catch.

With a trolling reel for chinook, you get the most line capacity and reeling torque and should be matched with a conventional rod.

Line Capacity

The line capacity or amount of line your fishing reel for chinook can hold is one of the most important factors to consider. Chinook put up a decent fight and are notorious for diving deep when hooked, so your reel should store enough line for your catch to flee and tire out without running out of line. Line capacities are usually specified as a two-figure value representing the length of a particular load-tested line the reel can accommodate.

So a fishing reel for chinook with a line capacity of 12 lb./240 yard can take 240 yards of fishing line with a maximum rated tension of 12 lb.


When fishing chinook, the right reel with the right amount of drag will help you conserve your energy and minimize the risk of your line snapping. Instead of relying totally on your reeling effort to slow and tire out your catch, the drag does this for you allowing the line to unspool under resistance. The drag rating will determine how long it takes to reel in a hooked chinook. Higher drag ratings will allow you to work larger fish. The drag setting, however, should never be set above the load capacity of the line as the latter will snap before the reel is forced to turn. Fishing reels for chinook with adjustable drag settings should peak at anywhere between 10 lbs. to up to 30 lbs.