5 Best Fishing Reels for Rainbow Trout (Reviews Updated 2021)

The rainbow trout, a freshwater cousin of the anadromous steelhead, comes with beautiful color, tastes great, and is very abundant. If you want to target rainbow trout, choosing your fishing reel can leave you dizzy, thanks to the vast options.

The ideal fishing reel for rainbow trout should come with a large line capacity, should be durable, lightweight, easy to mount, and should be very convenient to use.

Best Fishing Reels for Rainbow Trout

To save you the shopping hassle, we have compiled a list of fishing reels for rainbow trout that check all these boxes and don’t cost a fortune.

1. Pflueger PRESXTSP30X President XT Spinning Reel

Pflueger Presxtsp30x President Xt Spinning Reel

The Pflueger President is a perfect choice for anglers who are seeking value while following a budget. With a carbon fiber handle, rubber cork, aluminum main shaft, and pinion gear, this spinning reel is considerably more lightweight than the orthodox stainless steel setups. It also offers a powerful silky smooth drag system, with 10 stainless steel ball bearings and a sealed-in 5.2:1 drag system.

  • Durable, corrosion-resistant ball bearings.
  • Braid-ready aluminum spool.
  • Lightweight, pocket-friendly.
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2. PENN Pursuit III Spinning Fishing Reel

Penn Pursuit Iii Spinning Fishing Reel

Anglers know to expect premium-quality gear from prominent fishing gear brands, and the Penn Pursuit spinning fishing reel sits comfortably in this class. The outer construction features a durable, lightweight graphite frame, with four stainless steel ball bearings and one instant anti-reverse roller bearing for seamless retrieves.

  • HT-100 fiber drag system.
  • Durable and lightweight.
  • 4+1 stainless steel ball bearings.
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3. KastKing Sharky III Fishing Reel

Kastking Sharky Iii Fishing Reel

The KastKing Sharky III is a sturdy spinning fishing reel with upgraded features that put the previous series in the background. The rotor and body are lightweight, made with durable graphite fiber and anti-corrosion drive gears that make it ideal for salt and freshwater. The triple-disc drag washers can take up to 33lbs, and smooth retrieves are guaranteed with the 5.2:1 gear ratio.

  • 10+1 shielded stainless steel ball bearings.
  • Water and dust-resistant (Intrusion Shield System).
  • EVA foam grip and shark fin braid-ready spool.
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4. Daiwa Legalis LT Left/Right Hand Spinning/Casting Fishing Reel

Daiwa Legalis LT Left/Right Hand Spinning/Casting Fishing Reel

The Daiwa Leglis is an ambidextrous spinning fishing reel that sports a contemporary design. The exterior is attractive, lightweight, and durable, constructed using carbon composite(including air rotor and bail), with an oversize ABS spool and CNC-machined aluminum handle. The Legalis also has an amazingly hitch-free six-ball and roller bearing retrieval system, backed by a 6.2:1 gear ratio.

  • LT(light yet tough) carbon composite housing.
  • Advanced Ballistic System spool design.
  • 2:1 gear ratio.
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5. SHIMANO Sedona Spinning Reel

Shimano Sedona Fi Spinning Reel

Another reel that provides incredible value for your money is the SHIMANO Sedona spinning fishing reel. At a virtually give-away price, the lightweight Sedona is crammed with enough perks to reel in trout and even larger species. Although the 3+1 bearing system might seem discouraging, the trademark HAGANE gearing with a 5.0:1 ratio and double-anodized CNC-machined spools more than makes up for it. The Shimano Sedona offers versatility that several products in this price range lack.

  • 0:1 gear ratio with 7-lbs max drag.
  • PLMS for longer casting distance and minimum backlash.
  • Lightweight, compact and affordable.
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Fishing Reels for Rainbow Trout Buying Guide

The rainbow trout is a fun species to catch and stands out with its distinctive coloration. And while considered small fish, they can grow to impressive sizes that match their bigger cousin, the anadromous steelhead.

But before you decide on which fishing reel you want to use to target rainbow trout and make a purchase, there are a number of factors you want to consider that serve as trimming points to narrow down your options. In this guide, we outlined the best reels for rainbow trout, and now we will consider those important factors and qualities we considered while we were doing the homework of compiling the products for you.


For the angler targeting trout, you will find that spinning reels and fly reels are the most suitable. Spinning reels are exceptionally versatile and are generally built to handle larger lures, and are also great for beginners.

While fly reels have a steeper learning curve, they are more suited to handling very small lures.

Gear Ratio

The gear ratio on your reel is stated as X:1, where X is usually a decimal number, and gives the number of turns your reel makes per revolution of the cranking handle. The higher the gear ratio, the higher the number of turns and the quicker the retrieval of your line and whatever’s hooked on it.

For rainbow trout, generally, higher gear ratios are recommended, but for areas known for much larger fish, you will want to go for smaller gear ratios.


The drag on your fishing reel is designed to put resistance on the line as it unspools so it tires your catch out safely without snapping your tackle. The larger the trout you expect, the more drag should be on the reel.


Any reel you are getting should come with a lightweight, durable construction, and should last through years of active use. The best reels are made from lightweight graphite or the very sturdy metal alloys.