5 Best Fishing Rods for Steelhead (Reviews Updated 2022)

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Steelhead always known as steelhead trout are a unique species that are anadromous and are often confused by many as a species of salmon. They grow to much larger sizes than their freshwater cousins, rainbow trout, and reeling them in requires a rod built for a decent fight. The ideal fishing rod for steelhead should be lightweight, durable, easily maneuverable, and boast of impressive casting distance.

Best Fishing Rods for Steelhead

Here is our compilation of premium steelhead fishing rods that stand out from the rest and are sure to satisfy you regardless of your experience level.

1. Moonshine Rod Co. The Drifter Series Fly Fishing Rod

Moonshine Rod Co. The Drifter Series Fly Fishing Rod

The Drifter Series Fly Fishing Rods from Moonshine Rod Co comes with a flawless design, hand-crafted wooden cork grips, and custom copper-anodized reel seats. It also boasts of a high-performance carbon fiber blank and is great for drifting. It comes with a four-piece design and is the ideal budget option.

  • Comfortable, medium/fast action rods.
  • 10-inch rod length.
  • Sturdy and durable.
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2. Okuma Fishing Tackle SST-S-863MH Salmon/Steelhead Fishing Spinning Rods

Okuma Fishing Tackle SST-S-863MH Salmon/Steelhead Fishing Spinning Rods

Another rod specifically designed for steelhead fishing is the SST 863MH spinning rod from Okuma Fishing Tackle. The IM-8 graphite rod blanks, sturdy stainless steel guides with zirconium inserts, high-quality rear and foregrips, and anodized copper finish give this tackle a place in the corps d’elite of fishing rods without being pricey.

  • 8’6” rod length with 10-25lbs line weight rating.
  • Strong and sensitive IM-8 graphite blanks.
  • Stainless steel guide frames for smooth casts and durability.
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3. Temple Fork Outfitters BVK Series Fly Fishing Rods

Temple Fork Outfitters Bvk Series Fly Fishing Rods

If you desire a great, functional fly fishing rod without having to break the bank, then the BVK Fly Fishing Rod series from TFO is an excellent choice. These BVK rods perform every bit as well as rods selling at double their price, and buyers have nothing but praise for the BVK series. These fast-action rods are lightweight, affordable, and extremely powerful.

  • Chrome-infused anodized stainless steel snake guides and frame.
  • Translucent olive blanks with carbon fiber reel seat.
  • Built for use in both freshwater and saltwater.
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4. KastKing Compass Telescopic Fishing Rods

Kastking Compass Telescopic Fishing Rods

These telescopic fishing rods from KastKing are compact, extremely strong, durable, and appropriate for all fish species despite their portability. At 7′, the collapsible fishing rod is medium-heavy with a moderate/fast action, and line weight range of 8-20lbs. The blanks contain graphite composite, with stainless steel guides and titanium oxide ceramic rings.

  • Extremely durable and lightweight.
  • Graphite composite blanks for increased sensitivity and tensile strength.
  • Available in spinning and casting models.
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5. St Croix Triumph Surf Spinning Rod

St Croix Triumph Surf Spinning Rod

St Croix Triumph Surf Spinning Rods deliver the power and action needed to hunt the biggest and most aggressive of fishes be it in the backwaters or on the high sea. The SCII graphite fiber blanks, aluminum guides, a ton of other top-grade fittings, and 9-foot and 10-foot variants providing line weights of 8-20lbs and 10-25lbs respectively make this product more than capable of handling even the meanest steelheads.

  • Moderate-fast action SCII graphite fiber rod construction.
  • Fuji DPS reel seats, silver hood, and AlO3 guides.
  • Manufactured to last with the highest quality materials.
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Fishing Rods for Steelhead Buying Guide

Steelhead is an impressive species to catch and put up a real challenge even for experienced anglers as they are difficult to find. They also put up a decent fight thanks to their impressive sizes and are usually the go-to species for many anglers who have mastered catching salmon.

In this buying guide, we have reviewed the five best fishing rods for steelhead you can buy 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 rod for steelhead before you make a purchase.


The first factor you want to consider is the type of fishing rod for steelhead you want to get. Of all the different fishing rod types, the most common you’ll find for steelhead are spinning and baitcasting rods.

Spinning rods boast of longer casting ranges and are very versatile. They are also less prone to backlash and are ideal for beginners.

For the more serious angler, baitcasting rods offer more precise casts and a more hands-on feel of the reeling process.


Fishing rods for steelhead have to be very long to give you control over the casting distance and cover a wider fishing area for different techniques. The longer the rod, the longer the casting distance. Lengths between 8’ and 10’ are the most ideal.

The ideal steelhead fishing rod should come in a multiple-piece or telescopic design to compensate for its length with portability.

Power and Action

In a steelhead fishing rod, you want to see fast action and medium power.