New to trout, rod/reel recommendations?

R

RDB

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Feb 1, 2010
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Beaverton, OR
I am new to fishing for trout and would like some recommendations. Is there any particular rod or reel that works best for both trout and steelhead? I have a Shimano Curado and a basic spinning reel.

Can you fish for both with ultra-light or light tackle? Is there any difference in rod length?
 
K

kfallscody

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Klamath Falls, OR
I am sure others with more steelhead knowledge will chime in but for now I will just say what I use :). For trout I use a 7' medium light power, fast action rod with a 2500 size reel with 4 or 6# line. For steelhead I have two setups, one is a 9'6" medium heavy rod with a 3000 series spinning reel. The other is a 9' mediuim heavy rod with a Revo S(baitcaster) reel. Both have 12# line on them.

So generally speaking, most people use a longer rod for steelhead fishing whether floating or drifting. Not to say you can't use a steelhead setup for trout but it is a tad overkill, at least in my opinion.

Again, I am sure others with far more experience than myself will chime in. I would not really suggest fishing for both trout and steelhead with an ultralight setup, I think that would end up being a very frustrating experience. :)
 
troutdude

troutdude

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Welcome

Welcome

RDB, welcome to the world of trout fishing. I have been an avid trout fisherman for about 45 years. I LOVE it!

I have also taught a basic fishing merit badge course now for four or five years. I'd never claim to be an expert at anything, as there is always something new to learn. But, I have been around a while and tried LOTS of different gear, tackle and tactics.

Since you are a beginning trout fisherman, here is the rig that I'd suggest. First a 6 - 6.5 foot rod is a good all around choice. And I'm an "old school" dude, so I like fiberglass rods a LOT better than graphite. Glass is heavier, but much more flexible. And glass rods won't break nearly as easily as Graphite (at least that has been my experience). But, graphite is all that is made today for the most part.

I personally use a 5, 5.5, 6 or 6.5 foot ultralight action rod, with fast action tip. But, if you're not experienced you lose a lot of fish and quickly become frustrated. So, stick with the light action rod above. And just about any brand will do for starting out.

I'd suggest a light action rod, that is made for 2 or 4 pound monofilament test line, up to 6 or 8 pound line. And a higher quality rod, will have at least one line guide per foot of length. (I'd choose a 6' rod with at least five guides plus a tip). This takes the strain off of the line, and transfers the fish's power onto the rod.

For a reel, I suggest an "open face" spinning reel. And, I'd recommend a spool with capacity for about 125 yards of 6 pound line. And your reel should be pretty small. You won't enjoy a heavy reel weighing down the butt end of your rod. I use 6 pound main line, and a line leader of 4 pound strength.

Some name brands of reels to look for, and are reasonably priced, are:

Shimano
Eagle Claw
Abu Garcia
Cardinal
Shakespeare
Quantum
Mitchell

(these are usually around $15 - $25)

And slightly better quality ones are:

Pflueger
Penn

(usually $30 - $50)

And more bearings generally means a better reel.

For a terminal rig to catch the fish, and is fairly easy to learn:

Size 16 treble hook
3' of 4 pound leader (line)
a barrel, or snap, swivel
a medium sized barrel shaped slip sinker
rainbow, spring green, and / or orange colored Berkley's Power Bait

Slide the weight onto your main line. Then tie a swivel onto the main line. (The weight will slide down and rest against the swivel). Tie your leader onto the opposite end of the swivel. Tie the hook onto the end of your leader. Roll up a small ball of power bait and smoosh it onto your hook, so that it covers the hook.

Now toss your line in the water (provided that you've remembered your fishing license). Leave some slack in your line. The bait will float off the bottom. When a fish picks up your bait, your line will tighten. Set your hook and reel in your fish!

Enjoy!

P.S. The trout will usually swallow the bait, and you'll have to kill/keep them. This is NOT the correct method to use, if you wish to catch and then release your fish back into the water.
 
troutdude

troutdude

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BTW, find a Bi Mart store or a local sporting goods shop. Look for a flyer by Luhr Jensen (lure making company). It will show you exactly how to make the terminal rig that I described (hook, leader, bait, etc).

You can also buy couple of Rooster Tail spinner, and Kastmaster Wobblers (also called spoons). Just cast 'em out into the water and reel them back in at varying speeds. You'll catch trout doing that too...and you'll be able to release them without harm too.
 
1

18406ej

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Shimano Gear

Shimano Gear

You can't go wrong investing in the higher end Shimano gear, rods and reels. I have a Shimano Clarus rod and two Shimano spinning reels (Symetre and Stradic). You will need to invest about $200 for one rod and reel, but the products come with a lifetime warranty, and are beautifully made.

Good luck,
 
troutdude

troutdude

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Good idea

Good idea

Good idea EJ.

If you are able to afford higher quality gear, it will indeed tend to last longer and you'll have the guarantee/warranty to boot.

In my post, I was thinking VERY basic...so thanks EJ.

And if you'd like higher end rods, Fenwick and Lamiglas are favorites of mine and G. Loomis is well known and respected too.
 
M

Mattco26

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My two cents

My two cents

In my experience you can have one setup that does several things ok, but not one thing really well. For trout, I use a 6'6" ultralight rod, light will do also. You don't need to spend a ton of money either, I have some more expensive rods but most of the time when fishing for stocked trout I use an Eagle Claw Feather Light. Its a light and very sensitive fiberglass rod, costs about $15 at Bi-Mart. They also have a Berkley Cherrywood UL graphite that is a little more. I wouldn't spend more than about $35 for a trout rod, you can spend $100 pretty easily and its not going to catch you any more fish. While more expensive rods have a better warranty, if take care of your gear it will take care of you. Also, its good to have a backup rod just in case yours gets stepped on or broke, your trip or day isn't ruined. So if you buy something cheaper, you can use it as a backup if you decide later to get something more expensive.

As far as reels go, they don't need to be huge, but you don't want something tiny. The best 2000 size Shimano or 20 size Okuma that you can afford will do just fine. Up until this year I've always used Shimano reels. I picked up an Okuma fly reel and was impressed with the quality, so I looked at their spinning reels, and was equally impressed. I think you get more for your money and the quality is on par with Shimano. I just picked up an Okuma Stinson Si20 at Bi-Mart last week, 7 ball bearings, butter smooth, perfect size for trout, on sale for $24.95.

Line is somewhere that your preference will determine your purchase, mono, braid or flouro. But don't skimp here, cheap line is just that, cheap. I use Berkley Vanish Transition in 6lb. Its a flourocarbon that is visible above water but clear under.

These are just my suggestions, your mileage may vary. But get the best brand name stuff you can afford, you can get a nice setup that will last for years for less than $100.
 
troutdude

troutdude

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Very good ideas...

Very good ideas...

In my experience you can have one setup that does several things ok, but not one thing really well. For trout, I use a 6'6" ultralight rod, light will do also. You don't need to spend a ton of money either, I have some more expensive rods but most of the time when fishing for stocked trout I use an Eagle Claw Feather Light. Its a light and very sensitive fiberglass rod, costs about $15 at Bi-Mart. They also have a Berkley Cherrywood UL graphite that is a little more. I wouldn't spend more than about $35 for a trout rod, you can spend $100 pretty easily and its not going to catch you any more fish. While more expensive rods have a better warranty, if take care of your gear it will take care of you. Also, its good to have a backup rod just in case yours gets stepped on or broke, your trip or day isn't ruined. So if you buy something cheaper, you can use it as a backup if you decide later to get something more expensive.

As far as reels go, they don't need to be huge, but you don't want something tiny. The best 2000 size Shimano or 20 size Okuma that you can afford will do just fine. Up until this year I've always used Shimano reels. I picked up an Okuma fly reel and was impressed with the quality, so I looked at their spinning reels, and was equally impressed. I think you get more for your money and the quality is on par with Shimano. I just picked up an Okuma Stinson Si20 at Bi-Mart last week, 7 ball bearings, butter smooth, perfect size for trout, on sale for $24.95.

Line is somewhere that your preference will determine your purchase, mono, braid or flouro. But don't skimp here, cheap line is just that, cheap. I use Berkley Vanish Transition in 6lb. Its a flourocarbon that is visible above water but clear under.

These are just my suggestions, your mileage may vary. But get the best brand name stuff you can afford, you can get a nice setup that will last for years for less than $100.


Mattco, you have some very good ideas. In fact, I have SEVERAL rods and reels that I have picked up at yard/garage sales for as little as $5 or $10. So they were used when I bought them and I still have many of them several years later! So, you don't have to spend a fortune if you can't or don't want to. Technique, tackle, and timing are more important to actually catching fish.

And I couldn't agree more with the TWO ROD and TWO REEL approach. Many years ago, I traveled more than an hour to chase some summer steelies. My rod tip broke after 20 minutes after arriving. I had NO back up rod (or reel). Ever since then I ALWAYS TAKE 2 rods and 2 reels. If one craps out or breaks, you will have a back up and can keep on fishing!

And I agree about your line too. Do NOT skimp, if possible. Spend as much as you can afford and get quality line. I too, like a line that is invisible to the fish...but the name isn't coming to me at the moment...DOH!

Happy trails,

TD
 
Raincatcher

Raincatcher

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Good advice

Good advice

Very good advice here. The only thing I would add is to check the thrift stores and pawn shops in your area. I have seen some amazing rods and reels in both places. Don't wait too long to check the pawn shops,they raise the prices on seasonal stuff and in the spring/summer it all goes up about 30%.
Happy fishing!
 
S

SmallStreams

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Oregon City
I'm still using rods and reels purchased in the '60s & '70s. The gear does last, so definitely check garage sales, etc. Just skip rods with cracks, rust on the ferrules, loose guides, and chewed up rod butts/cork. Reels should be smooth when winding and the bail should open/close reliably. My old reels haven't really seen any maintenance and they're still in good shape!

Totally agree with open face spinning reels and fast/light action 2-piece rods in the 5.5'-6.5' range. If you're busting through brush like I do on the small streams, you'll prefer a smaller rod. If you prefer boat fishing, lakes, or big rivers, you'll want a longer rod for casting distance.

The fiberglass rods are plenty strong enough for fish up to at least 5 lbs. I've not caught anything larger except snags and have yet to break a rod even with 8 lb test (I usually prefer 4 or 6 lb test for trout, but mostly just use what's available... after spending kilobucks on racing sports cars, it's obvious I've been inexplicably cheap with fishing line).
 
M

meluvtrout

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For trout, may I recommend going ultra light?
Shimano Stimula UL 5'6" for rod: :$15.61 (Lifetime warranty)
Shimano Sedona 500 for reel:$56
4lb main line of choice and 4lb or 2lb leader.
 
T

Throbbit _Shane

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I use a 4'6 shakespeare UL.

And a 6'6 medium shakespear at the same time :)
 
S

steelhead_stalkers

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I love high end gear and my fav trout rod is a custom 5ft loomis imx with recoil guides, 1-4lb. It weighs 1.7 oz and it feels like you are fighting a steelhead when playing with 16 inch trout! I can't wait for diamond lake. ;)
 
A

AnglerWise.com

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Feb 11, 2010
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Not talking about brands here. Just qualities I want to see in a trout fishing outfit.

I use an ultra-light to a light fast action rod. Must be super thin and have skinny light guides. It's important that when you whip the rod it slices the air with almost no friction and doesn't bounce around after. 5-6 foot length is plenty for me.

For the reel: I use a quality small smooth reel spooled with 4 lb test no stretch line. The more bearings the better.

The reason I like this type of fishing rod/reel combo is because it puts you at the end of the line. You can feel every little thing that is going on at the hook.
 
Fish-On Fred

Fish-On Fred

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Ol'Muddy Creek
One thing to do for the protection of your rod, is to build a rod case for it when traveling in your vehicle. I use PVC pipe with a cap on one end and female adapter on the other end with a plug. Be sure to glue the cap on, plus the female adapter. Before you glue the ends on, take some foam cushion material and secure it into cap and plug. Another idea is to make a sock to store your rod in so the rod does not bounce around in the tube. I have had losses due to cooler lids and door jams. Planes also allow these on in the hold. Protect yor investment so you can enjoy it for years. Good Luck and Tight Lines, Fred;)
 
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