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The Best Trout Fishing Pole for 2023: Our Top 5 Picks

Whether they’re encountered in a rushing mountain stream or a still lake, trout are among the most challenging fish for anglers to catch. One thing that can make a difference in your success with trout is ensuring that you have the best trout fishing pole for your angling preferences.

Trout are hard-fighting fish that can also stealthily nibble undetected at your bait, so choosing your own best trout fishing pole is crucial to your success. Read on for our choices for the best trout fishing pole in a number of categories.

Best Trout Fishing Pole

Our Top Picks

Best Overall
Okuma Celilo Graphite

Best for Fly Fishing
Redington Fly Fishing Classic Trout Rod

Best Budget Option
Berkley Cherrywood

Best Overall

Okuma Celilo Graphite

okuma Celilo Graphite Lightweight Ultra Light Trout Rods, CE-S-502UL-1

The Okuma Celilo Graphite fishing rod boasts great sensitivity to trout bites, exceptional casting length, and an accessible price point. So, of course, it’s easy to understand why this rod earns our best overall rating for trout fishing poles.

Available in lengths from 4.5 feet to 8.5 feet, the Okuma Celilo Graphite features the ultralight action that puts real fun into trout fishing. And with cork grips along its handle, the Okuma Celilo Graphite rod will be comfortable through long hours on the water.

Finally, the Okuma Celilo Graphite was developed with input from great trout anglers to give you the confidence that it’s a top-quality rod.


  • Great for long casts
  • Great value for its price
  • Excellent sensitivity to bites


  • May not be as durable as some users expect
  • Line eyelets may be misaligned
  • Action may be too sensitive for some anglers

Best for Fly Fishing

Redington Fly Fishing Classic Trout Rod

Redington Fly Fishing Rod 376-4 Classic Trout Rod W/Tube 4pc 3WT 7-Foot6

Anyone who’s been trout fishing even once has likely thought about trying fly fishing, standing in a rushing trout stream, and making artful casts with ease. That’s why we decided to include a fly fishing rod in our list of the best trout fishing rods.

Our recommendation for fly fishing for trout is the Redington Classic Trout Rod. Its moderate-rated action is a perfect choice for working both in tight stream quarters and in larger bodies of water. Also, this rod’s light weight makes it comfortable for long hours on the water.

Finally, the Redington Classic is a four-piece rod that comes with its own carrying tube, meaning that you can take it anywhere that trout are waiting.


  • Works well for both wet and dry fly casting
  • Line moves very cleanly through guides
  • Does a great job with hook-setting


  • Rod sections may work loose from each other
  • Protective coating may become separated from parts of rod
  • Warranty covers only manufacturing defects

Best Budget Option

Berkley Cherrywood

Berkley 5’6” Cherrywood HD Spinning Rod, One Piece Spinning Rod, 2-6lb Line Rating, Light Rod Power, Fast Action, 1/16-1/4 oz. Lure Rating, Red

If you’d like to start trout fishing or if you’d like to expand your rod selection, the Berkley Cherrywood is an economical option. Depending on the action and the length you choose, your Berkley Cherrywood rod will be low cost.

But for that accessible price, you still get a top-quality trout fishing rod. Its hybrid mix of materials ensures great sensitivity to trout bites, a great way to boost your catch. Also, the Berkley Cherrywood includes cork handles, so you’ll be comfortable handling it no matter how long you’re on the water.


  • Hooks can be set in trout with very little effort
  • Rod action makes catching trout a fun experience
  • Casting is easy


  • May not be as durable as some users expect
  • May be weak at eyelet connections
  • Sensitivity may not be as good as some users expect

Best Sensitivity

Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Fishing Rod

Ugly Stik 6’6” Elite Spinning Rod, Two Piece Spinning Rod, 2-6lb Line Rating, Ultra Light Rod Power, Medium Fast Action, 1/32-1/8 oz. Lure Rating

No matter your trout fishing skill level, the Shakespeare Ugly Stik Elite is a great choice for a fishing rod. But the main reason it made our list of the best trout fishing rods is its sensitivity. Trout anglers using the Ugly Stik Elite will be able to feel even the slightest strike at their bait or lure.

In addition, the Ugly Stik Elite offers graphite and fiberglass construction that makes it a durable trout rod. That’s particularly important both for anglers just learning to catch trout and for anglers who are on the water frequently.

Finally, the Ugly Stik Elite comes with a seven-year warranty, giving an added measure of confidence that it is truly a great trout fishing rod.


  • Ideal choice for kayak fishing
  • Light weight makes day-long fishing comfortable
  • Great rod to keep in car or truck for spur-of-the-moment use


  • Line guides may fray fishing line
  • Rod balance may be a problem for some anglers
  • Reel seat may not fit many fishing reels

Most Versatile

Zebco Rhino

Zebco Rhino Tough Casting Fishing Rod, 5-Foot 6-Inch 1-Piece Heavy-Duty Cross-Weave Fishing Pole, Comfortable EVA Rod Handle, Heavy-Duty Guides, Stainless Steel D-Frame Tip Guide, Medium Power, Black

If you’re a trout angler who is also interested in going after other fish, you should take a serious look at the Zebco Rhino. This rod is our choice as the most versatile trout fishing rod because it’s also good for bass, walleye, and a full array of panfish.

And, of course, the Zebco Rhino carries with it the nearly 75-year history of Zebco as a mark of its quality. Atop its fiberglass core, the Zebco Rhino features layers of cross-woven graphite to enhance its durability. And its “glow tip,” a translucent piece at the top of the rod, is a help with night fishing.


  • Great value for high-quality trout fishing rod
  • Well-balanced rod ensures comfortable use
  • Great choice as primary or back-up rod


  • Eyelets may sometimes be misaligned
  • “Glow tip” doesn’t actually glow
  • Handle is foam instead of cork

Best Trout Fishing Pole Buyer’s Guide

Along with our choices for the best trout fishing pole, this post also is designed to provide you with guidelines for buying the best trout fishing pole for your needs. So now, let’s take a look at how you can personally assess a pole.

Read on to learn more about the four major factors to consider in evaluating a trout fishing pole.

best trout fishing pole

1. Material

As you’ve already discovered from this post, there are a variety of materials used to make trout fishing rods. Now, we’ll take a more detailed look at the different materials that can be used in a trout fishing rod.


Fiberglass rods have been around for nearly 100 years as the first replacement for what had been the standard bamboo pole. While they have been supplanted in recent years by more exotic materials, fiberglass rods are still a great choice for the beginning angler.

Fiberglass rods can withstand the tugging and other harsh movements made by beginning anglers when they mistakenly cast into the underwater brush and other obstructions. Plus, their slower action allows for easier correction of mistakes made while reeling in a catch.


For the past half-century or so, graphite rods have brought lightweight, faster action and more power to trout fishing. Their added durability allows for rods constructed of graphite to be longer than fiberglass rods, meaning more line control for the angler.

Carbon fiber

Carbon fiber rods are somewhat similar to graphite rods. But while graphite rods are made from a powdered form of crystalline carbon, carbon fiber rods are constructed of individual strands of carbon filament. Those strands are then woven together and embedded in resin to form the fishing pole.

Broadly speaking, a carbon fiber trout fishing rod will provide more power and control than a graphite rod. At the same time, a carbon fiber rod can be expected to be more sensitive than a graphite rod.


If you’re considering a hybrid trout fishing rod, you’ll certainly have to do some homework. Constructed of a mix of fiberglass and graphite, often combined with other materials, hybrid rods bring a variety of characteristics to the trout fishing pole.

As you consider a hybrid as a best trout fishing pole, be sure you fully understand the power and action of the rod you’re investigating.

2. Power

As you consider the purchase of a trout fishing pole, one of the words you’ll come across is “power.” In terms of fishing rods, power is simply a reference to the amount of pressure needed to bend a particular rod. You should be able to find the power of any rod you’re considering either on the rod itself or as part of the rod’s literature packet.

In all, there are seven power ratings for fishing roads, ranging from ultra-light to extra-heavy. The higher the power rating, the less the rod can be expected to bend.

As you consider a best trout fishing pole for yourself, an ultra-light action rod will be your best choice because of its sensitivity to trout going after your live bait or lure. Plus, it’s just plain fun to reel in a fish with an ultra-light pole.

3. Action

A fishing pole’s “action” is somewhat similar to its power. “Action” describes where a pole bends when pressure is applied to the rod tip, such as when reeling in a trout. There are four action ratings for fishing rods: extra-fast, fast, moderate, and slow.

If you’re using an ultra-light power rod, it should also have a moderate action rating to be considered a best trout fishing pole. For one thing, a moderate action rod will allow for farther casts, particularly with smaller lures.

4. Length

For many anglers, the length of the fishing rod they choose is almost an afterthought. However, rod length is as important a factor as power and action in making a good choice for a best trout fishing pole.

For most trout anglers, a rod measuring between 6 and 8 feet is a good choice. If you’ll be doing most of your fishing from a boat, the lower end of that range is a good bet. But if you’ll be trolling from your boat, a rod measuring between 9 feet and 11 feet is the optimal choice as a best trout fishing pole.

As a final note, if you’re going to be fly fishing, your rod should measure somewhere between 7 feet and 9 feet.

Best Trout Fishing Pole Frequently Asked Questions

As you consider our assessment of the best trout fishing pole for a variety of circumstances, it’s likely that you’ll have additional questions. In anticipation of that, here are answers to a few questions that may have occurred to you while reading through this post on selecting a best trout fishing pole.

best trout fishing pole

What are some tips for matching a reel with a trout fishing rod?

Fishing reels come in four size ranges, each expressed within a specific numerical range. Small reels are sized from 1,000 to 3,500, with average reels at 4,000 to 5,500. Large reels are 6,000 to 9,500, and extra large reels start at 10,000.

You should pair your best trout fishing pole selection with a small reel, ideally rated at 2,000 or 2,500. At that size, you’ll be ready to cast your best trout fishing pole in a variety of situations, including fishing from a kayak.

Can trout fishing rods be used to go after other species of fish?

You can certainly use a trout fishing rod to go after other species of fish. But you’ll need to understand that many other species won’t behave like trout, so you’ll need to adjust your angling technique.

Consider, for instance, fishing for walleye with a trout rod. Walleye are typically larger than trout, so if you hook one with a trout rod, you’ll need to be patient reeling it in. Otherwise, you’ll risk snapping your line.

And, of course, no matter what type of rod you’re using, you’ll need to have bait or lures that will attract species other than trout. For instance, while trout like live bait, you’ll likely have better luck with bass with crankbaits and other artificial lures.

Is it difficult to learn fly fishing for trout?

There’s hardly an angler anywhere who hasn’t been captivated by the sight of a fly-fishing angler. Standing in a sun-splashed stream, fishing line swinging in back-and-forth arcs, the fly fishing angler is a perfect picture of man in nature.

But as you might guess, fly fishing, even with a best trout fishing pole, is a skill to be mastered. As a result, becoming proficient can be difficult. If you decide to pursue fly fishing as part of your repertoire, be prepared, at a minimum, to spend hours practicing your casting technique.

And then there’s learning to tie the knots you’ll need for the various sections of your fishing line. You’ll also need to learn which flies to use in a variety of seasons and situations.

Finally, if you decide to assemble your own flies, there will be another learning curve for you to negotiate.

But all of these skills can be mastered by a motivated angler. And the best thing is that if you need help, there are instructors available to get you started along the road to becoming an accomplished fly angler.

As a final tip, if your community has a club devoted to fly fishing, stop by its next meeting. You’re certain to find a group of knowledgeable men and women eager to share their hard-won expertise with you. And if you’re really lucky, you might learn where you might be able to hook a trout or two.

Wrapping up the Best Trout Fishing Pole for 2023

Fisherman holding trout

Now that you’ve been introduced to options for the best trout fishing pole for 2023, it’s time to choose one that fits your angling preferences. As a reminder, our choice for the best overall trout fishing pole is the Okuma Celilo Graphite.

Our choice, once again, is based on the rod’s sensitivity, casting characteristics, and reasonable price. All of those things make the Okuna Celilo Graphite a great choice as a best trout fishing pole for novice anglers and experienced trout anglers.

For much more on fishing, check out the many posts on fishing in Minnesota elsewhere at Life in Minnesota.