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5 Best Fishing Lines For Trout Fishing (2021)

man holding rainbow trout in river

Choosing the right fishing line for your trout fishing reel can be challenging if you don’t know what to look for. Unfortunately, going out and buying the cheapest monofilament line on the discount rack is going to leave you frustrated and angry.  Especially when that 18 inch rainbow gets away from you right at your feet.

I’ve done this and I’ve lost those same fish.  It took me about 20 years of fishing to learn that the fishing line I chose to fill the spool on my reel actually mattered.  

Fishing Lines Mentioned

If you do just a little bit of homework before deciding which trout fishing line to buy, you’ll save yourself a ton of grief.  And, you’ll have a much better chance at landing that 18 inch rainbow.

In this post, I’ll share with you exactly what those things are you want to look for when choosing the best fishing line for trout. I will also share what I believe to be the best fishing line for trout.

About This List…

All of us have our own styles of fishing.  And we all have our favorite places to fish.  You may enjoy still fishing in a lake for stocked rainbows, while others of you prefer to stand on the bank of a river bouncing an egg or corky off the gravel bottom.

So Instead of just giving you one kind of fishing line that I think is the best for trout fishing, I made sure to include different types of fishing line on this list. Included are:

  • monofilament
  • Fluorocarbon
  • Braid
  • Hybrid

Best Fishing Line For Trout

1. Seaguar STS Trout/Steelhead Fluorocarbon Fishing Line (Top Pick)

Seaguar STS Trout/Steelhead 100% Fluorocarbon
  • First Species-Specific Fluorocarbon Leader Material 
  • Developed For Fishing Applications Where Strength, Abrasion Resistance And Virtual Invisibility Are Paramount
  • Maximum Impact And Knot Strength With Fast Sinking Line To Help You Reach The "Strike-Zone" Quicker
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Seaguar STS is the companies first species-specific fluorocarbon leader material targeting designed specifically for trout fishing as well as salmon and Steelhead. Seaguar STS is 100% fluorocarbon material that delivers unprecedented abrasion resistance and maximum knot strength.

The smaller line diameter that Seaguar has when compared to monofilament is one of the many reasons that makes Seaguar STS the best fishing line for trout. This fast-sinking line gets you through the water column and into the strike zone fast. When fishing for trout water clarity and line visibility is a huge factor. Seaguar STS is significantly less visible underwater compared to other trout fishing lines.

Pros:

  • STS is 100% fluorocarbon leader material that delivers incredible abrasion resistance and maximum impact and knot strength, all with a smaller line diameter than monofilament.
  • This fast-sinking line gets you in the “strike zone” quicker – and with a lower refractive index than monofilament line, it is significantly less visible underwater.
  • Available in 100 yard spools
  • Multiple strengths available from 4 lb up to 17 lb test.
  • Very strong and abrasion resistant
  • Virtually invisible to trout in clear water
  • Species specific designed with trout in mind
  • The strongest fluorocarbon line you can buy
  • Holds knots well

Cons:

  • Some users state that actual line strength varies from purchase to purchase
  • Knot reliability. Although this can be an issue with all fluorocarbon fishing lines

2. Stren MagnaThin monofilament Fishing Line

Stren MagnaThin, 330-Yard/6-Pound, Clear
  • Smaller diameter for less water drag, faster sinking and improved lure action
  • High strength-to-diameter ratio allows anglers to drop down a line size or two without sacrificing strength
  • Easy to control for long, smooth casts
  • Low stretch
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Pros:

  • 330 yard spool
  • Clear color
  • Small diameter line that results in less drag, faster sinking and improved lure action.
  • Increased strength to diameter ratio which allows you to use a smaller sized line.
  • Very limited stretch
  • Very sensitive line that’s easy to control and casts far.
  • Very thin for monofilament line
  • Very low visibility
  • Strong
  • Controllable and castable

Cons:

  • Users have reported fraying faster than usual
  • Not the best for ultra-light trout rigs

3. Piscifun ONYX Braided Fishing Line

Pros:

  • 300 yard spool
  • Dark green color
  • 4 strand braid
  • Small .012 in diameter for decreased visibility
  • Zero stretch
  • Highly abrasion resistant
  • Strong knot strength
  • Uniform diameter and smooth
  • Controllable and castable
  • Fast sinking
  • Highly sensitive
  • Low memory

Cons:

  • As with all braided fishing
  • Not the best for ultra-light trout rigs

4. KastKing Premium monofilament Fishing Line

Recommended
KastKing World's Premium Monofilament 300 Yards - 20LB
$9.99
  • Low Memory
  • Abrasion resistant
  • Low Absorption
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
02/24/2021 12:41 am GMT
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What makes KastKing monofilament a good choice for trout fishing is its  combination of unique design, low visibility and high resistance to abrasion. And since it is designed to be used in freshwater and saltwater, it makes for a very versatile fishing line to have.

The mono line made by KastKings features Paralleled Roll Track technology which results in a better reel capacity.  

The reason this is a good thing, is because mono fishing line is known for it’s larger diameter which means less line on the reel when compared to fluoro.  But with KastKings Premium mono line, that’s no longer an issue.

This monofilament trout line is more durable, thinner in diameter and stronger when compared to other brands of mono. Another advantage KastKing mono has that makes it a top fishing line for trout fishing is that it essentially has zero memory, which means less backlashes and more efficient casting.

5. Yo-Zuri Hybrid Fishing Line

Yo-Zuri Hybrid Fishing Line 600 Yds
  • Extremely Abrasion Resistant
  • Molecularly Bonds Fluorocarbon And Nylon
  • Denser, Tougher More Sensitive Line
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Pros:

  • 600 yard spool
  • Clear/ colorless
  • Hybrid of molecularly bonded fluorocarbon and nylon
  • Small .012 in diameter for decreased visibility
  • Zero stretch
  • Excellent for spinning reels
  • Works great on ultralight trout setups
  • Best all around trout fishing line
  • Strong and smooth casting line
  • Fast sinking and highly sensitive
  • Ties knots well
  • Low memory

Cons:

  • Has some stretch similar to monofilament line
  • Somewhat stiff

How Much Fishing Line You Should Put On Your Reel

Unfortunately, the answer to this question isn’t really all that straight forward.  There are a number of factors that determine how much fishing line to put on.

But since we’re talking about fishing for trout in this article, then let’s assume that you’re using a an ultralight reel.  If so, then most of these fishing reels will hold approximately 100 yards of fishing line.  Of course the type of fishing line you use as well as the strength of the line will play a major factor.

But in most cases, you can assume about 100 yards of 6lb test trout fishing line.  You’ll want to check with the fishing reel manufacturer first for more specific recommendations.

Personally, on my ultralight spinning reel that I use for trout fishing, I like to leave about 1/16 of an inch of reel to be exposed.  But don’t ever allow less than ⅛” of the reel exposed. If you do, you might find yourself running out of fishing line when that monster trout takes a run up river.

Berklely wrote a very thorough article on this subject in their Angler Education section of their website.  You can check it out here, “Spooling A Spinning Reel”.

What Weight of Fishing Line To Use For Trout

Deciding what weight of fishing line to use for trout fishing really depends on  two things.  What size trout you’re after and what kind of water your fishing in.

When I fish for native rainbows in fast moving streams, I always use a much heavier line than when I’m fishing for 9” stocked rainbows with my 5 year old in the local pond or reservoir.

In faster moving water where the fish are stronger and will be fighting against a current, I’ll use fishing line that’s up to 8 or 10 pounds.  If there are Steelhead in the stream, I’ll even go heavier…just in case.   

In a lake or pond, where the fish are typically smaller and I know I’m fishing for stocked trout, I like to fish with very light gear.  4 lb fishing line for these trout is good.  You may want to bump it up to 6 pounds even if you want.  Regardless of which weight of fishing line I’m using for my main line, in these still waters I always use 2 lb leader line.  

Field & Stream hosted a pretty good conversation on their website about what size fishing line people like to use for trout.  You can read through that conversation over at Field & Stream.

What To Look For When Choosing A Good Trout Fishing Line (Buyers Guide)

Take these following things into consideration when researching the type of fishing line your going to buy for this next trout fishing season.

Visibility Of The Fishing Line

Trout have incredibly good vision.  This is one of the reasons that trout are one of the most “line shy” freshwater species there are.

So if you were to throw on 100 yards of cheap monofilament line that is visible under the surface of the water, you’re going to have a hard time hooking into many trout.

The same is also true if you were going to use a tough braided line as well.  Braided line is strong, but it’s also incredibly visible to trout.

Strength Of The Fishing Line

With trout fishing line, generally speaking, lighter is better. Now this is not to say that monofilament line doesn’t make a good fishing line for trout.  Because quite the opposite is true.  I’ve caught many large trout using monofilament line.  

But what you want to keep in mind when trout fishing with monofilament line is the strength of the line.  With monofilament, typically the lighter the strength the less visible the line is.

Color Of The Fishing Line

Whether or not the color of your line spooks trout or not can be debated.  I’m a believer that the color of your line has the potential to scare a wary trout in very clear water.

With that said, however, the color of the fishing line doesn’t really affect my buying decision one way or the other.  

But if you believe the color of the fishing line should play a role in what kind to buy, there’s one thing you should always keep this in mind…

…Water Clarity

In water that’s absolutely crystal clear, try to use a clear colored fishing line.  

In water that’s darker or murkier, your probably safe using any colored fishing line.

Top Pick

Seaguar STS Trout/Steelhead 100% Fluorocarbon
  • First Species-Specific Fluorocarbon Leader Material 
  • Developed For Fishing Applications Where Strength, Abrasion Resistance And Virtual Invisibility Are Paramount
  • Maximum Impact And Knot Strength With Fast Sinking Line To Help You Reach The "Strike-Zone" Quicker
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Written by Don

When I'm not bass fishing or looking for steelhead in my home state of Oregon I can be found working on house projects dreaming of my next fishing adventure.

I started this website to share just some of the things I've learned along my fishing journey, and the many things I'm still learning. Enjoy!

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