Best trout fishing line

The Best Fishing Line For Trout: Catch More Fish With The Right Line

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.  


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.



Things To Consider When Choosing A Good Trout Fishing Line

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.



How Much Fishing Line To 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.



The Best Fishing Line For Trout

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 broke it up into 4 different categories.  The way I broke it up is like this:

  • The Best Fluorocarbon Fishing Line For Trout
  • The Best Monofilament Fishing Line For Trout
  • The Best Braided Line For Trout Fishing
  • The Best Trout Fishing Line For Spinning Reels




Best Fluorocarbon Fishing Line For Trout


Best fluorocarbon fishing line for trout

Seaguar STS Trout/Steelhead Fluorocarbon Fishing Line


  • 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.

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Best Monofilament Fishing Line For Trout

best monofilament fishing line for trout

Stren MagnaThin Monofilament Fishing Line


  • 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.

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Best Braided Fishing Line For Trout

Best braided fishing line for trout

Piscifun Improved Braided Fishing Line


  • 300 yard spool
  • Dark green color
  • 4 strand braid
  • Small .012 in diameter for decreased visibility
  • Zero stretch

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Best Trout Fishing Line For Spinning Reels

best trout fishing line for spinning reels

Yo-Zuri Hybrid Fishing Line


  • 600 yard spool
  • Clear/ colorless
  • Hybrid of molecularly bonded fluorocarbon and nylon
  • Small .012 in diameter for decreased visibility
  • Zero stretch

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