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Best Fishing Line For Steelhead (Reviews) 2021

steelhead fishing line

The 4 Best Fishing Lines For Steelhead Fishing

If you’ve been fishing for steelhead for any amount of time, then you know exactly how frustrating it is to lose one at your feet.  Especially if its any fault of the fishing line that you’re using.  I’ve been there…and I’ve done that.  And I seriously hope it doesn’t happen again.

The first time I tried steelhead fishing, I simply just grabbed my trout rod and reel and hit the river.  The stars must have been aligned, because it was a good day for fishing steelies.  The first steelhead I ever hooked didn’t stay on for long.  As you might imagine, the fishing line broke, and away went my fish.

Since then, I’ve learned a lot about choosing the right kind of fishing line based on the kind of fish your after.  I’ve tried lots of different kinds of fishing line for steelhead over the years. Some worked out, and some absolutely did not work.

Introduction

In this post, I’ll share with you some of the things you want to look for when choosing the best fishing line for steelhead. I want to share some of the steelhead fishing lines that have worked for me.  These are fishing lines that i’ve used and am confident in recommending to you.

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Products Mentioned (Quick List)

Things To Consider When Choosing Steelhead Fishing Line

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

Visibility Of The Fishing Line

Steelhead are sea run trout, and they have very good vision.  This is one of the reasons that steelhead can be very “line shy”.

So if you were to throw on a reel full of cheap monofilament line that’s visible under the surface of the water, you will have a hard time hooking into many steelies.

The same is also true if you were going to use braided line as well.  In my opinion, braided line is also incredibly visible to steelhead.  The only way I would use braided line for steelhead fishing is if I had a 20 foot long fluorocarbon leader attached to it.  But instead, I just choose to no use it at all on my steelhead gear.

Strength Of The Fishing Line

With steelhead line, I always believe that lighter is better. Now this is not to say that monofilament line doesn’t make a good fishing line for steelhead.  I’ve caught many steelhead using monofilament line and haven’t had an issue, for the most part.

But what you want to keep in mind when using monofilament line for steelhead fishing is the strength of the line.  With monofilament, typically the lighter the strength the less visible the line is.  This is just a good rule of thumb to go by regarding mono line.

Color Of The Fishing Line

Whether or not the color of your line spooks fish or not can be debated.  I’m a believer that the color of your line has the potential to scare a wary steelhead if the water is extremely clear.

With that said, however, the color of the fishing line doesn’t generally affect my buying decision one way or the other.  But if given the choice, I’ll always go with clear line.  That’s just my preference.

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.

Best Fishing Line For Steelhead

1. Seaguar STS Trout/Steelhead Fluorocarbon Fishing Line

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 extremely 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

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

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

4. Yo-Zuri Hybrid Fishing Line

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.

In most cases, you can assume about 100 yards of 10lb test trout fishing line.  You’ll want to check with the fishing reel manufacturer first for more specific recommendations.

Personally, 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 Steelhead

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

The steelhead waters that I generally fish are fairly fast moving.  And in faster moving water where the fish are stronger and will be fighting against a current, I’ll use fishing line that’s at least 15 pounds.  If there are salmon running, go even a bit heavier…just in case.

In water that’s not running quite as fast, it might be a good idea to tone it down a bit and load your fishing reel with line that’s between 8 to 10 lbs.  But I would never go less than 8 lbs when fishing for steelhead.

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

You May Also Like…

Piscifun Fishing Line Spooler
  • A must have for every fisherman. Perfect tool for loading your reel with braid or mono. No more using a pencil or the wife to help you hold the reel!
  • Works With Both Spinning Reels And Baitcaster Reels 
  • Compact and lightweight


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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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