Fishing Skillz is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

Your Guide To The Best SALMON FISHING RODS (Reviews for 2020)

by Don | Last Updated: September 18, 2018

The Best Salmon Fishing Rods For Chinook, Coho and More

Whether you’re after the hearty Sockeye Salmon, the behemoth King Salmon, or something in between you’ve come to the right place. Serious anglers need a serious salmon fishing rod which is why this review article was written — to kick your salmon fishing up a notch.

Once you’re finished reading this article, you’ll feel informed and confident in purchasing the perfect salmon fishing rod to either increase your catch rate, make life easier out on the water, or both. If you’re in the market for the best downrigger rods for salmon or the best salmon trolling rods then you need not look further than any of the salmon fishing rods on this list.

The Best Salmon Fishing Rod Reviews

For those of you that want the nitty gritty details, keep on reading. In this article, you’ll get the breakdown of why each rod is ideal for catching salmon from their frame composition to their extensive features. Let’s dive right in.

1. Lamiglas Kenai Kwik Heavy Action Cast Troll Rod (Top Pick)

It’s impossible to find better salmon fishing rods than the Lamiglas Kenai Kwik Heavy Action Cast Troll Rod which is why we’ve made it our top pick.

The Lamiglas Kenai Kwik is a two-piece heavy action cast troll rod with a handsome brown finish and custom woven graphite handles. It put it plainly, it looks, feels, and performs like you’d imagine a premium handcrafted salmon rod would. At 10’ 6” it towers over the competition as by far the best downrigger rod for salmon and steelhead we’ve tested.

The softness of the fiberglass in the blank allows the salmon to take the bait before feeling the rod and the strength in the graphite makes for a deeper hook penetration. The composite graphite and fiberglass composition takes plenty of abuse and if treated right will easily last a lifetime.

While it isn’t the cheapest rod on this list, it is as good as it gets because it was designed by the Lamiglas Pro Staff specifically for backtrolling Kwikfish and Mag Lips which are both specifically designed for producing salmon and steelhead strikes.

For those of us with a salmon fishing obsession, it’s perfectly priced and a really a joy to fight fish with. Which is why the Lamiglas Kenai Kwik Kwik Heavy Action Cast Troll Rods have taken over the professional fishing guide community as the best downrigger rods for salmon.

2. UglyStik Elite Spinning Fishing Rod (Salmon/Steelhead)

The best salmon rods are sturdy, yet sensitive, and the UglyStik Elite Spinning Fishing Rod is that and much more. It’s the best spinning rod for salmon fishing for anglers on a budget because it is oddly underpriced for being jam-packed with features perfect for hauling in boat loads of salmon and steelhead. 

Go read the reviews on any site and you’ll see countless echoes about its superior design and flawless action, yet it’s one of the most affordable rods on this list. 

At nine feet tall the UglyStik Elite Spinning Fishing Rod provides tons of flex paired with plenty of backbone making it the perfect fighting rod for ruthless thirty-pound salmon. 

These rods are two-piece salmon fishing rods making them ideal traveling. When held side-by-side with rods in its price range the UglyStik Elite outperforms due to its fast action sensitive tip which makes hookups quick and straightforward. 

The rod pairs well with the  Shimano Stradic CI4+ spinning reel and has plenty of bend with it’s rating only being 10-20 pound test. Make sure you pick the right line though so it doesn’t snap and you falsely blame the pole. Remember cheap line means more break offs no matter how great the rod.

3. Lamiglas X-11 Cork – Salmon & Steelhead Fishing Rod

Salmon fisherman can’t say enough about the Lamiglas X-11 Cork – Salmon & Steelhead Fishing Rod. After just one spin on the water, you can tell this salmon pole means business. With a height range from 8’ 6” all the way up to 10’ 6” this tall salmon steelhead rod is not only powerful but it’s the perfect combination of flexibility and dependability.

The Lamiglas X-11 rocks a frame comprised of tough graphite, flexible fiberglass, and composite to yield just enough sensitivity to detect even the slightest hits while packing enough fighting power to haul in even the hardiest of salmon. It’s snug cork handles, silky smooth ceramic guides, and top-quality reel seat make it an exceptionally comfortable rod.

What makes the Lamiglas X-11 the best salmon spinning rod
 is its innovative design. It holds up to balance and flex tests when compared to rods triple the price and will take a beating and keep on coming back for more. It casts beautifully and its top-notch construction makes it sensitive enough that salmon won’t feel the line until their hooked.

The Lamiglas X-11 is a fighter through and through and one of the top salmon fishing rods on the market. And the best part is — they won’t break your budget. It’s the best salmon rod for the money making it perfect for weekend warriors looking to upgrade.

4. KastKing Krome Salmon/Steelhead Fishing Rod

Many call the KastKing Krome Salmon/Steelhead Fishing Rod the Cadillac of salmon fishing rods. Ranging from 7’6” all the way to the massive 12’ Pro Troller this salmon rod is the ideal combo of strength, sensitivity, and versatility. The best salmon trolling rods are lightweight to prevent fatigue yet durable enough to stand years of abuse. The KastKing Krome salmon fishing rod is no exception.


In its price range, the KastKing Krome is the finest choice because of its superior design. With its carbon frame reinforced with true real Kevlar fabric, it packs a wallop to wear out even the hardiest of salmon.

The rods blend of carbon fiber, the sleek finish, combined with its innovative design makes this salmon rod eye-catching and dependable simultaneously. It’s not uncommon at that price and quality for fishing guides and diehard anglers to buy 3, 4, or even 5 of these rods because the craftsmanship and attention to detail on the KastKing Krome is unmatched.

All in all, the superb construction with its kevlar wrap is pure brilliance and the versatility of this rod makes it a true pleasure to fish with. Not only is it great for salmon and steelhead but also works wonder on stripers, bass, and more. The Krome series is a beast of a rod that is fantastic at trolling at a solid price point and trust me you won’t be disappointed if you pick one up.

5. UglyStik Big Water Trolling Conventional Salmon Fishing Rod And Reel Combo 

The best salmon trolling rod for the price is without a doubt the UglyStik Big Water Trolling Conventional Salmon Fishing Rod And Reel Combo.

The two-piece rod is comprised of graphite and fiberglass which makes it strong yet sensitive which is the perfect combination for salmon fishing rods and is sure to land you your largest catch yet. While it’s designed for trolling it works really well onshore and off piers as well. 

The UglyStik Big Water salmon fishing pole is available at 8’ 3” and 9′ lengths and has a combined total weight that’s just perfect for maximum flexibility and handling. As far as big water rods go this one is lightweight enough to not fatigue you after a long day, and it sports double EVA grips that are equally comfortable and durable.

As far as salmon rods go the UglyStik Big Water salmon fishing rod is a fantastic combo for big water fishing in the Great Lakes or in the ocean. It has plenty of backbone to turn a hot fish, but enough give to make the rod forgiving near the boat as well. Its exceptional action makes it perfect for salmon, but it works well on stripers and steelhead too.

If you want supreme power, excellent efficiency, and a moderately flexible feel, then the UglyStik Big Water Trolling Conventional Salmon Rod and Reel Combo is undoubtedly the rod for you.

Final Thoughts 

Pound for pound, salmon are one of the hardiest fish on planet earth. Hauling in the average 15-30 pounders is no easy feat and if you want any chance of pulling in world record holding 97 pounders you’ve got to have the right gear. This list features the best salmon fishing rods on the market so no matter what you decide you’ll be well on your way to catching more salmon.

If you’re still on the fence, you can’t go wrong with a more affordable UglyStik Elite Spinning Fishing Rod. However, it won’t quite have the durability, power, and versatility of our top pick: the Lamiglas Kenai Kwik Heavy Action Cast Troll Rod. Ultimately, the choice is yours and I hope now you can make an informed one.

Salmon Rods Mentioned In This Article

Must Have Fishing Tool
(NEW REVIEW!) Piscifun III Aluminum Fishing Pliers
21.99

Check out my newest hands-on review. I used and abused these Piscifun pliers. Read all about it here!

Lasso Brag