5 Best spinning reels for brook trout

In this guide, we are going to discuss what are the best spinning reels for brook trout fishing. I will also discuss what reel size reel is most suitable for catching brook trout. I will discuss options for both small stream trout plus the much larger ones found further north.

Brook trout, or technically brook char are found in a range of habitat, and generally the further north you fish the larger and more abundant they become. Native Brook trout down in Georgia, are typically small and restricted to only the smallest of mountain creeks high in the Appalachians.

Further north, in the likes of Maine, brook trout become more common and thanks to the colder water they grow larger. Unlike further south, Brook trout occur in streams but also ponds and some small rivers. Further North again, in Canada the average brook trout grow even larger.

So a reel which might be a perfect size for targeting the small stream brooks down south, might be a little on the weak side for catching the larger Brook trout found in the likes of Quebec. Some of which are diadromous spending part of their time in the sea.

What size spinning reel to catch brook trout living in streams?

I like to use ultralight gear when fishing for stream trout. An ultralight reel balances better with the lightweight rods, and are designed to cast with fine lines. There is simply no need fish with a reel capable of holding hundreds of yards of line, when the furthest you are going to cast is a dozen yards. Due to the small size of the brookies, and the limited casting space 100yards of 4lb line is plenty.

There is no one standard size between fishing brands, sizing is also not always consistent within brands. Many fishermen like to use 1000 size reels when targeting trout and panfish in small streams. If you do not mind carry a slightly heavier reel, and using slightly more line. Moving up one reel size can greatly reduce the amount of line twist.

I also advise against using 500 or 750 size reels. They are simply too small. The tiny size of the spools restrict casting distances, and they can create terrible line twists. Leave 500 size reels for ice fishing.

What size spinning reel to catch larger brook trout?

Further North, the average brook trout grows larger. So a slightly larger reel can be useful when fishing them.

This is especially the case when fishing in lakes and ponds where long casts are also required.

While a 1000 size reel is probably adequate for most brook trout fishing, I personally will use a 2000 or even a 2500 size reel. The larger reel holds more line, and the wider spool reduces line twist.

Suggested reel sizes for brook trout

Shimano 1000 to 2500

Daiwa 1000 to 2000

Okuma 10 to 20

Pflueger 20 to 25

Abu Garcia 10 to 20

How much drag when targeting brook trout?

Brook trout do not generally grow to large sizes, while they can be feisty and pull some string. There is still not much need for a very powerful drag. When targeting brook trout most fishermen use line somewhere between 2 and 6lb breaking strain.

To match that line weight, we only need 1 or 2lb of drag. (Set your drag to about 25% of your lines breaking strain). All modern reels exceed that amount of drag pressure by far.

What type of drag is best?

I like to use a reel with a greased felt drag. Felt drags trend to be very smooth and well suited for lightweight line. There is zero need for a carbon drag when targeting brook trout.

How many ball bearings?

The smoothness of modern reels has more to do with the tolerances of the machining and the lubricants which the manufacturers use. A poorly constructed reel, with borderline tolerances but plenty of lubricant might feel smooth when new, but after a few months they start to feel rough. They require frequent maintenance to keep them feeling like new.

Quality reels, have much tighter tolerances, so they continue to feel smooth for months. They are smooth because they are built well. A well built reel, will feel smooth with only a few ball bearings. A cheap reel with a dozen ball bearings is unlikely to feel any better than cheap reel with only a few because the tolerance of the gears is what really matters and more bearings does not fix that.

So to answer the question. A reel really only needs 2 or 3 ball bearings to feel smooth. Any extra are just a luxury which may help to prolong longevity but probably only there for marketing reasons.

The best Brook trout reels for under $50

Shimano FX

I really like the Shimano FX, or the very comparable Shimano Sienna. These reels typically retail for under $30 and for the price they are actually built better than most entry level reels.

They are also a rather lightweight reel, with the 1000 size weighing in at only 7.2oz. This lighter weight is the reason why I prefer the Shimano FX over the slightly more capable Daiwa Crossfire.

Read my full review here

Okuma Ceymar.

The Okyma Ceymar brings a lot of value for a reel typically costing under $50. The feature which bests sets it apart is the low weight. The Okuma Cerymar 10 weighs in at only 6oz. That is impressively light.

Now, do not confuse the lightweight for low quality. The build quality is actually good and it comes with 6+1 ball bearings. With alloy zinc gearing and a full graphite frame the Okuma Ceymar might just be the best ultralight reel for under $50.

Read my full review here

Best Brook Trout Reel for Under $100

Pflueger President

The President is one of the most seen spinning reels on North American trout rivers. The smallest size weighs in at just 6.2oz. That is even lighter than a Shimano Stradic.

Featurning a full graphite frame, smooth felt drag, 10 ball bearings and a

despite being a full featured reel. There is a reason why the President is such a popular reel, it represents excellent value for money.

Read my full review here

Daiwa Regal LT

The second spinning reel we recommend for under $100 is the extremely impressive Daiwa Regal LT.

The build quality of this reel is impressive, tight tolerances, stiff construction. This is a reel which is going to last.

The Regal LT which an oversize spool, which helps reduce line twist and improves casting distance. Being a Daiwa the line lay is excellent. If you are having trouble with line twist, the regal lT might just be your answer.

What else to say, it has 9+2 ball bearings, full carbon construction and 11lb of drag. An all round impressive reel. I almost forgot, it weighs in at only 6.7oz.

Finally, the 1000D and 2000D uses the same size frame. The 2000D just uses a larger spool. So unless you want to save line, we suggest using the 2000 size.

Read my full review here

Best premium spinning Reel for brook trout fishing

Shimano Stradic 1000

The Shimano Stradic is a timeless classic. The stardic has long be regarded as one of the best spinning reels for trout fishing. It is not cheap ,costing around $200 but you are getting a lot of reel for that money.

Firstly, they are built with amazingily tight tolerances. They feel smooth when new, and if my 15 year old stradic is anything to go by, they still feel smooth after years of use. So if you want a reel which should last a decade, I suggest spending a little extra and purchasing a stradic.

The 1000 size Stradic weighs in at only 6.5oz and has 6 ball bearings, but if you want to go even lighter. The magnesium frame Stradic ci4 weighs in at just 5.6oz.

Read my full review here

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