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Fishing Line for Trout – What Kind Do You Need?

Choosing the best fishing line for trout can make all the difference between landing that big brown/rainbow or not.

There are a variety of different fishing lines for trout available and you need to know when each one is most suitable. 

The majority of trout fishermen will use their same favorite line season after season. That doesn’t always mean they are using the best.

Correctly evaluating which line is not too difficult once you understand the differences between them:

Monofilament – treble hook lures or float fishing

Fluorocarbon – small jigs and bait rigs or any other single hook technique

Braid – mostly suitable it fishing around a lot of weed or darkened waters

Our top recommendation is Berkley Trilene XL monofilament, Trilene XL casts extremely well especially on very light setups when using 4lb or 6lb and also has one of the best knot strength of any mono we have ever fished.

If you are looking for a fluorocarbon for jigging and light bait rigs then Seaguar Invizx is one of the lowest visibility lines around and is very abrasion resistant.

Smoothest casting monofilament with high not strength and low memory, a very versatile all round line.

The number one choice for best fishing line for trout is definitely mono.

It is generally the top rated trout line for most modern trout fishermen for the main reel line only.

For the leader then fluorocarbon is without a doubt the number one choice.

Mono is best when fishing any kind of lure with treble hooks as you can slightly delay your strike which allows the trout an extra split second to properly inhale the lure into it’s mouth.

When using fluorocarbon with lures you may find that you miss a lot more strikes or end up foul hooking more often as the strike is too quick.

Flurocarbon really shines when you are using small bait rigs or jigs and you do not want the added stretch that mono has.

If lure fishing for trout my preferred setup is to use a mono as the main line on a spinning reel and then a leader of fluoro of about 7-8 feet long connected with a high quality swivel.

The swivel is not only a stronger way to connect the two than a direct knot but it has the added benefit of reducing line twist when spinning.

If you are fishing for trout with a bait then you can use a fluorocarbon main line. Given that you won’t be casting too far you can use an ultralight spinning reel that will not require too much line and thus can keep the costs down of having to load a reel with the more expensive fluorocarbon. 

Types of Trout Lines 

1. Monofilament

Monofilament fishing line has been around for a long time and is probably the widest used. Mono fishing line is arguably the most versatile fishing line and most fishermen will start out using it. Given it’s versatility mono line for the money is probably the best bet if you intend to fish for a variety of species using different styles of fishing. 

Mono fishing line’s main characteristic is it’s stretch. It stretches more than fluorocarbon or braid and so you need to be aware of this as it can affect your striking action.

It is quite popular as a leader line due to it’s availability in clear transparent colors. It’s not uncommon to see different strengths used on the one setup. A stronger thicker line for the main line to the reel and then a lighter thinner version to the hook, usually between is a swivel or float.

One of mono fishing lines biggest drawbacks is it’s memory. Due to it’s high memory it can curl easily if left unused on a spinning reel for too long especially if it is a small diameter reel. This curling can result in failed casts where the line unspools prematurely from the reel and results in a big messy knot.

Due to it’s stretch and lesser durability mono fishing line should be replaced more regularly than either braid or fluorocarbon. It needs to be inspected regularly to ensure there are no weakened spots that happen during normal wear and tear.

2. Fluorocarbon

Fluorocarbon fishing line has exploded in popularity in recent times especially among trout fishermen. Due to it’s make up fluorocarbon line is both durable and smooth which can make it a great casting line.

Compared to the equivalent monofilament it is extremely tough and can take a lot more abuse as it is scrapped off the bottom and other sunken snags.

The one area where fluorocarbon really excels is as a leader line. It is much stronger than the equivalent thickness mono line and won’t stretch as much. Fluorocarbon is also great as a leader because it is practically invisible in the water compared to mono or braid.

Given it’s relatively higher expense I would generally not use it as a main line on a spinning reel and also due to it’s very high memory characteristic. 

3. Braided 

Braided fishing line is the number one choice for some anglers especially in the bass fishing world but when it comes to trout it is just to visible and trout are already quite weary of anything unnatural looking.

The thinner profile and almost zero stretch of braid allows it to cut through the water much quicker allowing for almost instantaneous strikes. The ability to set a hook quickly can increase your catch rate significantly.  

Braids low memory makes it ideal for spinning reels reducing the over spooling characteristics of fluorocarbon and monofilament. It will also last much longer than the others when exposed to the elements such as strong UV light and it is fairly rot resistant.

Probably the biggest drawback of braided fishing line is it’s visibility. With virtually no transparency if you are targeting easily spooked fish like wild brown trout then you have to ensure that a fairly long leader is used.

The only drawback in adding a long leader to your setup is that if you are using a short rod then your casting accuracy may be affected as the leader to the swivel or knot might be a bit long making the swing point to the lure a lot longer than usual.  

Paired with a good quality fluorocarbon leader length you should have a very good line setup that will handle most situations and not spook too many fish.

When tying a knot on braided line you should wet the line first so that the line can slide over it’s self as the knot is tightened. This should also mean for stronger knots. Some fishermen have experienced a lot of knot breakages with braid and this is one way of reducing it.

4. Lead core

Lead core fishing line is generally only used for trolling. For the average the trout angler lead core line in not something they will not have come across when out spinning or bait fishing for trout. Lead core line is definitely the best fishing line for trout if your looking to troll on deep lakes.

As the name suggests lead core line has a core running through it to add weight. This weight is used to get lures such as lake trout spoons or Rapalas down deeper than they might normally run without the aid of an expensive down-rigger setup.

A lot of lead core lines changes color every ten yards or so depending on the brand. This color can be used to get an accurate distance of line out without the need for a line counter reel. Knowing the length of line that is out is a pretty good determinant of how deep the lure will be running.

With the aid of a fish finder you can then fine tune how deep the trout lures will run and target the trout at that depth. Getting down to these deeper areas is how some of the largest lake trout have ever been caught.

What size Line for Trout?

The majority of fishing lines are rated in lbs. So a 6 lbs fishing line should break with 6 lbs of stretch is applied to it. As a general rule the stronger the line the thicker it will be. 

However not all lines are created equal. Braid and fluorocarbon will be thinner than mono for a given strength. Lead core fishing lines will be the thickest.

The main line should always be the strongest with the leader line being thinner and usually lighter. On ultralight spinning gear it is not uncommon for 2 lbs test line to be used as the leader when targeting shy trout in rivers and streams.

You need to be careful when filling a reel with line. Each reel should have a recommended amount of line that can be added for a specific strength. Be aware that most of these recommendations apply to mono fishing line only and you may need to experiment with other lines.

The best fluorocarbon fishing line for trout has to be Berkley Vanish Fluorocarbon. Berkley claims it is the lowest memory fluorocarbon available. As stated earlier I would not spool this directly onto a reel. Instead it should be used as a leader line when subtle presentation is required on light gear.

Undoubtedly the best fishing line for spinning reels is a good quality monofilament and our top pick is Berkely Trilene XL as it is probably the best all rounder available regardless of what type of rig or lure you are using.

The best fishing line for trolling for lake trout depends on the depth you intend to fish at. If you are looking to get down deep the a lead core line like Sufix Performance Lead Core is one of the most popular.
If you are looking to troll at shallower depths then a simple mono would work just fine. Berkeley Trilene XL Smooth Casting is your best bet.

Berkley’s Trilene Micro Ice fishing line is definitely the best line for ice fishing for trout. It is specifically designed for ice fishing. An ice fishing line needs to be able to take a lot of abuse.

From the extreme temperatures to the abrasive nature of the ice as it is dragged through ice holes. It is also required to be low stretch as a lot of anglers will jig fish for trout through the ice. Jigging should always be done on a low stretch line so that you can ensure a quick hook set.

The best fishing line for trout rated at 2 lbs would be Berkley Vanish Fluorocarbon. Berkley Vanish is probably the best leader material I have tried

The best fishing line for trout rated at 4 lbs would be again have to be Berkeley Vanish fluoro. Nothing beats it for light tackle on clear waters when presentation is the most important thing.

A lot of fishermen get stuck using the same old line time and time again.

Once they make the switch from say mono to a braid on their spinning setups they often wonder why they didn’t switch sooner. We hope you this guide can help you in choosing the right trout line for your needs. Search for: