Trout Fishing Gear and Tackle

trout fishing gear

If you are just starting out with trout fishing you may be wondering:

What kind of trout fishing gear and tackle will I need ?

If you are planing on fishing small lakes, rivers and streams the type of trout fishing rig you are looking for is called and ultralight spinning setup.

The two other types of trout setups would be:

  • Fly fishing - Uses super light gear to cast lightweight flies
  • Trolling - Uses heavy trolling gear to pull lures behind a boat

Both of which require specialist gear that would not be suitable for a beginner. 

For the rest of this article we will focus on why you would use ultralight spinning gear and some good trout tackle that would suit a beginner.

Trout Fishing Gear List

The best trout fishing gear does not need to cost a fortune. The minimum you'll need is a rod, reel, line and hooks or lures.

1. Rod

Probably the most important thing to get right in your trout fishing setup you'll need a spinning rod with the following attributes:

  • Length - If you are fishing on small rivers then a rod of no more than 6.5 feet in length is what is called for. A longer rod may become a bit awkward to use especially if there are a lot of trees and bushes around. 
  • Action - A fast action rod is perfectly suited for light lures.
  • Power - A light to ultralight rated rod is the best option for trout fishing

Smaller lighter rods are the go to choice for trout fishing. If however, you are fishing on a much larger river or intend on casting or trolling from a boat in a lake then you will need to scale up your tackle. 

The reason why you use lighter tackle on rivers is that generally the lures will be smaller and as such weight less. 

When using light lures you need to use some fairly light fishing line. If you have a heavy setup then you quit simple won't be able to get any kind of decent casting performance.

2. Reel

A good reel is a sound investment. Cheaper reels can seize up and result in snapped line and a lost fish. You'll be using line in the 4 to 8 pound range depending on how large the river is. A size 1000 to 2500 spinning reel suit be perfectly matched to the rod above.

You don't need to spend a fortune on a good spinning reel but buying a quality one will save you money in the long run.

Cheaper low quality reels are a disaster waiting to happen. If you have a crappy reel chances are at some point it will seize up and once a reel seizes whilst you are hooked into a feisty little trout chances are you will end up snapping your line. 

3. Line

For most light spinning setups monofilament is the best choice. You can use flourocarbon or braid but mono is cheaper and pretty easy to cast.

Fishing line for trout will usually be between 2 and 8 lbs in strength. For a beginner a line of 6 lb rating is the best compromise.

The strength of the line is usually rated in pounds. The lighter the rating the thinner the line will be and thus less visible to a fish. However, choosing the lightest line does mean that it will snap much easier on under water snags and rocks. It also means that if you hook a large trout you have to be very careful to not let it snap the line due to it's power.

4. Hooks

If you plan on fishing with bait then you'll need to buy a small assortment of hooks. Trout hooks will generally fall within the size #8 to #12. The larger the number the smaller the hook. So a size #12 will be smaller than a size #8.

You'll usually use single hooks and not trebles when fishing with bait for trout. The best trout bait will usually be the most natural looking. Using a hook small enough to make the bait appear as natural as possible is key.

If you plan on releasing your catch then you should use bar-bless hooks. Barb-less hooks are much easier to remove from the trouts mouth so you are less likely to injure it.

5. Lures

For small rivers and streams only a handful of lures are needed to get started. You'll want to stick with smaller lures that don't run too deep when retrieved. A good selection of spinners and small spoons are what you should be concentrating on using.

  • Panther Martins
  • Blue Fox Vibrax
  • Little Cleo spoons

The best trout lures will have a natural action and will usually imitate some small minnow or aquatic insect that trout will feed on naturally.

You can also fish with more natural bait such as worms. There are even artificial baits like Powerbait that do remarkably well with stocked trout. 

6. Net

Landing a trout can be tricky. If you plan on practicing catch and release then using a landing net on one way to reduce damage to the trout. Old style knotted nets are rarely used now as they can remove some of the protective slime from the trout's skin. A newer style rubber meshed net is preferred.

Even if you plan on keeping your catch a good net means that you can secure the fish safe in the knowledge that they will not get away at the last moment just as you land then on the river bank. 

Probably the most frustrating time to lose a fish is right beside you once all the hard work is done. A net helps ensure that at those crucial last few minutes you can safely land the fish without them throwing the hook.

7. Sunglasses

Water glare is a real pain if you are trying to spot trout in rivers and small lakes. A good pair of polarized fishing sunglasses will help to reduce water glare and surface reflection. They will also help to protect your eyes from the harmful effects of the sun. 

Learning how to read the water in front of you is an essential skill. Sunglasses will open up a lot more water and make things a lot clearer, the difference really is nigh and day.

Scanning the water all day is quite hard on the eyes. Combine that with the shine from the surface of the water and you can come home after a long days fishing with quite considerable eye strain.

8. Hat

A rimmed hat should be worn by all anglers. Skin cancer is no joke and a simple hat can go a long way to help reducing skin damage on your neck, face and head. Plus a large rim will also help to reduce the strain on your eyes if you do not wear sunglasses.

Try to choose a hat that has a large rim. It will really help protect your head. If you are fishing in the heat of summer then a hat that has some breathable mesh can be a big bonus. The mesh will help sweat to evaporate and allow any breeze to help cool your head.

9. Fishing Vest

Carrying a tackle box about all day can be a bit if a pain. You can of course by a tackle backpack that will allow you to carry all your gear on your back. 

However, a fishing vest makes life much easier. You'll have all you necessary trout gear right to hand. You can store all your important fishing items plus your car keys, wallet and phone.

Most fishermen carry way too much gear with them. If you only carry what you need then there is more than enough storage on a fishing vest to carry lure and hooks and other small items.

Moving along a river bank all day in search of trout is a lot easier when all you need to have in your hand is your rod.

10. Waders

Although not a necessity a good pair of waders can open up a lot more fishing spots to you than regular outdoor boots. Some rivers have very shallow sides, with waders you have the ability to walk out past the shallows towards the deeper drop offs where the trout are most likely to be hiding.

They also make life much easier when you are trying to land a trout or cross a small stream. Not having to think about getting wet feet before you move somewhere is a major plus.

Dry feet are a must when you are out fishing all day especially in the winter.