What rod length for trout spinning?

What rod length for spinning

A 6ft6″ – 7ft long spinning rod works best in most trout fishing situations. This is a good general purpose length for fishing from either the shore or a boat. Some anglers prefer rods as short as 5ft when fishing small overgrown streams.

Below I will discuss in more detail the best length spinning rods for different types and styles of trout fishing.

I will discuss fishing from the shore and boats and how different rods lengths might suit specific needs better. A rod that is best suited for a large open lake, is very different from a rod that is well suited for an overgrown creek.

Main advantages of longer spinning rods

  • A longer rod increases casting distance. Upgrading from a 6ft rod to a 7ft2″ rod is not going to be a night and day difference in distance. I have done many casts on an open field, using comparable rod combos and at best the longer rod only gave me a couple of extra yards. All else being equal, maybe a 5% increase in total casting distance.
  • Another advantage of a longer rod is better line control, you can impart more action and movement down the line into the lure. It can also make setting the hook easier if there is any slack in the line.
  • When fishing from a boat, a longer rod often allows better steering of a fish, for example, if the fish swims beneath the hull. A longer rod has the length to lift the line over the outboard allowing you to fight the fish on the other side. A shorter rod typically means fighting the fish from under the boat.
  • Finally, many fishermen find fighting fish on a longer rod is more fun. That is because a longer rod gives the fish more leverage making it seem bigger and the fight harder. This is also the reason why all big game rods are very short. It gives the leverage advantage to the fisherman.

Main advantages of shorter spinning rods

  • Shorter rods offer a better weight to power ratio. They are lighter and less tiring to use.
  • A short rod gives you more leverage over the fish. It makes the fight easier (not really a big factor when it comes to trout fishing).
  • A shorter rod is easier to use in cramped spaces. A short rod, under around 6’6″ is ideal for use in overgrown streams, and it is my personal favorite length from a kayak or canoe.
  • Some fishermen also find shorter rods are easier to cast accurately. I personally find accuracy comes with familiarity with the combo more so than just rod length.
  • A shorter rod is easier to transport and takes up less space in the car.

Should I buy a single or mutiple piece trout spinning rod?

For ease of transport, I always suggest getting a 2-piece rod. Being able to split a rod in half and fold together makes transporting in a car significantly easier. If you plan on purchasing a very long rod say 9ft then getting it in 3 or 4 sections can make transporting it more user friendly.

A two section 6’6″ rod when split in half can easily be stored in the trunk of any car or even laid across the backseat. It can start becoming a bit more tricky to transport rods significantly longer than that.

Some people worry that the joins (or ferrule) in a multiple piece rod are a potential weak spot. Bass on my own personal experience, ferrule technology is now so advanced that there is no significant difference in rod performance between a single piece and multipiece rod.

Best trout spinning rod length for shore fishing

When there is sufficient casting room from the shore, you can get away with a normal length spinning rod. So when fishing from the beach or open rivers, a standard 6’6’’-8’ long rod would suit most fishing needs. I personally prefer a 7ft rod when lake fishing.

This length of rod is popular because it is a good compromise between cast speed, strength and weight. Allowing for long casts and good backbone to control the fight. It is also not too long to be cumbersome to net fish with while holding.

If after a budget friendly rod recommendation, I suggest the 6’6′ version of the Okuma Celilo.

If all you care about is maximining casting distance then consider the 8’6′ version.

For its price the Celilo is a very sensitive and lightweight rod. When fished with a lightweight and smooth reel it casts like a rocket. It is hard to get a better rod without spending significantly more money.

Best trout spinning rod length for fishing overgrown streams

When fishing a lot of tight water around overgrown shorelines. A long rod can be a hindrance, branches keep getting in the way preventing full power casts. . In such situations, a shorter rod of around 4’6″-5’5″ is ideal. A short rod is also easier to push through thick vegetation with.

One downside, fishermen struggle to cast long distances with a short rod. If distance is still important, then a 5’5” is a suitable compromise.

For a tough, no-nonsense spinning rod that is affordable enough to treat rough then I recommend the Shakespeare Micro Spinning. It is a great rod for overgrown waters.

Best spinning rod length for boat fishing?

You can fish with almost any size rod from a boat with most trout fishermen using a rod between 7 and 8 feet in length. This length allows for long casts or to be used for trolling.

When jigging, a slightly shorter rod is recommended. With a length between 6’6” to 7’6”.

When fishing from a small boat that is short of casting space then a shorter rod is better in cramped spaces. For a boat fishing rod, I again suggest the Okuma Celilo.

Best rod length for trolling?

Popular length for a dedicated trolling rod is between 7 to 9ft. The Longer length rods are popular when trolling multiple rods to increase the spread of the lures behind the boat. The sweet spot seems to be between 7’6” to 8.

Now, a long rod is not required. I frequently troll with a fairly standard 6’6″ rod and have no issues. So unless you plan on fishing multiple lures at once long rods are far from essential.

Best trout spinning rod length for Canoe and kayak fishing?

There are two trains of thought regarding the optimal rod length for kayak fishing. There are fans of extra long rods, but also equally vocal supporters for short rods.

Over the years, I have owned and fished both. Overall, I am more a fan of the shorter rods, but both lengths have their advantages.

The fans of the long rods favor them because the length allows them to move the line across the bow of the boat. Allowing the fish to be fought on either side of the kayak. The downsides of a long rod when kayak fishing is that netting the trout becomes difficult.

The supporters of the short rods favor them because they are simply easier to fish with. The short rod lengths makes changing terminal tackle much easier. Short rods are also easier to store inside hatches and are less likely to bump into overhead branches when paddling close to the shore.

My recommendation for a kayak fishing rod is the Shakespeare Micro Spinning Rod. It is affordable, durable and comes in a range of sizes. Kayak fishing is tough on equipment. The Shakespeare is cheap enough to abuse but is still a surprisingly nice rod to use.

Best trout spinning rod length for children?

Children’s fishing rods are normally very short. Some are even under 4ft in length. Such a length makes them difficult to cast. Children need shorter and lighter rods than adults but not to such extremes. I suggest a rod between 4’6″-5’5″ is good for a small child. Teenagers and taller children can fish with full length rods.

There are some truly terrible rods marketed to children. So if budget allows, ignore the marketing and purchase a short fiberglass rod. Graphite rods are simply too fragile to survive how roughly some children treat their gear. For example, the Shakespeare Micro Spinning Rod offers great value for money and is a good first rod.


Above we discuss the most suitable trout spinning rod for different styles of fishing. If you have any questions feel free to answer below, if you are also in the market for reel, we suggest reading our guide on the best trout spinning reels.

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