St Croix Trout Series Spinning Rod Review

For the past several years I recommended the St Croix Trout Series as my top pick for a premium spinning rod for trout fishing. The reasons were simple, it has the performance of a high-end rod combined with good durability and backed by an excellent warranty.

In my guide on the best spinning rods for trout fishing guide the St Croix Trout Series has been replaced by the Temple Fork Outfitters Trout Panfish II Series of rods as my top recommendation.

I do not believe either are the better rod, but there has been some concerns raised regarding the build quality and aftermarket care of the St Croix.

With that said, if you can expect the rod in person before buying, and don’t overly care about the speed of warranty claims I still think the St Croix Trout Series is a excellent rod. It still remains a top pick for anyone who is rougher with their gear, the shorter lengths are an excellent option for fishing in tight conditions like overgrown streams.

All round, durable, quality spinning rod for trout fishing (Under $200)

  • Excellent all round trout rod
  • Moderate fast action blank, is lightweight and casts well.
  • Thicker coating assists in protecting the graphite core.
  • Slightly less sensitive than some competing high end rods, but the extra liveability makes up for it.
  • Good selection of rod lengths from 4’10 to 7ft.
  • Excellent warranty

The St Croix Trout Series spinning rod is quite the leap up in price over most rods I review, but it is somewhat nicer rod to fish with than the budget options. Not only is it durable for a full carbon rod it is also nice and light.

The main reason I like the Trout Series is that they feature a premium blank, but which is protected beneath an extra thick layer of epoxy which makes them more likely to survive the drops, scratches and bumps of trout fishing.

This rod has good all-round sensitivity and comes with a significantly better warranty than the cheaper rods.

This review is based on fishing the 6ft ultralight version.

The 6ft length makes it well suited for fishing trout streams and other overgrown areas. But due to the carbon blank it can still cast lures a respectable distance with impressive accuracy. (Note carbon is not actually more accurate than composite blanks. What determines accuracy is rod construction, and the users familiarity with the gear)

St Croix advertises it as a fast action rod, but I feel it is more moderate. A slightly slower action is not a negative. It is preferred when casting ultralight lures that lack the mass to fully load a fast action rod.

The blank offers good sensitivity and feels light in the hand. I will not mention balance because that depends entirely on what reel you plan on using it with.

It feels like St Croix went for a rather thick outer coating, I guess it is epoxy. The thick coating of clear coat is a double edged sword. On the positive, it makes the blank more durable, and better at surviving the knocks and drops of the trout stream. But on the downside, it does make the rod feel a bit stiffer, and less responsive compared with some other rods in this price bracket.

I personally feel a good trout rod needs to be durable enough to survive the occasional drop, fall, and tumble. Yes, there is a slight loss in sensitivity, but not enough to really influence the fishing. It can still flick out ultralight lures just fine.

For extra peace of mind, the Trout Series also comes with 5 years of warranty and while the feedback of the warranty process has been a bit more mixed lately, in my personal experience St Croix does stand behind their products.

Unlike the more expensive St Croix rods, these are not made in the United States but imported from Mexico. This cost surviving exercise has been somewhat of a mixed bag. I have read a few reports of quality control issues sneaking through, such as guides slightly out of alignment. If you are keen to purchase a trout series I seriously advice to check the rod out in person first to make sure you get a good one. They are great rods, but not when the eyes are crooked.

How Does the St Croix Trout Series Compare with the Competition?

I also want to briefly compare the St Croix trout series with their more expensive Premier series of rod. I find the premier to have a whippier action, it is a bit hard to explain but it lacks a sharpness in action. I suppose it might benefit some styles of fishing, but I feel the trout series is much better suited for trout fishing.

When compared against the TFO Trout Panfish II series of rod I feel they share a lot in common, the TFO seems slightly faster action but both rods perform very well. The St Croix is likely to be more durable, but the warranty and aftermarket support offered by TFO is hard to beat. If you want a very short rod, then the St Croix does come in a wider range lengths.

When compared against the G. Loomis Trout series, I feel the actions are comparable. The main point of difference is in rod weight. The G. Loomis is a touch lighter, but I do not feel it is worth double the price. It is a lot of money for a very minimal difference in weight and performance. The G. Loomis also does not come in lengths under 5’8″, so the series lacks options for very tight spaces. If you have the money to burn, then sure get the Loomis. It is a better rod, but I cannot objectively say it is better value.

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