In this article, I will discuss the best fishing line for trout fishing and why I and other trout guides only use premium fishing lines. Learn which sizes and types of fishing lines are best with different methods for fishing trout in rivers and lakes.
The best fishing line for trout fishing on small streams is the 4-pound Suffix Elite monofilament line, but there are times when 6-pound or 8-pound line is a better option. The best fishing line for trout when lake fishing is a braided line like 15-pound PowerPro Spectra in the green color.
Monofilament lines are used by most river fishing guides in rivers but there are also lines like fluorocarbon lines and braided lines which have some advantages over mono.
The 3 Best Trout Lines
The 3 best trout lines are Monofilament, Fluorocarbon, and Braided lines, and each one has advantages and disadvantages depending on the type of water you are fishing and the type of method that you are using.
On my fishing reels that I use for only casting lures in lakes or in rivers, I like to use braided lines for a number of reasons which I will discuss below.
On the reels that I use when I am float fishing or when bottom bouncing for trout in rivers, I prefer to use a premium monofilament line and I will discuss the benefits of monofilament below and which ones are best. If you want to learn how to catch more trout, check out my page on float fishing for trout.
When I am using reels that I use for many different methods, instead of changing lines, I always prefer a premium monofilament fishing line for trout fishing.
Is Mono The Best Line For Trout Fishing?
The monofilament line is the most used fishing line by trout anglers and by trout guides. Mono is the most used line because the monofilament line works well with most methods used for trout fishing which makes it the most versatile and easy to use.
When I use mono line for trout fishing with both bait and with lures, I find that it always works best with a good fluorocarbon leader setup. I still believe that most of the time float fishing is one of the most productive methods for catching trout especially if you use the right leader setup. My trout fishing leader setup that I use and teach my clients works better them most other leaders that I have tried.
The major benefits of mono are:
- It is sold everywhere
- It works well on all reels
- It works with most trout fishing methods
- It also comes in many colors (see below which is best)
- It comes in all the needed sizes
- It’s the least expensive of all the fishing lines
However, not all mono lines are created equal and some are cheap and not very good while other mono lines are excellent for trout fishing.
The Best Monofilament Line For Trout Fishing
You want to get a good monofilament line for trout fishing if you want to be able to fish well, The best monofilament lines for trout fishing are premium lines or what I call performance lines and I will discuss the advantages of these lines and the disadvantages to the cheap lines.
If you want the best fishing lines for trout that are made from premium mono these are the best that I have used. I will also discuss the best sizes below this.
This is my favorite all-around mono line for trout and steelhead fishing with spinning reels.
I know many river anglers and other guides that also use this line.
It works great on any type of fishing reel.
The key features are
- Superior strength, handing, and durability
- J7 Micro Resin process
- Slick line for farther casts
- Exclusive G2 precision winding
Raven Main Line Monofilament Line
This is my favorite line when float fishing for trout. I use it on my spinning reels and on my Centerpin reels.
It’s widely used by other trout anglers and fishing guides.
Key Feature Are:
- 1/8 lb. spool (length varies by pound test)
- Excellent abrasion resistance
- High breaking strength
- High buoyancy
- Good for float fishing applications
DAM Damyl Tectan Superior Monofilament Line
A very well-rated line that is very supple with a UV coating to make it last longer.
This is a great line for trout fishing but is also well-liked by lake guys and for other species.
- UV-protective surface treatment
- Low visibility
- Low memorySuperior abrasion resistant
- Parallel winding
- Medium elongation
One of the disadvantages of mono is that it can have memory which makes casting difficult. Line memory creates line coils when it comes off the smaller spinning reel spools and that can affect the way the line goes through the guides and the way it sits on the water. Line memory and line coils can cause problems.
Cheap lines are the worst for line memory, line twist, and that can also cause more tangles and problems, so avoid cheap lines. Cheaper lines that are also thick are even worse.
Good lines like the Suffix Elite line are much better and are lines that I would consider as a performance fishing line or as they call it a premium fishing line.
Performance type monofilaments will help you cast better and they will help you catch more fish when compared to cheap crappy lines because they perform better allowing for better hook sets, stronger knots, less memory and they go on the reel better with less line twist.
I find that performance lines can also offer features like being limper or stiffer, or they will be stronger at a thinner diameter which is exactly what you want when you are fishing for line shy trout.
Some of these performance lines can also have UV coatings to make the lines last longer, some will have less stretch and some are slick for better casting.
How To Straighten Fishing Line
Even good fishing lines can have some line memory if left for a long time or if left for too long in the sun or if it’s exposed to heat.
The easiest method to straighten the monofilament fishing line is to stretch it by tying it to something stationary and then walk back about 1.5 times the length you could normally cast and then pull or stretch the line.
Just be careful not to pull too hard or it could break the line near the reel and you will lose a lot of line. This method often works on good quality lines but not so good on cheap lines.
How Long Does Monofilament Line last
Monofilament that is stored indoors and out of direct sunlight will last about 3 years. How I test my mono is I will tie my best knot onto a large hook and I will pull it to test how strong the knot is. If it’s hard to break it’s still good, but if it breaks easily, it’s time to recycle it.
Some local tackle shops will take back your old line for recycling.
What Pound Line For Trout
Many of my clients want to know what pound line for trout and this is what I tell them. The right pound line for trout will depend on the size of the water that you fish and the size of the trout you might catch. You will need a different pound line in rivers than you will need in lakes.
What Pound Line For Trout In Rivers
The best pound line for trout fishing in rivers is 6-pound test which is a good all-around line for bait and for lures. If you are only fishing small creeks, 4-pound line is best. 8-pound line is best for trout fishing in big rivers where the trout can use the current to run far.
You can use a lighter line when river fishing because you can often walk up or down the river and the trout really don’t have anywhere to go. On huge rives with big currents, the trout can utilize the current and go far at a fast pace so you will need a heavier line. Just remember your weakest link because a very heavy line might bend hooks or break leaders.
Chances are you will be fishing for line shy trout and a good fluorocarbon leader that is lighter than your mainline will likely be required. What pound test for trout is best when you are using leaders will depend on your leader size.
You don’t want to use a 4-pound line with a pound leader. Your mainline should always be slightly heavier than your leader so the line is more likely to break at the hook instead of up the line somewhere.
What lb Test For Trout In Lakes?
When fishing in lakes with lures you will want an 8-pound line so that you don’t risk losing your lures on big fish that run far.
When lake fishing I prefer to use a braided line with a 3 or 4-pound fluorocarbon leader so the fish don’t see the line. With a braided line, it can be very strong while being 2 to 4 times thinner than a monofilament line. I tend you use a braided line that is around 10 to 20-pound breaking strength but that means it could be as thin as 4 to 6lb mono.
I will discuss braided lines for trout below.
The Best Fluorocarbon Fishing Line For Trout
The primary advantage of fluorocarbon line is that it is the most invisible fishing line to the fish and it’s very abrasion-resistant which can be great if you are fishing around a lot of rocks or catching a lot of fish.
The downside to fluorocarbon is that it can be stiff and can cause problems on spinning reels and because of that I do not recommend it for spinning reels. Anglers claim some fluorocarbon lines are stiff right out of the package and have seen it practically jump off the spool of spinning reels causing all kinds of problems. Fluorocarbon can also be expensive for a good line.
Often, any slack in the cast can cause problems on spinning reels.
However, some of the better fluorocarbon lines are more supple and are good when using baitcasting reels. One of the best fluorocarbon lines for baitcasting reels is Seaguar Tatsu Fluorocarbon Line, and if you want to try a fluorocarbon line that actually works on a spinning reel this is also the best one.
Due to the potential problems and the prices, and because you can easily use a fluorocarbon leader with mono, I do not use fluorocarbon as my mainline on spinning reels.
I would also never use a fluorocarbon line on any reel that I float fish with because it sinks and you always want a line that is buoyant when float fishing.
The Best Braided Fishing Line For Trout
I use braided lines like Power Pro, SpiderWire, or Fireline on my reels that I only use for casting lures in lakes and rivers. My favorite is Power pro in the green color.
I have also used braided line when float fishing with spinning reels, baitcasting reels, and with Centerpin reels but you must use a good leader setup.
The advantages to using braid when float fishing or bottom bouncing is:
- No stretch so long hooksets are better
- Most braided lines float which is great when float fishing
- Braided line has very low or no memory
- Braided line comes of the spool smoothly
- Brained lines are extra strong for thier diameter
- Braided lines are more sensitive to help you detect strikes when you are bottom bouncing
The disadvantages of braided lines when float fishing:
- You need a fluorocarbon leader or the trout will see the line.
- Because there is no stretch, it more common to break fish off on the hookset or when fishing fishing with a leader
- Not as easy to tie knots, you will need specials knots for braid
- The float caps that hold the float to the line can break more with thin braided line.
- Braided line can freeze in the winter because it can abosrbe water, even the entire spool can freeze solid if you dunk your reel in below freezing temperatures
Braiding lines are a great choice when fishing with lures because they are very thin while being double or triple the strength of mono or fluorocarbon lines.
Thinner braided lines get the lure down faster, the hook sets are solid due to no stretch and braided lines can cast far.
The downside to braided lines is that the fish may see the line if you tie it directly to the lure so you may require a 10-pound fluorocarbon leader.
Best Lines For Different Types Of Reels
Some fishing lines work better on different types of reels.
Best Line For Centerpin Reels
The two best lines for Centerpin reels is mono like the Raven Mainline or braided line like Power Pro.
I never use Fluorocarbon lines on a Centerpin reel because they are heavy and they sink. See my page on the best lines for Centerpin fishing where I list all my tested and proven lines.
The Best Fishing Line For Trout In Rivers
There’s a reason why the best trout line is different for river fishing versus lake fishing is because of the different methods used and because of all the rocks and logs found in many rivers.
The best fishing line for trout is the