The Best Trolling Reels For Steelhead Fishing

Some of the best trolling reels for steelhead on good trolling rod in the rod holders and ready to go.

Hop on board twenty different steelhead charter boats and you’ll find the same few reels being used on every boat. These are the proven effective reels and they can be considered the best trolling reels for steelhead fishing.

Methods such as downrigger, dipsy diver fishing, planner board fishing and even flat-linning are all used to troll for steelhead and ofter, different rod actions and different rod lengths are preferred.

Let’s find which steelhead trolling reels are best by the methods used.

Key Takeaways

  • Best Reels For New Anglers and Casual Anglers – Okuma
  • Best Reels For Avid Anglers – Shimano and Penn
  • Top Reels Used By Charter Boats – Shimano
  • Reels Sizes For Different Methods and Lines
  • Understanding Reel Speed

Best Steelhead Trolling Reels For Different Methods

Steelhead charter boats, such as Fireplug Charters, come fully equipped with top-notch trolling reels and rods.

However, beginners often struggle with understanding the relevance of specific reels to particular trolling techniques. So before you go out and buy the wrong reels, look at what the charter boat captains are using.

Okuma Reels: The Go-to Steelhead Trolling Reels

If you’re familiar with steelhead trolling, you’ve undoubtedly seen Okuma reels on boats. Known for their versatility and affordability, Okuma reels come in varying speeds, sizes, and models. Three major models to consider:

Best Okuma Reels For Steelhead Trolling

  • Okuma Convector Line Counter Reel – A trusted choice for over a decade, available in sizes 30, 45, and 55. Available in both high speed and regular speed. Check Price
  • Okuma Cold Water Line Counter Reel – The Cold Water Reel is an upgraded model from the Convector, available in sizes 30, 45, and 55. Check Price
  • Size 20 Okuma Reels – Perfect for Kayak anglers or smaller boats running shorter lines.

Pair these reels with premium steelhead trolling rods, and you’re set to go!

Premium Trolling Reels For Steelhead Fishing

The following are some high-end reels, often found on charter boats:

  • PENN Squall II Line Counter Levelwind Reel – A step up from Okuma and marginally pricier. Available in sizes 20, 30, and 50. Check Price
  • The Daiwa Saltist Line Counter Reel: 40 and 50 – Boasts an improved line counter and a top-tier drag system. Check Price
  • Shimano Tekota 600 and 800 – Arguably the best steelhead trolling reel, frequently used on charter boats. Check Price

Reel Speed: Decoding Regular vs. High Speed

The speed of the reel, determined by its ratio, is pivotal. Regular speed reels, around a 4:1 ratio, provide more torque, ideal for reeling setups with resistance. High-speed reels, around a 6:1 ratio, are apt for lead core lines or when battling smaller steelhead.

Other Steelhead Trolling Reels To Consider

  • Penn Fathom 2 Reel – Renowned for its accuracy and excellent drag system. Check Price
  • Shimano Triton Levelwind Reels – Budget-friendly option. Check Price
  • Shimano Charter Special TR-2000LD Reel – Charter boat favorite. Check Price
  • Penn Torque Two-Speed Reel – A high-end, albeit pricey option. Check Price
  • Okuma Pro Magda – An economical choice, especially for dipsy divers. Check Price

In summary, if you have insights or queries regarding the best trolling reels for steelhead fishing, feel free to share or ask in the comments.

Tight Lines,



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