11 Best Trout Nets Of 2024: A Buyers Guide

A guide landing a big trout in a FishPond net
One of my guides landing a big trout in his FishPond net.

As a fishing guide for over 20 years, I have put thousands of trout into trout nets for me and my clients. A good net is something I recommend to all my new clients because I feel it is must-have tool.

I have tested dozens of different trout nets ranging from $10 to over $200.00.

The right trout net will be small enough and light enough to be easily carried, and attached to your body without weighing you down, and will still be big enough to handle the largest trout in the river you are fishing.

Look for these things in a good trout net.

  • Lightweight.
  • Compact.
  • Have a good net hoop shape.
  • Be portable so it can be stored on your body without getting in the way.
  • Durable handle, frame, and bag.
  • A net bag made out of material that is easy on the fish and makes hook removal easy.
  • The right size – A good trout net needs to hold small and large fish well.

I have seen anglers lose large trout because they didn’t have a net. I’ve also seen anglers struggling to fit that once-in-a-lifetime giant trout in a tiny trout net and then lose it.

A net is a valuable tool, get one before you need one!

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There are a variety of trout nets available from short-handle nets, long-handle nets, cheap nets, very expensive nets, and nets of all different shapes and sizes. You can also get nets with different materials for the bag mesh.

Even a cheap net can be a good net if you know which net to buy. One of my favorite trout and steelhead nets sells for only about $25.00

Guides trout net
Just because the fishing guides have big trout landing nets doesn’t mean they are the right trout net for you.

Our Top 3 Best Trout Nets Picks

This is my quick pick list of the best trout nets for fishing rivers or from small boats.

  1. FishUSA Premium Trout & Steelhead Landing Net – Best Big Trout and Steelhead Net
  2. Frabill 13″ x 19″ trout net – Best net for walk and wade fishing.
  3. Ranger Catch & Release Flat Bottom Trout Net – Best Economy Trout Net

Best Aluminum Trout Nets

Aluminum Trout net
Aluminum trout nets like this Frabill trout net are lightweight, durable, and inexpensive. This net is a small hole mesh.

Aluminum hoop and handle fishing nets are light and durable and are my preferred choice for nets. They are also cheap and readily available.

My favorite aluminum frame net is the 13″ x 19″ Frabill net. Although the handle is too short for most guides, after netting thousands of trout in it, I rarely miss a fish with it.

Best Aluminum Trout Nets:

  1. Frabill 13″ x 19″ trout net – Great for all river anglers and I’ve put 26 inch brown trout in this net.
  2. Frabill 17″ x 25″ Steelhead / Salmon net – A much bigger hoop for landing bigger trout, steelhead, and I’ve secured salmon in this net.
  3. Frabill Kwik-Stow Folding Trout Net – A good compact net for long reach and as a small boat net.
  4. Ranger Catch & Release Flat Bottom Trout Net – Good for river bank anglers on a budget under $20,00
  5. Frabill Floating Trout Net – Similar to the top two Frabil nets but this one floats.

Composite, Fiberglass, and Carbon Fiber Trout Nets

FishPond Trout Net
The Fishpond trout net is a very popular net with guides and anglers and are some of the best nets on the market.

Some trout net frames and handles are made using composite materials like carbon fiber and fiberglass. You will see these on the more expensive nets from brands like Fishpond, FishUSA, and Orvis fly fishing.

The handle and frame on these composite carbon fiber nets are strong, lightweight, and durable.

Light nets are also better when using a magnetic net release, and the lighter the net, the better it is when hanging off the back of a wading jacket all day.

Best Composite Trout Nets:

  1. FishUSA Premium Trout & Steelhead Landing Net
  2. Fishpond Nomad El Jefe Net
  3. Fishpond Nomad Emerger Net
  4. FishPond Nomad Hand Net
  5. Orvis Wide Mouth Hand Net (short Handle length)
  6. Orvis Wide Mouth Guide Net ( long Handle length net)

Check out the FishUSA Trout and Steelhead Net video review.

Best Rubber Net Trout Nets

Rubber Trout Net
A rubber net is good for the fish and won’t get hooks stuck in it. These are what I consider large holes.

The advantages of a soft rubber bag net are that your hooks do not get stuck in the net, and the soft rubber net is better for the fish because it causes less damage to the fish’s body and will remove less slime compared to other nets.

The soft rubber is also less deep and more compact but will expand when a large fish is in it.

The disadvantage of some rubber fishing nets is that they can be thick and heavy. You will see this more on cheap trout nets.

The tighter the rubber mesh, the heavier the rubber net bag will be, which is why you will see some of the higher-end rubber trout nets like the Fishpond nets, using larger mesh holes on their soft rubber bag.

The higher-end brands use the eco clear rubber trout nets.

A good soft rubber net to consider is the Fishpond Nomad Mid Length Net or the FishPond Nomad Short Handle Net. This net comes with a clear rubber net or a black rubber net bag.

Best Rubber Coated Trout Nets

Rubber Coated Trout net
Rubber coated or rubber dipped trout nets are lighter than all rubber Trout nets and they can have smaller holes and still be lightweight.

A rubber-coated mesh, which is also known as rubber-dipped, is made with a net mesh that uses some sort of strong string or cord, which is then coated with a super-thin layer of rubber coating.

The advantage to this type of mesh is that they are lighter than the solid rubber mesh, and the hooks will still come out relatively easily, and they are safer for the fish.

The best landing nets with a rubberized coating are:

  1. Frabill 13″ x 19″ trout net
  2. Frabill 17″ x 25″ Steelhead / Salmon net
  3. Frabill Kwik-Stow Folding Trout Net
  4. Ranger Catch & Release Flat Bottom Trout Net
  5. Frabill Floating Trout Net

NETrekk: The Best Net and Wading Staff Combo

These are the NETrekk versions available.

The new and innovative design of NETrekk nets allows anglers to have a landing net that converts to a wading staff or hiking staff. The NETrekk nets also conveniently fold up and come in various net bag types and sizes.

Check them out at NETrekk

What Makes A Good Trout Net

A nice brook trout in a wading net.

When looking for a good trout net for river fishing, you want to consider these things.

  • Size of the net: Consider the size and weight of the fish you could be catching and the weight and size of the net since you will likely be wade fishing.
  • Hoop Shape: Net or hoop shape is important. A narrow net is harder to land fish compared to a wider rounder net hoop. There is a reason why competition anglers use really wide hoop nets.
  • Weight: The weight of the net is important since it will likely be hanging off your shoulders or waist all day long.
  • Portability: Big bulky nets and nets with long handles are not good for river fishing. When trout fishing you DO NOT want a net you need to leave on the bank. Get a wading net designed to be portable.
  • Durability: Some net materials last long and are much stronger. Consider fiberglass nets, carbon fiber, and wooden nets, and for the net bag, consider rubber nets, or rubber-coated net bags.
  • Grip: The handle grip can be important especially when your hands are wet from rain or the river. Some net handles will be rubberized or have some sort of coating for better grip.
  • Functionality: A well-designed net with a proper hoop sizer and shape is just easier to use and transport. Handle length is also important.
  • Price: There are good nets in just about all price ranges and I will list them all and discuss prices more below.

Get The Right Trout Net For You

This trout net is too small for the fish in this river.
This small cheap trout net is common with beginner anglers. My client did manage to land this fish in it, but it could barely hold this 20-inch brown trout, and he almost lost it. This net is too small.

Consider your budget and the size of the fish as well as the weight and size of the trout net before you buy any trout net.

Consider A Trout Nets Price First

Based on my experience, there are good trout nets in all price ranges starting from $20.00 and up.

In fact, all my trout landing nets that I use for guiding and trout fishing are under $60.00. FYI, I can land the same amount of trout on my $25 dollar Frabill trout net that I can on my $250 trout net.

Trout net size
This is my fishing buddy, I’m behind the camera, the net he is using is mine, and it is big enough for a 10-pound trout, but small and light enough to hang properly from my back.

Therefore, just buy a net that is in your budget and suits your needs.

I don’t use expensive trout landing nets because they get caught on branches and logs, and you can tear the bag easily.

Nets also get smashed against rocks when swiping to net a fish in shallow water, and then they can break or get dented.

To carry a fly fishing net like this is not ideal.
My client with his net handling low. Look closely and you can see the branch stuck on the bottom of his net.

Nets can also get washed away by the current when you’re not paying attention because you’re too busy taking a photo or trying to release your fish.

The way I rig up my trout net now is the same way competition anglers do. I don’t lose nets or damage them this way. See my page: How I Attach A Fly Fishing Net.

What Trout Net Hoop Size And Shape Is Best?

24" Brown trout in a trout net
This is a clients 24 inch brown trout in my 13″ x 19″ Frabill trout net. This is my favorite trout net.

A large round hoop or teardrop-shaped hoop is the best shape for a trout net. Use a hoop size of at least 10″ x 18 inches.

My trout net, and the one I recommend the most, is the Frabill 13″ x 19″ trout net, which will handle trout up to 28 inches.

When I fish for large trout or steelhead I use the Frabill 17″ x 25″ Steelhead / Salmon net.

What Is The Best Trout Net Depth?

Jordan Pockets streamer caught brown trout
Another beauty brown trout in the net, caught by Jordan from A Perfect Drift Guide Company.

The best trout net depth is around 15 inches, but trout nets with a depth between 13 and 18 inches are good.

15″ is a good mid-depth depth. A mid-depth net bag is also a good idea because, with a deeper net bag even with a smaller hoop, you will still be able to net, hold, and control very larger fish.

WARNING: Deep trout nets made from cloth-type string can sometimes have the problem of trout twisting in all that excess mesh and causing some nasty net tangles, and that means it takes much longer to release the fish which can kill them.

How Long Should The Trout Net Handle Length Be?

The Fishpond Nomad El Jefe Net

The best handle length for the average walk and wade angler is 8 to 10 inches which is considered a short handle net, and the best handle length for added reach, for guides, and for river boats is 14 to 20 inches.

When it comes to short handle nets, just be sure it is combined with a bigger hoop or long hoop for a total net length of around 24 to 30 inches.

An angler with a long handle trout net.
An angler with a long handle trout net. In this position it would be difficult to get the net with one hand.

Mid-length net handles like on the Fishpond Nomad Mid-Length Net are good when wading deep, or when you need a little extra reach from a canoe or raft.

You will see guides using these mid-length and longer handled nets but they are usually not required for the average river angler.

Wood Trout Nets Are Good

Wood frame and wood handle nets look really nice, they can have custom engravings, they can be handcrafted, and they can be quite expensive. If a great-looking net is your thing or having a hand-crafted net is what you want, then go for it.

For some seriously nice custom wood net, check out Sam’s Trout Nets

Long Handle Versus Short Handle

Long Handle Trout Net
Long handle trout nets like the FishPond nets are great for getting extra reach and are popular with river fishing guides.

Long-handle nets like the Fishpond Nomad nets are catch and realese nets because they give you a little extra reach to get those bigger fish, especially in situations where the fish may be a little out of reach.

These long-handled nets are popular with a lot of river fishing guides.

The downside to the longer handle net is they are a little bit bulkier and heavier and if you hang it off your back with the net handle up and bag down the net mesh tends to get hung up on branches and stumps and this can rip your net.

I prefer a short handle or mid-length nets because they are more compact and lighter.

The Fishpond Nomad El Jefe Net

If you learn how to properly fight a fish in close to you, the short-handled nets will work just fine.

A good long-handle net is the Fishpond Nomad El Jefe Net which is a lightweight Carbon fiber and fiberglass composite and a length of 41 inches.

Large Holes Versus Small Holes

Short Handle trout nets
Short handle trout nets work great if you get down to the trout’s level.

While nets with large holes of up to an inch in diameter will be fine for bass, pike, walleye, or carp, they are not great for very small trout.

The best nets for trout will have a smaller micro mesh of 1/2 inch or less, which will be small enough that a 9-inch trout won’t slip through the holes, and these work best with bigger fish.

Fold-Up Nets Versus Non-Fold-Up Nets

Fold-up nets, which are also known as folding trout nets, or collapsible nets, like the Frabill Kwik-Stow Folding Trout Net, are a good option if you want a bigger net with a longer handle that folds up and packs away nicely.

The only problem with these trout nets is that they are difficult to unfold with one hand when you have one hand on your rod fighting a big fish.

Otherwise, they are a great mid-length net that can extend to a longer net if needed.

Trout Nets For Collecting Garbage

Guide Tip – Your net makes a great garbage collector. I collect as much garbage as I can on my way back to my vehicle.

Collecting garbage means the river doesn’t look like a dump for my next clients or for everyone else, and it’s less likely to be closed to anglers.

Tight Lines


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  1. I really like reading your articles and have purchased a lot of the things you recommend for trout fishing. I recently bought the Kwik stow folding net smaller size. But I don’t like the net itself and was wondering if I could buy a rubber net and replace the one on the Kwik stow? If you know of any way I could do this please let me know thank you for your time hope to hear from you soon.

    1. Hey Faruk,

      Unfortunately, I don’t know much about replacement netting but I would think if it’s possible you would need to buy the right size replacement net from the manufactures of the net and they may have instructions.

      Good Luck,