What Type Of Fishing Line To Use for Rainbow & Brook Trout

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When it comes to what fishing line to use in different situations everyone is going to have a different opinion. I’ve tried pretty much everything out there and in this post, I’m going to be talking about what type of fishing line works the best for rainbow and brook trout.

In almost all situations, the best type of fishing line for rainbow and brook trout is a braided line with a fluorocarbon leader. This setup will give you the best overall balance of castability, sensitivity, and visibility in the water and that should result in your landing the most trout.

Obviously, you could use any type of fishing line and you’ll probably be able to catch something. All I’m saying is that I think this is the best overall setup in pretty much all conditions. It’s what I’ve been using for the past couple of years and it’s been working really well. Give it a try and see for yourself. We’ll be talking about why I use this setup and what line strength you’ll want to use next.

Why Use Braided Line For Trout

braid fishing line

For the majority of my rods, I’ve been using braid as my main fishing line. There are a number of reasons for that and that’s why I use braid 90% of the time when I’m fishing for trout. I normally use Sufix 832 braid or Power Pro Spectra (on Amazon) but there are other great options out there.

The first reason I like to use braid is that it lasts longer than mono and fluoro. Depending on how often you fish, if you’re using mono or fluoro you might have to replace your entire spool once or twice a year. I don’t know the exact info on how much longer braided line lasts but I’d say it’s at least 3 times.

The second thing I like about braid is that it casts better than mono and fluoro. 10 lb braid is a lot thinner than 10 lb mono and that’ll help you cast some of the smaller lures that are ideal for trout. If you’re just trolling then this won’t really matter but it’ll really help out if you like to cast and retrieve.

The third thing I like about braid is that it’s stronger. Instead of using 4 lb mono when I’m fishing for rainbow, I could use a 10 lb braid. They’ll be the exact same thickness and that’ll help prevent break-offs.

The final thing I like about braid is that it’s more sensitive. Monofilament has a good amount of stretch to it, fluorocarbon has a little bit, and braid pretty much won’t stretch at all. There are times and places when you’d want a bit of stretch, but when you have none you’ll be able to feel the bite right away.

Why Use A Fluorocarbon Leader For Trout

fluorocarbon fishing line

One thing you’ll want to be aware of is that you don’t want to tie your braided line directly to the hook or lure. Trout have pretty good eyesight and braid is a lot more visible in the water compared to the others. I normally use Seaguar Red Label (it’s great as a leader material but you won’t want to use it as your main fishing line).

This is why you’ll want to use either fluorocarbon or monofilament.

You really could use either of them but I prefer using fluorocarbon for trout. Each has its own pros and cons but I think fluoro will help you land more fish.

The first reason I like to use fluorocarbon is that it’s pretty much invisible in the water. As I said before, trout have good eyesight and they’ll be spooked off if they see your fishing line or something unusual. Any sort of advantage you can get, you’re going to want to take it.

The second reason I like fluorocarbon is that it has good abrasion-resistance. If you’re fishing near rocks or docks and have your line constantly rubbing against them, you’ll want to make sure it doesn’t break. The abrasion-resistance on braid isn’t that great and it seems like fluoro is slightly better than mono.

What Is The Best Line Weight For Trout Fishing

When you’re thinking about what type of fishing line to use for trout you’ll want to use as light of line as you can get away with. Using a 20 lb line for rainbow trout is completely unnecessary and will hurt your chances of catching something.

When it comes to my braided mainline, I like to use a 10 lb test. It’s the same thickness as 4 lb mono but I’ll get the benefits of a stronger line. You could even use a 20 lb test if you’re fishing with flashers and weights (since it’s not that much thicker). I’ll normally use a 10 lb test on my spinning rods and then 20 lb test on my trolling reels.

When it comes to my fluorocarbon leader, I like to use a 6 lb test. You could get away with a 4 lb test and you could use an 8 lb test, but 6 seems to be the perfect mix of thickness and invisibility. If you’re fishing an area with a lot of rocks or around docks then you’ll want to use something a bit heavier.

When To Use Monofilament For Trout

monofilament fishing line

As I said before, I use braid with a fluorocarbon leader about 90% of the time I’m fishing for trout. There are certain times though that you’ll want to use monofilament for the best results. I’ll normally use Berkley Big Game (on Amazon) but just make sure you use a quality line that’s meant as a main fishing line.

The time you’ll want to use straight monofilament is when there’s a lot of wind. Braid does not perform well at all when it’s windy out. It’s thin and light and will get blown around. It’s pretty common for wind knots to happen and I don’t think I have to tell you how fun those are.

Monofilament will be a little bit heavier and won’t get blown around as easily. That’s pretty much the only time when I won’t use braided line. You could use straight fluoro as well but I like having a mainline that floats (braid and mono float while fluoro sinks).

If you’re using monofilament then you’ll probably want to use a 4-6 lb test for rainbow and brook trout. In most cases, you won’t need to attach a leader and you can go with straight mono. If you’re fishing around rocks and docks then you might want to attach a slightly heavier monofilament leader.

Let me know your thoughts and any questions you have. Like this article? Feel free to give it a share!

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Jon Webber

I'm Jon and I'm the creator of Backcountry Cariboo. I'm by no means an outdoors or fishing expert, but it's something I've been interested in for over 20 years. This is where I test out different gear and techniques to see what actually works.

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