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5 Best Fishing Line for Trout in 2020

If there's one thing we know about trout fishing, it's that you have to have good fishing line if you hope to do any good. The great news, though, is that there a lot of different fishing lines that can work for trout fishing, as long as you have the right set-up.

The most commonly used line for trout fishing is fluorocarbon line. Other commonly used lines are braided line and monofilament. Lead core line isn't often used when fishing for trout because it's too heavy and allows your lures to sink too deeply into the water. The other three, though, are favorites of anglers everywhere, with each fisherman having his own favorite brand.

We've compiled a list of some of the best trout fishing line. Read on to see if your favorite made the list.

Best Fishing Line for Trout: It Should Be Invisible

Anyone who's ever fished for trout knows how elusive and hard to catch they can be. You have to be a pretty good fisherman to lure in such a shy fish, and if you don't have the right line, it's never going to happen. And on the off chance that it does happen, without the right line, you're just as likely to lose that fish as you are to reel it into the boat.

The first thing you need to know about buying fishing line for trout is that it needs to be invisible. Trout are already wary fish that are hard to catch. If they see the line attached to your bait, it's going to scare them off every time.

In terms of line that's hardest to see, fluorocarbon usually fits the bill. For that reason, all the ones we've picked for this list are fluorocarbon lines. However, in certain situations, both braided and mono line can work for trout, as well. We'll talk more about some of the best characteristics of good line at the end of this article. For now, though, let's move onto the list itself.

#1 Stren Fluorocast Fluorocarbon Fishing Line

Pros:
  • Practically invisible in water
  • Abrasion-resistant
  • Made of 100% pure fluorocarbon
Cons:
  • Some reviewers complain it breaks too easily under strain of a big fish.

If you're looking for great fluorocarbon line made right here in the United States, then you don't have to look much farther than the Stren Fluorocast line. Whether it's because it's U.S.-made or because it's practically invisible once it hits the water, people love this line. It's a huge seller for trout fishermen everywhere.

In addition to being virtually invisible to fish, the fluorocast line is also incredibly strong. This is because it's actually made of 100% fluorocarbon, not a fluorocarbon mix like some other fishing lines on the market. This 100% fluorocarbon makeup is also what makes it so invisible in water. Furthermore, it's exceptionally resistant to abrasion and very durable.

It's a fast-sinking line that will hit pretty deep depths no matter what type of lure with which you pair it. However, it works best with a medium to heavy lure, possibly with treble hooks. This line can be used independently, but it tends to work best as a leader line, especially when paired with eight- or ten-pound test braided line.

It can be used for both saltwater and freshwater fishing.

#2 Sunline Super FC Sniper Fluorocarbon Fishing Line

  • Strong, durable and tough to break
  • Triple resin processing makes it great for both spinning or casting reels
  • No stretch
  • Doesn't sink as deeply as some other lines on the list

Another great fluorocarbon line for trout fishing is the Sunline Super FC Sniper Fluorocbaron line. This line is a great choice for trout fishing, whether you're using a spinning or a casting reel. It can work well with both because of the way it's processed with triple resin.

During the triple resin processing phase, other top-of-the-line materials are also used. It's treated so that it's incredibly abrasion-resistant. It's also quality control tested to ensure that the diameter of each strand is completely uniform. Furthermore, this line does not stretch. It's some of the strongest possible line and is especially durable.

With all these characteristics, you can be sure that your line will remain free from knots, tangles, fraying and any other type of defect while you're using it. The line also casts really well. The combination of low line memory and superb strength lends itself to a smooth, powerful casting experience. It also sinks quickly and deeply.

In addition to being durable, strong, tangle- and stretch-resistant, Sunline's fluorocarbon line is also very sensitive and will provide you with excellent, real-time feedback. The moment a trout even nibbles the line, you'll feel it. The retrieval process is also smooth and strong.

#3 P-Line Floroclear Clear Fishing Line

  • Superior casting experience
  • Super strong knot strength
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Doesn't sink as deeply as some line
  • Hard to see, but not invisible in the water

If you are looking for a low stretch line that's incredibly strong and durable, the P-Line Floroclear might just be the thing for you. P-Line Floroclear is made of a nylon/fluorocarbon hybrid material, which makes it as strong as pure fluorocarbon line but much softer to the touch. It also provides you with the ultimate in knot strength. Knots in P-Line Floroclear line are unmatched for holding power.

This particular line is also great for casting. There is very low stretch to this line, meaning it doesn't curl up the way so many other fluorocarbon lines tend to do when you don't keep a close eye on them. Both these characteristics allow for a smooth, strong and precise casting experience that sends your lure exactly where you want it to go.

Another excellent thing about this particular line is that you can use it paired with braided line as a main line, or you can simply use it on its own. It does seem to work better, though, when used as the leader line attached to a main. The small diameter of the line makes it very hard for fish to see, which means it's ideal for fishing for trout pretty much year round.

In fact, the diameter is so small and the line is so lightweight, some anglers compare using this line to using monofilament line. With some setups, it can be used much the same way. Finally, because it isn't made of 100% pure fluorocarbon, it is usually a lot cheaper than other line that is 100% fluorocarbon, making it a great deal for what you're getting.

#4 Seaguar Blue Label 25 Yards Fluorocarbon Leader

  • Practically invisible <i>and</i> non-reflective
  • Incredibly strong
  • Small diameter
  • Made of 100% fluorocarbon
  • Can be expensive

Although we have it listed as number four on our list of best fishing line for trout, that doesn't mean it's fourth-best. In fact, this line is probably the all-time best-selling line on our list. It's known pretty much as the gold standard go-to for most anglers who've been fishing for any length of time.

Because this particular line is made of 100% pure fluorocarbon and because the diameter of it is smaller than almost any other line available, this line is the closest thing to invisible that you can possibly get. Because it was first made by the Seaguar company in 1971, it's also one of the oldest brands of fluorocarbon line, which could have something to do with why so many people prefer it over other brands.

Additionally, the Seaguar brand is top-of-the-line when it comes to both knot and tensile strength; it also ranks heavily as one of the most resistant lines to abrasion. Furthermore, it has shock absorption capabilities that can't be found in most other lines.

In addition to being nearly invisible underwater, it's also coated so that it has no reflective qualities that could give you away on a bright sunny day. This is a hard combination to find. There are many different lines that look invisible under the water; fluorocarbon is known for this. However, even the most invisible lines can be seen once the sun reflects off of them.

So if you're fishing for trout, one of the most skittish, elusive fish out there, this is probably hands-down the best choice you can make. Other anglers may have their own favorite brands of trout fishing line, but you'd be hard-pressed to find one that wouldn't give Seaguar some grudging respect anyway.

In addition to all of these great qualities, this line is also strong and sturdy and can hold up even against the strongest of fighting fish. It can also be used for either saltwater or freshwater fishing. All in all, it truly is the gold standard of trout fishing line.

#5 KastKing FluoroKote Fishing Line

Pros:
  • Inexpensive
  • Hard to see underwater
  • Low to no stretch
Cons:
  • Not 100% fluorocarbon
  • Doesn't perform as well as other lines on the list

Although this line isn't made of 100% pure fluorocarbon, it does have a 100% fluorocarbon coat. This coat allows it many of the same great benefits of the other 100% fluorocarbon lines on the list but doesn't come with nearly as steep a price tag. In comparison to most pure fluorocarbon lines, the price is only about half as much.

This particular line works fine in most conditions, but it performs best when it's warm outside and you're fishing in fairly deep waters. The line is on the heavy side, so it sinks quickly and gets to where you need it to be. The coating on the line is abrasion-resistant and keeps the line from absorbing water, which is a nice additional feature.

You can use this line with any type of lure, bait or tackle, but most anglers who use this line prefer to use it with medium-sized lures. They are heavy enough to do well with the line, but they aren't so heavy that it adds extra weight and causes you to go too deep.

Beneath the fluorocarbon coat is a layer of co-polymer. This keeps the stretch of the line to a bare minimum and helps make it very hard to see underneath the water. The line, itself, is quite dense and can be used for all types of fishing, no matter your favorite method.

For weekend fishermen and those who fish more for fun or a hobby than for sport, this is a great middle-of-the-road line. It performs well, although it doesn't perform as well as some of the others on the list, and it's relatively inexpensive. This makes it a favorite among hobbyists and for family fishing trips.

Picking the Right Fishing Line: Why It Matters

Now that we've given you five of our favorite trout fishing lines, we want to tell you a little more about picking line in general, why picking the right line is important and more things to look for when finding the line that's perfect for you.

As we've already mentioned, trout are elusive, easily scared and hard to snag. For these reasons, it's imperative that you find a great line that is hard to see, isn't reflective and won't distract the fish from biting your lure.

The Importance of Invisibility

As you can see from our own small list, fluorocarbon is definitely the best option out there for trout fishing. This is due, in large part, to how hard it is for fish to see it once it hits the water. Trout have exceptional eyesight, especially compared to most other fish. Their eyes are actually quite similar to our own eyes, only theirs work even better in ultraviolet settings.

Furthermore, trout can move their eyes independently of one another. They also have what is known as both monocular and binocular vision. Basically, these are just fancy words that mean trout can see in the opposite direction of the direction in which they're swimming. It also means they can see in just about any and every direction simultaneously.

This makes it incredibly easy for them to spot fishing line, especially if the sun is reflecting off it, as well. Monofilament works fairly well, but it is too reflective to work as good as fluorocarbon. Braided line, while it can be successful in certain settings, is almost always too easily spotted by trout.

Fluorocarbon, though, is nearly invisible to trout, and certain brands, such as the Seaguar brand, are even coated so that they aren't reflective either. This makes this line the perfect choice for trout fishing.

Fluorocarbon Fishing Line: Everything You Need to Know

In addition to being nearly 100% invisible to trout and non-reflective in some cases, another important thing for you to remember about fluorocarbon is that it has the extreme sensitivity and feedback you need if you want to fish for trout.

In addition to being elusive, trout are also hesitant biters. They may come up and swim around your bait; they may even decide to nibble, but they don't always grab it and swim away with it like other, more aggressive breeds of fish. Instead, they may give the tiniest of nibbles. If you want any hope of catching them, you need to be able to pick up on those small nibbles. Fluorocarbon is great for this.

Furthermore, fluorocarbon line sinks rapidly and allows you to hit the depths necessary to find the best trout. This is especially true if you pair it with the right size bait or lure.

Of course, there is the matter of price. Price is probably the only downside to this line. 100% fluorocarbon lines are generally on the expensive side, and if you're simply looking for good line for a weekend trip with the family or if you're just starting out as a fisherman, you may not want to pay that much for line. However, we can tell you it's worth it.

What About Monofilament Line?

Monofilament is also quite popular with fishermen because it's affordable and because it's so versatile. You can fish for just about anything with monofilament. It does, however, have a lot of stretch. This has its upsides and its downsides. The more stretch you have in a line, the less likely that line is to break when you're fighting with a large fish. This is the upside.

However, monofilament won't sink. Instead, it floats on top of the water much like a bobber would. This isn't great if you're fishing for trout because normally you want to get down into the depths to find the best trout. However, if you're fishing for a species that requires you to top-water fish, then monofilament could be just what you need.

Monofilament also has high line memory. Most people find this problematic, and it's the sole reason why some more experienced anglers don't use monofilament often. This is an especially bad trait if you take a lot of time between fishing trips. The longer monofilament sets unused, the more likely it is to curl on you, making it unusable.

If you do decide to go trout fishing with monofilament, one thing you simply cannot do is buy the bright colors. Many just-for-fun fishermen like to buy the bright pink, blue and/or lime green mono line because it looks nice. This is the best way to ensure you won't catch a single trout. They can see that bright line from miles away, so avoid it at all costs.

What About Braided Fishing Line?

Some fishermen completely avoid braided line when trout fishing because it's so highly visible. However, you don't have to say no to braided line entirely. You can actually make it work for you if you know how. This line is actually a really great choice if you're using a spinning reel.

The trick to using braided line is to pair it with the right leader line. Either mono or fluorocarbon can work for this, so you'll have to play around with them both and see which one gives you the best results. When pairing, remember to always use braided line as your main line and the other choice as your leader line.

This is a great way to save some money, too, because you can still fish using fluorocarbon line, but you only have to use a small amount of it when you pair it with a main braided line. This gives you the same benefits of fluorocarbon without the high price. Braided lines are also stronger, which makes it less likely that you'll lose your fish when retrieving it.

In addition to being stronger, it's faster, too, and it has a thinner profile, which allows for maximum sensitivity for small bites. Unlike monofilament, it has low line memory, which means you can use it with a spinning reel without worrying about it curling up on you. The abrasion-resistance of braided line is also superb.

Its most significant setback is the fact that it’s highly visible. For this particular reason, it’s not recommended as a leader line. Trout will spot it every single time since it has no transparency whatsoever.

However, if you're going to go the pairing lines route, be aware: You cannot pair a short rod with a long leader line, especially if you're using braided line as your main. It will do nothing for you, and your accuracy will be lousy. A fluorocarbon line can help with issues of transparency and not scaring away the fish, but it can't do a single thing about improving your accuracy. If you're going to pair, try using a longer rod.

Under no circumstances should you try to fish for trout with a braided line by itself. It simply won't work for you. Braided line is just much too visible. Find the best leader/main combination that works for you, and make sure you have the right size rod to go with it.

Why Can't I Use Lead Core Fishing Line?

You can use any line you like on your fishing trips; however, lead core line isn't going to be the best choice. This line is mostly used for trolling for deep water fish. It's going to go much too deep to catch any good trout.

As you can probably guess from the name, lead core line has a leaden core, which is what makes the line so heavy and so prone to sinking into the depths. It's actually heavy enough that, even when paired with a lightweight spinner or jig, it will still dive deep.

About the only way you'd be able to catch any trout with this kind of line is if you're fishing in a deep lake. Occasionally you'll find some trout hanging out around the bottom of smaller lakes. Still, lead core line isn't recommended for trout, especially if you're a beginner fisherman. It's pretty complicated line to use, and most can't use it correctly unless they have years of experience.

Other Things to Consider

Weight

  • Line weight is important. That's why manufacturers usually put the line weight on the front of the spool or box for you to see. It's definitely something you need to check out before buying line.
  • Normally, you'll want to stay within the four- to eight-pound range. Anything less is generally too light, unless you're fishing in low, clear water. In that case, a tiny two-pound line would be nearly invisible and a good choice.
  • Four- to eight-pound line, though, is a good standard. As long as you're using fluorocarbon, the line will still be relatively invisible, and at these weights, the line isn't going to be nearly as prone to breaking as the thinner, lighter weight lines.
  • If you're fishing with mono, though, you'll want to stick to the lower end of the spectrum - between two and four pounds. Otherwise, the line gets too thick and is too visible. It will scare away your trout.

Visibility

  • We've covered this particular aspect fairly well, but we just want to say it one more time: Your line should be as close to invisible as possible. This is the only way to keep trout from seeing it and being scared away from it. Their eyesight is just too good for anything else.
  • For this reason, mono isn't a great choice. It's pretty visible at anything over a four-pound test line. Braided line is absolutely not going to work, unless you pair it with something else as a leader line.

Strength

  • It's also important that you find a good balance between weight and strength. As a general rule, lighter line is going to be less visible; however, it's also weaker too. You can't go so light that a heavy fish can break your line. That's why a four- to eight-pound fluorocarbon is such a good choice. It's a happy medium between strength and invisibility.

Color

  • In most types of water, translucent colored line works best. It's the closest thing to invisible there is. However, there are certain water conditions where colored line could work better. The trick is to match the color of your line to the color of the water in which you're fishing. For instance, if you're fishing in a heavy vegetation area, a moss green color might work better.
  • However, if you're ever in doubt, stick to translucent. It blends well with most water colors, and it can appear invisible or almost invisible in a multitude of different shades.

Characteristics

  • There are a wide variety of trout. There are larger trout and smaller trout, braver trout and more skittish trout and so on and so forth. The trick is to know what type of trout are the most populous in the water you're about to fish. Then, you can help match your line to whatever works best for that type of trout.
  • If you're fishing in the U.S., you're most likely to find rainbow trout. They're practically everywhere. It's important if you're fishing for rainbow trout to know that they're fighters. Once you hook them, they don't come in easy. For this reason, monofilament is actually one of the best lines you can use with them.
  • Because mono has such high stretch, it's the least likely of all the lines to break under the stress of a big, fighting fish. Fluorocarbon can be used, as well, but you'll have to use a heavier test line; otherwise, you're apt to break the line before you ever get the fish back to your boat.
  • On the other hand, if you're fishing for brown trout, which are saltwater fish that only come to freshwater to spawn, you're going to want to use heavy test fluorocarbon or co-polymer. These fish can get big - up to 44 pounds, in fact. If you don't have a strong line, preferably with some stretch to it, you're never going to be able to get this trout in.
  • Brook trout are only found in cold waters. They're standard size fish, so the weight and strength of the line you use isn't as important as it being invisible. Brook trout are very shy, and if they see even the tiniest glint of a line, they'll be swimming off in the other direction.

When Is the Best Time To Fish for Trout?

Actually, trout can be caught pretty much year-round. If you're hoping to catch trout on the larger end of the size spectrum, though, your best bet will be fishing in late spring, early summer.

Still, for general trout fishing, any time of year will do. Lakes and rivers are usually stocked with trout early each winter. This is also the season in which they're most active, as they prefer colder waters between 39°F and 67°F.

You'll also have better luck if you fish on cloudy days.



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