The Best Fishing Line For Trout: A Guide To Choosing The Right Line

I’ll admit that I spend a lot of my fishing downtime wandering around tackle shops and sporting good stores. Even if I’m not picking anything up (which is a rarity), walking aimlessly up and down the isles is almost therapeutic.

The one aisle I end up spending more time in than I probably should is the fishing line aisle, not because I want to, but because it can be a difficult and often confusing thing to sort out, no matter what you’re going after, and trout fishing only complicates things.

But fear not, if you’re wondering what fishing line you should be running the next time you’re chasing trout, we’ve got you covered. Below we share the top rated fishing lines for trout and everything you need to know to make the right choice.

Quick glance at the best fishing line for trout:

 

Related: 

Best Fishing Line For Trout Reviewed

As with any other species, fishing lines for trout can be separated into three different categories; Mono, Fluorocarbon, and Braid. Yes there are others like copolymer and lead-core, but the big three are going to be the lines you’re going to want to focus on, and probably have the most questions about. 

Monofilament For Trout

Best Overall: Sufix Elite

Bass Pro

Product Description

Suffix uses micro resin technology to create a premium monofilament line that has incredible tensile and knot strength. The extrusion process makes the line soft, supple and easy to cast without sacrificing strength or abrasion resistance. Their exclusive trademarked G2 winding process helps to eliminate much of the line memory mono is known for.

Why We Chose It

I’ve always had a fascination with finding the best line for the right application and it wasn’t until I was trying to find the right line to run on my centerpin that I came across Sufix Elite. While I’m still a little obsessed with trying new lines, this is one that I keep coming back to because it has yet to let me down.

The overall strength and abrasion resistance of this mono is second to none and it manages to do so while still maintaining excellent castability, an important feature when tossing small presentations for river or stream trout.

With that being said, while the memory is much better out of the box than most others, Sufix will still develop some over time and can at times twist off the spool of a spinning reel, making it harder to handle.

Available in the standard low-vis green and clear, Sufix Elite also comes in camo and high-vis yellow, something that many other line manufacturers don’t offer in their monofilament.

Pros
  • Premium quality line at a great price.
  • Excellent tensile and knot strength. 
  • Highly abrasion resistant when compared to other monofilament lines.
  • Easy to handle.
Cons
  • Can develop significant line twist over time.

Best Floating: Sunline Siglon Fine Float II

Sunline 60170766 Siglon Fine Float Ii P-Ion 10 Lb. Siglon Fine Float Ii P-Ion, Vivid Yellow, 165 yd

Amazon 

Product Description

Sunline Siglon Fine Float II is a floating monofilament that uses Plasma Ion Technology to improve surface texture and water repellency. The result is a floating fishing line that is 40% slicker, 30% more abrasion resistant, and 30% longer lasting than most other floating monofilament fishing lines.

Why We Chose It

Floating monofilament is a very niche market, but when it comes to trout fishing is definitely something that more conventional gear anglers should consider. Whether you’re chasing small stream trout or big river steelhead, float fishing is one of the most effective ways to cover water with stealth and precision and the addition of Sunline's Siglon Fine Float II makes the technique that much more effective.

After trying just about every floating mono I could get my hands on, I was convinced that it was impossible to have a line that floats and still has the tensile strength of a line that doesn’t. Most floating lines tend to break easier than regular mono and to get comparable strength you generally have to bump up to a higher pound test, which can complicate things when fishing for finicky trout.

That, however, is not the case with Fine Float II and it’s one of, if not the strongest floating mono I’ve fished with. Sunline manages to do that while still maintaining a soft and supple line that is easy to cast and control when float fishing. The high-vis yellow color makes it easy to keep track of on the water when fishing bigger rivers and floating longer drifts.

Pros
  • High-vis yellow color is easy to keep track of.
  • Strong tensile and knot strength.
  • Excellent floatability.
  • Slick and easy to cast even with ultra-light presentations.
Cons
  • Expensive

Best Value: Berkley Trilene XL

Bass Pro

Product Description

Uniquely designed with extra limpness, Trilene XL is a monofilament for all applications blending low memory with toughness and smooth handling. The result is a premium quality monofilament at a low cost for trouble free days on the water.

Why We Chose It

Trilene lines are a staple for many anglers no matter what they are chasing and Trilene XL is no exception. While it may not be the most abrasive resistant mono on the market it does a good job of holding its own against some of the best.

Where it shines in terms of trout fishing is its super limp, low memory construction, making it easy to cast, surprisingly sensitive, and trouble free. Whether you’re float fishing, bouncing bait off the bottom, or casting lures all day, Trilene XL will not fail.

Trilene XL may not be the absolute best of the best, but it is a line that has many premium features at a cost well below those premium brands. For a solid all around line at an excellent price, Trilene XL is hard to beat.

Pros
  • Easy to cast
  • Good sensitivity
  • Low memory
  • High tensile and knot strength
Cons
  • Depending on the use you may need to respool often

Fluorocarbon For Trout

Best Overall: Sunline Super FC Sniper

Sunline Super FC Sniper Fluorocarbon Fishing Line (Natural Clear, 14-Pounds/200-Yards)

Amazon 

Product Description

The triple resign process used to manufacture Sunline’s Super FC Sniper Fluorocarbon line results in a uniform diameter line that is next to invisible in the water, and gives it high abrasion resistance, suppleness and low memory. Super FC Sniper also features a high strength to diameter ratio and low water absorption for a long lasting, strong fluorocarbon line.

Why We Chose It

With its near perfect combination of strength, durability, and manageability, it’s easy to see why Super FC Sniper is Siglon America’s best selling product. Originally produced in Japan, it was the finesse bass anglers in North America that made this line famous and it’s a line that trout anglers should not ignore.

When trout anglers think of fluorocarbon often the first thing that comes to mind is pairing it with mono or braided mainline as an invisible leader, but the low memory and high performance of this fluorocarbon means that you can spool it on your spinning reel without any issue; the low diameter/high strength ratio making it perfect for the ultra-light spinning combos we use to chase elusive stream trout.

A big selling pointis the unique sizes Sunline offers. Sizes like 5lb and 7lb are sizes that are rarely, if ever seen from any other manufacturers, and are the perfect sizes for clear water trout fishing, combining the right amount of invisibility and strength.

Pros
  • Thin diameter helps to make it nearly invisible in the water
  • Highly sensitive to detect the subtlest strikes
  • Very strong even in smaller sizes
  • Unique sizes not offered by most other manufacturers

Cons

  • Expensive

Best Leader Material: Drennan Fluorocarbon Fly Leader/Tippet

Drennan Fluorocarbon Leader Line/Tippet 6lb 50m

Amazon 

Product Description

Available in sizes from 3lb test to 12lb test, Drennan Fluorocarbon Fly Leader is well known amongst trout and steelhead anglers as one of the strongest leader materials available. Drennan Fly Leader also has superior knot strength and a refractive index so close to that of water that it is practically invisible.

Why We Chose It

Just like with monofilament, fluorocarbon leader line is something I’ve probably spent way too much time testing and figuring out which one works best, and believe me when I say that there are a lot of options out there.

Despite all the options, Drennan is the one that I keep coming back too, and one of only a couple that has not let me down. When compared to other leader lines and tippet material, Drennan has a slightly larger diameter, but that diameter is indicative of its strength and pound for pound there isn’t a stronger leader line. On more than one occasion I’ve been able to muscle in trout that other leaders would have been no match for.

You might think that a thicker diameter could put you at a disadvantage when going after finicky clear water trout, but with a refractive index close to water, the thickness makes little to no difference. Even if you are worried about fish picking up on the line in clear water, you can always drop down a size without sacrificing strength.

What really makes Drennan stand out for me is its abrasion resistance. While I don’t condone actions like this, there have been many times when my leader has been nicked, frayed and even knotted and has still held up just as well as it did when fresh. 

Pros
  • Super strong even in smaller sizes
  • Amazing abrasion resistance
  • Refractive index near that of water makes it almost invisible
  • Enough sizes to cover any trout fishing situation
Cons
  • Thicker diameter means sometimes having use a size smaller than you normally would

Best Value: Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon

Bass Pro

Product Description

Previous winner of the Bassmaster Classic Championship, Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon combines near invisibility with high tensile strength and abrasion resistance. The line also boasts a high strength to diameter ratio making even the smaller sizes super strong yet thin. Low memory means easy castability and problem free fishing day in and day out.

Why We Chose It

Trilene is one of the best known fishing lines around and for good reason; they are high quality lines at affordable prices, and Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon is no exception.

If you’re looking to spool your ultra-light trout setup with fluoro and hoping to save a couple of bucks, this line is the way to go. It features all the characteristics that make fluorocarbon so great from the invisibility and castability to the abrasion resistance, and while it isn’t going to save you an incredible amount of money, it is a few dollars cheaper than most. With the price of specialty lines a few dollars can go a long way.

Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon was the first of its kind that I ever spooled on a spinning reel, and even though I prefer others, it's a line that shouldn’t be overlooked, especially if using fluoro is new to you.

Pros
  • Excellent Price
  • Low memory makes it easy to use
  • High tensile and knot strength
  • Invisible underwater
Cons
  • Not as long lasting as other options

Braid For Trout

Best Overall: Sufix 832 Advanced Superline

Bass Pro

Product Description

Sufix 832 Advanced Superline boasts an incredible 32 weaves per inch in 8 braided fibers, translating to a quiet, smooth, longcast braid that is super sensitive and highly abrasion resistant. Those 8 fibers also repel water while maintaining what is considered to be the smallest diameter braid on the market.

Why We Chose It

I’ll always remember those days when we first started using braided lines. They were thick, hard to manage and just an all around pain to work with. But braid has come a long way and the best example of that is Sufix 832.

When you read the description on their website, it almost sounds like bragging, but 832 really is the thinnest, most durable, easiest to use braided line out there. Sure there might be some that do one specific thing better, but no other braided line does all of those things as well as this one.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of Sufix 832 is how abrasion resistant it is. Braided lines are good for a number of reasons; abrasion resistance is not one of them. But Sufix has changed that and made it very clear that braided lines can be thin and resilient at the same time.

Pros
  • Very low diameter 
  • Smooth and easy to use
  • Long casting
  • Abrasion resistant
Cons
  • One of the higher priced braids on the market

Best High Vis: Seaguar Smackdown

Bass Pro

Product Description

8 ultra-thin micro-weave strands are woven into a round diameter for a super-thin line that is quiet, easy to handle and casts a mile. Those 8 woven strands also result in a braid that can compete as one of the thinnest on the market while providing abrasion resistance.

Why We Chose It

High-vis lines have become more and more popular over the years and when you consider that most anglers that are using braided fishing line for trout are pairing it with a fluorocarbon leader, you’re seeing more high-vis braid being used than ever before.

High-vis lines are a must have when you need to be able to see line movements to detect subtle strikes, or when you’re float fishing and need to be able to keep a close eye on your line to be sure it's tracking properly, making it a top choice for many trout anglers across the country.

Seaguar Smackdown takes all of the attributes associated with a premium braided line and combines them in a super-bright flash green color that can easily be seen floating on the surface no matter how far away it may be.

Until I started experimenting more with high-vis lines I didn't think that subtle color variances would matter, but after using Seaguar Smackdown everything else seems much more difficult to see.

Pros
  • Excellent floating ability, perfect for float fishing applications
  • Zero stretch for quick, solid hooksets
  • Ultra-thin diameter- 20lb test is the same diameter as 6lb mono
  • Amazing high-vis color that is easy to spot 
Cons
  • High-vis lines can often be limited to very specific applications when it comes to trout fishing

Best Value: KastKing SuperPower Braid

KastKing Superpower Braided Fishing Line,Low-Vis Gray,20 LB,327 Yds

Amazon 

Product Description

KastKing SuperPower Braid is a multi fiber braided line with a thin diameter that allows for easy to tie, strong knots and features a special wax-free proprietary treatment that makes the line glide smoothly through the guides of your rod, resulting in easy casting of even the lightest gear. The low memory and abrasion resistance leaves a braided line suitable for all fishing scenarios.

Why We Chose It

It’s often a common misconception amongst consumers that a cheaper product means an inferior product. This might sometimes be the case, but not when it comes to KastKing’s SuperPower Braid.

Relatively new to the tackle game, since its inception in 2013 KastKing has been providing quality fishing lines at affordable pricing. With the founders experience in finance, technology, management, and manufacturing processes, they were able to cut out the middleman and in turn lower costs while producing competitive, quality fishing tackle.

While their SuperPower Braid may not provide any uniqueness that sets it apart from other braided lines, it also does not cut any corners when it comes to quality and reliability, and is just as good as many big name brands at a much lower cost.

Pros
  • Quality fishing line at a low price
  • Super smooth and easy to cast
  • The low diameter and zero stretch makes the line very sensitive
  • Excellent tensile and knot strength
Cons
  • Color tends to bleed out of the line over a short amount of time

Mono vs. Fluoro vs. Braid: Selecting The Right Line For the Situation

Monofilament

Despite the ongoing and often heated debate of which line is best for trout fishing, mono remains the most widely used for one simple reason; its versatility. With a wide range of sizes and colors, there is a monofilament line to cover any trout fishing situation. Combine that with the fact that it’s easy to use and inexpensive and it’s not hard to understand why it remains so popular.

Mono’s versatility means that it can be used for anything from casting in small streams to trolling big lakes with lines from 2 lb to 8lb test being common on streams and rivers, and lines from 8lb to 20lb test common on bigger lakes for species like lake trout or lake dwelling rainbow trout.

That doesn't mean it’s the perfect line, however, and it does have its downfalls. Mono has high memory which makes it difficult to cast small lures like spinners and spoons. Those lures also have a tendency to cause line twist and that becomes very apparent when using mono as the line will not revert back to its original state, often resulting in tangled messes of line over time.

Mono is also susceptible to abuse, and any type of abrasion can cause it to easily break. When fishing around any type of cover or rock stream bed, it’s imperative to always check the line for imperfections and cut off sections as needed.

Fluorocarbon

When trout anglers think of fluorocarbon line the first thing that comes to mind is leader material. Fluorocarbon has been paired with other lines to be used as a leader material for many years because of its near invisibility in the water and its high abrasion resistance, two major factors when it comes to fishing clever, weary trout in cover heavy streams.

While the line remains king when it comes to leader material it is also gaining popularity as a mainline, and many trout anglers are loading up their ultra-light set-ups with fluorocarbon because it has less stretch and memory than mono, making it easier to work with when using light gear, and increasing the sensitivity for those subtle strikes.

There are a couple of disadvantages to doing this however. The first being that fluorocarbon is very dense, and sinks in the water, making it difficult to properly present any floating type bait. The second disadvantage, and probably the biggest reason most trout anglers avoid spooling their reels with fluoro, is that it’s much more expensive than mono. There's no denying that you may get more bang for your buck out of fluorocarbon and you might have to re-spool a lot less than you would with mono, but that higher cost is a major deciding factor.

For us, the higher cost outweighs the benefits of using fluorocarbon as a main line and it’s much more efficient when attached to braid or mono as a leader. This holds true not just in small streams, but in big rivers and lakes as well, no matter what species of trout you might be chasing.

Braid

Perhaps the most hotly contested line of the three when it comes to trout fishing is braided fishing line. Some trout anglers will argue that braid is completely unnecessary, while others will swear by it. 

It could be left as a matter of personal opinion, but braid does have certain applications where it can be the best choice. Trolling, especially flatline trolling, is one of those applications. Braided line has a very thin diameter and because it does, it cuts through the water better than any other line, making lures dive further and faster than they would with conventional mono.

Braid can also shine when vertical jigging for deep water lake trout. The zero stretch not only helps to feel bites that you normally wouldn’t pick up on with mono, but it also makes hook sets much more effective when fishing deep.

Where the braid is really starting to pick up steam is float fishing. Recently more and more float fishermen have been using braided because of its castability, the fact that it stays on top of the water better than other lines, and that most companies offer high-vis versions. Fishing guides all over the Great Lakes region are turning to braided line as a main line when floating fishing for big steelhead.

However you may be using braid, because trout are so in tune with their surroundings, we strongly advise against tying your presentation directly to it, but instead pair the braid with a fluorocarbon leader for invisibility.

Final Thoughts

The debate over which line is best for trout isn’t going to go away anytime soon. It’s also a topic that can sometimes result in more questions than answers and leave us scratching our heads while we stare at the aisle in the tackle shop trying to figure out which one is best.

We hope we were able to make the choice a little less confusing for you. Leave us a comment and let us know if we were!

About The Author
Dan R
Dan was practically born with a fishing rod in his hand. Growing up in the Great Lakes Region fishing has been a major part of his life from a very young age. When not on the water you can find Dan enjoying time with his family.