If you are in a situation that you cannot reach your desired destination with your regular rod, then you must be taking a closer look at the steelhead rods. Regular baitcasting rods (Unlike the best steelhead rod) are not much longer that might allow you to let you drift your baits.
In swamps or lakes or in waves you need more control and accuracy to get the best salmon and steelhead fishes out of the water. Using a steelhead rod is an advanced and progressive step in fly fishing. It’s a versatile rod to have.
In our fishing trips, we have gathered experiences that the specified rods most of the time works best in specific kinds of fishing. Like if you are planning for steelhead fishing, there are some rods that will surely help you do it better.
8' 6" - 9' 6"
6'6" - 7'
60 x 4 x 4 inches
How Did We Review the Steelhead Rod and Made the List?
In our deep research and experiences, we have made a list of 15 rods fits the criteria to be the best for steelhead fishing. Between them, we have selected the 7 rods.
We have researched over the internet, took looks on other reviewers’ reviews and forum section along with our in-house checking to determine these 7 items in 2021.
Reviews of the Best Steelhead Rods in 2021
Here are our honest reviews and information let you choose the best one for you.
1. G.Loomis IMX Steelhead Side Drift Spinning Rod
G.Loomis has been making the best fishing tools for more than years and IMX Steelhead Side Drift Spinning Rod is one of their bold designed rods It’s cheaper than the most of drifting rods in the market. You can hardly get an opponent of this piece of gear. It’s rigid, tough and lighter at the same time. Fly fishers who uses fly fishing combos for fishing will definitely love this rod.
If you are targeting salmon or rainbow trout and expect the best performance and sensitivity out of any rod, then you better check this out. IMX Steelhead has been nominated as the best fishing rod for more than one time.
It weighs 1.5 pounds with a bit extra in length. Being so light in weight and yet so powerful is a fantastic piece to watch. It can provide lure and line control and offers very rare sensitivity in the regular rods on the market.
You can even sense the slightest bite of the salmon and steelhead through the rods. This rod is specially designed to feel that.
You can also fight any mid-size fishes with confidence and having no thought of breaking the rod. IMX Steelhead can fight any fishes from 8 pounds to all the way 50-pound monsters.
You can call this drift rod a versatile piece of gear that can satisfy you for a lifetime. Moreover, the wooden handle provides a lot of confidence and feels good in the hand. You can install reels of any size on this rod.
2. Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Fishing Rod (Salmon/Steelhead)
As a package of perfect length and action for salmon and steelhead Ugly Stik, Elite Spinning Fishing Rod can become your best companion on your next fishing trip. Comes in a variety of size and weight option that you can choose from. From heavy to extra heavy and from 8’6” to 9’ options you can find the best salmon fishing rod or steelhead rod for you.
This popular steelhead casting rod is mainly made of stainless steel, making it a very tough and rugged yet lightweight rod. It has a superior tip design that is provided by the ugly stick is clean. This clean design allows the line to flow through smoothly.
It delivers the right amount of flex and the right amount of strength on the right spot wherever you need it. The lighter and soft tip helps you to sense the slightest amount of movement on the fishing lines. It works well with side drifting and can handle robust fishes.
You will also find added graphite reinforcement that makes these steelhead rods stronger and lighter at the same time. You can handle the rod easily. With a two-piece configuration, you can travel with this without having any issues with space and accommodation.
Wheels of any size can be used, and you can fight with fishes from zero to 50 pounds. That is more than enough of the purpose of this specific rod. Ugly Stik also has a traditional wooden handle for better grip and ergonomics. We are considering all the aspects we recommend any angler to try this rod.
3. Lamiglas X-11 Cork - Salmon & Steelhead Fishing Rod
In the super flexible and rugged quality rods category, Lamiglas X-11 Cork holds up a very elite place on the market. It has the most unique capability to flex all over the rod that helps you to have more handling power. Built with IM6 Graphite offers extreme sensitivity to the anglers.
When it comes to the drift fishing technique, anglers need to have a versatile rod and reel setup used in bost casting and fly fishing. Lamiglas X-11 Cor is one of those versatile gear that you might want to have in your arsenal.
You will find this invariant of 8’6” to 10’6” in the market, which makes it an ideal choice for fishing in lakes or rivers. The strength and length of this rod make it the best all-around steelhead rod.
This long rod will also help you if you are interested in fishing in swamps as you might need access to the deep-water weeds. You can easily swing these bad boys around and have superb handling power. It has stainless steel line glider. This clean design line glider passes through lines like butter. So, for different anglers, casting and wrapping feel buttery smooth.
This lightweight and super flexible rod are mainly made of fiberglass, and to reinforce them, it has graphite reinforcement. It can fight any fishes that are up to 50 pounds. The handlebar is futuristic looking and provides a hyper grippy function.
4. KastKing Krome Salmon/Steelhead Fishing Rod
If you are planning to buy the most high-tech fishing rod in the market you must not avoid KastKing Krome, because this is the best steelhead fishing rod that you can buy nowadays. It’s a hybrid of carbon fiber and graphite frame. It’s a lightweight, tough and super sturdy design that makes it a versatile piece of gear. You will never regret getting one of these.
You can say undoubtedly that KastKing Krome is the best in the budget for salmon and steelhead fishing. You can buy these rods ranging from 7’6” to 12’, which is super long. Even though they are lightweight and long, but they are not bad in the built sector.
It is one of my favorite fishing rods for many reasons. It rocks a carbon design reinforced with the right Kevlar fabric, which provides extra resistance for those giant and hard-fighting fishes. The accuracy you will be getting is going to blow you away. A stainless line guide will ensure the buttery-smooth flow of the lines while releasing and wrapping.
It’s not only super healthy but lightweight; it also looks stunning. Reels of any size and category will fit on this rod very well. It’s colored black. Stains or dirt never gets any chance to stick on this rod because of the smooth finish. The carbon fiber handle keeps the balance all over the rod and makes the cleaning job more manageable.
5. G.Loomis E6X Steelhead Drift Spinning Rod
We are nowhere with another G.Loomis product which is the cheapest of all the rods that we have known about. And you may not believe how much value it packs in such a small and cheap package. If you have ever been with experienced anglers, you may find out that they have owned one of these rods and they are still using the theme on a daily basis.
E6X is very lightweight, and the handle is made of cork that makes it lighter than all others in the market. Holding these steelhead fishing rods for more than hours is no problem. It will not leave any pain or fatigue on your hand.
G. Loomis is a renowned brand in the angling department for features, and this model is no exception to that. You will get excellent handling power out of this. Fast action enables you to detect the minimal nibble on the line and helps you have great control over the caught fishes. With a regular hook to big hooks, fishing smaller to bigger fishes is perfect with the bait.
You will find these drift rods at 9 feet to 9.8 feet. Long rod helps you reach further in the river or lake where standard and conventional rods don’t get. The rod is so balanced that you can fish all day long and have no fatigue in your hand. Because of being so light, you can travel with these without worrying about the bulk it may add.
With being durable enough to last longer, this one has enough features to cast in rivers and lakes without any hassle for the anglers. Also, because of being a versatile piece of rod, every angler should have this one n their collection. You never know how best simplicity can be. For simple fishing rod experiences, you can consider this rod.
How to Find the Best Steelhead Rod?
Buying Guide of Steelhead and Salmon Rod
Now most probably are thinking that you should get a good fishing rod that is going to be your companion for several years.
But the thing is the specification that you are going to look for totally depends on your preferences. But here we will be knowing about the things that you should be considered while buying the best steelhead fishing rod.
The action of the Road
Before you choose the action of your steelhead rod, you must be sure about what type of fish are you going to catch with it. you will find Extra fast to moderate and slow action ones. The slower ones tend to have more sensitivity that is good for small to medium fishes.
The faster ones like the lamiglas steelhead rod and salmon spinning rods are very good if you are going to fight for the fishes. They are a bit stiff on the tip. Be sure about what type of action you are used to.
Power and Capacity of the Rod
The power of the rod indicates of maximum weight that the rod can pull out or carry. They are indicated as heavy to medium heavy and medium in the buying options as all of our choices have them. The best salmon steelhead spinning rods will let you maximize the power with better efficiency.
All of the rods are tested to the point where they can bear the weight of the fish that they are supposed to be handling. Usually, budget ones can handle from 50 pounds to 80 pounds. And the heavy-duty ones can handle up to 100 pounds.
Steelhead Rod Size
As you are going for the steelheads, you will definitely need heavier and longer rods for sure. When fighting with the bluegill and non-migratory trout you will be needing more energy on the rods to handle the hassle.
The longer and strong rods allow you to cast accurately and stabilized the lure in the drift pretty well. You will find steelhead rods ranging from 8 feet to a staggering 10 feet.
Perfect Weight Capacity
Weight can be an issue if you are not used to steelhead fishing or you are a beginner. The heavier the weight the stiffer the rods and you can put more pressure on the rods to catch bigger fishes. There is some heavy duty best spey rod for steelhead, but they can cost a bit.
Also, there are few rods that are strong and yet not that weighty for steelhead fishing.
For that, there are companies who are using graphite reinforcements on the rods to be lighter and tougher at the same time. And also keep in mind that adding reel will be increasing the overall weight of the rod.
The sensitivity of the Rod
This ability refers to the ability to store the energy in the whole rod and being able to release them in a glance while casting. The most sensitive ones have the ability to cast in the long distance without doing much of work.
You also have to keep in mind that if you are going to use heavy lures you might need rods with low responsiveness.
Graphite is now being commonly being used on the steelhead rods. They are mainly being used for making the rods strong and reducing the flex. Graphite is a very lightweight material and they are very strong.
So, before you buy your steelhead rod be sure to check if it has the graphite reinforcement or not. This additional feature is definitely worth more expense.
Fiberglass is nowadays one of the common materials that manufacturers are using on their fishing rod production. They are lightweight, flexible and they last for a very long period of time.
There are few best steelhead spinning rods made with fiberglass those provides real capacity in terms of weight. There are a lot of company and products making rods from fiberglass.
But before you make your purchase you have to make sure that the fiberglass used in the rod is high quality or they might have flex issues.
Line Guide for Steelhead and Salmon Fishing
Line guide is a very important part that some of the anglers overlooks. Different types of rods have different types of guides. You will find designed ones to simple and cleaner ones.
You can also find different numbers of configurations. But we will be suggesting that you should get the clean designed ones that have zero possibility to get tangled.
You also should see that if these are made of stainless steel so that they don’t catch any corrosion due to saltwater.
Handle of the Steelhead Rod
A good handlebar always offers great comfort with a good amount of grip on the fishing rod.
A good grip is always necessary, and comfort and weight also become an issue for the anglers because holding heavy rods for a long time can become tiring.
Steelhead/Salmon Fishing Tips, Tricks and Techniques
Before going for fishing steelheads and other drifting fishes like salmon you have to keep some facts in mind that is important for your next fishing trip.
Know the Fishes
Steelhead is commonly known as rainbow trout they are both saltwater and freshwater species. They have an incredible ability to survive both situations very well.
Moreover, they are native to tributaries of Asia, North America, and the Pacific Ocean and there are more 45 countries they know these fishes as game fishes. They are mainly predator fishes and they will eat almost any fishes they can catch.
Steelheads are almost like salmon they return to their specific place to hatch and spawn. In this time, they migrate from saltwater to fresh water.
Techniques on Casting and Drifting
Talking about technique. The most popular technique is casting on the drift. With using the best steelhead fishing rods, you will need this tip for better fishing.
As the fishes move with the drift and your bait is also going to get drifted with waves you will have less hassle like just holding the rod standing on a stone.
Covering a Big Area
When you have known the location of the fishes that you have targeted. It’s important that you cover the entire area that you can reach. The best steelhead fly rods will cover a certain distance if you can utilize your skills on casting.
You should not move a lot while casting. Stay in one place and slowly increase your casting distance by feet and thus you will be able to cover a lot of areas.
Using Long Rod
As we have told that you have to stay in one place and slowly increase the casting distance feet by feet. You will need a bigger and accurate rod that has the perfect action and accuracy.
You can cover a lot of areas and you can also carefully place your baits where fishes don’t have your view.
Along with longer rods you are also going to need some important accessories that have a great impact on your fishing session. You need to get a good reel that will help you with steelhead salmon.
As these fishes are not on the small side, you most probably will need a professional quality reel that can handle more than 20 pounds maximum. You can go for flywheels which have professional built quality.
Use Several Methods
You never know on your current weather condition how fishes are going to react. Several different methods are going to give you different results for sure. You can try techniques like drift fishing, float fishing, spoon fishing.
Also, you can see online and do researches about different kinds of techniques. You can also take supervision if local people to get the assumptions.
Using Different Lures
You can find artificial lures that tend to perform well. They sink in the water very well and they are made especially for attracting fishes. They are cheap and very helpful to keep one with yourself.
Check Water Condition
Water conditions like water temperature, depth and drift are necessary terms that you should consider taking a closer look at. Steelheads and salmon are fishes of cold water.
Also, they run rivers that have a temperature between 40 to 55-degrees F. In the cold water they are going to occupy the lower section of the tributaries waiting for the water temperature to rise.
This time fish moves slowly, and you have a good opportunity to catch fishes easily. When the temperature rises up the fishes move from spot to spot. This float-drifting also works very well.
Boulders and Rock Gardens
Boulders and Rock Gardens and rock gardens sometimes have the fishes hidden behind. You can find those fishes without breaking a lot of sweat.
Let yourself become open to these options and try out below big stones there might have been some bigger fishes waiting for prey.
Final Thought on Steelhead Rods
We have been through many things like the process of catching steelhead fishes to how to find the best steelhead rod and we have become familiar with some of the best rods on the market that you should look forward to.
They are great value for the money from beginner to advanced level anglers. Each and every rod has its unique features and capabilities. Now it’s you who is going to be choosing the best one for yourself.
You should be choosing while keeping your situation, target, location, water condition in your mind. It’s not necessary to spend a lot of money behind a good rod. The budget ones are becoming good nowadays.