Best Reels for Salmon Fishing

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For Drift Fishing, Mooching, and Trolling 

Salmons are never an easy catch so you need best reels for salmon fishing. And there aren’t one but three different ways to do it. You could drift a plug, troll a hoochie, or cast a spoon, depending on what suits you best. Also, there is a whole different set of reels meant to land them efficiently. About five different types of fishing reels are used. These are salmon spinning reels, salmon trolling reels, salmon casting reels, salmon centrepin reels, and salmon fly reels. 

Different reels best suit different anglers. It is important to know the three most common varieties of reels used for fishing salmon: casting reels, spinning reels, and trolling reels. We’ll further introduce you to the best performing salmon fishing reels in the US and the criteria you must have in mind while selecting one. 

The Best Reels Salmon Fishing for the Year 2022

Daiwa BG Spinning Salmon Reel 

This reel is built to be super powerful and efficient in fighting the toughest salmon. The material of construction for this reel is aircraft-grade machined aluminium that provides absolute sturdiness and durability along with adequate light-weightedness. The overall weight of the reel ranges between 8.5 and 14 oz. This makes it easier for anglers to handle the reel effectively. Unlike most reels, Daiwa BG does not tire you out in simply holding the reel.

The light weight coupled with the amazing strength makes this reel excellent in handling fish that don’t give in easily. Even the inner stability of this reel has a significant upper hand over commonly used spinning reels for fishing salmon. The special aluminium used in the construction of this reel also gives it the power to handle abuses thrown by harsh waters. This reel is superbly resistant to corrosion and water-borne damage which is often responsible for eventually decreasing the life of the reel. There is also an additional side cover in the reel for enhanced protection. 

The abs based spool serves to minimize the frictional forces emanated while throwing casts. This reel has sufficient line length for landing heavy fish along with a drag capacity up to 17 lbs. Furthermore, there are dual anti-reverse ball bearings in the reel for enhanced smoothness. 

The makers have designed a very comfortable handle that can be screwed-in and doesn’t create unnecessary movement. The gear ratio for this reel is 5.6:1 which renders its high power during a fight and offers enough speed of retrieval. The design of the gear is especially oversized to enhance tooth contact and create smoother function. 


  • This reel has a very sturdy design as it is built with aircraft-grade machined aluminium
  • The design is durable and corrosion-resistant to offer the best performance in the worst of conditions 
  • This reel is especially lightweight to avail ease of handling 
  • The gear ratio is perfect for fighting tough salmon 
  • There are good quality ball bearings to render sufficient smoothness
  • The drag system is very capable and can handle fish upto 17 lbs in weight 

KastKing Rover Salmon Fishing Reel 

This is one of the most powerful salmon fishing reels you’d come across. The material of construction for this reel is anodized aluminium which promises endurance and resistance to corrosion while also being light in weight. There are additional side plates in this reel for extra durability, strength, and protection. The body of this reel is built to be thicker in comparison with most other reels to offer toughness. This strong rover reel weighs just 22 oz and offers the best ease in handling for its superior performance.

The structure of this reel is rendered more strong by the durable construction of other essential parts. The spool for this reel is built with CNC machined and weather-resistant materials that can very well tolerate insults by harsh water. The strong gear system for this reel is made of brass and precision-cut for maximum strength and perfection in function. 

This reel’s shaft is built from stainless steel fabrications to offer toughness and unbeatable resilience in front of corrosive forces. Such excellent construction ensures unbeatable durability and superior performance to this reel. A powerful drag system further puts the icing on the toast by making it possible to reel in fish as heavy as 30 lbs. 

The gear ratio for this reel is 6.1:1 to avail of a high speed of retrieval. The functions of this reel are best enhanced by double-shielded stainless steel bearings that occupy every significant portion of the reel. 


  • This reel is built of durable and sturdy aluminium that renders it amazing strength and longevity 
  • The CNC machined spool, the stainless steel shaft, and the brass pinion gear are all added durable features for the resilience of this reel
  • The ball bearings for this reel are superbly resistant to corrosion and are double shielded for adequate protection 
  • Precision casting is possible in this reel because of the clicker based line out 

Okuma Ceymar Salmon Fishing Reel 

This reel is known for offering the best reliable and advanced features in the arena of salmon fishing. This reel is especially known for its multi-disc drag system which is adequately oiled for effective smoothness in function. Additional smoothness in function is rendered by the stainless steel drag washers and the efficient ball bearing system. 

There are seven well-protected ball bearings and one roller bearing with added anti-reverse features. One special feature of this reel is the elliptical precision-cut gearing system which provides a gear ratio of 5.0:1 for the perfect fighting power and sufficient speed requirements. 

The excellent drag system for this reel can handle fish that weigh upto18 lbs. Additionally, this reel is built to be supremely capable of tolerating corrosive and damaging forces of water. Such that it can be effectively used even in saltwater environments. This reel efficiently works on braided lines and has excellent line capacity. You can chase a tough salmon in all its glory and never run out of fishing line. 


  • The multi-disc drag system for this reel is supremely capable 
  • The drag capacity is up to 30 lbs and braided lines are utilized in action
  • There is a special gearing system in this reel for enhanced accuracy in casting 
  • This reel is sufficiently protected to work well in saltwater environments
  • The working of this reel is unbelievably smooth and this is owed to the sufficient reliable ball bearing system plus the oil felt drag washers

Know Which Reel Suits You Best 

Salmon Spinning Reels 

These are versatile reels best used in fresh river waters along with lightweight lures. This reel is best suited for drift fishing and less for trolling. Sizes from 2500 to 4000 are best suited to this tough variety of fish with 3500 being the most dependable option. 

Salmon Trolling Reels 

Line counter trolling reels are possibly the best variety of reels for fishing salmon. This is mainly because of their ability to store a lot of lines and execution of a super-powerful drag. It is essential to ensure that your reel is sturdy enough to handle the fight that fish like salmon have to offer. 

And because they will be primarily used in saltwater, your reel must be adequately protected and corrosion-resistant. 

Salmon Casting Reels 

These reels provide the most power requisite for handling fighting fish like salmon. If you plan on using heavy lures while casting at long distances, you have only this excellent option. The higher gear ratio of these reels allows you to collect more line in a shorter duration of time while offering tough combat to the tough fish. 

Look for These Essential Features While Buying the Best Reels for Salmon Fishing

Look for a Durable and Resilient Spool 

It is really important to give preference to spools made of materials like aluminium if you aim to play hard on saltwater. Anodized and bronze plated lightweight spools can endure the corrosive saltwater environment while remaining sturdy and excellently functional. 

You must go for a graphite spool only if you don’t care about the longevity of your reel because it is bound to get damaged and rendered useless. Aluminium spools may cost a tad bit more but are definitely worth the price. 

Look for a Frame That Can Handle Tough Fights 

The most sturdy frame for a salmon fishing reel will be made from a solid portion of an aluminium alloy. Although, there are less expensive and more lightweight options like graphite to go with, they are not very strong or durable as graphite may not withstand the battle that fish like salmon put you through. 

Remember that saltwater is very corrosive and can bring down the heftiest ships, your reel is just a reel. Assure that all exposed parts of your reel are adequately protected from corrosion and the unexposed parts should be duly protected. 

Go for the Most Powerful Drag 

A smooth drag is very essential to reeling in tough fish like salmon. A rough drag will not let you effectively control the movement of your rod with the fighter. Most anglers prefer front drag systems with larger areas and more efficiency in function. Rear drag systems come to work amid battle when you have to suddenly raise the line tension. 

Many new reels have an advanced drag ring control mechanism which makes the adjustment of drag even easier when your main focus is on the fight. 

Choose the Best Quality Bearings 

Ball bearings operate between the parts of your reel that can produce the maximum frictional forces. The bearings tend to enhance the smoothness in these parts to ensure an overall smooth function. 

A rough reel would dissipate all the power your system generates and contribute to giving you a tough blow along with the fish. You need good quality ball bearings rather than an extra number for effective fluidity in function. 

Choose the Right Gear Ratio for Reeling in Salmon

Gear ratio refers to the number of times the spool unwinds in response to one complete rotation of the handle. This ratio determines whether your reel will execute high power or deliver high speed. If your gear ratio is low, your reel will execute more torque in handling the fight with burly fish. If your gear ratio is high, your reel will deliver high speed of retrieval and reel in the fish that escape swiftly otherwise. Gear ratios have an especially important role to play in spinning reels. 

Assure That Your Reel Is Comfortable to Operate 

Salmon not only offer a great fight, but they also take relatively more time to bite on lures. They’ll have you constantly throwing casts to usually witness no action at the other end. For such a scenario, your reel must be enough lightweight and comfortable in operation so you don’t just get tired making attempts. 

Go for a Large Line Capacity 

Salmon usually take anglers on a chase. Your line should have enough length to reach the location of the fish and also last a good run and a fight. Salmon are well-built powerful fish that can drag you in the water if you aren’t paying attention. 


Daiwa BG spinning salmon reel, KastKing Rover Salmon fishing reel, and Okuma Ceymar salmon fishing reel are all ideal in every aspect for a great salmon fishing adventure. These reels are not only strong in build, they are durable to enable a long life of fighting tough fish. 

Their superb drag systems and perfect gear ratios along with comfortable means of operation have made it possible to confidently rely on fishing equipment while executing your best efforts. Also, the smoothness of operation offered by all these reels is incomparable. And frankly, none of these reels is too expensive for the quality and performance offered. Get ready to give a tough fight to the burliest salmon in the waters. 

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