Best Steelhead Spinning Reels

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Never Lose Your Bite Again 

It is best to be prepared with the right equipment for a particular variety of fish. Steelheads are notorious in breaking away from lures. Such shy fish demand extra caution while making a catch. This fish has the tendency to nibble on the lure rather than making a complete bite. This is also why it is so easy for it to escape. Oftentimes, steelheads also dare to offer a battle after being hooked. So, make sure that you don’t have any weak links in your equipment. 

Spinning reels are rather easy to handle as compared to baitcasting reels. That is why most anglers rely on them for all leisure catches these days. While steelheads will never know which reel was used to land them, you must choose the most efficient and the best steelhead spinning reel to assure that you enjoy every attempt you make at the fish. 

The Best Steelhead Spinning Reels for the Year 2022 

KastKing Sharky III Spinning Reel 

KastKing Sharky is one of the most attractive and well designed powerful spinning reels. Weighing at 9.2 ounces, this reel has a solid body made out of carbon fiber and stainless steel. This sturdy construction makes this reel supremely capable of withstanding tough fishing scenarios and even rough handling. The material is not only strong and durable but also water-resistant. Such that this reel is efficiently used even in saltwater environments. 

The unique KastKing intrusion shield system makes this reel very durable and much of its water resistance is owed to this feature. There are few reels at this price that provide high quality and longevity at such an affordable price. 

The gear system for this reel is also made out of stainless steel and brass and the gear ratio of 5.2:1 is best for high-speed retrievals and adequate torque. The insides of the reel are well-oiled for adequately smooth operation. The triple-disc drag system for this reel is built from carbon fiber and has a drag capacity of up to 40 pounds. 

The whole reel is essentially well balanced and renders a smooth functioning while delivering the best possible performance for landing steelheads. The drag system for this reel is especially well known for functioning well without any jerks or inconsistencies. Jerks can result in fish breaking away with the line. 

Overall, this reel is appropriate for heavy use and dependence while aiming for steelheads. Moreover, it is supremely versatile and is capable of handling much fish with grace. 


  • This reel has a drool-worthy design which coupled with powerful performance makes it the best 
  • This reel is protected by the sturdy construction and advanced KastKing intrusion shield technologies 
  • This reel is capable of working well in both saltwater and freshwater environments 
  • The drag system for this reel is incomparably smooth and works with high vigor
  • The maximum drag capacity for this reel is up to 40 pounds 
  • The drag system is super resilient and is a triple-disc with a carbon fiber construction 
  • The gear system for this reel is built out of brass and stainless steel to afford extra durability 
  • This reel is very versatile and can land many other varieties of fish apart from steelheads

Shimano Sienna FE Spinning Reel 

Weighing at 9.2 ounces, Shimano Sienna FE is the most versatile spinning reel you’ll ever come across. The size of this reel is just appropriate at 2500 for getting small to moderate-sized steelheads. The compact design offers unmatchable ease of operation. 

The special design of this reel is meant to be very compact and this particular feature of this reel is known as M-Compact body. Just the appropriate size for steelhead fishing, this reel can also be used for many other similar varieties of fish.

In addition, the propulsion line management system of this reel can help in increasing your casting distance while preventing any backlashes. This feature further enhances the ease of operation of this reel. It also prevents wind knots from forming, however the weather conditions may.

This reel has been appropriately built for the angler who wants comfort along with efficiency. With lesser weight and improved drag function, this reel can land the biggest steelheads in a very smooth manner while exerting the most appropriate pressure on the task. This is important so that the high tension line is not snapped in half by the escaping fish. 

The gear ratio for this reel is 5.0:1 and is most appropriate for landing the biggest fish at an appropriate speed with sufficient power. 


  • This reel is easy to use and is appropriate for beginners 
  • The compact design of this reel is a treat to many anglers because it avails unmatchable ease of use while delivering high-quality function
  • The unique propulsion line management system for this reel makes it suitable for throwing the longest casts in the most accurate manner 
  • This special system also minimizes the occurrence of backlashes in this reel 
  • This reel is very versatile in function and can be used for many other varieties of fish 
  • The gear ratio of 5.0:1 is quite appropriate for steelhead fishing 

Penn Battle II Spinning Reel 

This is one of the most powerful spinning reels. Penn Battle II is sturdily built for tough performances. The materials of construction are carbon and aluminium. While being essentially strong, these materials also render the reel lightweight for extra comfort of use. The size 2500 is considered most appropriate for steelheads. While the most aggressive and burly steelheads can be well handled with this reel, it is even good for those that are moderate in size and tend to escape fast.

The moderate gear ratio of 6.2:1 avails an excellent speed of retrieval so that no steelhead can think of an escape. Moreover, this reel allows you to cast up to much larger distances than you can imagine. The great potential in casting is paired with incomparable smoothness in this reel rendered by stainless steel ball bearings. 

Considering its price and its ability to offer tough fight to burly steelheads, you don’t expect this reel to last very long. However, this spinning reel is well known for its durability even after performing on rough grounds for many years. No matter what amount of pressure you subject it to during a fight, this reel will always be far from breaking down. 

The drag system for this reel is extremely capable of landing the biggest steelheads you can imagine. And like all other components, it is also built to last. 


  • This reel is extremely powerful for its price and will get you the toughest steelheads with ease 
  • The high-quality function of this reel makes it capable of making fast retrievals with unbelievable smoothness and efficiency
  • This reel’s ability to make long-distance casts is also unmatchable when compared with other spinning reels 
  • The tough structure of this reel makes it very enduring such that it can withstand every steelhead fight you have to encounter 
  • The gear ratio for this reel serves to provide excellent torque along with the perfect retrieval speed 

KastKing Sharky III, Shimano Sienna FE, and Penn Battle II are all tremendous spinning reels for landing steelheads. While KastKing Sharky delivers the most powerful performance in association with a well-built durable structure, Penn Battle II performs unbelievably well for its price. Shimano Sienna FE has effectively coupled high-end performance along with incomparable comfort. 

All three of these reels are built to endure any fight or tough circumstance which may arise while fishing for steelheads. For the excellent durability and the promise of great performance, all these best spinning reels deserve big steelheads in the end. 

Choose the Best Spinning Reels to Get That Steelhead 

You need to look carefully into many essential features before selecting the most appropriate spinning reel for landing steelheads. Pay due consideration to the size and the total weight of the reel. This will influence the overall comfort and the potential of your reel for landing the said fish.

The quality of construction of your reel will define its durability and the drag power will determine how much weight it is capable of handling and finally getting. The bearings of your reel will directly influence the smoothness of its function and the quality of the spool will decide your casting performance. 

Also, the line capacity of your reel should be suitable for long casts and chases. Remember to look into the gear ratio of the reel and determine if it is appropriate for steelheads. 

Select the Reel With the Perfect Weight and the Right Size for the Fish 

Average and large-sized steelheads are caught well enough using spinning reels around size 5500. The smaller ones can work well enough with size 2000 too. But experienced anglers generally recommend size 2000 for steelheads because it weighs relatively less than other sizes. And it is entirely possible to land bigger steelheads with this reel too. 

Your spinning reel must weigh as little as possible. This is because you gotta stand there holding the line for most of the day. It is no use tiring your arms out by just holding a heavy reel. A light reel would reduce your effort by more than half by directing all of it towards the operation rather than the lift. 

But make certain that light-weightedness does not become the only good attribute of your reel. It is also important for it to be sufficiently strong and durable. 

Pay Attention to the Material of Construction 

For a fish like a steelhead, you require sturdy reels. Materials like stainless steel, carbon composites, and aluminium will work best while extremely lightweight materials like graphite may not run fair. Graphite is not as durable or strong and would not do justice to your requirement. Although, it will cost way less than the sturdier options. 

The best material of construction would be the one that is strong and durable and wouldn’t even weigh more than necessary. 

Make Sure That Your Reel Has Sufficient Line Capacity 

Your spinning reel should be capable of holding up to 220 yards of braided line and over 110 yards of monofilament. This will render them enough casting distance and also make it possible for them to reel in without hassle. You require more line while fishing in the ocean than you require in the lake. 

Choose the Best Quality Drag 

Your drag rating will define the actual weight of fish you are allowed to reel in with a particular spinning reel. Steelheads require a drag capacity up to 15 lbs. A good quality drag system will work enough smoothly for the fish to be reeled in without jerks. On the other hand, bad quality drag systems will cause frequent bumps in the line. This could also cause the line to eventually snap. Moreover, you must always choose carbon drag washers for the obvious reason that they don’t let your reel get overheated and malfunction. 

Select the Perfect Gear Ratio for Steelheads

Your gear ratio directly affects your spinning reel’s speed of retrieval. And for steelheads, a fast rate of retrieval is extremely important. This fish is commonly known for breaking the bite after being hooked. In such a circumstance, it becomes essential to reel in the fish as soon as it is hooked so that it doesn’t find the getaway chance. For high retrieval speeds, you require gear ratios on the higher side. 

Make Sure Your Reel Has Enough Bearings 

High-quality spinning reels are defined by the quality of their bearings. Most anglers tend to believe that the quantity of bearings influences smoothness. This is not true. It is the quality of bearings that define how smooth your reel will function. Stainless steel ball bearings are the most resistant to corrosion and do wonders for high-quality spinning reels. 

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