Fishing & Hunting Tips

Top 6 Best spinning reel for salmon and steelhead in 2019

Who doesn’t love the taste of freshly caught salmon! Catching salmon all by yourself is more fun part. They are aggressive fish to catch, gives a tough fight which is truly enjoyable! But before all of these, you just need a fishing rod, reel, and some lines to catch salmons. In this article, we are going to show you some of the best spinning reels for salmon and steelhead. So that you can land some fleshy salmon, fillet them with a salmon fillet knife and get them to the pan right away.

Choosing the best spinning reel for salmon from tons of reels in the market can be a really hard task! But don’t worry, we did all the boring researches for you. As a verdict, we found this 6 spinning reels that will ensure you great value for the money. Before starting, if you need a fishing rod for salmon, here are some of the best Best fishing rods for salmon which will help you perform a smooth salmon fishing. Without further delay, let’s get started.

Best Pick: Best spinning reel for salmon

1. Piscifun Stone Saltwater Spinning Reel for salmon

piscifun spinning reel review


Core Features

  • Saltwater spinning reel
  • Aluminum rotor and CNC machined aluminum spool
  • A reinforced stainless main shaft
  • Brass Gears
  • Carbon drag system
  • 9 + 1 shielded stainless steel bearings
  • Gear ratio- 5.2:1
  • Max drag- 18 lbs – 25 lbs
  • Exceptionally strong yet lightweight

Description: Piscifun is a brand you can put your trust on! If you intend to catch some salmons and looking for a particular Best spinning reel for salmon you can’t avoid the name “Piscifun Stone Saltwater Spinning reel”. It’s kind of the prominent brand among the salmon anglers. In this Piscifun spinning reel review, we’re gonna find out why is this so famous among the anglers around the world.

Piscifun Stone spinning reel is the reel you want to put your money on! Why? Cause it’s built quality is fabulous, for better durability they applied Nano-anti corrosion tech. The Aluminum spool, rotor, and sealed drag shield water and sand away prove that. No way of saltwater penetration into the chamber, it’s the fighter against saltwater. They claim that it’s like armor, as hard as the stone from The Rocky Mountains. True it is, it felt so sturdy and solid when I got my hand on it. The main body is built with components like the zero-flex aluminum cover, aluminum rotor, and CNC machined aluminum spool.

This reel gives a super smooth performance, why we are telling you that? Cause this reel got 9 + 1 shielded stainless steel bearings, along with fully shielded anti-corrosion drag system. Now imagine how smooth this reel could be with the high-count of ball bearings. You almost don’t have to give any effort retrieving it! Sounds satisfying, isn’t it?

Piscifun stone offers three drag washers are made from carbon fiber, to maintain the weight of the spinning reel to a minimum. This advanced feature ensures extremely smooth drag engagement without choppy action, you can also fine-tune it for finesse fishing. Besides that, the components like Reinforced stainless main shaft, brass gears, and well-refined carbon drag system, are precisely connected. In addition to salmon fishing, it can be a fine bass fishing reel. If you want some of the Best Bass Spinning Reel Under 100 bucks then this is the list which will help you find one.

It offers 2 model, model- 2000 which has a max drag of 18 lbs and the other one is model- 4000 with a max drag of 25 lbs. You need a powerful drag for defeating a salmon, I’m sure this will help!

Lastly, it’s a great reel to spend your precious money! With all the premium features and a huge reputation from anglers, this Piscifun Stone spinning reel is just unbeatable. Does that make sense? Give it a try, trust me you won’t regret.

  • Extremely lightweight reel
  • Fully corrosion resistant and water sealed mechanism
  • The powerful drag system
  • 3 drag washer
  • 10 ball bearings, super smooth
  • Provides great amount of drag
  • Great value for money
  • None

Okuma Lightweight High Speed Spinning Reel

best lightweight spinning reel


Core Features

  • High-speed reel
  • C-40X carbon construction
  • Multi-disc Carbonite drag system
  • 9HPB + 1RB corrosion-resistant stainless steel ball bearings
  • AlumiLite alloy main gear
  • Gear ratio- 5.0:1
  • Weight- 8.4 oz

Description:  Okuma is a famous Chinese brand that needs no introduction. They have been making fishing tackles for all categories of anglers and achieved a huge reputation over the years. Presenting you one of the best lightweight spinning reels that exists now or you can say one of the Okuma high-speed reels, the Okuma Fishing Tackle Hx-40S Helios, a reel that is extremely lightweight yet so powerful!

Let’s be honest with you folks, it’s an absolutely amazing spinning reel for dominating both saltwater and freshwater. But here’s the catch, with great quality, increases the price. You know the deal right? If you want something which is really good, pay well! So yeah it’s the reel not everyone can afford. But if you do, it can be an amazing experience for and possibly cover the lifetime.

Enough boring talks, now let’s dive into the core features. The x-factor about these best Okuma spinning reel is it’s extremely lightweight, almost feels like a bird feature. The reason behind this lightweight-ness like a feather is the C-40X carbon, long strand carbon fiber technology. It’s overall construction including frame, side plate and rotor is made out of premium quality carbon fiber. Helios side plates, drag knob and handle arm feature Okuma 1K carbon fiber inserts.

The debate is over, it’s proved now that application of carbon fiber is far better than graphite and fiberglass. Okuma high speed reels Helios spinning reels are up to 25% lighter and 50% stronger than standard graphite-framed reels. Even the overall performance is increased by 50% than any other reels.

The Okuma Helios offers Multi-disc Carbonite drag system, to fight tough fish like salmons, you need a good amount of drag pressure. This Okuma salmon reels will be your best ally. It’s got 9HPB + 1RB corrosion-resistant stainless steel ball bearings, you literally can feel the ultra-smooth retrieving. The gear ratio it offers is 5.0:1, a bit slow end but definitely a great reel for beginners and veteran saltwater game fishing anglers.

No wonder why the price is higher, the insane power yet extremely lightweight and ultra-durability makes it one of the salmon fishing reels of all time. Not only salmon, but you also won’t have any boundary when you get your hand on this reel. Feel the ultimate lightness with this best Okuma spinning reel!

  • Carbon fiber construction, 25% lighter and 50% stronger than other reels
  • Powerful drag system
  • 10 stainless ball bearings, insanely smooth reel
  • High-speed reel, amazing performance
  • So lightweight
  • Price is high

3. OKUMA Helios Lightweight Spinning Reel for salmon

OKUMA Helios Lightweight Spinning Reel for salmon


Core Features

  • 4 option available
  • Constructed with carbon fiber
  • Cyclonic Flow Rotor
  • 9 ball bearings
  • Gear ratio- 5.0:1, 5.8:1 also available
  • Max drag- 6 lbs-13 lbs
  • Weight- 6.2 oz – 9.1 oz
  • 1 year limited warranty

Description:  Cheer up, folks! For those who are blown away by the extraordinary features ok Okuma Helios HS-40X but got disappointed at the same time for the sky reaching price, don’t be upset! Cause now we’re gonna show you another lightweight spinning reel from the Top-notch Chinese brand Okuma. Presenting you the Okuma Helios Lightweight Spinning Reel which is also a great reel but in a very affordable price.

This elegantly designed spinning reel will blow any anglers mind away in the very first look. Okuma Helios SX series combine advanced design and C-40X long-strand carbon fiber construction to deliver outstanding handling with huge strength for both freshwater and saltwater fisheries. You know the power of carbon-fiber right? It’s so lightweight, the model HSX-20 is only 6.2 oz whereas the model HSX-40s is 9.1 oz. imagine how light it is! That’s the specialty of Okuma reels.

It’s a completely sealed spinning reel, no chance of corrosion by allowing any saltwater inside. So yeah, your spinning reel is fully safe from the ambient environment. But what about your rod? Check this Midwest Outfitters Spinning Fishing Rod Sleeve Rod Sock Cover which will protect your rod while storing it. Great rod sock to cover with!

Okuma Helios offers 4 options.

OKUMA Helios Lightweight Spinning Reel

Don’t think the quality is been compromised for this reel with the low price. It’s got 9 stainless steel ball bearings for super smooth performance. The Quick-set anti-reverse roller bearing works great, no plastic used inside but Precision machine cut brass pinion gear increased the durability of the ree. Only in Okuma reels, you will find Cyclonic Flow Rotor tech. What it does is Instead of guarding against water intrusion, the Cyclonic Flow Rotor focuses on evacuating water from the system and drying the reel out. The shape of the rotor envelopes the system in a circular airflow. That ensures the rotor system dries faster than a traditional design when both are put into dry storage after a wet day of fishing.

No wonder why this Okuma helios HSX series got zero negative reviews. Lastly, all we wanna say is this reel is the perfect example of a best salmon fishing reels for the money. Does that make sense? Don’t think twice about it, get it from below!

  • Carbon fiber construction, extremely lightweight
  • Can be used both in freshwater and saltwater
  • 9 stainless steel ball bearing, imagine how smooth the reel is!
  • Quick-set anti-reverse
  • Moderate amount of drag
  • None so far

4. Best SHIMANO Freshwater Spinning Fishing Reel

shimano spinning reels for sale


Core Features

  • Both freshwater and saltwater reel
  • Aluminum and graphite construction
  • HAGANE gearing and body, sleek design
  • Dyna-Balance rotor and Fluidrive II system
  • Totally sealed body
  • 7 ball bearings
  • 7 lbs – 24 lbs
  • 1-year warranty

Description:  Our next reel is the Shimano Stradic HG which is an upgraded version of previous Shimano Stradic. They launch an upgraded reel in 2015 with a drastic change in it. A Japanese visionary named Shozaburo Shimano started making Shimano reels, For over 80 years now Shimano is creating the most innovative products in the fishing world and build a huge trust among anglers.

Shimano Stradic Hg is made in Malaysia, it’s a great freshwater and saltwater reel. We are looking for the best spinning reel for salmon and steelhead, but this reel can be a great bass fishing reel. However, if you need any bass fishing rods in great price check this list- Best Bass Fishing Rod for the money where you will find some of the best bass fishing rods.

The reel is constructed with premium quality aluminum and graphite. They managed to make it pretty sleek, smooth, powerful and lightweight which is amazing! It feels so sturdy in hand, loved the built quality. Being a Shimano guy for a very long time and after using some of the best spinning reel s, I can guarantee you that these reels provide very long-lasting, strong, and durable performance. They have this HAGANE gearing and HAGANE Body technology which is the reason behind it.

The drag system offered this reel is outstanding, it has a totally water-tight drag system which provides max. drag of 24 lbs. It’s totally ready to fight monsters in the water. After the drag system, The built-in Dyna-Balance rotor and Fluidrive II system accompanied by Shimano’s Propulsion Line Management System offers exceptional smoothness and casting capabilities while mitigating line management issues.

Who doesn’t love smoothness while fishing! These Shimano spinning reels for sale offers 7 ball bearings. Trust me, folks, it’s superbly smooth! Almost effortless retrieve. You will find a Retrieve Per Crank Range (in): 31-41. Land your fish in no time!

Brightside of this Shimano Stradic series is, it’s got several options. For bass fishing, we recommend you the ST2500HGFK, it’s the perfect spinning reel size for bass. Greater size than that is the perfect spinning reel size for salmon and other bluewater fishes.

  • Lightweight and powerful
  • Hagane technology
  • 7 ball bearings, pretty smooth
  • Can fight with monster fishes with this reel
  • Premium quality features
  • Good deal for the money

A user had complained about the drag system

5. Penn Spinfisher V & VI Spinning Fishing Reel

penn salmon reels


Core Features

  • full metal body, side plate, and Techno-balanced rotor
  • heavy-duty aluminum bail wire
  • Sealed HT-100 Slammer drag system
  • 5 shielded stainless steel ball bearings
  • Braid ready spool
  • Watertight design

Description: For the past 75 years, the company known as Penn has been at the front line of advance reel design and production. The all new Penn Spinfisher V series is a more advanced edition of the spin fisher lineups.

Prior to its unveiling, rumors, and speculations have sparked a lot of discussions online regarding its specifications and features. Let’s find out if those hypes are on point or not.

The Penn Spinfisher SSV4500 has 11 different sizes. This multi-option diversity will be suitable for different kinds of fishing style. It will also optimize your preference with a variety of sizes.

This open face reel packs a significant fish stopping power. The watertight design portrays both durability and extensive castability, and compatible with surfcasting and inshore fishing throughout the day.

The full metal construction is perfect for enduring slapdash handling. The HT-100 slammer drag system produces the utmost drag range and smooth reeling action to overcome even the fiercest game fish.

The reel is versatile and durable, thanks to its single friction strip ramp, superliner spool and bearing systems that operate smoothly. The entire drag system and gearbox are absolutely protected from saltwater and sand due to its water right sealed frame.

The overall metal design withstands frame flex and preserves pristine gear formation under a high-stress level. This allows an angler further leverage upon jigging or simply retrieving the line with a resistant catch.

Equipped with three high-performance HT-100 drag washers with a large diameter drag knob allows you to smooth, robust, max drag capability without the possibility of the breaking of the line.

The five ball bearings with anti-reverse eliminate the risk of rotor back play thus giving you the option to set the hook and reel back in your catch without intrusion. The reel is braided line compatible and marked to show remaining line available once you cast out the line.

With all these features, it would be one of the best reel available to your preference with a practical price.

  • Rigid construction
  • Extremely durable
  • Advanced drag system
  • 5 premium quality ball bearings
  • Fully watertight design
  • Braid ready sool and powerful aluminum bail
  • Great value for the money
  • A user had some issues with packing while delivery

6. OKUMA Helios Lightweight Spinning Reel for salmon

best pflueger spinning reel for salmon


Core Features

  • Ultra-light spinning reel
  • Graphite body and rotor
  • Braid ready Aluminum Spool
  • The double disk drag system
  • 10 stainless smooth ball bearings
  • 2:1 gear ratio
  • Instant anti-reverse switch

Description:  With 2 different styles and 3 different sizes, presenting you the Pflueger President Spinning Reel. If you want a low-priced ultra-light spinning reel in which you can depend and put your trust on, we strongly recommend you this Pflueger President Spinning Reel. In this price range( under 100$), this is probably the Best spinning reel for salmon/steelhead. Let’s dive deeper into the product, shall we?

It’s always overwhelming if your salmon fishing reels and rods are too much heavy! A lightweight reel can save you from disgusting arm fatigue. Good for you, this reel is ultra-lightweight. The Lightweight graphite body and rotor provide extreme responsiveness without compromising rigidity. Offers a Machined ported and double anodized Braid ready aluminum spool. The handle is made out of aircraft grade aluminum. You know you can rely on that, right?

Don’t think it’s quality is downgraded for the low price. You will be amazed when you will find it’s buttery smooth drag system. Thanks to the reel’s multi-disc drag system, which uses stainless steel and oiled felt washers to produce smooth yet forceful and consistent drag. Besides that, it increases corrosion resistance greatly.

No wonder why it’s insanely smooth, it’s got 10 high-quality Stainless Steel Ball Bearings. In addition, the On/Off instant anti-reverse bearing is available with this best Pflueger spinning reel for salmon that provides improved crank control. surely gonna helps a lot in any fishing situation.

Lastly, you won’t find any better match in this price range! Probably it’s the best spinning reel for salmon in this price range. You don’t wanna miss this one. Try it, cause it’s worth a try!

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Rigid enough, so durable
  • The buttery smooth drag system
  • Oiled felt drag washer
  • Anti-reverse switch
  • Not that durable for saltwater use

Spinning reel buying guide for salmon

What is Gear ratio?!? – Explained 

The gear ratio is the number of revolutions of the spool per turn of the reel handle. Still confused? Well, let’s make it more simple to you. Suppose you do have a reel with a 7.0:1 gear ratio. What it means is, if you turn the handle 360° completely around then the spool just rotated itself 7.0 times. If it’s a reel with a 6.6:1 gear ratio, then it means that turning the handle 360° completely around will rotate the spool 6.6 times. The digit after the point is really not that necessary. And the digit in the left is always the same, which is 1. That’s the basic idea of the gear ratio. Easy to understand right?

Salmon fish is pretty aggressive, they often give a tough fight. A gear ratio from slow to medium suits best with this kind of fishing. You should pick a gear ratio of 5.0:1 or something between 7:1. 7.0:1 gear ratio is the moderate gear ratio for several kinds of fishing, not on the slower side nor fast gear ratio.

Best spinning reel for salmon and steelhead


The drag power of a fishing reel refers to how much resistance the hooked fish feels when it pulls on the rod.

If you read carefully the salmon spinning reel reviews offered by buyers and experts alike, you will notice that many recommend getting a model that ensures enough drag power. This can be guaranteed by a system with drag washers capable of offering smooth operation.

You need to have able to stop the line and drag the fish, forcing it to fight on your terms. With a proper drag system, you will have nothing to worry about. The line will behave exactly how you want, and you will be able to win every fight with a powerful salmon.

Salmon is pretty heavy fish to catch. Choosing Spinning reel size for salmon is not a daunting task, you don’t need a greater size nor a smaller size. Somewhere between medium is perfect reel size for salmon. Heavy drag power is obvious for salmon fishing. Many of the reels of these days offer a good amount of drag. Always cautious about choosing a reel with greater drag.


It’s the feature of the reel which holds the line. Usually, aluminum spools are good for fishing reels. They are durable enough and most importantly light-weight! Some modern fishing reels of these days offer braid-ready spool which has some advantage in usability. More or less, it holds the line and retrieves it by revolving.

Ball bearing

It’s something related with the smoothness of the reel. The more stainless ball bearing there, smoother the reel is. Also, it’s important to have ball bearings that are corrosion resistant. Or it will corrode over time, produces a disgusting sound and ruin your fishing totally.

Reel of these days often offers higher ball bearings. With the number of ball bearings, the price goes higher. So if you want to buy a cheap reel, you surely have to sacrifice a lot of smoothness there.


Q. What gear ratio is perfect for salmon fishing?

Ans. Any gear ratio from slow to medium is good for catching salmon. For example, you can go for a slow end 5 speed (5:1) gear ratio or 7 speed (7:1) gear ratio which is pretty moderate gear ratio.

Q. Which gear ratio is good for beginners

Ans. choose a slow end gear ratio, it’s the best pick for beginners. The slow gear ratio is easy to control while the fast gear ratio needs some practice.

Q. What kind of rod do I need for salmon fishing?

Ans. as the salmon fish is heavy in weight, a rod with medium heavy or heavy power is perfect for salmon. Choose the fast action rod for salmon fishing.

Q. Which bait or lure is the most effective for salmon fishing?
Ans. salmon roe is the best bait for salmon fishing. Salmon fishes do have a predatory habit, they love salmon roes. You can also use panfish as bait for a better result. With these baits, you will get so many bites.

Wrap up

There are thousands of reels in the market. Among them picking up one of the best spinning reels for the money can be overwhelming. In this article, we are leaving you with a list full of strategically selected product that will completely serve your casting purpose.

If you want to go for a premium quality best spinning reel for steelhead float fishing we would recommend going for the Okuma Fishing Tackle Hx-40S Helios series, though the price is so high but totally worth it! If you want best steelhead spinning reel for the money, you can choose the Pflueger President Spinning Reel. It’s the Best spinning reel for salmon under 100$.

That’s it for this one folks. Hope it enough information and product help you pick up best baitcasting rods case you haven’t noticed, most of our pick is aimed at the quality that equals value. I’m sure you will find some of the best spinning reels for salmon steelhead from this article.

Nicholi Wyto

Hey I'm Nicholi Wyto is a professional sports fisherman and hunter, love to enjoy spending time in Michigan’s rugged northern forests. I love to explore my experience and help others who are interested in fishing and hunting.

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