Exploring The Best Fly Fishing Rods – Categorizing Our Front Runners

Fly fishing might look basic at first glance, but there are certainly some considerations to think about upfront. Having the optimal equipment is one of them. You can't go fly fishing with some random rods and reels. You need a plan, but also the right place. All in all, finding the best fly fishing rods out there doesn't seem so hard.

You do have options, which means you can find the perfect option for your needs and expectations. But then, an informed decision asks for a little education. You need to research the market and analyze features, specs, pros and cons. With these aspects in mind, what are the best choices out there and what makes them so well rated?



Top 9 Fly Fishing Rods

Product

Specifications

Price

  • Best all-around fly rod
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Soft action with medium taper
  • For small & medium dry flies

5/5

$$$$$

  • High-modulus SCV graphite
  • Hard chrome, single-foot fly guides on 3-6 wt. models
  • Hard chrome snake guides on 7-10 wt. models

5/5

$$$$

  • 9 ft, 5/6 weight, 4 pc rod
  • Made from IM6 Graphite
  • Mid flex, slow action
  • Diecast Aluminum Fly Fishing Reel

4.7/5

$

  • Fast action rods
  • Ultra lightweight chromium-impregnated stainless snake guides
  • Available in 3-12 weight
  • Used in fresh and salt water

4.6/5

$$$

  • Fast action rods
  • Fast recover and high performance tapers
  • 4 pieces
  • AAA-grade cork handle

4.5/5

$$$

  • Medium-fast action rods
  • 4 pieces
  • High modulus Graphite
  • Ceramic stripper guide
  • Hard chrome snake guides

4.3/5

$$$

  • Medium-fast action rods
  • 4 pieces
  • Fully Machined ATS Series Reel
  • Weight Forward Floating Fly Line
  • 9' tapered leader
  • Medium-fast action rods
  • 4 pieces
  • Ceramic stripping guides
  • Medium-fast action rods
  • 4 pieces
  • 6 choices of weight models
  • Wooden reel seats
  • Durable cordura rod tube

Best Fly Fishing Rods Reviews

1. Best All Around Fly Rod - G. Loomis NRX Lite

Best fly fishing rods

G. Loomis is known for creating some of the best fly fishing rods on the market. This model makes no exception either. It's a great fly rod combo that works for any kind of fishing conditions, yet it's obviously designed with certain applications in mind. Rated 5 out of 5 stars, it's among the top rated units in its segment.

Key Specifications

  • Available in green and blue
  • Available in lots of different sizes
  • Weighs 1 pound
  • Suitable for multiple applications
  • Useful for small and medium dry flies

Sophisticated and Delicate

The NRX Life model is an all around fly rod. It can be used anywhere, anytime. It's ideal for beginners who are not really sure about their style and expectations yet. At the same time, it makes a good choice for more experienced anglers who need a general rod too.

When it comes to its specific purpose, G. Loomis made it obvious – the NRX Life rod is supposed to help you in delicate presentations. When the fate seems to be against you and the fish is finicky and you need long, delicate casts, this rod won't let you down.

Smoothness and Action

The actual smoothness is one of the first things to look for when checking out some fly fishing rod reviews. You want your whole operation to be flawless, not to mention the direction. Fortunately, this model is less likely to disappoint you. It has an exquisite casting capability. It's excellent for really thin lenders, as well as light tippets.

Its action will match the smoothness. In other words, you'll benefit from a soft action given by a medium taper. The casting ability is quite accurate and ensures a good direction as well. How come? Easy! The rod is quite lightweight when compared to other similar units in this segment.

Versatility and Tracking

Versatility is essential when looking for fly rod reviews. Besides, its necessity is even more obvious in an all around rod. You want to use it for any kind of application and without too much hassle. This model is great for fishing small dry flies, as well as medium dry flies. It may not be so suitable for large dry flies, but it'll still help if you're experienced enough.

Tracking leaves no room for mistakes either. It's accurate and solid. It makes no difference where you fish. You might be after delicate casts or finicky fish in clear water; one thing is for sure – you'll love how simple G. Loomis has made it.

PROS

  • Versatile
  • Great casting
  • Premium tracking
  • Lightweight profile
  • Solid construction

CONS

  • No specialized uses
  • No premium technologies, bells and whistles

2. Best Fly Rod for Trout - St. Croix Legend Elite

St. Croix is definitely a front runner when coming to the list of the best fly fishing rods. You'll inevitably stumble upon this name due to its diversity in products. You can find specialized rods for certain applications, as well as general rods. The Legend Elite model can be used with multiple purposes, yet it's better known for its abilities in trout fishing.

Key Specifications

  • Available sizes 86. 90, 86 and 108
  • Tension support between 4.4 and 10.4
  • One design, no extra colors available
  • IPC (Integrated Poly Curve) tooling technology
  • ART (Advanced Reinforcing Technology) feature
  • arrows
    High modulus SCVI graphite
  • arrows
    FRS in the lower section

Sizing and Tension

While fly rods cannot always be customized in small details, St. Croix allows choosing just the right model for your skills and experience. This unit is available in four different sizes – 86, 90, 96 and 108. The big model comes in a four piece design, so it'll have to be assembled. It's a straightforward operation though and it doesn't require any experience.

The tension is also customizable, yet you'll need a bit of experience and practice to choose the right one. All in all, you have seven choices between 4.4 and 10.4. There's one thing you can't choose though – the actual color or design.

Technologies and Innovations

Believe it or not, this rod is rated 5 out of 5 stars. In other words, it's supposed to be perfect. It has an amazing reputation based on the innovative technologies it comes with. The IPC (Integrated Poly Curve) technology is one of them. It's a tooling technology that makes this rod more than just a fishing stick – an actual masterpiece engineered to deliver.

The ART (Advanced Reinforcing Technology) is not to be overlooked either. It's self-explanatory and boosts the actual construction of this rod. It's thoroughly reinforced for durability and strength – great feature for stubborn fish fights.

Construction and Design

In terms of design and construction, you'll be pleasantly surprised. The rod is made from high modulus SCVI graphite. It's extremely durable and flexible, but also lightweight, so you'll feel like fishing with a feather. Its real powers will show off when you go through a fish battle.

The lower section features FRS. It adds to the overall strength and power without affecting the weight. In fact, the whole thing is rated as one of the lightest fly fishing rods in commerce today. Apart from durability and style, you benefit from increased accuracy and a top-notch balance.

PROS

  • Lightweight construction
  • Sturdy
  • Well-balanced
  • Multiple customizations
  • Multiple technologies

CONS

  • No colors and styles to choose from
  • Not too useful for general applications

3. Best Beginner Fly Rod - Wild Water Fly Rod 

Looking for the best fly fishing rods for beginners? This model is specifically designed to make your life easier when you go fishing. It's rated 4.7 out of 5 stars, which means it goes beyond beginners. In fact, it's just as handy for experienced anglers who just want to take it easy sometimes and enjoy a relaxing stress-free experience.

Key Specifications

  • Measures 38 x 7 x 3 inches
  • Weighs 3.5 pounds
  • 4 piece construction
  • Full package to fish out of the box – case and box included
  • Based on aluminum, stainless steel and graphite
  • arrows
    Waterproof design
  • arrows
    7 inch cork handle

Package and Sizing

Known as one of the most complete fly fishing rods for beginners, this model comes in a full package. You can go fishing right away, without having to purchase accessories or parts separately. All in all, apart from the four piece rod, you have the large arbor reel, preinstalled line, backing and leader. Furthermore, the package includes flies, a fly box and a case. Confused? No worries, Wild Water has included a detailed instructions book as well. As if all these were not enough, you'll also find a knot tying tool, a zinger and a spare leader.

The rod measures 38x7x3 inches. It's a rod for beginners, so you probably don't need too much sizing customization anyway. Also, it weighs 3.5 pounds. It's a bit heavier than other similar units, but it's fully featured. Besides, the difference is insignificant.

Construction and Style

The rod is made from mid flex IM8 graphite. It's not just flexible, but also durable and lightweight. The reel seat is based on aluminum, while the guides and hook keeper are made from stainless steel. All these materials are likely to pass the test of time. They're good looking, solid and durable.

The grip is not to be overlooked either. It measures 7 inches – ideal for both small and large hands. Besides, it's based on cork and compressed trim rings.

Portability and Strength

Portability is obvious in this rod. It's made from four different parts. You can just disassemble it and store it in a backpack. Putting everything together is fairly simple. If you have any questions, take a look in the owner's manual.

Its strength is impressive considering the fact that it's a rod for newbies. It can hold up to 372 flies. It's mostly suitable for panfish and trout, but it will successfully tackle other species too. As a beginner, you should mostly focus on ponds and small streams though.

PROS

  • Solid materials
  • Everything you need in one package
  • Foldable and portable
  • Waterproof
  • Case included

CONS

  • Owner's manual could be more detailed
  • Assembly might need a while for a complete newbie

4. Best Fly Rod for the Money - Temple Fork Outfitters BVK Series

If cost efficiency is what you're looking for, search no more. Temple Fork Outfitters is known for designing some of the best fly fishing rods when it comes to value for money. The BVK Series is rated 4.6 out of 5 stars. In other words, it's not popular for the price only, but it also features some great technologies for both newbies and experienced anglers.

Key Specifications

  • 21 different sizes to choose from
  • Lightweight
  • Translucent blank design
  • Carbon fiber reel seat
  • Hard chromium impregnated anodized steel stripping guides
  • arrows
    Contoured handle grip

Sizing and Power

Known as one of the best fly rods for the money, this unit won't disappoint you in terms of adjustability. You can find the optimal size for your expectations. Believe it or not, there are not less than 21 different sizes to choose from. However, when it comes to design and color, you only have one option.

No matter which size you choose, you'll be surprised to find out that it dominates the segment in weight. Temple Fork Outfitters has chosen to drastically reduce the weight of its rods for a more aggressive use. Choose the right size and you'll be able to maneuver it without any issues at all. Given this profile, it obviously takes over more strength and power from your body.

Construction and Materials

The rod comes in a translucent blank design. The reel seat is made from carbon fiber. It's extremely lightweight and durable – a common choice for more expensive rods as well. On the other hand, the stripping guides are based on hard chromium impregnated anodized steel. This material can last forever and will not disappoint.

The material choice is not random though. Apart from keeping the weight under the market level, Temple Fork Outfitters has also created a durable rod that can support you for many seasons if properly taken care of.

Grip and Comfort

The grip is contoured and has the shape of a hand. It's comfortable and solid. It won't slip out of your hands even if they're wet or sweaty. Plus, it increases the maneuverability of the rod, as you won't have to hold it too tightly – no pressure, tension or pain on your fingers either.

When it comes to the actual presentation, you'll be able to deliver and impress the ones around you with this lightweight, yet sturdy and solid rod. The rapport for strength and lightweightness will feel a bit unusual at first, so it'll take some time to get used to it.

PROS

  • Suitable for multiple applications
  • Excellent presentations due to its flexibility
  • Lightweight design
  • Plenty of sizing choices
  • Durable materials

CONS

  • So many sizes can make it confusing for newbies
  • Needs some time to get used to it

5. Best 8wt Fly Rod - Fenwick AETOS 

When sizing is what really matters for you, your search for the best fly fishing rods is seriously reduced. The job becomes easier, yet you still have to research. Available in a series of sizes including 8wt, this model from Fenwick will not disappoint you. It's rated 4.5 out of 5 stars and its performance takes simplicity to a new level.

Key Specifications

  • Available in multiple other sizes
  • One design only
  • Fast action blank
  • Large diameter gunsmoke stripper guides
  • Double foot gunsmoke snake guides
  • arrows
    Graphite blank
  • arrows
    4 section consturction
  • arrows
    Aluminum anodized reel seat
  • arrows
    AAA grade cork handle
  • arrows
    Comes with a bag and a tube

Sizing and Performance

The 8wt size weighs close to nothing. It's rated as one of the lightest units in this segment – some of the competition is up to two times heavier. It's worth noting that you can buy this rod in eight different sizes. Each of them comes with different numbers and weight standards. When it comes to the actual design, you only have one option.

In terms of performance, the fast action blank will literally stun you. Of course, Fenwick's best fly fishing rods feature top-notch materials as well, from carbon to aluminum. All in all, it's worth noting that the package is quite complete and also includes a cloth covered tube for transportation, as well as a bag for protection.

Construction and Materials

The stripper guides feature a large diameter. It looks unusual at first, but it's related to performance. The snake guides feature a double foot construction. All these parts come in a sleek gunsmoke style. The blank is split into four different parts, so it's quite convenient to store and transport. It's deep blue and comes with carbon flake accents.

Finally, the reel seat is not to be overlooked either – durable anodized aluminum. The blank is made from grapphite.

Handling and Comfort

While most newbies often overlook the handle, experienced users know that it can make the difference during a fish fight. The AAA grade cork handle is soft and durable. It's sturdy and feels good on your hands, even if they're sweaty or wet.

The cork handle ensures a good grip and doesn't put any pressure on your fingers.

PROS

  • Bag and tube in the package
  • Durable materials
  • Comfortable handle
  • Lightweight design
  • Can break down into more parts

CONS

  • Might feel loose if assembled and disassembled too many times
  • Cock handle doesn't look too good

6. Best 5 Weight Fly Rod - Sage Approach 

Rated 4.2 out of 5 stars, Sage's Approach rod targets a popular segment. It's a standard size that both newbies and professionals use. Unsurprisingly, it performs well in this segment, despite being based on simple, yet efficient features.

Key Specifications

  • 108 inches in length
  • Weighs 1.54 pounds
  • Ceramic stripper guide
  • Hard chrome snake guides
  • Reverse half wells grip
  • arrows
    Silver gray rod tube
  • arrows
    4 piece construction
  • arrows
    Medium fast action

Sizing and Weight

The 5wt fly rod is a standard unit and represents a must for every angler out there. Even if you do have other sizes in your portfolio, you certainly want a 5wt option as well. This unit is standard in terms of sizing. It measures 108 inches in length.

Weight is just as important, as too much pressure will seriously alter your fishing experience. With 1.54 pounds in weight, the Approach rod is classic – no unexpected surprises.

Construction and Portability

The rod is made from four parts. It's a construction style that gains more and more popularity lately. Users look for convenience. While you can find solutions for storage and transportation, the truth is that breaking the rod down in four parts will make everything much easier.

You can fit it into a backpack with all the other fishing accessories. When it comes to storage, it can go anywhere.

Performance and Style

Performance is critical when looking for quality fly rods and it overtakes looks and design. Although it's relatively basic, Sage's rod will perform up to your expectations. It has medium fast action. It will deliver a beautiful presentation without even trying too hard.

The stripper guide is made from ceramic, while snake guides are based on hard chrome.

PROS

  • Good performance
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to store and transport
  • Durable parts
  • Good value for money

CONS

  • No extra accessories
  • No innovative or modern technologies

7. Best Fly Rod under 200 Dollars - Allen Prelude

Setting an available budget when buying something is a must and fly fishing rods make no exception. Even if your available budget is under the middle part of the market, you can still find a quality rod to push your game further. The Prelude model from Allen can certainly add to your experience.

Key Specifications

  • Multiple size available
  • Medium fast action
  • Fully machined ATS Series aluminum reel
  • Weight forward floating fly line
  • 108 inch tapered leader
  • arrows
    Comes with a case

Sizing and Weight

This combo is specifically designed to get you going, regardless of your skill level. Obviously, you can find the rod in other sizes as well. All in all, you have a weight forward floating fly line, as well as a solid 108 inch tapered leader.

The weight puts this unit in the middle range. Again, it's a classic style that won't stand out too much in the crowd through its sizing specs. Overall, it's lightweight and won't put too much pressure on your arms or fingers.

Performance and Reel

The performance is your main consideration in hunting the best fly fishing rods. This unit comes with a medium fast action. It's suitable for most applications, regardless of the water. It can go in mild ponds, but it can also work in rapid rivers.

The reel makes this combo extremely cost efficient due to its quality standards. Practically, it's a fully machined unit carrying the ATS series technology standards. In other words, it's not molded or die cast. Also, it's made from aluminum.

Package and Accessories

Allen didn't come up with an impressive package, but it surely put in everything you need to fish out of the box. Basically, apart from the rod and the reel combo, you also have a carrying case. You can also use it for transportation.

The case is large enough to take all the parts of the rod. It can also accommodate the reel and other small fishing accessories you might have.

PROS

  • Lightweight design
  • Case included in the package
  • Good combo – leader and reel
  • Excellent value for money
  • Efficient weight distribution

CONS

  • No fancy features or accessories
  • Might need some time to get used to it

8. Best 3 Wt Fly Rod - Echo Carbon XL 

The 3wt size in fly fishing rods may not be the most popular one, but it can certainly add to your experience. Obviously, sizing standards depend on the actual expectations and skill levels. From this point of view, the Carbon XL model is one of the best fly fishing rods in this range. Moreover, it's rated 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Key Specifications

  • More sizes available
  • Four piece construction
  • Fabric covered rod case
  • Cloth included
  • Lightweight design
  • arrows
    Medium fast action
  • arrows
    Ceramic stripping guides

Construction and Portability

Just like many other rods on the market, this unit comes in a four piece design. Basically, it can be broken down into four parts and put back together. This style keeps getting popularity and for an obvious reason – it adds to the portability of the rod. You can travel with it anywhere, but also fit it in your car with no issues at all.

Portability goes even further as the case is so large that it can take small fishing accessories as well.

Accessories and Sizing

Accessories are some of the things you want to know about before buying a fly fishing rod. You want to make sure that you won't need to spend extra money on so-called “optional” features. From this point of view, the rod comes with a perfectly matching case. The case looks sleek and stylish. It features a zippered area, as well as a shoulder sling for easy carrying. It's thicker than you might expect, so it can take other small accessories as well.

As for sizing, Echo has obviously added more than just the 3wt standard. In fact, you have five different sizes to choose from.

Performance and Materials

Performance is critical in choosing a fly rod – more important than accessories or looks. From this point of view, you want to display some good presentations while fishing, rather than looking cool with a shiny rod. In terms of action, this rod is classic – medium fast. It's more than enough for general types of fish.

As for the stripping guides, they're made from ceramic. It's a lightweight, yet durable material.

PROS

  • Quality case included
  • Flexible and portable
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable grip
  • Good balance

CONS

  • No reel included in the package
  • Can get loose if assembled and disassembled too many times

9. Best Saltwater Fly Rods - Redington Path II 

While advertised to be an all water rod, the Path II model can certainly make the difference in saltwater. Redington fly rods have always drawn some attention with their specialized uses, rather than general applications. This unit makes no exception. It's rated 4.3 out of 5 stars. Over 93% of all buyers find it perfect or almost perfect.

Key Specifications

  • Available in 10 sizes
  • Medium fast action
  • Reel seats are made from wood or anodized aluminum, depending on the weight
  • Alignment dots for easy assembly
  • Cordura tube for storage and transportation
  • arrows
    Tube has built-in rod dividers

Applications and Performance

Applications will be flawless with this rod. Whether you fish in saltwater or freshwater, you'll find comfortable fighting fish. However, results will be more spectacular in saltwater, as that's the initial specialization of the rod.

Performance doesn't bring in any technologies or special features, but it won't fail on you. The rod is certainly built to deliver. It features a medium fast action, which means you can use it for more species of fish.

Accessories and Materials

Accessories are quite important when analyzing a fly fishing rod. You want everything you need for a complete performance – makes sense. From this point of view, the case is one of the main considerations. Luckily, Redington has already thought about it. You have a durable cordura rod tube. It's quite solid, yet not hard. Moreover, it featured built-in rod dividers for extra protection.

Materials depend on the size you select. Basically, you have wooden reel seats on rod weighs to 6wt, as well as double anodized aluminum reel seats on 7wt and rod weighs above it.

Sizing and Setup

There are not less than 10 different sizing standards for this model. Two of them are specifically designed for saltwater – 8wt and 9wt. Each of them measures 108 inches in length. Other rods will also work in saltwater, but they won't be as efficient as these two models. On the same note, saltwater rods will be helpful in freshwater as well.

Available in four parts, the rod is easy to store and transport. It's compact and space efficient. Worried about putting it together? Even if this is your first fly fishing rod, you'll still be able to come up with a good result. It features alignment dots on each part for an easy setup.

PROS

  • Good value for money
  • Full package
  • Multiple size
  • Specialized saltwater sizes
  • Excellent balance

CONS

  • Wooden reel seat on small sizes can be affected by water
  • Spool could be made from stronger materials

FINAL VERDICT

Bottom line, a little research on the best fly fishing rods will lead you in the right direction. Make sure you know what you need the rod for, but also consider your expectations and skill level. The above mentioned models dominate certain segments, so they represent the front runners once you have your priorities straight.

If you have just started out in the fly fishing game and you don't mind spending a little more on the fishing rod, go for ​G. Loomis NRX Lite, since this is an all-around rods which can be used in rivers, calm lakes, small streams, and also in saltwater. If budget is your issue, then opt for Wild Water fly rods.

If you love catching trout, St. Croix Legend Elite is definitely the best choice. You can choose between Temple Fork Outfitters and Fenwick AETOS for their fast action rods.

For medium to fast action rods, we have Sage Approach, Allen Prelude, Echo Carbon XL, and Redington Path II

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