Best Fly Fishing Rods Reviews in 2020 [The 9 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? For those who wants to jump straight to our final verdict, here are our top picks.
- Top 9 Fly Fishing Rods [ Table Of Comparison]
- Best Fly Fishing Rods Reviews
- 1. G. Loomis NRX Lite - Best All Around Fly Rod
- 2. St. Croix Legend Elite - Best Fly Rod for Trout
- 3. Wild Water Fly Rod - Best Beginner Fly Rod
- 4. Temple Fork Outfitters BVK Series - Best Fly Rod for the Money
- 5. Fenwick AETOS - Best 8wt Fly Rod
- 6. Sage Approach - Best 5 Weight Fly Rod
- 7. Allen Prelude - Best Fly Rod under $ 200
- 8. Echo Carbon XL - Best 3 Wt Fly Rod
- 9. Redington Path II - Best Saltwater Fly Rods
- Frequently Asked Questions
- FINAL VERDICT
Top 9 Fly Fishing Rods [ Table Of Comparison]
We have summarized a comparison table below for your easy reference. However, it is important to note that the positions are in no particular order of importance.
|Product||Specifications & Features||Our Rating|
G.Loomis NRX Lite
| Best all-around fly rod|
Suitable for beginners
Soft action with medium taper
For small & medium dry flies
St. Croix Legend Elite
| High-modulus SCV graphite|
Hard chrome, single-foot fly guides on 3-6 wt. models
Hard chrome snake guides on 7-10 wt. models
Wild Water Fly Rods
| 9 ft, 5/6 weight, 4 pc rod|
Made from IM6 Graphite
Mid flex, slow action
Diecast Aluminum Fly Fishing Reel
Temple Fork Outfitters BVK Series
| Fast action rods|
Ultra lightweight chromium-impregnated stainless snake guides
Available in 3-12 weight
Used in fresh and salt water
| Fast action rods|
Fast recover and high performance tapers
AAA-grade cork handle
| Medium-fast action rods|
High modulus Graphite
Ceramic stripper guide
Hard chrome snake guides
| Medium-fast action rods|
Fully Machined ATS Series Reel
Weight Forward Floating Fly Line
9' tapered leader
Echo Carbon XL
| Medium-fast action rods|
Ceramic stripping guides
Redington Path II
| Medium-fast action rods|
6 choices of weight models
Wooden reel seats
Durable cordura rod tube
Best Fly Fishing Rods Reviews
1. G. Loomis NRX Lite - Best All Around Fly Rod
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.
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 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.
2. St. Croix Legend Elite - Best Fly Rod for Trout
St. Croix is definitely a front runner when coming to this list of the best 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 for multiple purposes but it's better known for its abilities in trout fishing.
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 rods in the market today. Apart from durability and style, you benefit from increased accuracy and a top-notch balance.
3. Wild Water Fly Rod - Best Beginner 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.
Package and Sizing
Known as one of the most complete fly 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.
4. Temple Fork Outfitters BVK Series - Best Fly Rod for the Money
If cost efficiency is what you're looking for, search no more. Temple Fork Outfitters is known for designing some of the best 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.
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.
5. Fenwick AETOS - Best 8wt Fly Rod
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.
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. This model 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.
6. Sage Approach - Best 5 Weight Fly Rod
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.
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.
7. Allen Prelude - Best Fly Rod under $ 200
Setting an available budget when buying something is a must and fly 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.
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 when hunting the best 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.
8. Echo Carbon XL - Best 3 Wt Fly Rod
The 3wt size 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 in this range. Moreover, it's rated 4.5 out of 5 stars.
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.
9. Redington Path II - Best Saltwater Fly Rods
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.
Applications and Performance
Applications will be flawless with this rod. Whether you fish in saltwater or freshwater, you'll be comfortable when fighting the fish. However, results will be more spectacular in saltwater, as that's the initial specialization of the rod.
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 too. You want everything you need for a complete performance. From this point of view, the casing is one of the main considerations. You will get a durable cordura rod tube when you buy this rod. 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
1.What is the best fly rod length?
The best fly rod length is 9 feet, which is considered as average and the most desirable for many users and also for beginners.
2.How much does a good fly rod cost?
A good fly rod will cost you around $100. The entire package that comes with the fly rod, reel, flies and accessories is more expensive and it will cost around $200. If you are looking to purchase the reel separately, check out our article for more fishing reels choices.
3.Do longer fly rods cast further?
Yes, a longer fly rod allows you to cast further. The longer the rod, longer the cast is. This applies to all fishing rods.
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 the Wild Water fly rods.
Looking for other types of rods instead? If you are looking for spinning rods, click here to find our top 8. We have also done a comprehensive comparison on the best casting rods in the market today. Or, if you prefer to have a specific rod designed for certain fish species, check out the salmon and steelhead rods.