Best Fly Fishing Rods for 2023 Reviewed: 5 Expert Picks

Best Overall
Echo Fly Fishing Lift Fly Rod Kit
Editor's Choice
TEMPLE FORK OUTFITTERS Pro 2 10wt 9ft 4pc Fly Rod (TF-10-90-4-P2)
Best Value
G Loomis NRX+ 790-4 Fly Rod : New for 2020
Feature 1
Comes with a reel and line
Smooth and powerful, medium fast rods
Feel great in hand and are extremely light
Feature 2
Good beginner choice
Premium grade cork with burled accents
Designed for aggressive casting and heavy headed lines
Best Overall
Echo Fly Fishing Lift Fly Rod Kit
Product Name
Feature 1
Comes with a reel and line
Feature 2
Good beginner choice
Editor's Choice
TEMPLE FORK OUTFITTERS Pro 2 10wt 9ft 4pc Fly Rod (TF-10-90-4-P2)
Product Name
Feature 1
Smooth and powerful, medium fast rods
Feature 2
Premium grade cork with burled accents
Best Value
G Loomis NRX+ 790-4 Fly Rod : New for 2020
Feature 1
Feel great in hand and are extremely light
Feature 2
Designed for aggressive casting and heavy headed lines

Sections of this guide were enhanced by expert fly fisher Sean Woodburn.

Fly fishing requires not only precision but also the right equipment.

It’s a tight-knit community and is driven by passionate fly shop owners who help steer the whole community toward what’s best to use. That’s why in this guide, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to help you pick the best fly rods (fly rod officially) for your situation.

I always recommend that you find a shop that you like and talk to the owner. They’ll set you on the right path; however, if you don’t have a shop nearby, here’s a guide to help you get started.

Bundle of the Best Fly Fishing Rods

One thing to be aware of is the new up-and-coming brands that are on Amazon but not in fly shops. A good rule of thumb is if the fly shop doesn’t carry the rod, don’t bother with it.

5 Best Fly Rods for 2023 Reviewed

Here’s the best fly fishing rods reviews:

1. Echo Base Outfit

The Best Beginner Fly Rods

Echo Fly Fishing Lift Fly Rod Kit
  • Action: Medium Fast Four piece travel design
  • Reel: Echo Base Fly reel.

For a beginner rod, either the Echo Base Outfit or the Reddington Crosswater will work great. Plus, they come with a reel and line…it’s hard to beat what you get for the price.

These premium fly rod are two of the most popular beginner setups out there. It’s a medium-fast action rod, too.

They’re around $150 for a rod and reel and a line.

It’s a bargain and they’re great fly rods.

They’re fly rods that, even when you become a more advanced fisherman, you’re going to keep, either as a loner or as a trout fly rod.

You can’t go wrong with either, and you’re going to continue to use it for years to come compared to other rods.

2. Temple Fork Outfitters (TFO) Lefty Kreh Professional Series II Braided Graphite

Best Intermediate Fly Rod

TEMPLE FORK OUTFITTERS Pro 2 10wt 9ft 4pc Fly Rod (TF-10-90-4-P2)
  • Smooth and powerful, medium fast rods
  • Black matte finished blanks, gold logos for style
  • Anodized reel seats with aluminum inserts

TFO is a reputable brand found in many fly shops across the USA. If you’re looking for a rod that will step up your angling above what the Echo Base or Reddington Crosswater can handle, this is a great “next rod” for your arsenal.

3. G. Loomis NRX Saltwater

Best Saltwater Fly Rod

Whether going for GTs out on a reef or flying from a boat, this is your saltwater rod of choice by one of the top fly rod manufacturers.

4. Sage Bass II Fly Rod

Best Bass Fly Rod

Sage is a great fly rod company, and you won’t be disappointed by this rod tailored specifically to bass fly fishing.

5. Reddington Crosswater

Best Trout Fly Rod

Redington Fly Fishing Combo Kit 590-4 Crosswater Outfit with Crosswater Reel 5 Wt 9-Foot 4pc
  • MEDIUM-FAST ACTION: It is a smooth-casting, medium-fast…
  • VERSATILE USE: The anodized machined aluminum reel seat…
  • EASY TO ASSEMBLE: The rod comes in 4 pieces that have…

This could also be considered one of the best beginner fly rod combos, along with the Echo Base Outfit.

As mentioned above: these fly rods will still be used when you’ve become a more advanced fisherman. It’s a versatile rod for catching trout. You’re going to keep it as a loner or as one of the best trout fly rods.

How to Choose a Fly Rod

This will depend on where you will be fly fishing and the size of fish you will be going after. 9 feet in length is considered common, and 8-9 weights will handle an assortment of fish.

Proper Size

YouTube video

Fly Rod Weight

It’s hard to pick the best fly rods without understanding fly rod weight.

A rod’s weight rating denotes the weight of the line that should be used with it. If you have a five-weight rod, it’s made to be fished with a five-weight line.

When determining what rod weight you should use, there are several things to consider. Of them, the type of water you’re fishing (the distance of your casts), prevalent weather conditions, fly size, and fish size is most important.

Man Smiling Fly Fishing

Typically, the larger the fish, the heavier the fly, the larger the body of water, and the stiffer the wind, the heavier weight rating your fly rod should have.

There are Always Exceptions

It’s worth noting that you can usually cast one weight higher with a weight forward line.

There are different kinds of fly lines. Casting a double taper or a five-weight line will work well. They both weigh the same in the first 30 feet. But interestingly, most of the weight in a weight forward is concentrated towards the first part of the line. And the rest of it’s skinny, and you can actually line up a bit.

YouTube video

Your five-weight rod will throw a five-weight forward, a five-doubled taper, and it’s going to throw a six-weight forward pretty well.

PLUS, it’s going to throw a six or seven-shooting line too.  That means you can go two lines upon a shooting line because it’s just 30 feet of a fine line with monofilament behind.

With a five weight rod, you’re going to cast five weight doubled taper or weight forward, a six weight forward and a six or a seven shootings taper.

It’s a neat little bit of versatility there. It’s really neat with these newer fly rods that we have, too, because if you’re fishing for trout on a high-performance rod from one of the better manufacturers, say, a five-weight rod, that’s a trout fishing rod, right? You can use that seven shooting head on that rod with no problem and use it as a lightweight rod, and it will handle the fish. Pretty amazing.

A larger fish, a larger fly, and a larger rod are basically all right. However, newer anglers should understand it’s all based on the fly size.

Fly Fishing Formula

A nice formula for fly size versus tippet to leader size dictates which line we use; we always break those rules when we have to deal with what your guy mentioned.

For wind, a heavier line is the only way to do it, even if you’re fishing a small bug.

Caring for Your Fly Rod

Take the rod apart when you are done fishing to avoid stuck ferrules. Completely air dry your rod and place the rod in a cloth bag and rod tube before storing it.

The rod tubes can trap moisture, which can swell reel seats and ruin the rod finish. To protect the tip, it is best to bag your rod with the tip-top and cork handle up.

Once your fly rod is completely dry and stored in the rod bag and carrying case, if available, keep the rod stored in a dry, relatively temperature-constant environment for optimal protection.

How Do You Set Up a Fly Rod And Reel?

Attach your reel to the rod, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Generally, the reel slides onto the rod and locks in place.

Retrieve your backing, and pull off about 20-30 yards (100 feet or so). The amount will vary depending on your spool size and reel weight. The reel manufacturer will suggest the amount of backing to use.

The trick is you want to spool enough backing so that the backing and line fill the arbor.

Pull off about 2-3 feet of your fly line and tie the fly line to the backing using an Albright knot.

Then pull off another 30 yards of fly line and clip it. To get the right amount of backing, spool the fly line and back onto the reel, but do it in reverse initially.

Start with the fly line first. You want about 30 yards of fly line if using the general-use rod/reel combination we recommended.

Keep it Taut

Keep the line taut as you spool it, and make the line/backing go evenly across the spool/arbor.

The line spools from the bottom of the reel. Keep spooling the line until it gets close but not touching the outer rim. Once it’s close, trim off the extra backing.

Remove the backing and fly line. Tie the backing to the arbor using an Arbor Knot.

Again, keep the line taut, spoolevening, spreading the line across the reel. Remember, spool from the bottom.

Make a loop at the end of the fly line using a braid knot. This loop will allow you to attach the leader loop to the fly line easily, so you can quickly change out leaders. Attach the leader using a loop to loop knot.

To attach the tippet to the leader, use a double or triple surgeon’s knot.

Finally, use an improved clinch knot to attach a fly to the tippet.

YouTube video

Frequently Asked Questions

Man Fly Fishing River
Who makes Cabelas fly rods?

Sage and Loomis

Who makes Cabelas fly reels?

Prestige Premier and the WLX are made by Lamson; the Prestige Plus and RLS are made by Okuma.

What size fly rod for bass?

Most anglers agree, and 8 weight works well for bass

What size fly rod?

Most fly fishermen agree a 10-weight works best as an all-around

What size fly rod for salmon?

It is recommended to use an 8-10 weight for salmon

What size fly line to use?

Match line weight to conditions as a good rule of thumb

What does the weight of a fly rod mean?

When referring to fly rod weight classifications: “the bigger the weight, the bigger the rod” (e.g. a 9 wt. rod is bigger than a 6 wt.)

What length fly rod?

9 feet is the average and most commonly used

What does fly fishing mean?

The sport of fishing uses a rod and an artificial fly as bait. Casting a nearly weightless fly or “lure” requires casting techniques significantly different from other forms of casting.

What weight trout fly rod?

4-6 weight

What size trout fly rod?

8-9 feet

When was fly fishing invented?

History records show to be around 200 AD

What is the best fly rods for beginners?

Echo Base Outfit.

What is the most expensive fly rod?

Oyster Bamboo Fly Rod – $4,600.00, and there are a few much higher ones.

Insider Advice

Choosing the best fly rods to add to your fly fishing gear can be challenging, but hopefully, this guide helped clear up some of the confusion. Fly fishing is a sport that can be a very rewarding experience. It allows you to explore and see sights you may not ordinarily see.

When fly fishing, you are just about as close to the action as you can get. Whether you are wading in a small stream or a river, it will no doubt be an adventure you will never forget and definitely want to do again.

A few final reminders before going out on your fly fishing adventure. Be sure to have the following items to make your trip more enjoyable and rewarding.

We hope you found these fly rod reviews helpful in choosing the best fly rod for your needs!

A Note About Fenwick

Fenwicks dead in shops.

They shot themselves out of the water 30 years ago when they started undercutting shops. The only places you’ll find Fenwick anymore are Bass Pro Shop and Sportsman’s Warehouse.

It’s seldom you’ll find Fenwick in real fly shops. It’s a shame because they were the cornerstone at one point, and they made some business decisions that pretty much got them blackballed.

That being said, trust in what your shop owners carry. If you can buy from your local shop, do so; otherwise, feel free to check out some of the brands they carry, but they can be found online through this guide.

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Jon Stenstrom
Founder & Angler
Jon Stenstrom is a fishing enthusiast. He has over 25 years of fishing experience, and 6 years of spearfishing experience, and is currently learning how to boat. Jon has his Open Water PADI Certification and FII Freediver Level 1 Certification. Jon has traveled the world to fish and dive, most notably in the Great Barrier Reef, Baja Mexico, Thailand, and Malaysia. More Articles
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Articles » Gear Reviews » Best Fly Fishing Rods for 2023 Reviewed: 5 Expert Picks