Without a good fly fishing rod, you won’t be able to catch trout, period. Trout can be particularly finicky, and if you splash your fly into the water because of an ill-suited fly rod, odds are you’ll startle a fish out of eating for a good 20 minutes. This is particularly true for dry fly fishing. But a good fly rod will be able to do more than cast dries. Fish primarily feed subsurface, so the fly rod should also be capable of casting larger nymphs and streamers.
The type of fly rod you get for trout fishing requires several additional considerations. You need to get the appropriate size rod to match the size of both the flies and trout that you’re targeting. A trout fly rod will be sensitive enough to protect your leader and tippet material from breaking while also providing enough power to land fish quickly, especially if you practice catch-and-release. Here’s what you need to know to get the right trout fly rod.
- Weight: The first consideration you should make before purchasing a fly rod is the rod weight. A rod’s weight is more or less a rating of how strong the rod is. Higher weight rods can cast bigger flies further and tire large fish out quickly. Smaller weight rods are better for finesse presentations of small flies. The most versatile weight fly rod for trout fishing is a 5-weight. This size rod makes for a reliable one-rod quiver that you can use for fishing everything from small alpine creeks to tailwaters and lakes. But a 5-weight is fine for everything but specializes in nothing. If you want a fly rod for small water (and small trout) go with a 2- or 3-weight. If you’re casting big streamers or mousing for big browns, go with a 7- or 8-weight rod.
- Rod-Length: Rod lengths can vary a foot or two at each rod weight. Longer rods are better for roll casts and managing long leaders. They allow you to mend your line easily and manage deep nymph rigs. Shorter rods tend to be lighter and will cast better, particularly in windy conditions, though you won’t be able to mend the line as easily. Short rods also give you more torque when fighting lunkers.
- Action: A fly rod’s action is how quickly it recovers after it’s flexed during a cast medium or medium-fast action fly rods are versatile and effective. Faster action rods allow you to cast further than slow action rods and give you extra umph when fighting fish. Slow action rods require more patience when casting, but they protect your tippet better and offer the ability for greater casting control.
- Glass or Graphite?: Graphite rods are the most popular type of fly rod today. They’re strong and lightweight. They typically make for fast-action rods that allow you to cast far and fight with power. Fiberglass rods are a more traditional style of fly rod. They offer greater sensitivity and slower action, though they tend to be heavier than graphite rods. For fishing small trout streams, glass rods are a great option.
Our Picks for the Best Trout Fly Rods on Amazon
Top Pick Overall: Redington Classic Trout
It’s a do-it-all option that performs equally well for novice and experienced anglers. Redington
Premium Pick: Sage Fly Fishing – PULSE Fly Rod
High-performance fast-action graphite makes this a pleasure to cast. Sage
Great for Small Streams: Redington Butter Stick Fly Rod (260-3) – 2 Weight, 6′ Fly Fishing Rod
A classic fiberglass model ideal for targeting little brookies and cutthroats in small water. Redington
Also Consider: Wild Water Fly Fishing 9 Foot, 4-Piece, 5/6 Weight Fly Rod Complete Fly Fishing Rod and Reel Combo Starter Package
It comes with everything you need to start catching trout at a low price point. Wild Water