How to Choose the RIGHT Fly Rod for Trout

May 5, 2020

In a world that is flooded with hundreds of fly rods, choosing your first fly rod or you next fly rod is a daunting task.  There are so many choices!  Let's make the right one together.  Choosing the RIGHT fly rod for trout.

The Starting Point

We like to ask customers, "Where are you planning to fish?".  This should be the exclusive starting point for selecting a fly rod.   It helps you narrow down the proper rod weight, length, and action before you begin to entertain discussions on brand or cost.  

How much should you spend?

We address this at the end of this week's video, but we'll be the first to tell you that don't NEED a $1,000 rod to be or become a great fly caster.  You may eventually want one, but there are other investments you need to make if you want to become a successful angler.  Like a good fly selection and gas money. 

Buy the best rod you can afford so you don't regret it. Nobody needs more junk.  Fine rods offer a level of performance that seems to defy physics, BUT it takes most casters a long time before they can outperform their equipment.  Be realistic and don't spend so much on the rod you fall short on critical investments like quality flies, leader, and waders.  The best rod and a crappy fly won't do you much good.

Selection Guide for Standard Trout Rods:

This is covered in extensively in the video, but here is a guide that covers what we consider "all around trout rods". It excludes specialty rods like Euro nymphing and two-handed rods.

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  • 0 - 2 Weight 6' - 7'6" - Small brushed in creeks, dry flies exclusively. Trout 4-10" average.  
  • 3- 4 Weight 7' - 8' - Small to mid sized creeks with some brush/cover using dry flies most of the time, trout 8 - 14" average.  
  • 3 - 4 Weight 8'6" - 9' -Mid sized to large streams where distance casting and presentations become more critical.  Trout 10" - 18"+ are no problem.  Light lines set the fly down soft, and on large rivers most anglers prefer a 3-4 weight rod for their dry fly fishing.  A 9' 4 weight in fast action will nymph great with typical beadhead nymphs.
  • 5 Weight 8'6" - 9' - This is the "Western Workhorse".  The 8'6" rod is best for putting hoppers and dry flies under cover like cutbanks and trees.  It will offer better control at close range. The 9' rod will be a superior nymphing/streamer rod as well as good lake rod.
  • 6 Weight - 9' - 9'6" - Streamer stick.  These rods are built for throwing weighted flies, sink tips, and large dry/dropper nymph combinations.  A #6 will tend to lack feel and control at close range.
  • 7 Weight 9' - 9'6" - These rods are built for throwing large streamers for large trout.  They are commonly used in Alaska, Russia, Chile, or other destinations where trout range 18" - 24"+  They will lack short game control typically, but offer the angler greater range especially when casting weighted or wind resistant flies.

Beginner's Fly Rod Outfits


Trout Fishing Setups


  1. What is the deal?Fishing has been back for over a week and you still don't have a report up?!