We spend a lot of time on our blog telling you which gear the experts use. Today it’s your turn.
What’s your favorite rod to use when you’re fly fishing for trout? Yes, we know that it could be anything from an 00 to a 7-weight, and that you fish everything from tiny midges to giant streamers. That’s not the point. What’s your favorite rod, overall, to use when you’re fly fishing for trout? Why?
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So, what’s your favorite trout rod?
John Toker says
I have had alot of trout rods over the years and have done alot of trout fishing. My favorites have come and gone but they are all dear to me even today. But without question the trout rod that stands above all others is a
9’6″ 5wt Diamondback Western Trout that I built when I was 20 years old. At the time it was built I was spending 300 plus days a year on the limestone and freestone streams of central Pennsylvania. My game was high-stick nymphing and that Diamondback was the rod I built for it. It was long for better reach and control, slow enough to handle alot of shot and was IM6 graphite, so very durable.
Did I mention it is beautiful?
Three tip tops were literally worn through on that rod and the cork took the shape of my hand. Fifteen years later I do not fish for trout much but when I do it is a safe bet what rod is coming along with me.
Chris Price says
My favorite trout rod is a Cabela’s FT-905-4. I have used a lot of different rods over the years and this one has been with me for maybe eight. I like it because it is light but has enough backbone to throw an 8 wt. line with big dry flies and can stand the pressure of a bigger fish. It also fits in my gear bag which is a must as I travel with this rod from Alaska to Chile. Won’t leave home without it!
Sage 690 RPLXi. A tough stick that can handle fishing around the world. Throwing big mouse patterns and giant streamers with sink tips does not bother this rod. As well it can pitch some lead for anyone into the Alaska trout scene. Its easy on the eye and even easier to maintain. Even though I have not had the rod for a long time it has made some great journeys with me and I plan to have many more before its retired or handed down.
Michael Gracie says
Hands down…Sage 389-3 LL. It doesn’t come out as much as it once did – the fish in the Mountain West are often a bit hefty for it (I can hear the tiny violins playing now). But every time I touch the thing it brings back fond memories of my first trout experiences back East.
Smoothest casting rod I’ve ever had the pleasure of fishing. Guides short casts and long with equal pinpoint precision, and delicate as could be. Capable mender. A+ guardian of 7X and 8X – maybe popped a half-dozen tippets over its life, and that was most likely user error.
The first rod I purchased specifically for trout remains in the quiver, with the original reel too (an old Lamson LP 1.5).
I’ll never let it go.
When I’m straining water for slab Bow Bow’s my favortie stick hands down is my 15 year old 10′ 6wt Loomis IMX. It’s fast and light as a feather but is no knife at a gun fight – it’s super boney for those epic battles. It’s length is good for the chuck-n-duck casts and mega mends needed to trick Big Jerry into a nibble gobble. We have had good JuJu together for a long time.
I can't say that I have used a lot of different fly rods, but my Sage SLT 490 is my absolute favorite. It is just a pleasure to cast & fight fish with.
Rick Passek says
As I do this for a living, I have many rods (119 at last count)
It is tough for me to pick out one rod that I like the best, but if I had to it would have to be my 9′ 4wt Sage ZXL.
Great action on the rod, casts like a dream, and can battle larger fish than most other rods I have used over the years.
Rick Passek “The FlyFish Fanatic”
Old favorite is a Sage 690 SP. It is a slower action than most of my colleagues prefer, but as I mostly nymph with splitties, I like the “shock absorption”. With dries and mice it makes me slow down and try to find some internal “quiet”…which is what I most ofetn look for in a good trout day.
Barry Patterson says
My favorite rod was a 30 something year old Orvis 7.5 ft/3 weight tippet rod that my father in law gave me. Great rod for thick cover and so soft and slow that I could feel a 16″ trout shaking its head back and forth. Also an ideal rod for presenting tiny 22’s and 24’s on the South Platte. Unfortunately, the tip is cracked but it’s still sitting in my closet for sentimental reasons.
Wow… now that is a tough question for a guy to answer without hurting the feelings of many tubular graphite friends! I would have to vote my SAGE 589-5 SP. I can go anywhere with it, stash it in my hip pocket, when I do something stupid (which is inevitable) and break the tip; I have another ready to go. It’s got the sweet mojo for casting dries, can nymph like a banshee, or huck mega far if need be. It doesn’t have the most horsepower out there, but sure gets it all done with a ton of class and Smooth Performance.
Sage Launch series 5 wt.
Deneki Outdoors says
A couple of folks weighed in on Twitter–
@12gaBrowningGal said “Twin Fork Outfitters makes a great Trout rod. Not sure on the wt.May be a 6. Got an Abel on it. Live Indian River Lagoon- 4 everything”
@TankTX said “490 LL – Most versatile Trout Rod ever.”
Thanks for all the input – keep it coming.
Fly Fish Chick says
Really my first love was my Winston 8.5′ 5wt Winston Joan Wulff
But I have migrated to Scott the past few years. I have a Scott G2 5wt for dry fly and Scott G2 6wt for streamers and heavy wind
I want a 4wt of my own, been borrowing. Oh, sorry, this isn’t a gift registry…
My 2 faves are Sage 590 SP (the original teal blue one with the teal reel seat) and the original Sage 389LL (2 pc)
Sage SLT 490- 4
Best casting rod I have owned and small enough to travel easily
Mike Carroll says
It has been for years my 379 LL, but lately most of my attention has been towards my Winston DL4 5wt.
I love my lamiglas 7.5 e glass I had custom built. Honey coloured blank with light brown (maple) wraps rated at a 5wt. by Bill here in Toronto. Cant beat the feel of poor mans cane.
I really like my temple fork 5wt. Not as swanky as the sage but pretty good for the dough i spent on it.
4’zebco snoopy model for this guy.
nice, forgiving action, entertaining cosmetics and the reel even comes preloaded with mono!
Michael D. Feiger says
Another vote for the Sage 9′ 6wt SP… Tho that Burkenheimer 9′ 4wt I’ll be building this summer may give it a run for it’s money!
Deneki Outdoors says
Another vote from Twitter–
@tfft says “@deneki Love your blog. Put me down with a Scott 5wt for my favorite rod.”
Bill Taylor says
For big rivers: R.B. Meiser Highlander Series "Trouter" 12' 6" 4/5/6; and for everything else: Sage 590-4 XP.
Capt. Bill Boynton says
winston bxII 7wt 11 ft
Walter Beall says
I have fished a Orvis Trident 905-2 for years and love it’s smooth power and ability to mend lots of on the water line. It still has some sensitivity to it also which makes it a great dry fly rod.
I have a trusty Orvis Trident, that I have been using for at least 12 years ( broken and replaced many times) it’s a great 5 weight, not too stiff and not too sloppy…
Steve Botha says
Hi there all, Winston BIIX 8’6 3wt. Great rod, chucks a line forever and makes you think the wind isnt even blowing! Great action, strong enough to handle big fish and gentle enough to protect the lightest tippet. This rod matched to a Galvan Spoke 4 is ready for any battle!
I walked past it the other day and I am sure I heard it cry: ” Kanektok…..Oh Kanektok!!!!” I had to close the door quickly before my wife heard!
Cheers and have a great day wherever you are.
My go to trout rod is an 8’6″ 3wt Orvis Power matrix. Sweet soft action, lays out small dries softly, and has enough backbone for playing the occasional larger trout where I fish.
Number one rod , 4w rpl , 10ft sage .
Hucks , bucks yet soft for the subtle nymph takes. Coho up to 12lb off the beach.
Lake , rivers & ocean rod
joshua tatum says
the ten foot five z-axis. line control and roll cast off the charts. no effort in casting. wind no problem. has enough back bone to put the wood to a fish. 🙂
another vote for the Sage 389 LL. I love this rod and some people just don’t get it! It just feels alive when a fish is on the other end.
Steven Troupe says
Orvis Helios 843-4 mid-flex, without a doubt. Light, responsive, accurate and tough! Terrific for 6″ to 18″ trout and the occasional great lakes’ steelhead or lake-run brown. It makes one feel good just to cast it.
John Schleicher says
I love my Winston bIIx. Since bringing it home my other rods spend most of the time in their tubes.
My favorite rod in my 20 years of Colorado/Wyoming trouting has been by Sage 9′, 5wt RPL+. Ive had it for 10 years or so and when it comes to tossing nymphs, weight and an indicator in varied conditions it is outrageously efficient. I mostly fish big rivers like the Colorado, North Platte, Bighorn, etc. Roll casts nymph rigs better than any other rod I’ve ever tried. When the wind comes up I know this rod will not be deterred. If effectively fishing over big fish on big rivers this rod can’t be beat. My most treasured fishing possession.
Sage 490 LL. Soft and delivers the most awesome casts for spring creek fishing. The 9ft length gives it just a bit more power to make a cast to distance risers and its dead, dead nuts accurate. The best casting tool I’ve ever used, hands down, and landed some pretty BIG trout on size 22 dries with it!
My favorite all around trout rod for medium-sized to larger streams is still my J. Kennedy Fisher original graphite 9ft for 5/6 wt that I bought in 1982. I generally fish it with a DT5F line. Although I do like faster rods when longer casts are needed, as on larger streams or for lake fishing, I keep coming back to the old Fisher. It has a moderate, more sensitive action that I have learned to appreciate more and more over time, especially when casting accuracy really counts.
For smaller streams, especially for fishing dry flies, I’ve never found anything I like better than my Fisher 8ft fiberglass–also from the early 1980s. I find that an 8-foot rod is such a versatile length, and this one is a very light four-piece model that I’ve carried on many a pack-in trip over the years. It’s a full-flex rod that fishes well with lines from 4 to 6 weight, but it really shines with a 5 weight double-taper. It’s superb for fishing multi-fly rigs or for protecting ultra-light tippets, but put a WF6 line on it, and it will launch a weighted woolly-bugger or a #6 hopper pattern with authority. If anything ever happened to it, I’d probably start looking for a Fenwick 805 or 806 in glass.
Sage Z-axis 4100 – High sticking champion–love it. This sweet little stick is number one on my list. I like to fish 20+ foot leaders and this sucker does so with class. It has the perfect amount of backbone for pulling some large trout and the tip absorbs unexpected runs with light tippet. I even started selling off my 5wts because I just don’t use them. A close second would be the XP or Z-axis 6101 or 6100.
Mike flinn says
I’d like to say one of the rods I have from orvis, Leonard, Thomas & thomas etc but it’s a 9ft 5wt Pglueger Summit. At $19.95 I don’t think there is a fraction small enough to describe the trout per $0.01 I’ve caught with that rod.
Winston WT 8′-6″, 4wt & 5wt.
Steve Martin says
After 40 plus years of fly fishing in the great Northwest, and owning currently fifteen or so fly rods, it is difficult to say which is my favorite. i think I would have to say the three top runners are a Sage SLT 590 2 piece, the Diamondback Classic Trout in 5 wt, and a G Loomis GLX 1085. These have been my go to rods for the last 10 or so years. For steelhead, big Goldwater Lake bows, high lake Brookies, these rods cannot be beaten!
Ron Tashjian says
This is a pretty old thread but if I had only one rod it would be my Sage 590 RPL 2 Piece. It just does everything well and I love the way it balances in my hand. I can place flies under brush with it, reach out 60 feet, toss nymphs and it even roll casts OK. I own it in a four piece for air travel but the two piece is my favorite.
JACOB M says
Winston b3x 690-4.
Scott Radian 8’6″ 4wt for primarily dries on medium water
Winston B3X 9′ 6wt for all-around
By far the best all around trout rod that I own (or have ever tried) is Sage XP 490-4. I have always fish it with a Tioga reel, and until I could not find them any more, I lined it with Sage 4-weight performance tapers. I now use a true-to-weight Rio 4 weight and it works well.
It can cast almost anything reasonably trouty in size in wind or not. It has enough give to protect light tippets during big hits, and all the speed and spine you could ever need to cast on big waters an in tough conditions.
I like it so much, that I actually caught myself building poor casting & fishing habits using it in rugged conditions and with flies meant to be thrown with 6-7 weight rods for fish much larger than it was designed to target just because it feel so much at home in my hand. I had to force myself to use a 6 weight when it is the appropriate rod for big flies or ugly conditions.
The design is so practical, both fast (without being boorish) and sensitive. I really wish I had purchased a 4-piece 6 weight and a 7’6″ 4 weight for packing before they became hard to source!