Fly fishing involves making use of the equipment you have at hand to the best of your ability to catch fish. Many anglers focus on things like a solid pair of waders, a good quality fly fishing vest, various flies and other items, but it’s crucial that you don’t overlook the importance of having a good fly fishing reel.
If you’re in the market for a new fly fishing reel, it’s important to know that you’ll need to make sure your reel will be compatible with the particular rod you’re using. I
t’s also advisable to select a reel that has been tried and tested by other anglers to affirm the quality, or that you purchase from a reputable brand.
Searching through the many different fly reels available online can be a daunting task as it’s difficult to weed out the best ones.
We’ve taken the time and researched many of the top choices to compile this list of the best fly fishing reels for 2021.
Best Fly Fishing Reels
This is a complete guide and list of the top rated fly fishing reels of the year. Let’s dive into it!
Lamson Force SL Series II
If we’re going to take an honest look at the absolute best fly fishing reels on the market for 2021, we will have to start with the Lamson Force SL Series II.
If money is no object, you probably shouldn’t waste too much time looking elsewhere as it is truly tough to beat Lamson’s headline model for 2021.
Made with an incredibly-lightweight design, the Force SL Series II has a unique chrome finish that’s sure to match any type of fly fishing rod.
This one is a top choice among professional anglers who use fly fishing rods to target large saltwater species in the flats and coastal areas as it is built to hold up against a significant amount of pressure.
This reel offers a large arbor and takes in more than 9 inches of line per turn, which means the Lamson Force SL Series II is built for fighting anything you manage to hook.
- Super lightweight design
- Visually appealing
- Extremely durable
Available weights: 2-8
Our #1 rated fly fishing reel for 2021. You won't need another reel for the rest of your life... it's that good.
Lamson Light Speed G5
We have to be honest in putting two Lamson products at the top of our list, but there’s no denying that this brand produces the best of the best when it comes to fly fishing reels.
While The Lamson Light Speed G5 reel is likely not going to be in the price range of the average fly fisherman, the outstanding quality and performance are what sets it apart as being on the top of our list.
Lamson has been atop the fly fishing reel industry for many years now and their Light Speed G5 is one that seasoned fly fishing enthusiasts would love to get their hands on.
It has an extremely durable design and exceptionally good performance—even better than the Lamson Light Speed IV.
It offers superlight design that’s exceptionally strong, large arbor design, and one of the smoothest drags on the market. Crafted from high-quality 6061 bar stock aluminum, the Lamson Light Speed G5 is as much a work of art as it is a capable fishing tool that will last a lifetime.
- Great durability
- Smooth drag
- High quality aluminum construction
Available weights: 3-12
The Lamson Litespeed G5 is a great reel for the money. Pair this reel with a lightweight and sensitive rod for a killer combo.
Related: Best Fly Fishing Reels Under $300
Orvis Hydros SL
Orvis has long been at or near the top of the outdoor industry.
They’ve established themselves as one of the premier brands when it comes to fly fishing equipment and their Hydros Sl fly fishing reel is among the best on the market for 2021.
This reel is ideal for freshwater species like trout and bass as it offers a great retrieval rate, and high-functioning drag system that can hold up to nearly anything.
It’s crafted from anodized aluminum, which means it is exceptionally tough and will last much longer than other, lesser quality fly reels.
It’s relatively lightweight, weighing in at just 7.7 ounces, and features a superb retrieval rate of more than 10 inches per turn, meaning you’ll have to problem using this reel to catch hard-fighting fish like bass and other freshwater species.
It’s sealed carbon fiber drag system makes it capable of being used for saltwater fishing, too.
- Lightweight design
- Exceptional drag
- Large arbor
- Noisy retrieval
- Drag adjustment knob is considered too small by many users
Available weights: 3-11
The Orvis Hydros SL is a very popular fly fishing reel for a reasonable price. It's another lightweight reel weighing in at 9.35 ounces.
For anglers who are looking to get a good quality reel without spending more than $200, the Piscifun Platte is an excellent choice.
This fly reel is a great combination of durability and functionality that is an ideal choice for saltwater fishing.
This reel is a bit heavier than other premium fly fishing reel models, but the overall construction is what really sets it apart from the competition.
Made with a strong, but lightweight 6061 T6 aluminum frame, the Piscifun Platte is one that can stack up quite well against the premium fly fishing reels on the market without having the hefty price tag.
- Fully sealed for saltwater use
- Large arbor
- High quality aluminum
- Good value
- Heavier than other models
Available Weights: 5-10
This reel is fully sealed, made of CNC machined aluminum and has a lifetime warranty. Not much more to ask for in a budget fly fishing reel.
MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch ECO
If you’re just getting into the fly fishing scene, but you still want to acquire a good quality reel without spending hundreds of dollars, the M MAXIMIUMCATCH Maxcatch ECO is an excellent choice that will provide you with nearly everything you need to get going on the water.
This one is easily the top budget reel on the market for 2021 and offers a decent overall experience where other, more affordable models just can’t hold up.
Many users complain that the action feels somewhat wobbly as the machining isn’t as smooth as some of the more expensive, premium models, but users who are just starting out will likely not even notice such things.
The Maxcatch ECO comes with a one-year, no-questions-asked warranty and offers more than enough performance for novice fly fishing anglers to get started in one of the most exciting fishing methods available.
- Great value
- Lightweight design
- One-year warranty
- Some problems reported with drag system
- Not as smooth as other models
Available weights: 3-8
A very popular fly reel on amazon, this is the way to go if you are on a tight budget. It's made of aluminum and comes with a one year warranty.
Related: Best Fly Fishing Rods
Conclusion: Top Fly Fishing Reels
Hopefully this post helped you find something that will help you on the river! Thanks for reading and tight lines!