Whether you are new to fly fishing or are a veteran of the game, getting the best possible fly fishing rod for your budget is a must.
Being that there are so many fly rod options on the market, we’ve broken a list down of the absolute best fly fishing rods…
Here are the top three fly rods we recommend for 2021.
- G. Loomis Asquith (Elite)
- Sage Trout LL (Best Trout Rod)
- Moonshine Drifter Series (Best Budget)
In fact, it’s more noticeable in rods than it is any other piece of fly fishing gear.
There’s a lot that goes into getting a new fly fishing rod and you don’t want to make the wrong decision, especially if you are planning on spending upwards of $400 on one.
You obviously don’t need to spend that much in order to get a high performance high quality rod, but you definitely don’t want to be wasting time or money on rods that aren’t going to serve you any purpose if they break or fall apart.
Best Fly Fishing Rods
Overall I do believe that if you can afford one of the top three fly rods on this list, you’ll never have to buy another.
It’s going to come at a cost, but if you look at your new fly rod purchase as an investment, which it is, you will not regret the performance you’ll find in these rods.
You are definitely going to pay the price for it, but, again, you won’t need to worry about getting a new rod for many years to come. Quality and warranty considered.
The author currently owns G. Loomis, Drifter Series and Sage X fly rods.
G. Loomis Asquith
The best fly rod that you can possibly get is the G. Loomis Asquith. If you were looking for a cheap fly rod, well this isn’t it. This is the elite of the elite, thousand dollar plus mark, Lamborghini of fly fishing rods. Here you go.
You might ask, “what makes this rod better than the rest?”
Well… a lot of things.
First off, the quality of the material in this rod is unmatched. You aren’t going to find a whole lot of fly rods that are better built with a different blank. It’s just not going to happen. G. Loomis killed it in this area so you can expect this rod to last you a long time.
And if somehow your rod does break on you, G. Loomis has a lifetime warranty on their rods so you’re in good hands.
So if you’re an avid fly fisherman looking to upgrade, this is the way to go.
But that’s not the only thing that separates a rod like this from the pack. Performance-wise it’s just as good. It’s got nice tight loops and accurate casts. I personally like taking this rod out where I need to lace a fly into a smaller streams because it’s easier to get an accurate placement of the fly.
Overall, the G. Loomis Asquith is quite accurate.
Now that being said, if you’re a beginner, maybe this isn’t the best fly rod for you – just not yet. It does take a bit of practice to become proficient with a fast action blank, the upside is accuracy though. Start with a slow or medium action rod… (read on to see better options)…
- Very lightweight
- Fast action
- Accurate (if you have experience fly fishing)
- Rugged quality
- Very soft touch, energy transfer is ridiculously smooth
- Lifetime warranty
- Fast action rods are tough to control as a beginner
In fly fishing rods, there are levels and tiers… the G. Loomis Asquith is at the top.
This is hands down the best fly rod that you can get for 2021. Get this rod and you aren't going to need another rod, ever.
Sage Trout LL (Best Trout Fishing Fly Rod)
The Sage Trout LL is the best trout fly fishing rod we’ve come across. This is a sensitive and lightweight rod which is perfect for casting dry flies and battling rainbow and brook trout. There is no better feeling in the world than pulling a sparkling trout from the stream down the road, and this is a rod that will give you the most excitement while doing it.
You don’t want to get a fly rod that’s super stiff and doesn’t have a lot of give to it. You’ll hardly feel the trout on the line, causing you to miss most of them. This is a problem if the water conditions are even the slightest bit cloudy or bouncing a lot.
It’s also a medium action rod so it’s the perfect startup rod for beginners. It isn’t going to be the most difficult rod to control, yet you still get many of the accuracy benefits of a fast action fly rod. Even if you are not a beginner, this is a solid rod to have around.
Really the only downfalls you have in this rod are that it doesn’t have the same casting distance as the rod above nor the accuracy. But it’s easier to control and is a well built rod overall. It’s also got a lifetime warranty which allows you to breathe a little bit on the river…
- Small, lightweight rod creates a lot of excitement
- Very accurate at short distances
- Tremendously smooth
- Sage lifetime warranty
- Only meant for dry flies
- Not great in the wind
Moonshine Co. The Drifter Series Fly Rod (Best Budget Fly Rod)
The Moonshine Co. The Drifter Series fly rod is one of my top options for beginner fly anglers.
Because you get an awesome budget fly fishing rod…
If you’ve looked into fly fishing equipment at all, you know that most gear can cost a pretty penny. Which is why this rod makes sense for a lot of anglers, especially if you are new to fly fishing.
It also has a medium action blank which is perfect for controlling your casts fairly easy. Beginners and veterans alike can use this rod with ease…
The loops it produces are medium sized so again, not perfect accuracy all the time, but you will eventually become a proficient caster if you spend enough time on the river. But the barrier to getting somewhat accurate costs is a whole lot quicker than it would be if you were starting out with a fast action rod.
It’s range is a medium range (20-50 feet) which is perfect for most fly anglers trying to catch trout or other small fish.
And the last thing that’s pretty cool about this fly fishing rod is that it comes with a lifetime warranty. It’s pretty rare for a rod in this price range to come with a warranty like that, so take it while you is the best advice I can give you!
- Easy to use
- Accurate (short-mid ranges)
- Lifetime warranty
- Doesn’t have the best long range power
- Don’t expect it to be Sage quality
One of the most popular fly rods on amazon right now, the Drifter Series rod greatly outperforms its price. (Medium action blank).
The Sage X fly fishing rod is an overall great rod. First of all, the company (Sage) has been producing high end fly fishing equipment for many years now.. Their second company (Redington) produces all of the beginner/ intermediate fly fishing equipment.
Why am I telling you this? The point is that Sage has put a lot of time and money into developing premium quality products. You know you’re getting quality when you buy Sage. Not to sound like an ad, it’s true. (They also make their fly rods in America)..
But what actually makes the Sage X a special rod? Well, elite performance to the finest. It’s got tight loops and accurate casts out past 60 feet. It’s an overall sweet rig to cast because it’s so smooth.
It doesn’t weigh a whole lot either. Only 3 15/16 oz… That’s because the Konnetic HD material that makes up the blank is finely woven to produce power in a light package.
Lastly, Sage has a great warranty policy on their equipment. You could break this rod and years later have the ability to get it replaced.
- Tight loops + accurate
- Soft touch (2nd best on this list – behind the Asquith)
- Lifetime warranty
- Beautiful aesthetics
The next best fly fishing rod for 2020 is the Scott Radian. This is one of the most popular fly rods for Trout fishing, and let me tell you why.
It’s really good in windy conditions.
BUT, it’s not very easy to control. As a matter of fact, it’s very difficult to control.
When you get the hang of fly fishing with it, you gain all those benefits…
But until then – well it might be a pain in the butt to try use.
However, if you are a veteran or somewhat experienced fly angler you should have no problem with this rod…
- More power and better accuracy than the Sage X
- Lifetime warranty
- Great quality
- Not easy to use
Orvis Helios 3
The Orvis Helios 3 is a quality fly rod for the ocean. It’s one of Orvis’s newer fly rods, and it’s also their flagship ocean rig.
This is the rod that you get when you need something that can really push your flies into and through the wind.
It’s biggest advantages are power and accuracy at long range. It has the ability to cast large streamers out into the ocean, no problem.
So essentially exactly what you need for the big bodies of water…
Again, the price tag isn’t cheap – but if you are interested in ocean fly fishing, this is the way to go.
- Most powerful fly rod on this list
- Designed for the ocean (no corrosion)
- Very good in windy conditions
- 25 year warranty
- Not recommended for freshwater
While this is by no means a cheap fly rod, the quality of it will leave you asking yourself why you didn't upgrade sooner.
Related: Best Fly Fishing Combos Under $300
Redington Path II (Best Beginner Fly Rod)
Redington is very well known for their beginner fly rods and reels. They are actually under the same company as Sage. Sage creates the elite end fly equipment, Redington is crafted for beginners.
The Redington Path II is the best fly rod that you can get if you are a beginner. Actually, I would recommend either this or the Moonshine Drifter Series rod.
Those are two of the more popular fly rods for beginners.
Now, I don’t love recommending inexpensive fishing products (you’ll find out why), but if you need something on a budget, here you go.
It’s fairly smooth, especially for the price that you will pay. Very easy to control though… Very easy.
It can also be used for both fresh and saltwater fly fishing. Which, I’d recommend staying away from the salt as a beginner, but you’d have no problems with the rod in doing so.
Lastly, it also got a lifetime warranty. Not a lot of fly rods in this price range have a warranty on them, much less one that lasts a lifetime.
- Easy to use
- Decently accurate
- Fresh and saltwater fly rod
- Lifetime warranty
- Doesn’t have supreme power
- Not G. Loomis or Sage quality
This is one of the best budget fly rods on the market... It's perfect for beginners because its ease of use and durability.
And if you are a beginner looking for other really good fly fishing rods, we have another article about the best fly fishing rods for beginners if you want to check that out here.
Orvis Recon 2 (Best For The Money)
The Orvis Recon is the best fly fishing rod that you can get for the money. It’s in the middle in terms of price, but it’s at the top in terms of performance.
It’s extremely high performing, no exaggeration. If you get the 9ft 5wt fly rod, it can be used for both streamer and dry fly fishing. Bass, Trout, Panfish (it may be a bit large for Panfish) are just a couple species you could catch with this.
The material that makes up the majority of the Orvis Recon is extremely responsive. It’s also a medium action rod, so whether you are a beginner or a vet, you can use this rod with great ease.
Power, and long distance accuracy is what you are going to get here.
- Very versatile
- High performance (accurate, power)
- 25 year warranty
The Orvis Recon 2 fly fishing rod is a great fast action fly rod. While it is a bit more expensive than a lot of fly rods, it's worth it.
TFO BVK (Best Bass Fly Fishing Rod)
A lot of fly fishermen and women use the TFO BVK as their go-to Bass fishing fly rod. It’s actually not designed specifically for Bass fishing, but it’s very good at it. You can use this fly rod for Trout and have great success with it as well.
If you are using it for Bass fishing, I would recommend getting the 9 ft, 7 wt model. It’s very powerful. Which is exactly what you need because you will most likely be using streamers and heavier flies.
Accuracy-wise, the TFO BVK is great for the price you pay. It’s not as great as say, the Sage X fly rod, but still really good.
Like many fly anglers that have used the TFO BVK, I think that it’s underrated in performance. While the $1000 fly rods are usually the highest performing, you don’t always need to spend that much money to get a great rod.
- Great for Bass fishing
- Accurate at long distances
- Fast action
- Wouldn’t recommend for beginners
I put the Echo Trout fly rod on this list because it’s another good option if you are looking for a middle of the road Trout rod. It’s not the best of the best, but it’s very solid.
What’s interesting about this rod is that each model you can choose from has a different action.
Essentially what that means is if you get a 9 foot, 5 lb weight rod Echo Trout, it will be different from to the 9 foot, 4 lb weight Echo Trout.
The purpose of this is to create a fly rod that will truly be perfect for Trout fly fishing.
In my opinion, the best of the Echo Trout fly rods you can get is the 9 ft 5wt. It’s super smooth and controlled, yet has decent power and accuracy.
You get the best of all fly fishing worlds. As a beginner, you would have the ability to use this and control it well. It’s not as easy to use as the Redington Path II, but it isn’t as difficult as the Sage X.
This rod is also in the middle in terms of pricing. Not too cheap, not too expensive.
- Specifically designed for Trout fishing
- Accurate (obviously not as accurate as the Scott’s or G. Loomis rods)
- Decently powerful
- Easy to use
- Designed for Trout
- It’s an “in the middle rod” – it doesn’t excel at one thing, but is good at almost everything
How To Choose a Fly Fishing Rod
The process to picking out and buying a new fly fishing rod can be stressful. There’s a lot that goes into it such as size, weight, length, price, looks, etc. We have another article on the website that includes everything you need to know about choosing a fly fishing rod here, if you want to check that out.
What Are The Best Fly Fishing Rod Brands?
If you aren’t a fan of the fly rods on this list, there are a couple brands that I would recommend getting fly rods from. We’re not sponsored by anyone here either.
Orvis, Sage, Hardy, Redington, Scott, G. Loomis and TFO are some of the most popular fly rod companies. There are more such as Hardy and Scott, but it you are getting a rod with one of those names you are definitely getting something that is worthwhile.
The performance is unmatched.
Many of these fly rod brands have great warranties on their equipment as well.
Overall, you know that you’re getting a great fly rod if it has one of those brand names on it.
Best Fly Fishing Rods: Conclusion
The best fly fishing rod really comes down to what you are looking for. Is it ease of use? Power? Durability? Accuracy? Consistency?
While many fly rods do have some of those categories, it is going to be difficult to get a fly rod that has all of those. Unless you are somewhat of an experienced fly angler and decide to go with the Sage X. Then you check all of those boxes.
Fly fishing is very fun, I hope this article helped you out!