2020 Top Rated Fly Rods

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Welcome to ThinkVail – we hope you find this article about the year’s top rated fly rods helpful.

Whether you’re a newbie to fly fishing or an expert angler,  you will want to choose the best fly rod, one that will perform well and is right for your ability level. Below is a list of “Top Rated Fly Rods” and some important items to take into consideration when purchasing a new fly rod.


See also:  Fishing Guides in Vail, Colorado.


Types of Fly Rods

Graphite Rods are lightweight and known for their versatility and offer various flex rates ranging from slow to medium-fast which allows further and more accurate casts.

Glass Rods are made from fiberglass these rods tend to be heavier than graphite, affordable and very durable. Which means they are great if you are fishing in rugged areas. These rods are usually softer and slower than graphite rods which means, you must cast slower.

Bamboo Rods are for the purist, bamboo is the original, traditional material used in fly rods, however it is heavier than the other types of rods.


Fly Rod Flex Rate

The flex rate describes how quickly the rod returns to its neutral position.

Slow Flex: A slow flex rate means the rod is soft and has a lot of bend. You must cast them very gently and are not good in windy conditions. This means they are best for accuracy and should be used on smaller rivers or streams in calm weather.

Medium Flex: This flex is best for beginners; rod with medium flex can bend almost halfway before the tip or the line snaps.

Medium-Fast Flex: Only the top third of the rod bends. There are many options for rods with a medium-fast flex.

Fast: Fast flex means the stiffest rods which means, you need to be a skilled angler with an accurate cast.


Fly Rod Weight

The “weight” means the weight of the line required to flex a fully loaded rod so it gives you an idea of how big of a fish the rod can handle. The smaller the weight the smaller the fish it can handle.

4-weight rod is ideal for catching smaller sized trout

5-weight rod is used for fish such as mid size trout. If you are a beginner this is the weight for you.

6-weight rod is perfect for Colorado river fishing. You can”move a lot of line” and catch bigger fish.

7-weight rod is used for certified casting. 8 weight, 10 weight and 12 weight are primarily for saltwater fishing.


Fly Rod Lengths

6 to 8 feet – This length is perfect for smaller streams and creeks. This helps you to fish around branches, rocks and snags that may be hanging over the banks.

8.5 to 9 feet – Is a medium length and versatile. This length rod provides good flexibility and is good for beginners.

10 to 15 feet– Most bamboo rods come in this length. This is good for a very large body of water without many obstacles.

Before choosing any rod, I highly recommended trying out a variety of different rods to get a feel of which type, weight and length is good for you and the places that you normally want to fish.

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Check out this video for more tips on how to choose a fly fishing rod


Top Rated Fly Rods


Sage Pulse Fly Rod Complete Kit

The PULSE is Sage’s newest fast action family of fly rods is handcrafted on Bainbridge Island, in the Puget Sound in Washington state.  This handsome, good-looking rod is finished with custom-designed components and eye-catching cosmetic details. You will love fishing with this premium rod.

  • Offers accuracy and performance for both beginners and skilled anglers.
  • Smooth, fast-action fly rod
  • Features Graphite IIIe Technology for the perfect blend of power and a “connected feel”
  • Rosewood insert with glossy black anodized aluminum up-locking reel seat, Snub-nose, half-wells cork handle.
  • Fuji ceramic stripper guides; Hard chromed snake guides and tip-top.
  • Available in single hand and switch
  • Available in 3, 4, 5 and 6 weight
  • Available in a variety of lengths from 7′ 6″ – 9′
  • 4-piece design makes fly rod very easy to travel with
  • Includes  divided rod tube for protection and storage.
  • Lifetime warranty

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Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod

The iconic 5-wt, 8’6″ Clearwater fly rods is considered by many the perfect trout fly rod, and for good reason, it offers a versatile length that’s ideal for large or small water, a line weight that allows for small trout but can still handle larger trout with ease. Come see out why everyone loves this outfit.

  • 5-weight – This rod is perfect for catching trout and other mid size fish.
  • 8.6 ft length – means it’s a good all around choice for tighter streams or wide-open rivers.
  • Mid-flex rod is versatile with a little stiffness in the tip so it can help you haul in the fighters.
  • Complete kit includes Orvis premium quality Clearwater Fly Rod, Orvis Cordura Rod Tube, Orvis Clearwater Fly Reel, Orvis Clearwater Fly Line, Backing, and Tapered Leader
  • Professionally rigged and ready to fish, just tie on a fly and cast!
  • Premium graphite construction for a smooth, responsive, easy to cast mid-flex action
  • Durable Aluminum Frame Orvis Clearwater Disc Drag Fly Reel
  • Offers great taper and action with award-winning technology in the blanks
  • Versatile and functional for year-round fun. This rod can handle large foam-bodied flies, but is equally adept with tiny zebra midges.
  • 4-piece rod design makes it very easy to transport.
  • 25 year guarantee
  • Additional size and weights available.

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Redington Vice Fly Rod Outfit

The Redington Vice is an easy-caster that is a beautiful, classically styled, fast-action rod range designed to be enjoyed by all anglers.  It is light in hand and a pleasure to cast in calm and windy conditions alike. This is a the perfect fly fishing outfit for Colorado rivers.

  • Anodized machined aluminum reel seat, ideal for all water conditions
  • Smooth casting, fast-action, powerful fly rod.
  • Features black anodized snake guides, laser-etched reel seat, and saltwater-grade components.
  • Multi-modulus carbon fiber blanks offer greater accuracy and control when casting.
  • Includes a perfectly balanced i.D fly reel.
  • Prespooled with RIO Mainstream fly line.
  • Dacron backing and tapered leader
  • Divided rod tube for protection and easy transport
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Professionally rigged and ready to fish right out of the box
  • Available in 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 weights
  • Available in a 9′ length
  • 4-piece rod design is easy to transport

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Temple Fork Outfitters BVK Series Fly Rod

Temple Fork Outfitters has created a lightweight and highly responsive, finely tuned fly rod that is engineered to the highest performance standards.

  • Available in multiple weights and lengths for the type or size of fish you like to catch.
  • The 4-piece rod design means it is easy to break-down and can travel and store easily.
  • Better-than-excellent rod offers a lot of power and strength, so although the rod is lightweight you can still catch the big one!
  • The reel seat is made of strong carbon fiber to hold your reel and rod securely.
  • Ultra hard-chromium anodized steel stripping guides can tolerate the toughest conditions and still cast smoothly.
  • A contoured, comfortable, high-quality cork handle.
  • Rod only, no reel included.

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Echo Carbon XL Fly Rod

Echo is a small company based in Vancouver, Washington. and producing some incredibly popular rods at a great price. They are best known for designing products that perform at levels beyond their price point.

  • Four piece travel design
  • Medium-fast action rod with a light feel
  • Fabric-covered, protective rod case & sock
  • Lightweight ceramic stripping guides
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Features two grip styles
  • Also comes as a complete outfit
  • Ideal for all skill levels
  • Moderately priced fly rod that you will love.
  • Available in a variety of weights and lengths.

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St Croix Imperial USA Fly Rod

The St. Croix Imperial fly rod delivers elevated performance and value. Handcrafted in the U.S.A., these premium rods are without equal.

  • Dynamic blend of high-modulus/high-strain SCIV graphite and premium quality SCII graphite.
  • Premium-grade cork handle.
  • Sea Guide snake guides with black PVD coating for extra hardness and increased smoothness.
  • Slim-profile ferrules.
  • Two coats of Flex-Coat slow cure finish.
  • Available in a variety of weights and lengths
  • These rods are without equal in performance and value.
  • Unique lightweight tip reduces angler fatigue when the rod is held high for a long time.
  • Made in the USA
  • Available in 2-piece and 4-piece rods

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Moonshine Rod Co. Drifter Series Fly Rod

Moonshine Rod Co. offers a distinctive, classic fly rod with custom reel seats turned from strikingly grained burl woods, hand-turned cork grips, and high performance rod blanks, their high quality rods ensure that your day on the river will be epic.

  • High performance, medium-action Graphite rod
  • Available in a variety of weights and lengths
  • 4-piece rod comes with EXTRA Tip Section so if you break one you have a handy replacement.
  • Hard canvas 5-compartment fly rod tube with embroidered Moonshine logo.
  • Rod only, no reel included
  • Graphite rod offers durability and sensitivity.
  • High grade AAA cork grip with a burled end.
  • Hand-turned, spalted burl reel seat features the exquisite grain of the wood
  • Copper anodized hardware
  • 4-piece fly rod design makes travel and storage easy.
  • Effortless casting makes this a great rod for beginners or any skill level.
  • The reel seat is made of metal and is adjustable.
  • LIFETIME Warranty

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Fenwick Eagle Fly Fishing Rod / Pflueger Medalist Fly Reel

Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, Fenwick has been a legend among fishermen all over the world for more than 50 years. The first creators of the all-graphite fishing rod, they have been advancing fishing technology forward ever since.

  • Various weight available
  • Length- 8-9 ft. length
  • High-quality Rod and Reel combo
  • Pflueger Medalist Reel
  • Graphite rod
  • Hard chrome stripper and snake guides
  • Cork handle
  • Comes with a travel tube.
  • Reel is made from high-grade, precision-machined aluminum frame and spool.
  • The reel is fully-machined aluminum with a  simple but effective click and pawl system.
  • Comes pre-spooled with weight-forward floating fly line and tapered leader.
  • Seems perfect for the beginner with almost everything you need to start fishing.

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Headwaters Bamboo Fly Rod

Headwaters was established in 2002 with a mission, to build accessible and fun-to-fish bamboo fly rods for the fly angling community. They also strive to take the wait and the expense out of purchasing a bamboo rod. This is the perfect traditional, classic bamboo rod to take your fly fishing to the next level.

  • Various lengths from 6′ 6″ – 8ft lengths.
  • Weight: 3, 4 and 6-weight available
  • Flex: Medium action –
  • A classic 2-piece bamboo fly rod.
  • Classic craftsmanship will satisfy the purist at heart.
  • Ultra-fine cork grip feels great in the hand, reduces fatigue and keeps your hand warmer.
  • Includes extra tip section (2-tips), cotton rod sock, and aluminum tube.
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Bamboo rods are expensive but this one is affordable in comparison to other bamboo rods.
  • Keep in mind that bamboo rods ares  slower to load and cast than graphite rods.

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Try Before You Buy…

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I hope this review helps you choose the best fly rod for you, If you are in the Vail area check out these and other fly rods at these local fly fishing shops:

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See Also: Best Winter Fly Fishing Gear


Leave a Comment

What is your favorite fly-fishing rod that you use for fishing on Colorado rivers? What weight and length rod works best for you? Please leave a comment if you see any errors or if you have had any personal experience with any of the above fly rods we’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Related Articles: Best Winter Flies to Catch Trout


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    • I am glad to hear that you liked this review of the the top 10 rated fly rods. It can be really hard to pick the right rod so I hope this list helps.

  • Thank you for this list of fly rods.I'm interested in getting a beginner's fly fishing combo for my nephew. The Moonshine Rod Company 5-weight seems like a good candidate to get him started. I am looking for something that he can grow into and will be a beautiful rod that he will enjoy using. I like the medium fast action and the beautiful burl wood. I think I have found the perfect gift for him

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