Recommended Fly Fishing Gear List

Recommended Fly Fishing Gear

The world of fly fishing is growing, and business is booming. As a result, fly fishing companies are at the forefront of outdoor companies creating relationships with new clients. 

While it’s an exciting sport to enter, the hundreds of choices of fly rods, reels, and accessories can be overwhelming. Many anglers don’t know where to start. There are dozens of factors anglers have to consider before they purchase new gear. Each company specializes in different fishing types, so many people just give up and hope they made the proper choice. 

Do your best to relax! Part of becoming a fly angler is determining what gear works and doesn’t work for you. You’re going to make some mistakes, but our recommended fly fishing gear list should help you make educated decisions and hit the water with some high-quality gear! 

Whenever possible, we provide links to multiple online retailers where this recommended gear is available. Prices can vary, so be sure to check who has the current best price. 

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Recommended Fly Fishing Rods 

Fly fishing rods are where most anglers start when creating their setup! The rod will receive the most use, so make sure it fits the type of water you’re fishing and can withstand whatever you throw it’s way. Here are a few options! 

Recommended Budget Fly Rod

Echo Carbon XL

  • The Echo Carbon XL rod is an excellent option for anyone on the budget. You can find it anywhere from a 2-weight to a 6-weight. 
  • They’re a moderate-fast action so that you can fish in various conditions, so it’ll perform in a variety of situations. 
  • You can tie on streamers, nymphs, and dry flies. You’ll appreciate the sensitivity that this rig offers despite the lower price tag. Some may claim that this rod is excellent for beginners, but plenty of experienced anglers regularly use it despite what the rest of their rod arsenal looks like. 
  • Echo Rods also have one of the best warranties in the business. They have a lifetime guarantee on their continued rods with a small service fee. This isn’t always common in the world of fly fishing. Many companies only offer lifetime warranties on their top-end rods. 

To see current pricing:

Recommended Advanced Fly Rod

Orvis Recon

  • The Orvis Recon is one of the lightest and highest performing rods you can find. Orvis has a phenomenal reputation in fly fishing, but they continue to develop new gear that performs previous models. 
  • These rods allow you to spend all day on the water without getting tired. Anglers expect high performance due to the higher price tag, and they receive it. Whether you’re looking to fish a small stream or a large river, the Recon won’t be overwhelmed. 
  • You can find these anywhere from a 2-weight to a 12-weight. However, if you’re looking for a great all-around option, be sure to purchase the 5 or 6-weight. It’ll work in just about any situation you need. 
  • Orvis has a lifetime warranty on the Orvis Recon, so you can fish with peace of mind that you’ll be taken care of! Orvis believes in their products and wants anglers to make the most of their time on the water.

To see current pricing:

Recommended Specialty Fly Rod

Sage Maverick Fly Rod

  • The Sage Maverick is a phenomenal option for anglers looking to make a move into saltwater fly fishing. It’s one of the best saltwater rods in the business, and it’s a personal favorite of many professional anglers. You can find it between 6-14 weight!
  • It’s a mid-priced rig and received a brand new design in 2020. It’s a fast action rod that will work exceptionally well if you’re targeting fish in the flats! Many anglers don’t think about Sage when it comes to saltwater fishing, but they’ve proven that this is an excellent option for anyone looking to try.
  • The lifetime warranty on this rod is beneficial. Saltwater fishing is harder on your gear than freshwater fishing for various reasons, and Sage wants to make sure you’re able to use this with some peace of mind. 

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Recommended Fly Fishing Reel

Once anglers decide on what rod is best, the next step is to find the complementary reel. The most important thing to remember when purchasing your reel is to make sure it matches your fly rod’s weight. Most reels work with two different weights of rods. 

Recommended Budget Fly Reel

Orvis Clearwater

  • The Orvis Clearwater can be found between 4-9 weights. It’s a disc drag reel and is a large arbor. This is an excellent option if you’re looking to fish something high quality but will not break the bank. 
  • The reel can hold 75 yards of backing, and it’s a bit heavier than a traditional fly reel. It’s around six ounces, where most reels are somewhere around five. However, it’s not heavy enough to notice much of a difference. 
  • If you purchase the Clearwater Combo, you’ll receive this reel and the Clearwater rod, but you can purchase it if you’re looking to attach it to a rod you already have. 
  • Orvis’ warranty does apply to the Clearwater items as well. You can fish it hard and see how it’s going to perform. 

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Recommended Advanced Fly Reel

Ross Animas

  • Little needs to be said when it comes to Ross fly reels. Ross has been a staple in the fly fishing community for years, and anglers have continued to purchase them! The Animas can be found in 4-8-weight. 
  • The reel has a composite drag system and can withstand some difficult conditions. Water, sand, and anything else you might find on the water aren’t going to be overwhelming for the Animas. 
  • This is considered to be a large arbor reel. The reel handle is created to get grippier when wet instead of more slippery. The beauty is in the details of the Animas
  • You can purchase it in silver or matte black. It’s a sleek design that you’re not able to find in a variety of reels. 
  • It almost feels too lightweight for its power, but you’ll be surprised at what it can handle.

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Recommended Specialty Fly Reel

Nautilus CCF-X2

  • The Nautilus is a nice mid-range option for anyone looking to purchase a solid reel for their saltwater experience. The cork carbon fiber drag system is what makes this reel special! It’s fully sealed and is impressively strong. 
  • It’s a large arbor, and you don’t have to worry about any saltwater corrosion due to the aluminum materials. 
  • You can find this reel between 6 and 12-weight. When you have this reel rigged, you can hit the water with peace of mind that all you need to do is find the fish and hook into them. 
  • While Nautilus isn’t one of the more well-known brands in the world of fly fishing, they’ve proved their worth with their saltwater reels
  • The versatility that this reel offers anglers allows you to fish in various situations all on the same day. 

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Recommended Fly Fishing Vests

There are few things anglers are more particular about than storing gear. The more someone fishes, the more of a desire they have for simplicity and comfort on the water. Too often, anglers lose gear or fail to store things correctly and aren’t as efficient as they could be while fishing. Vests are essential, so make sure to invest appropriately! 

Recommended Budget Vest

Fishpond Flint Hills Vest

  • The Fishpond Flint Hills Vest is a solid option for anglers looking to save a little money but still have a fly fishing specific vest. Many fishing vests are created with versatility in mind, but the Fishpond Flint Hills vest is made for the fly angler.
  • If you’re looking for storage, the Flint Hills is a nice option. There’s a large pouch on the back that’s great to store your rain gear or another piece of cold-weather gear, depending on where you’re fishing. 
  • Fishpond has found a nice balance with this vest. It doesn’t have too many pockets that tempt anglers to bring along too much gear. There’s enough space to bring the essentials, but nothing more.
  • There are six adjustable straps, a place to store your net, and several gear-attachment tabs. It’s not Fishpond’s best vest, but this is a smart choice for one of the more affordable options. 

To see current pricing:

Recommended Advanced Vest

Orvis Pro Fly Fishing Vest

  • The Orvis Pro fly fishing vest offers a new appearance in a world that hasn’t seen an upgrade in years. Fly fishing vests have never been a fashion statement, but Orvis makes more effort with this vest. 
  • On this vest, you have a nice amount of features. You’ll find two fly-drying patches, a daisy chain, large lower pockets with room for a few fly boxes, and other necessities that you might have. 
  • This is a bit heavier duty vest, so it’s going to fit comfortably and provide some security for you and your gear. 
  • All-in-all, you have 18 pockets. Ten can be found on the exterior, six are on the interior, and two are in the rear. If needed, you can store your net on your back. This feature has become a must in the world of fly fishing vests. 
  • Keep it open or secure it across your body. It’s your choice. The Orvis Pro Fly Fishing vest is a beauty. 

To see current pricing:

Recommended Specialty Vest

Orvis Ultralight Fishing Vest

  • If you’re traveling, fly fishing vests are the first thing to be left at home. The Orvis Ultralight Vest is one you’ll never have to leave. Pack it down into the corner of your bag, and you’ll be able to take it with you wherever you go. 
  • You have 11 total pockets on this vest. There are six on the outside, four on the inside, and one large pocket on the rear. 
  • You still have your two fly drying patches and places to store your accessories. The two large pockets on the lower side of the vest can hold your fly boxes. 
  • Don’t forget about the large rear pocket that will keep your rain gear or cool weather clothing. 
  • This vest dries faster than many others on the market. The polyester materials take a little bit of fresh air to dry out, but you’ll be pleased with the performance. 

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Recommended Fly Fishing Waders

Waders are a necessity in fly fishing. Unless you’re strictly a lake angler in a warm area, you’re going to need waders. They’ll make the challenging elements more bearable and allow you to stay on the longer! Don’t skimp with your waders. They’re going to make your life quite a bit better. 

And don’t forget to review our other articles on what to wear when fly fishing:

Recommended Budget Waders

Frogg Togg Canyon

  • The Frogg Togg Canyon waders are a wonderful option for anyone new to fly fishing and searching for affordable waders. They aren’t necessarily the most flashy waders, but they’ll perform exactly how you need in various situations. 
  • The Frogg Toggs have 4ply uppers that are going to keep you warm and very dry. On top of this, the Frogg Togg Canyons are known for being durable. You can work your way through sharp brush and trees without worrying about what might come your way. 
  • The socks are 4mm of neoprene, so no matter how cold the water is, you’ll likely not feel it thanks to the thickness of the sock.  
  • There is a small chest pocket that allows you to store a small fly box and your keys. This is one of the big knocks against these Frogg Togg Canyons! There isn’t much storage in these waders, so make sure you have your fishing pack to keep all of your necessities. 
  • Consumers have mentioned that tearing can start around the stitching if it ever does! However, this is very uncommon with these waders. 

To see current pricing:

Recommended Advanced Waders

Simms Freestone Stockingfoot Waders

  • It’s hard to find a company that makes better waders than Simms. The Freestone Waders are one of the original designs from Simms. They have updated materials and appearance over the years, but the design is a classic!  
  • These are 4-layer waders from top to bottom. If you’re fishing early spring or late fall, these waders are going to work exceptionally well. There’s nothing worse than being cold when you’re trying to find fish. The Freestone will keep you warm no matter the conditions. 
  • There is a gravel guard on these waders, so they’ll cover your boots nicely even if you’re fishing in faster current. 
  • At the end of the day, you’re purchasing a Simms product. There aren’t many more reputable companies than them, so you can have peace of mind when you buy these waders. Their warranty system is also friendly with their waders! 

To see current pricing:

Recommended Specialty Waders

Orvis Clearwater Waders

  • The entire Clearwater line of rods, reels, and waders is high quality. While they’re not the ultra-high performance from Orvis, they’re going to perform exactly how you need. 
  • Where these waders set themselves apart is in their breathability. Too often, waders are extremely warm but offer no comfort when you’re fishing on those warm days in the freezing tailwaters. 
  • The Clearwater also has a kangaroo pouch on the front for you to keep your hands on those extremely cold days. 
  • There is a large zippered storage pocket on the front of the waders as well. This pocket can hold your fly boxes, a few snacks, and other necessities. 
  • The wading belt is included, along with the gravel guards. Take advantage of the more affordable price! Orvis is willing to replace your waders for a variety of reasons, so don’t be afraid to put them through the wringer. 

To see current pricing:

Recommended Fly Fishing Line

Finding the proper fly line is a tall task in and of itself. There are dozens of options that work for a variety of different fishing scenarios. As a result, many anglers end up with quite a few different fly lines that they interchange throughout their reels. Take a look below at some of your best options. 

Recommended Budget Fly Line

Scientific Anglers Frequency Line

  • Scientific Anglers creates a high-quality fly line. For anglers, this is one of the best deals you can find. Frequency lines from Scientific Angler are great all-around options! They have a nice feel to them and can fish everything from dries to streamers. All-around lines create less hassle on the water.
  • This line is 85 feet long, which is about as long as you would need. You can choose sinking, weight forward, or floating line. Depending on the type of fishing you’re doing, you may need to have multiple options. 
  • There isn’t much stretch in this fly line, so you don’t have to worry about being late on your reaction! This is a common issue with a more affordable fly line, but Scientific Angler compensates well. It’s a solid budget option that you can use for years!

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Recommended Advanced Fly Line

Rio Gold Trout Series

  • Rio has been a staple in the world of fly line for years. They’re known to be one of the most reputable companies for fly line, and it’s all considered high performance. The Rio Gold Trout Series is a bit stiffer, but it’s still quite sensitive. 
  • You’ll find that when a fish bites, it doesn’t rebound when you’re ready to strip set. The lower performance fly lines often stretch when you set the hook, allowing fish to shake free. Rio considered this and made sure that there was minimal room for error. 
  • You can fish a variety of flies with this line. Whether you want to throw dries or fish with heavy streamers, the Rio Gold Trout Series is a solid option for you. 
  • This is a floating line, so keep that in mind when deciding whether you will purchase it. You can purchase it from 3-weight all the up to 9-weight. 

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Recommended Specialty Fly Line

Rio InTouch Salmon/Steelhead Fly Line

  • Salmon and steelhead are some of the hardest fighting freshwater fish. The Rio InTouch Salmon/Steelhead fly line is up for the challenge. Whether you’re swinging flies, dead drifting, or roll casting, it’s a perfect option. 
  • This fly shoots out farther than most competitors in the market. The Rio hydrophobic fly line coating allows for phenomenal performance. 
  • Keep in mind that this fly line is created to be used in cooler climates since that’s where you’ll most often find salmon and steelhead living. 
  • You can purchase it in 6-10-weight. Make sure you line it up with the weight of your fly rod! 
  • Also, this can work for single-handed Spey casting. The versatility of this line is spectacular. This line will perform no matter what way you’re fishing! 

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Recommended Fly Fishing Flies 

Choosing the proper flies depends entirely on the fish you’re trying to target and where in the world you’re fishing. The flies must be high quality, so they’ll last regardless of how many times they’re struck by fish or cast. 

Recommended Basic Fly

Wooly Bugger

  • The Wooly Bugger can work for almost any fish you target. You can find these streamers in sizes 4-12 in brown, olive, and black. They’re one of the most famous streamers on the market! 
  • This fly can imitate almost every type of prey you can find swimming around in the water. They work as minnows, leeches, and even salamanders. Make sure you purchase a variety of colors and sizes. 
  • Fish this in lakes, rivers, ponds, and streams. You can swing it, dead drift it, and even strip it. Fish have a hard time saying no to this fly as long as it’s presented properly. Take it to fish for trout, bass, pike, and even steelhead and salmon! It’s going to work. 

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Recommended Advanced Fly

Chubby Chernobyl

  • The Chubby Chernobyl is a large dry fly that works great in late-July through September. It’s an imitation of a terrestrial pattern that you’ll find throughout the west and the midwest United States. -These are found between 4 and 16 in a variety of colors. Many anglers choose to use this as the dry fly in a dry-dropper pattern. It’s heavy, and it’ll hold up a fairly large nymph. 
  • This fly can be challenging to cast, but it gets easier to pick your spots with practice. 
  • The Chernobyl is a solid hopper imitation, and it also works exceptionally well in the midst of a Stone and Salmonfly hatch. 
  • While this fly mainly attracts trout, you’ll find that it works well if you’re targeting Smallmouth Bass. 

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Recommended Specialty Fly

Pheasant Tail Nymph

  • The Pheasant Tail Nymph is a beautiful representation of a Blue Winged Olive. These flies hatch all across the United States.
  • These patterns are mainly found in sizes 10-18. They’re best fished just before they hatch. The small amount of flash on the pattern is a wonderful attractant for the fish. 

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Other Recommended Fly Fishing Gear

Fly fishing requires an extensive amount of gear to participate in it properly. Whether it’s fishing packs or sunglasses, anglers need quite a bit for their time on the water. 

Recommended Polarized Sunglasses

Smith Guide’s Choice Sunglasses

  • The Smith Guide’s Choice Sunglasses are a smart choice for fly anglers. The proper fit combined with the light protection makes these glasses an obvious choice for time spent on the water. They’re comfortable and work wonderfully on those sunny days for sight fishing. 
  • The quality of these glasses is unmatched in the world of fly angling. Guides from all over the world choose these glasses to gain as much of an edge as possible on the water. 

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Recommended Fly Fishing Net

FishPond Nomad Hand Net

  • The FishPond Nomad Hand net is made of carbon fiber and composite fiberglass. These are some of the lightest nets on the market, and you won’t find them to be bulky or cumbersome like many of the other nets on the market. 
  • The rubber netting is a must for trout fishing. It doesn’t harm the fish, and your flies will never get stuck in it.
  • It’s a fairly large net, so no matter what size fish you’re landing, you’ll likely be able to land it with the hand net. 
  • It has a loop on the handle that makes it easy to hook onto your pack or string over your neck for those long journeys to the water. Depending on your preferences, the FishPond Nomad Hand net can adapt to whatever circumstances you may need. 
  • This net is also going to float! Many nets you find sink as soon as they hit the water, but you can have peace of mind when you fish with this net. It’s not going to sink on you. 

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Recommended Fly Fishing Pack

Orvis Waterproof Sling Pack

  • Waterproof fly fishing packs are gaining more and more popularity as the years progress. However, many of them don’t have enough pockets and are fairly hard to access. 
  • Orvis created a waterproof pack with room to hold a tippet, a few flies, and even a water bottle. It’s one of the more unique designs. 
  • The pack is made out of TPU Coated 500D nylon. 
  • The pack is 19 inches long, 11 inches wide, and 6 inches deep. It’s about 15L large. This can hold quite a few items that you need for your fishing excursion. 
  • One of the nicest features is the D-ring you can hook your net into. This isn’t always common on sling packs, and Orvis makes sure the D-ring is appropriately placed so you won’t feel like you’re being weighed down on one side. 

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Recommended Fly Fishing Backpack

Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Backpack

  • There are times when you need more gear on the water, and the Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Backpack is going to do the trick. It’s completely waterproof and has quite a bit of storage for your next adventure. 
  • It is fully submersible, and you can take it with you wherever you go. It’s going to keep all of your precious items safe. 
  • The pack has a rod holder on the side, so you don’t have to string everything before making it to the water.
  • It’s 28L and is 21 inches tall, 12 inches wide, and 9 inches deep. 
  • The pack is made of 1680D TPU coated nylon.
  • The comfortable straps and hip belt make sure it is securely fastened if you find yourself in the midst of some heavy rapids. 
  • Everything about this pack is created so anglers can have peace of mind that all of their gear is staying safe while on the water. 

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Recommended Fly Fishing Boxes

Plan D Max Fly Box

  • The Plan D Max Fly Box is a weather-proof fly box with room for over 40 flies. 
  • The box is 10 inches long, 5 inches wide, and nearly two inches deep. 
  • The slotted foam inside makes it easy to place and remove flies wherever you are on the water. You don’t have to worry about the flies getting stuck or falling out due to a lack of security. 
  • This box is perfect for all of your large flies. They can all be completely laid out, and you don’t have to worry about losing them or keeping them separated from one another. If you’re targeting steelhead or salmon, the Plan D Max Fly Box is great. 

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Recommended Fly Fishing Gifts

C&F Fly Fishing Lanyard

  • Fly anglers have quite a few accessories that they need to carry around on the water. Carrying it in a vest or a pack allows these items to get lost easily. The C&F Fly Fishing Lanyard keeps all of these accessories in one place
  • The lanyard is 8 inches long, so it doesn’t hang down too low or get in the way as anglers are trying to land fish or make long-distance casts. 
  • It has seven clasps on the lanyard to hook everything from forceps to tippet. Several decades ago, these lanyards were extremely popular, but they’re making a strong comeback due to their usefulness! 

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O’Pros 3rd Hand Rod Holder

  • The O’Pros 3rd Hand Rod Holder was a design that needed to happen. The hard plastic keeps the rod exactly where it needs to be and hooks directly to your fly fishing pack. Anglers have a hard time going without one of these after they use it for the first time! 
  • All anglers have to do is snap the rod into the clasps, and it’ll stay nice and secure as you’re landing a fish or changing your fly. It’s a game-changer in the world of fly fishing! 
  • This is a must for any fly angler.

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Fly anglers are naturally obsessed with gear. As you dive deeper into your love for the sport, the gear starts to pile up, and the temptation to purchase the next rod, reel, or even pieces of apparel becomes too tempting. The market is continuing to grow, and companies are offering more and more products. As a result, anglers have to be wise with what they purchase.

While purchasing gear doesn’t have to be a bad thing, it can be overwhelming and incredibly frustrating when the incorrect choice was made on a rod, reel, or even fly line. The gear can impact a successful day on the water, so it’s necessary to carry the proper equipment to fit your situation. 

As you grow more comfortable, the desired gear list diminishes, and you can be more specific with what you purchase. It’s an amazing sport, but it’s even better if you’re carrying the right products. 

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