If I had to guess, I’ve probably cast a few hundred rods over my 20 years of being a fishing guide. Recently, a student at one of my fly fishing classes asked me about the best fly rods for trout and which ones I recommend. I get this question often, so I decided to do an article with my recommendation on fly rods for trout.
I’ve used and tested rods from $50 to over $1000, and since not everyone can afford a $1000 fly rod, this article covers the best fly rods for trout for all budgets.
The best fly rods for trout are the TFO Professional III Fly Rod, Orvis Clear Water, And the Sage R8 Core Fly Rod. These rods will cover you in all price ranges.
I’ll give you plenty of other options for good fly rods below.
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The 3 Best Fly Rods For Trout
For those of you that are in a rush and just want to know the 3 best fly rods right now, these are the best fly rods in each price range.
Best Under $200
TFO Professional III Fly Rod
- Best Under $240.00
- Gets great reviews and used by guides
- Good for all anglers and skill levels
- Medium fast-action with a progressive taper
- Feels and fishes like a rod twice the price
Best Under $500
Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod
- Good small to large streams
- Multiple sizes to suit your needs
- Great 25-year Warranty and Service from one of the best companies in fly fishing
- Get great reviews
If you are not sure what weight fly rod is best for you, check out my page What Weight Fly Rod For Trout.
Budget Fly Rods For Trout: $49.99 to $200.00
These are the 4 best budget rods for beginners or anglers on a tighter budget. These rods range from $49.99 to $200.00
White River Fly Rod
Therefore, for a new angler, for kids, or an angler on a serious budget, I have no problem recommending this as one of the best low-budget fly rods for trout under $50.00.
For most trout fishing, the 4 or 5-weight sizes would be good options.
Okuma SLV Fly Rod
I have always liked Okuma products and feel they are great for the angler on a budget. The Okuma SLV Fly Rod is no different and it is one of the best budget fly rods for under $80.00.
This SLV fly rod in the 4 and 5-weight size is ideal for small to mid-sized rivers and for trout up to 6 pounds.
New trout anglers, kids, and guys on a very tight budget will do well with this fly rod for trout fishing.
TFO Signature Series 2 Fly Rod – Guides Choice
Now we are talking about some of the best budget fly rods for trout.
These rods are much better, but you will also pay almost double or triple the price of the first two rods, but the performance of these rods reflects that higher price.
The TFO Signature Series 2 fly rod is a great trout rod for trout. I’ve owned and guided with a few of these rods, and when I compared them to some of my $300 to $400 dollars fly rods, I felt as though this fly rod cast and fished just as well, but for half the price.
In fact, for a few years, these and the signature series 1 fly rods were my go-to guide rods and were the ones that I provided my fly fishing students in my learn to fly fish classes and to my clients that needed rods to use on guide trips.
And even though I owned $400 to $700 rods, I would still fish these at times simply because they were so nice to fish with.
These are excellent rods for trout in the 3, 4, and 5 weight sizes. This fly rod also gets great customer feedback, the company provides a good warranty and customer service, and although this fly rod is what I would still consider a budget fly rod, it fishes and feels like a rod worth two to three times more.
All that makes the TFO Signature Series 2 rods one of the best fly rods for trout in the $150.00 price range, and I can confidently recommend this rod.
Temple Fork Outfitters Professional 3 Fly Rod
The Temple Fork Outfitters Professional III Rod is one step up from the TFO Signature series but still comes in under $230.00.
It is a great rod for any angler from beginner to advanced.
With slightly better components and a nicer feel and balance, combined with more rod sizes and length options, this is a great fly rod for trout.
This rod in the 3 to 5 weight would be a good option on most small to mid-sized rivers.
Best Mid-Range Fly Rods For Trout: $200 to $500
Mid-range rods in the $200 to $500 dollar range will feel lighter, be more responsive, be better balanced, be more sensitive, cast a little better, and fish nicer than the budget rods. This is due to better components and rod materials used to make the rods.
This has always been my preferred rod price range since my clients and I can be hard on fly rods, and because handing someone a $1000 dollar rod and then watching them accidentally break it sucks.
Not only that, but I have discovered that most anglers can’t tell the difference between an $800 dollar rod and a $200 or $300 dollar rod when it comes to performance and components.
Best Fly Rods For Trout Under $250
So this is a tough one because there are 2 fly rods that I have used in the $200 to $250 price range that both cast and fish great. Either of these fly rods could be the best fly rod for trout between $200 and $250, and I’m not sure I could say one is better than the other when it comes to actually fishing for trout.
Not only that, but they both come from reputable companies with great service and warranties.
Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod – Guides Choice
Of the two rods, the one that I have used probably most is the Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod.
Many of the anglers that I guide own this rod and have been able to get a lot of feedback.
Clients that use this rod and other guides that I have talked to have said great things about this fly rod for trout fishing.
The Orvis Clearwater fly rod also gets many great reviews from users online, as well as from other websites.
I also recommend Orvis rods over other fly rods simply because of their great service and warranty. Since rods break, a great warranty is a bonus.
Fenwick Aetos Fly Rod
The Aetos Fly Rod also gets great reviews from users and other websites that rate and review rods.
I have personally used this rod many times and it is also used by one of my guides. I have a few of my clients who use this rod as their primary fly rod for trout fishing and they all say great things about it.
Best Fly Rods For Trout Under $500.00
If your budget for fly rods is between $250 and $500, consider these 3 fly rods for trout.
St. Croix Imperial USA Fly Rod
This is another rod I have owned and guided with.
The 8’6 to 9-foot rod in 3 to 5 weight would be a great choice of fly rod for trout.
Depending on the rod size, this rod sells for between $270 and $330.00
Sage Foundation Fly Rod
Sage is known for high-quality rods that fish amazingly. The Sage Foundation fly rod is one of the best and cheapest Sage rods.
I’ve seen this rod sell anywhere from $430.00 to $500.
The 4 and 5-weight Sage Foundation is a great fly rod for trout.
Best Fly Rods For Trout Over $500.00
If your budget for fly rods is between $500 and $1000, consider these 3 fly rods for trout.
Douglas Upstream Ultra-Lite Fly Rod
The Douglas Upstream fly rod is designed for small stream trout fishing.
This is meant for small flies like dry flies and ranges from 2 to 4 weight.
Depending on the rod size it can run from $430 to $530.00
I have used the 8’8″ 4 weight and loved this rod and this is what I recommend for general purpose small stream trout fishing.
Orvis Recon Freshwater Fly Rod
This is one of the best fly rods for trout from Orvis.
With enough power to chuck streamer but still delicate enough to cast dry flies, this rod will do it all.
It sells for around $600.00
Sage Trout LL Fly Rod
Perfect for drifting dries to fish slurping meals off the surface, the Sage Trout LL Fly Rod boasts a through-blank taper optimization you’ll appreciate when tossing small flies with precise accuracy matters most. A supple tip protects your light tippets, while an easy-loading middle section gives you the feel you need for accurate casts.
Retail Price $925.00
Hardy Ultralite NSX SR
Honorable mention goes to the Hardy Ultralite NSX SR. Over the last few years, most of the rods I have guided with have been Hardy Rods, so I recommend them a lot.
Hardy is a well-known name in the fly fishing world, and this rod is a new addition to the award-winning Ultralite range of Hardy rods. The Hardy Ultralite NSX SR rod is designed for trout fishing in small rivers.
The only reason I give it an honorable mention and not a full-out recommendation is due to recent inventory issues that have made it difficult to get, and there is no -point recommending rods you can’t get.
Another great rod designed for small stream trout fishing and one worth checking out is the G. Loomis NRX+ LP Lite Presentation Fly Rod.
Be sure to check out my article, The Best Fly Fishing Reels For Trout next.
The Best Fly Rods For Trout Q&A
As we try out more new fly rods, we will update this page with the details.
If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for the best fly rods for trout. let us and our readers know in the comments section below.