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Fly Fishing Rods

Most anglers would agree that the rod is the most important tool when it comes to fly fishing. Without it, we simply could not fish. 

Selecting a rod isn’t always an easy process, but it should be a fun one. Before ever buying a rod, go to your local shop and cast the rods you're interested in. Fly rod companies make rods for anyone, but not everyone. Each has their own nuances and cadences, so it’s important to cast many rods to find the one that best suits your casting and/or fishing style.

How to Choose a Fly Fishing Rod

There are many unique actions and casting tolerances in the rod market, but when first looking it’s best to make your first criteria list with the general action. Most anglers prefer a medium-fast action because this universal action allows us to be versatile on the water regardless of conditions. Those who fish in windier places, or have a faster casting stroke would likely prefer a fast action rod. Whereas anglers who are used to classical tapers from past graphite, fiberglass, or bamboo would much prefer a slow or medium action rod.

What makes a good fly rod?


The majority of fly rods are built with graphite, although there are still fiberglass and bamboo options out there, as well as boron used by R.L. Winston used to be a graphite substitute. It’s important to note that not all graphite is the same, the graphite in a $200 rod is going to be much heavier, weaker, and will not cast as far or accurately as a rod more expensive than it. Additionally, rods with lower end graphite have poor tracking. Tracking is the fluctuation of the rod tip throughout the cast and where the line will inevitably follow. Rods with poor tracking will not cast accurately, no matter how good of a caster you are. The more you spend on a rod, the better the graphite. The better the graphite, the better the rod performs.


After selecting a rod that fits your budget, it’s important to find a weight of rod that will fit your fishing needs. The weight of the rod is a numerical value determining the rod's power and the amount of grains required in a fly line for it to load properly.  In freshwater scenarios it’s generally best to match your rod’s weight with the type of fishing you’ll be doing, whereas in saltwater it’s more appropriate to match the rod’s weight to the size of fish you’re targeting. For example, an 11 or 12wt rod is an appropriate rod for both musky and migratory tarpon. A rod of this size is required to effectively fight a migratory tarpon, but that much rod power is overkill for musky. However, this size of a rod is required for musky fishing because of its ability to cast incredibly heavy sinking lines and 12-15 inch flies. 

For general trout fishing we recommend a 4, 5, or 6wt rod. These rods can handle the majority of situations thrown at us when trout fishing. The 5wt is considered the best do it all rod, whereas a 6wt lends it hand towards bigger fish/flies. Inversely, the 4wt is best for delicate presentations and generally smaller fish. None of these rods would be a bad choice though, just refine the exact weight for where you live. 

For general saltwater fishing, most would recommend an 8 or 9wt as a do all rod. Although having a diverse range of rod weights for saltwater fishing is much more appropriate in comparison to the freshwater realm due to the size of fish.

What fly rod do we recommend?

We at Golden Fly Shop carry numerous high quality rod companies, including Sage, Hardy, Orvis, G. Loomis, R.L. Winston, Scott, Douglas, Redington, and Lamson. We carry this many companies to ensure we have the proper rod that meets your criteria. 

Best Sellers:
Sage R8 Core
R.L. Winston Air 2
Orvis Recon

G. Loomis Asquith
Scott Sector
Sage Salt R8

Hardy Marksman
Scott Centric
R.L. Winston Pure

Orvis Clearwater
Lamson Guru
Redington Crux

This information is merely a brief summary of what goes into selecting a rod for your setup. There’s a lot of information to take in and it can be difficult. All of our staff is more than knowledgeable on all aspects of fly fishing rods and would be happy to make your selection easier. Stop in the shop, give us a call at 303-330-1292, or shoot us an email at and we’d be happy to help. ALL RODS* ship in the US with FREE SHIPPING. 

*One and two piece rods have additional shipping charges due to size of the box.

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