Fly Fishing Trout Tackle

Fly Fishing Trout Tackle is easy to choose if you have the facts.

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Trout live in diverse habitats from tiny mountain streams and spring creeks to huge windy rivers and lakes. Trout range in size from tiny Brookies to monster Kamloops. The food they will consume varies from nearly microscopic insects to chunky crayfish and bait fish. Obviously your tackle should match the conditions.


The selection of a fly rod doesn't have to be confusing to the beginner or laborious to the angler who just wants to keep things simple. Your first rod should be a nine foot #5 weight. You can cover the widest range of situations with this size rod. You will find, however, as your curiosity about fly fishing for trout grows, that the least specialized tackle is not always the most appropriate.

We believe that the second, third and fourth generation graphite rods from Sage, Winston, Scott, St. Croix and Redington all have proven reliability and are easy to cast with. This selection covers a wide range of prices.  By and large you get what you are willing to pay for.

The following can be used as a general reference for size and use selection:

#2 Weight Fly Rods
~ Considered to be ultra, ultra light
~ Highly specialized for fishing tiny flies and very light tippets
~ Great for spooky fish where delicate presentation is the most important factor
~ Makes little fish seem bigger
~ Works best at short to medium ranges with flies under size #16
#3 Weight Fly Rods
~ Considered ultra light
~ Generally fits all the specifications of #2 weight rods for delicate presentation but the larger line mass is easier to time while casting and allows longer casts
~ Comfortable with flies up to size #14
#4 Weight Fly Rods
~ Considered light
~ Very popular size for spring creeks and mountain streams
~ Works well with 2 - 6 pound tippets, and fly sizes #12 to #20
~ Casts comfortably to ranges of 45 feet
#5 Weight Fly Rods
~ Considered medium light
~ One of the most popular sizes for general trout fishing
~ Fishes tippets down to 2 pound test
~ Works well with tippets of 3 to 10 pound test
~ Works well with bushy dries up to size #6 or tiny emergers down to size #20
~ Casts comfortably to ranges of 60 feet with a size #12 fly
~ Feels good with mountain cutthroats or Alaska rainbows (9" to 5 lb.)
#6 Weight Fly Rods
~ Considered medium weight
~ The most versatile size
~ Works well with tippets of 3 to 10 pound test
~ Casts bushy #4 dries to 50 feet easily and is delicate enough to fish flies down to size #18 effectively
~ Will throw #4 cork poppers or deer hair mice
~ Has enough line mass to deliver large weighted nymphs to 60 feet and #10 unweighted flies to 90 feet
#7 Weight Fly Rods
~ Considered medium heavy
~ Useful where windy conditions prevail
~ Useful where exceptionally large flies are used
~ Useful where trout over five pounds are normal
~ Works poorly with tippets under 5 pound test
~ Works best with tippets of 6 to 12 pound test
~ Works best with flies #2 to #14
~ Has enough line mass to deliver #6 fly to the length of the fly line
#8 Weight Fly Rods
~ Considered heavy
~ Very useful where trout average 6 to 15 pounds
~ Will cast the largest trout flies
~ Compatible with the heaviest trout tippets
~ The best choice for very windy conditions
~ Will cast to the longest ranges
Nymph Rods
~ Long rods are best for line control
~ Light weight rods are best for sensitivity
~ 10' - #4 to #6 weight (our choice)
Dry Fly Rods
~ Casting accuracy prime factor
~ Smooth fast action
~ Delicate presentation
You can learn even more about hundreds of models of - Fly Rods.
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The reel should balance in weight with the fly rod and make the whole outfit feel comfortable. Reels that are too heavy or too light are a distraction that can effect your casting and add to fatigue. Generally short rods balance better with lighter weight reels and longer rods with heavier ones.

Big trout love to backlash "first-cousin-to-the-tomato-can" fly reels. A backlash will end every fight in the trout's favor. Reels must be backlash-free at the lowest drag setting you will use. Disk drags are useful when using tippet sizes above the 4 pound test. However most disk type drags have too much inertial startup pressure at the lowest setting for fine tippets. Click-pawl type drag systems usually have the lowest inertial startup pressures.

Every reel should hold a minimum of 75 yards of backing. You won't need it for the average fish but you will need it for every fish of over 4 pounds. All of the appropriate size reels listed in have passed the brute trout test many times.

Well made, machined fly reels can be fine examples of craftsmanship.   Some are functional art work.  The best are functional jewelry.  Check out our selection of the worlds finest Fly Reels.
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Fly Lines

A clean fly line in good repair is essential to good line handling and performance. All Cortland 555, LazzerLines, 444 and 444SL fly lines, as well as Scientific Anglers Ultra and Mastery Series and Wulff fly lines are great. Bright colored fly lines are great for fishing nymphs but can hinder your presentation to spooky fish in clear water. Be sure to select the right weight line to balance your rod.

Check out - Choosing the Right Fly Line
Or go to the
Fly Line Section.
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Leaders and Tippet Material

If you carry a complete selection of tapered leaders and fresh tippet material and have learned to tie good knots, your guide will have more time to spot fish for you. Knotless tapered leaders from Climax, Scientific Anglers and Umpqua are all proven. 

If you would like to learn about different brands of leaders, go to - Fly Leaders.

If you would like to build your own leaders or have a better understanding of tapered leader design, check out - About Fly Leaders.
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