5 driftless rods?

General trout, fishing, conservation, or anything outdoors related discussion. Trip reports and stream conditions welcome, but please do not name streams.
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5 driftless rods?

Post by teach »

Like most of us I'm guessing, I'm always thinking about my next fly rod. I like the idea of waiting for closeouts, sales, and even used rods to obtain them on the cheap, but occasionally I find one and I'm not sure if it's worth it, if I'd use it, if it's the right length, etc. So I got to thinking of making a list of what I want and then I'll know what to buy if I come across a deal. As my kids advance to fly fishing age, I can justify getting a few more (in my mind at least) to "share" with them.

To get to the point, I'm wondering what your 5 preferred rods would be for our SE trout streams. There has been a post or two like this in the past if I remember right, but times change. And I realize some of you have many more than than 5 and some of you probably have less, but if you had to pick 5, what would they be? I'm mostly looking for weights and lengths as there are all sorts of good rod companies and models, but if you want to throw brands and models in, that's fine, too. And I'm thinking for all fishing styles - dries, nymphs, and streamers.

Just for reference, my usual rod is a 9' 3wt, but I used to fish an 8' 4 weight as my go-to that I dust off and use occasionally. I also have a 7'6" 2 wt, an 8'6" 4 wt, and a 5'6" 3 wt which were all deal impulse buys (see above) that I haven't used yet but plan to try out in the next year.

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Re: 5 driftless rods?

Post by dpnoll »

I use a 12' tenkara rod with 12' of line and 3' of # 5 tippet. My favorite is a Tanuki Ninja.

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Re: 5 driftless rods?

Post by High Stick »

9' Sage X in 3 and 4 weight. Winston Boron IIIX in 8 1/2' and 9' in 3 and 4. For bigger stuff I have a Sage One 9' 5 and 6 weight. I used to own some small 0-2 weight rods, but I dumped them online. They were fun little rods, but I never found I used them enough.

I had a chance to fish a buddy's Scott Meridian this summer. Loved it.

It's an eye of the beholder question. That and price point.

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Re: 5 driftless rods?

Post by FlyFisherJoe »

Sage Mod 8’6” 4 weight is all I use these days. Not only does it excel in the Driftless but out west too. Henry’s fork and snake were no problem, even on windier days. Sensitive tip with plenty of backbone. 👍

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Re: 5 driftless rods?

Post by Randy »

I'm a big fan of 9' rods, whether it's a 3,4, or 5wt. I have an 8.5' 5wt that I fish often and still occasionally wish it was 9'. I just like the extra length to get over tall grasses and the feel of the rod when casting. Those 3 aside, I've got a bamboo rod that I rarely fish (but still an awesome rod) that's a 7.5' 5wt and a 10' 3wt that's fantastic for nymphing and does an okay job when you need to switch to dries.

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Re: 5 driftless rods?

Post by TFO5wt »

I'm a Sage guy. I've got a buddy who swears by Winston. I prefer the fast-action of Sage rods, but to echo High Stick, it's a highly subjective thing.

While I've got several other driftless rods (4, 5, and 6 wts), my go to is a 9' 3 wt. Sage One. I mainly fish dry-dropper/hopper-dropper rigs and throw streamers. It does both quite well, and some fairly large/heavy streamers at that. I'm not a fan of fishing bobbers and shot anymore, but it can do that too.

I'd never get another rod shorter than 9' in anything other than fast action 3 or 4 wts for driftless trout fishing. To me 5 rods seems like too big of a quiver. I like a workhorse that can do it all. I don't want to have to contemplate which rod, for what style of fishing, for what I expect to encounter.

On a side note, 6 wts. are great for Western waters. You can still delicately lay out trico spinners to sipping bows' but throw hoppers and streamers at the bank all days as well. Something to consider if that could be the cards for you in the future.
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Re: 5 driftless rods?

Post by TaG »

I am a cheap SOB and my rods reflect that.
9’ 4 wt Cabela’s LST is my primary rod
8’6” 3 wt Cabela’s LST for tight/small stream
9’ 6 wt G-Loomis GLX big water/smallmouth rod (used)

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Re: 5 driftless rods?

Post by brntrout »

I usually nymph fish with rods that are 9', 10' or 11' that are mainly 2 wts. The 11' rod is a euro rod that I use a Rio Euro fly line on that can be cast like a normal fly line, I won't go the mono line route when "fly fishing"! I do use a few different 3 wts for this purpose as well but not real often.

For dry fly fishing rods I use 2 wt. 3 wt. and occasionally a 4 wt rod. The rod lengths are 8 to 9 foot in length. Generally shorter rods are more accurate to cast than longer rods. Longer rods tend to exaggerate the minor casting flaws we all have!

For streamer fishing I use a ECHO 84 6wt. the rod is 8'-4" long and is a specially designed rod for streamer fishing.

Unless you're using tippets that are heavier than 4x you generally don't need heavier line wt. rods. As its the strength of the tippet material that dictates the fish being landed or not, not the line weight of the rod being used.

I have used the same exact rods out west fishing large waters and never had any problem landing trout know matter what size they were. All of my rods are medium fast to fast action, most lean more towards fast. When using light wt. rods they will be less useful if they are NOT faster action rods as they will not be able to deal wind and other angling situations if they have an overly slow action. I own and fish other rods with different actions as well but generally the ones mentioned are the ones I use most often.

As far as brands of rods, I have used just about every brand made at one time or another. IMO it doesn't matter, great casting rods can be found at just about any price range.

As far as what I use for rods they suit me perfectly. So really all one should be interested in is what suits them personally.

It is fun to see what others use for gear as it varies a fair amount!
Last edited by brntrout on Fri Sep 20, 2019 10:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 5 driftless rods?

Post by Cutthroat »

Maybe I'm cheap, but I only own two fly rods. One is a 4 wt for the Driftless and North Shore streams, as well as backcountry lakes/streams out West. The other is a 7 wt for steelhead fishing in the Lake Superior tributaries of Ontario and Minnesota. Both work well for their intended purpose.

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Re: 5 driftless rods?

Post by jrs »

In the past, I got by with a single stream trout rod and I'm sure I could do so again. But there are a lot of quality rods available these days and in a wide variety of weights, lengths, and styles. And it is fun to fish different rods for different stream and fishing conditions. If you take your time and shop around -- used, clearance,, value brands like Echo or Redington, etc -- you can own a handful of rods without breaking the bank

Using your framework of five driftless rods, I'd suggest something like this.

1) all-purpose rod: 9' 3 wt or 4 wt. I use a 9' 3wt Redington Hydrogen.
2) dry fly (and dry / dropper) rod: 8' 3 wt. I use an 8' 4wt St Croix Ultra Legend.
3) streamer rod: 8' or 8.5' 5 wt. I use either the 8' 4wt St Croix or a 9' 5wt Echo Carbon.
4) big water (and small mouth) rod: 9' 6 wt. For big water trout, I use the 9' 5wt Echo Carbon or a 10' 4wt TFO BVK. For smallies, I use an old 9' 6wt Cabela's rod
5) nymph rod: 10' 3 wt. I use a 10' 2wt Echo Shadow II.
Last edited by jrs on Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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