Confused on fly rod sizes

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Akuriko, Apr 1, 2014.

  1. Hello, I am kinda confused on the fly rod sizes, i was told 5 to 6 weight on a creek i fish but so far i havn't seen the need to get a shorter rod, Yet reading the Orvis Guide To Small Stream Fly Fishing by Tom Rosenbauer says anything shorter then 7.5 feet is a pain in the backside, so what is the recommendation on lakes, rivers, streams and so forth 8.5 and higher? i been trying to justify buying a 5 footer and a 6 footer and a 6.5 footer, some Input on rod sides would be much appreciated, I been told there is a application for those smaller rods but so far where i am at there is no applications for them.

    The other thing i am confused is the fly line size, i know a 5 wt matches to a 5 wt rod but Tom Rosenbauer says you can go 1 to 2 lines higher or lower, is this true?

    The other bother or confusion i have is the applications for said fly rods, i know the 5 or 6 wt is all purpose, and a 4 wt isn't bad but what is the others used for? 1-3 wt for very tiny tiny hand or palm size trout? that confused me? some say small salmon or small mouth bass go with a size 7 wt, But some say for salmon and steel head don't go above a 10 wt. Can someone try to exsplain what fish is for what wt fly rod?

    dfl likes this.
  2. IMO <3wt is small trout 3-4 is small to medium trout. 5-6 is medium to larger trout or smaller salmon. 7-8 is small to medium salmon. 9 or larger is large salmon. Not to say that there is mixing. I've caught really nice trout on my 3 wt, and nice coho on my 5 too. It really depends on the strength of the rod in my opinion.

    As far as lines go, depends on the rod. You can overline or underline usually about one line weight comfortably.

    The shorter rod is an advantage when you're fishing places where you don't have a lot of casting room. And for lakes I like to have a longer rod, 8.5 ft or longer preferred.
  3. there's a certain amount of "personal preference" in conjunction with application. I use (nearly exclusively) an 8' 4 weight rod with 4 weight line. I can fish nearly all the places I fish with the rod... Of course, I own an arsenal of rods but like this one the best. However, that said, I wouldn't use that rod for steelhead or salmon. If it were a small stream I could still (maybe) get by but, a smaller (7.5') could be more advantageous. Personally, I don't over line a rod. no reason if you have a matched line.... & not all lines are created equal... some 4 weight lines perform much more to my liking than other lines.
  4. I'll just comment on the short rod part of your question. If you fish any brush covered creeks such as we have here in NE Washington and northern Idaho a rod that is longer than you are tall can be not only a real pain in the ass but almost useless. Small stream fishing for modestly sized fish is an absolute blast as long as you match your gear to the conditions. There is a good reason why spey rods aren't suitable for creeks.

    After years of neglect and contempt short fly rods are finally starting to be produced. Buy one and enjoy it. And beware of totalitarian statements like "anything shorter than 7.5' is a pain in the backside". I call BS on that remark.

  5. Thanks i kept looking at a 5 foot or 6 foot rod, I thought they looked intresting and fun, I was hoping to get one but untill i find a stream to fish in it i am stuck with rivers, creeks and lakes, lol, Hoping to change that when i move. :D
  6. I would say the remark from Tom might be out of context.

    On a lake, anything short of 9' would be a pain in the backside, especially fishing out of a float tube.

    Anyway fly rod weight has more to do with the size of the fly being casted. If you are throwing half a chicken on sh, a 6 wt is not going to get the job done
    As you go higher in weight you also lose the tippet protection. a 6wt is not the ideal rod for 7x tippet and size 20 dries, you will break off or be gingerly playing a large fish.

    That being said targeting steelhead with a 3wt is not ethical or wise, however I know of guys who have landed them using 10'3 and sometimes 10'2 wts as bycatch when nymphing.

    As for rod length using a 9ft rod in some small streaks is a pain in the ass, a 7.5 or shorter is usually good for creeks and small streams.
    dfl and Jim Darden like this.
  7. Maybe you should sit down and read about what you are getting yourself in for. Listening to a bunch of people here can get confusing. They'll have you running around in several different ways before you are through. Or go to a fly shop and tell them you are somewhat new to this sport and have them try to explain what the differences in the length of the rods and the weight of the fly line you could be using. This probably doesn't make any sense, but it could work.
  8. Definitely ask a fly shop, and see if they will loan you a setup for the fishing you plan to do. This may cost a small amount, but you can decide what you think before you spend hundreds on gear. If Iived nearby I'd love to meet up and show you some gear, and maybe some other WFF people would consider...
  9. If you can make it to ellensburg on April 12 there is an event at red's fly shop all day where you can get some hands on time with a bunch of rods and there will be casting classes as well. May be something to look into.
    Kyle Smith likes this.

  10. Thanks i will try to look into it asap. :) depends also on my schedule too. :)
  11. I was wondering if your confusion is due lack of definition. You say rod size, but refer to both weight and length in a way that seems like you think they are interchangable.
    You start by saying that a 5-6 weight is what was recommended on the water you fish , but then say that you haven't found a need for a shorter rod. And you say you've thought buying a 5,6,and 6.5foot rods. But you don't mention the weights of said future purposes.
    You can buy just about any rod in a multitude of configurations. Weight refers to how stiff a rod is which gives the rod its fish fighting/casting range and power. A higher weight will help you bigger fish and cast bigger flies further.
    Rods range in size from about 0-15, with the 00 being very small trout in very small water, and the 15would be an all out marlin rod.
    Within these weights there are various lengths. For single hand rods the standard is usually about 9ft but tighter quarters may mean you'll want a shorter rod for traditional casting. But with different techniques like nymphing, where a back and forth flycast is not used a longer rod may be wanted even in tight quarters.
    I hope this helps, it sounds like your just getting into it all so don't think too hard about it. For almost any small to medium trout steam all you need to start is a 9foot 5weight. So go with the simplest setup because you'll likley not use it much once/if you start getting into flyfishing and buying more specific rods.

    Here's some examples in my arsenal.
    7.5ft 3wt for small trout on small water
    10.5 4wt trout nymphing, extra length helps present flies better directly in front of you
    9ft 5wt my first setup, loaner for friends
    9.5 6wt larger trout rivers, coastal trout and small salmon on windy beaches
    9ft7wt corrosion resistant hardware. Go to salmon rod.
    10ft 8wt steelhead and salmon in rivers
    9ft 9wt musky/lingcod/other largish fish.
  12. i was curious on what classifys as a small trout stream rod it doesnt make sense, like a 1-3 thats not 9 foot is it for small trout streams and small trout that looks like frylings?

  13. Put this as simply as possible.

    The smaller the river or the shorter the cast the shorter the rod that is needed. longer rods are sometimes desirable for lake fishing. Also rods longer than 9 ft are typical but not necessary for steelheading applications.

    9' 5 wt is a standard trout rod capable of most presentations in most places . it excels at nymph fishing, fishing out of a drift boat and for throwing large stonefly and hopper patterns
    4 wt rods are great for dry flies up to about a size 8 maybe 6
    3wts are for smaller fish up to say 15 inches
    2-0 wt are for very small fish up to 10 inches

    6wts are good for nymph and streamer fishing with some applications towards big dry flies. stouter 6wts can be used for summer steelheading and for fishing over very large trout such as in Alaska

    7wts are for summer steelhead and for serious streamer fishing for large trout often with sinking lines

    8wts are good for summer and winter steelhead and smaller salmon. pinks, sockeyes and coho up to about 12 lbs

    9wts are good for winter steelhead especially in tight quarters or larger fish they are also good for smaller chums and chinook

    10 wt good for very large steelhead chums and chinook

    5's 6's 7's 8's and 9's have applications for bass fishing
    3's and 4's can be used for pan fish
    in salt water

    6's 7's and 8's and sometimes 9's are used for Bonefish and snook
    9's and 10's are used for Permit
    10's -12's are used for dorado and Tarpon

    12's-14's are used for Billfish.
  14. Actually, I have a 16 - 17 wt. fly rod that I shoot pool with.:) But I decided to employ it for tuna this summer just for the heck of it. Otherwise it just sits and gathers dust. I received it as a gift from my brother who thought I needed a rod for "bigger" fish. I usually use a 14 wt. for billfish but my go to rod for "bigger fish" is a 12 wt. And yes, I have a large variety of sizes and lengths down to 3 wt. for small streams and trout. My "go to" rod is a 9 ft. 4 wt. Sage LL for most applications of fresh water fishing to larger trout such as the Deschutes in Oregon. I use 5 or 6 wt. rods for the salt up to an 8 wt. for salmon and steelhead but I got into spey fishing several years ago and that's a different ballgame entirely, as most of you already know. I just received a new spey rod, 13'3" 8 wt. for surf and jetty fishing. It casts like a cannon but I haven't been down to the ocean to try it out yet.
    Travis Bille likes this.
  15. To me a small stream/creek is skinny water that is 5 to 15 feet wide and wadeable. Some that come to mind are Pilchuck Creek, Jim Creek, West Fork Foss river, Upper Sauk river.
  16. I don't think there is one rod that can do it all. The size of the stream, wind, and are the bushes tall, small on the ground. I have a 2wt and 4wt. One is 7ft other is 7'6". I am going to get a 6foot. Also depends on the size fly I am going to be using. I do fish fiberglass rods and I think with them you can go a line or two, up or down and the rod still will cast well. With graphite is believe it is harder.
    Kent Lufkin likes this.

  17. Thank you for that info it makes total sense. :)
  18. John's exactly right for the same reason that there isn't just one golf club that does it all.

    If all you did was fish a single spot, then yes, there's probably no need to buy other rods.

    But if you fish big Western rivers for anadromous fish, small streams for trout, beaver ponds and lakes for spiny rays, and salt water for SRCs or bonefish, you're gonna need one or more rods for each of those situations. Plus, each one of those rods will need a matching reel along with several spools to hold different types of line.

    A single rod is just the thin end of the wedge that ends up separating you from your money.

  19. For me i am fishing for mostly trout, and steelhead and salmon, we have bass small and large problem is they come up in our lakes in the summer time only.
  20. Old days we all used an 8" 5 or 6wt for everything.
    dfl and Jim Darden like this.

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