Throughout the year, Gear Institute directors field tested and reviewed scores of fly fishing gear. From those, we’ve rounded up the Best in Class in fly fishing, including the top dry fly rod, top general trout rod, best waders for women, and best wading boots.
Orvis Superfine Glass Fly-Fishing Rod
Dry fly anglers will find the made-in-the-USA Superfine Glass to be a superb rod, especially in rivers where casting distance is less vital than accuracy. Tha said, the Superfine has a strong casting range of up to 40 feet—ideal most small- and medium-sized rivers. The soft butt helps work monster fish, with a supple, slow-action taper. Its fiberglass body does, however, mean that the rod weighs a bit more than its graphite counterparts. Read the full review here.
Redington Vapen Red 590 Fly-Fishing Rod
If the fiberglass body of the Best in Class Orvis Superfine Glass proves too heavy, and slow, than the graphite-based Vaper Red 590 may be perfect. The rod employs a proprietary tech that alternates the wrapping direction of the graphite layers to boost the rod’s casting power while minimizing tip vibration. Traditional anglers might be turned off by the synthetic grip, but they may suck it up after they experience the Vapen Red 590’s fast-action design and the delicacy of the tip flex. Read the full review here.
Patagonia Women’s Spring River Waders
Our female anglers raved about the fit and features of Patagonia revamped wader line-up. Patagonia offers the Spring River waders in a broad size range, ensuring good fit for virtually any female angler. One much-appreciated feature of the Spring River: The ability to lower the top for ventilation without removing the bib straps. Read the full review here.
Patagonia Ultralight Wading Boot – Sticky version
These rubber-soled wading boots provide nearly as much river-traction as traditional felt soles, without the problem of invasive species transport. The Patagonia Ultralights weigh next to nothing, but proved tough, durable and very comfortable in a variety of conditions, including hiking into remote sections of rivers. Read the full review here.