The Best Streamer Fly Rod: 2022 Buyer’s Guide

Lance Wilkins
Lance Wilkins
Editor @ CallOutdoors. Outdoor gear-head and adventure addict. I fish, camp and enjoy to writing about my adventures.

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Streamer fly fishing is one of the most fun ways to catch any kind of fish, particularly big brown trout. 

It makes them attack your fly far more aggressively than if you were using a nymph or dry fly – it’s these heart-racing eats that make it so much fun. 

It’s my favorite way to catch a rainbow or brown and a nice change from the delicate tactics of dry fly and nymphing.

You’re throwing big flies and stripping them in to force an epic eat hopefully from a trophy of 4lbs or more. 

The Best From The Review 

Here are some of the best streamer fly rods from this article:

Top Pick

G. Loomis IMX-PRO

This rod is great for streamers as It can handle animating and lifting a big fly off the water while the tough midsection helps you cast smoothly and is heavy enough for heavier sinking lines.

G. Loomis IMX-PRO

The best all-around setup from the review is the G. Loomis IMX Pro.

It’s a mid-range fly rod that is designed for fishing a streamer that gives you all the distance, accuracy, and fish fighting power you’re going to need for 90% of situations. 

Best Value

Sage Foundation

This more affordable rod was specifically designed for life in freshwater, made with a graphite blank using Graphite IIIe Technology to enhance its energy transfer and backbone.

Sage Foundation

Where value is the main consideration, the Sage Foundation is a good fit. It’s not a budget rod by any means, but it’s not expensive, not by Sage’s standards.

It’s a high-quality rod that has everything you need to fish a larger fly well and it comes with a warranty which is pretty much no questions asked. 

Editor’s Choice

G. Loomis Asquith

The Asquith uses Shimano’s Spiral-X technology that uses carbon tape inside and outside the graphite blank to give you an incredibly strong but light rod that punches above its weight class

G. Loomis Asquith

It has to be the Asquith. 

The design, technology, materials, and components put into it are the best they can be. They come together to create a rod that is stronger, lighter, more accurate, and casts longer distances than others on the market. 

Our Top Fly Rods For Streamers

Top Pick

G. Loomis IMX-PRO

This rod is great for streamers as It can handle animating and lifting a big fly off the water while the tough midsection helps you cast smoothly and is heavy enough for heavier sinking lines.

G. Loomis IMX-PRO

The IMX-PRO is designed in a way that is specific for streamers. 

They put a powerful tip section into the IMX-PRO that can handle animating and lifting a big fly off the water while the tough midsection helps you cast smoothly and is heavy enough for heavier sinking lines. 

It’s made from a light but durable graphite blank. It comes with saltwater ready chrome stripping guides and an aluminum reel seat that will last a lifetime no matter what environment they are in. 

Pinpoint Precision

The IMPX-PRO is deadly accurate at casting a big fly to 45ft and has enough power to put it way out to 60ft, but it does lose it’s accuracy if you try to push it any further. 

When streamer fishing, you’re not going to have to go much past 60ft so this isn’t a big concern. 

Handle With Caution

Some people may find the IMX-PRO a little too fast without enough feel. This really comes down to the angler and how they cast, but it might be tough for a beginner to tame. 

The model below is a 9ft 7wt that is an ideal choice for browns, rainbows, and bass. 

The fast action on this fly rod will help push your lines through the wind and make sure those big flies turn over with accuracy. It’s mid-priced for a G Loomis with the quality and performance you’d expect plus it comes with their solid lifetime warranty. 

Specs

  • Model: IMX790-4
  • Weight: 7 wt
  • Length: 9 ft
  • Flyline: 7/8 wt
  • Action: Fast
  • Pieces: 4
  • Rod Tube: Yes

Pros

  • Light but strong and durable
  • Made from a quality graphite blank
  • Solid chrome stripping guides and aluminum reel seat
  • Great for casting middle distances around 45 ft
  • Very accurate at 45ft
  • Good power for distances of 60ft
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • A little fast without enough feel
  • Loses some accuracy over 60ft

Orvis Helios 3D

The Orvis Helios 3D is made from a covert graphite blank and boasts impeccable accuracy with great reach. it’s one of the best fly rods Orvis has ever made.

Orvis Helios 3D

The Orvis Helios 3D is one spectacular fly rod and if you have tried one yet, make sure you do when you have the chance, it’s one of the best fly rods Orvis has ever made. 

It’s made from a covert graphite blank that reduces glare on the water, one helpful way not to spook any very nervous species when you’re casting.

The rod is light, durable, and comes with titanium guides and an aluminum reel seat that are both exceptionally tough and corrosion-resistant. 

Great Reach

The Helios 3D casts any distance with impeccable accuracy even with a heavy fly on the end.

This means when you’re streamer fishing, you should be able to hit every spot you go for no matter the distance, covering every piece of fishy water you can get your hands on. 

Not only does it cast like a dream but it’s also tough as nails and will easily stop any stubborn creatures like bass or browns from heading for snags that they could break you off in. 

NOTE

The fly rod model chosen below is for light bass fishing or for going for rainbows and browns with. 

Flexible Options

It comes in way more weights though so if you want to up it to a 7, 8, or 9wt, you have the option. 

The Helios 3D is an expensive series of fly rods that suits people who fish a lot, like 60-100 days a year. The downside is the ugly label by the grip rubs some traditionalists up the wrong way. 

Specs

  • Model: 3D 906-4
  • Weight: 6 wt
  • Length: 9 ft
  • Flyline: 6/7 wt
  • Action: Fast
  • Pieces: 4
  • Rod Tube: Yes

Pros

  • An excellent aluminum reel seat
  • Light and durable titanium guides
  • Made from a quality graphite blank
  • Super accurate at all distances
  • Push over 60ft with ease
  • 25-year warranty

Cons

  • Label looks ugly
  • Very expensive

Best Value

Sage Foundation

This more affordable rod was specifically designed for life in freshwater, made with a graphite blank using Graphite IIIe Technology to enhance its energy transfer and backbone.

Sage Foundation

The Foundation is one of Sage’s more affordable rods and was specifically designed for life in freshwater. 

Powerful Blank

It’s made of a powerful graphite blank using Graphite IIIe Technology to enhance its energy transfer and backbone. 

The blank comes in a matte finish and features a powerful butt section to help turn over large flies and also helps pull out any stubborn fish that feel like heading for cover. 

The Foundation comes with an aluminum up-locking reel seat, a cork fore and rear grip, plus Fuji ceramic stripper guides to create a lasting rod..

Well-Balanced

The Foundation fly rods are one lovely rod to cast with. You can really feel what’s going on when you’re casting and the energy transfer from butt to tip is excellent – so you can put a cast up to 70 ft with accuracy. 

It’s quite forgiving to cast with so if you’re a beginner, make sure you give this option a good look. 

Just Right

There really aren’t any downsides to these fly rods but they aren’t quite up there in terms of performance when compared to fly rods like the Helios 3D or the Asquith. 

The model below is a 9ft 6wt, an ideal combo for accuracy, casting length, and going for smaller species.

Specs

  • Model: 691-4
  • Weight: 7wt
  • Length: 9 ft
  • Flyline: 7/8 wt
  • Action: Fast
  • Pieces: 4
  • Rod Tube: Yes

Pros

  • Affordable quality
  • Quality aluminum reel seat and guides
  • Made with a high-quality graphite blank
  • Gives great casting distance and accuracy
  • Quite forgiving to cast with for beginners
  • Powerful butt section for turning over large flies
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Not as high performing as other more expensive rods

Orvis Recon

The Orvis Recon is a great all-around rod thanks to the weight and length and comes with a durable graphite blank and a high-quality, long-lasting reel seat.

Orvis Recon

The Orvis Recon is great for multiple water types, the clue is in the name. 

It’s the first rod in the review that is a bit of an all-rounder thanks to the weight and length as you can use it for fishing both a streamer and nymph, but it is only for smaller species like baby steelhead, rainbows, and browns. 

Long-Range Accuracy

The extra length on the Recon model below allows you to cast distances over 60ft with ease. You’ll cover a lot of water on big rivers or lakes with your streamer. 

Unlike other longer rods, it doesn’t lose its accuracy over distance but holds it together so you can hit your spot with ease. 

The Recon is made from a durable graphite blank and comes with a high-quality reel seat and guides that will stand the test of time. 

Built Different

The blank is tough and it has some great lifting power to handle larger fish of 3-4lbs or more. 

The Recon is a little heavier than other options but that does not make it heavy. 

You’ll still be able to have a long day of fishing without more discomfort than usual. In terms of pricing, it’s Orvis’s mid-ranged option, and it’s worth every penny plus it comes with a 25-year guarantee. 

Specs

  • Model: Recon 105-4
  • Weight: 5 wt
  • Length: 10ft
  • Line: 5/6 wt
  • Action: Fast
  • Pieces: 4
  • Rod Tube: Yes

Pros

  • Extra length for better water coverage
  • Made from a durable graphite blank
  • Solid accuracy over all distances
  • Can push lines over 60ft
  • Quality reel seat and guides
  • Affordable
  • 25-year guarantee

Cons

  • Heavier than other rods
  • Only for smaller species

Redington Classic Trout

Don’t let the price on this rod fool you. It might have a shorter reach but the Redington CT is a durable, lightweight rod that suits all skill levels, all day long.

Redington Classic Trout

The Redington CT is made for fishing for rainbows and browns with all techniques, even using a streamer. 

Durable and Affordable

It’s one incredibly affordable rod, so if you’re after a bargain or don’t fish that often, then make sure to take a hard look at it. 

The CT is made from a durable graphite blank and is Redington’s answer to affordable quality for all plus it still comes with a lifetime guarantee. 

It features a machined reel seat and titanium oxide stripping guides for reduced weight and durability. 

Lightweight

This rod is so light that you’ll be able to cast with it all day long without any fatigue. 

It’s a forgiving rod to cast with that suits all abilities and the medium action gives it a nice feel and will present a dry fly nicely. 

When using a streamer, it has the power to turn over smaller streamer flies of 3 inches or so which is ideal for rainbows and browns, but it will struggle if you go higher. 

Shorter Reach

You can make casts up to 40-50 ft easily and with accuracy but one thing it just doesn’t have is the backbone to make those accurate 60ft casts you might in bigger waters sometimes. It’s also a little light for targeting larger species like bass. 

Overall it’s an awesome streamer rig for small flies and small fish, but it won’t go any further. On the plus side, it’s a great all-around freshwater rod for browns and rainbows. 

Specs

  • Model: 590-4
  • Weight: 5 wt
  • Length: 9 ft
  • Line: 5/6 wt
  • Action: Medium
  • Pieces: 4
  • Rod Tube: Yes

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Medium action for a nice feel
  • Casts forgivingly for all abilities
  • Made from a durable graphite blank
  • Delicate but accurate for casting

Cons

  • Not great for casting distances around 60ft
  • Not as well performing as more expensive rods
  • Light for larger flies and bigger species like bass

Echo Trout

Echo always makes sure they deliver a durable, reliable rod that does as promised and this rod will have you fishing for small freshwater fish in no time, no matter your experience

Echo Trout

Echo always makes sure they are making a rod that does exactly what they say it does, without all the hype.

Freshwater Rod

This rod is made to fish for small freshwater species with a streamer, nymph, or dry fly. 

It’s a nice rod to cast with that’s forgiving for all abilities and you can be sure of accurate casts when pushing up to around 50 ft, – the sweet spot in freshwater fishing. 

Well-Built

It’s made from a high-quality graphite blank and comes with a good reel seat and guides that’ll last and make sure you don’t have any failures on the water thus wasting precious fishing time. 

It does have some solid backbone to turn over a small streamer but it might struggle with larger ones of 4 inches in length.

It is an affordable rod that is priced about right for the quality and performance you’re getting. However, it doesn’t match the performance of other more expensive options. 

Specs

  • Model: TRT-590
  • Weight: 6 wt
  • Length: 9 ft
  • Line: 6/7 wt
  • Action: Medium-fast
  • Pieces: 4
  • Rod Tube: Yes

Pros

  • Good balance of power and action for a range of casting skills
  • Provides delicate accuracy and good casting distances of 50ft
  • Light for fatigue-less casting
  • Made with a high-quality graphite blank
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Not as well performing as higher priced rods

Editor’s Choice

G. Loomis Asquith

The Asquith uses Shimano’s Spiral-X technology that uses carbon tape inside and outside the graphite blank to give you an incredibly strong but light rod that punches above its weight class

G. Loomis Asquith

The Asquith is the king of fly rods and it’s the first rod to come out of the G. Loomis and Shimano collaboration.

It uses Shimano’s Spiral-X technology that uses carbon tape inside and outside the graphite blank to give you an incredibly strong but light rod. 

What this means is you’ll be able to cast with it all day long, without any pain or discomfort. 

Overachiever

You can push your boundaries a bit with the species it’s designed for and unlike with other rods, you can probably catch a bass that should need an 8wt with a 6wt Asquith.

The Asquith has a fast action that provides exceptional power transfer from butt to tip. You can literally land a fly on a plate at any distance using the Asquith and it has the speed and power to turn over a large streamer – even into a strong breeze. 

No fishing spot is outside of your range, and you’ll be able to hit every spot without any concern. 

Quality Material

It comes with top quality titanium guides and an aluminum reel seat that will last a lifetime in saltwater let alone freshwater. 

There really is nothing wrong with this fly rod and it might just be the best one ever made, in my opinion. However, it is very expensive. 

Specs

  • Model: 490-4
  • Weight: 6 wt
  • Length: 9 ft
  • Line: 6/7 wt
  • Action: Fast
  • Pieces: 4
  • Rod Tube: Yes

Pros

  • Spiral-X wrapping gives awesome power transfer
  • Made from an awesome graphite blank
  • Light for fatigue-less all-day casting
  • Effortless long casting distance and accuracy
  • Exceptionally high performance
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Expensive

What Is A Streamer in Fly Fishing?

If you haven’t heard of streamer fishing then you’re probably wondering ‘what is a fly fishing streamer?’. 

A close-up of a bluegill streamer fly being held up
A close-up of a Bluegill Streamer

A streamer fly imitates a baitfish and is therefore quite big, around 3 inches or more in length, so much bigger than a dry fly or a nymph. 

You work a streamer fly by casting it across different water types; rivers, lakes, or sea, and stripping it in as if it was an unsuspecting baitfish waiting to get eaten by whatever predators lie below. 

What is A Streamer Rod? 

A streamer fly rod is a normal single-handed rod that is the right weight and has enough power for streamers.

This means it has enough backbone to cast a big streamer fly over 60-70 ft accurately, which is what you need in order to cover a good amount of water on a big lake, river, or in the sea. 

What Species Can You Catch With A Streamer Fly Rod? 

When streamers fly fishing, you have a diverse range of species to go after as they work on many different water applications. Streamers get their name from trout fishing and are usually used in late fall when all the young baitfish have hatched, to catch hungry fish while they are trying to put on some pounds for winter. 

But, as we now know, a streamer fly is just a baitfish imitation and you can use them to catch pike, musky, bass, stripers, bonefish, snook, and other predatory species. 

This goes for streamer rods too.

 I use the same fly rod to target bass, bonefish, trout, and other species. 

Is a Streamer Rod Necessary? 

The simple answer is yes

If you want to work a streamer properly and with the maximum chance of success you have to make sure you have the right rod to do it with. 

… make sure you have the right rod…

There are a few things to think about when choosing the right rod for streamer fishing though and it comes down to the size of the species you’re after and the size streamer fly you intend to cast. 

What Makes the Best Streamer Fly Rod? 

A good streamer fly rod will be the right weight rod and the right length rod, that can cast your chosen size of baitfish pattern long and accurately.

It will also be able to handle the size of the species you’re intending to catch. 

A rod like this will allow you to use streamers properly and therefore more effectively by covering a good amount of water.

When you hook your chosen species, you’ll be able to land it without any worries. 

Things To Consider When Looking For The Best Streamer Fly Rod

What Are You Fishing For?

The size and type of the species you’re targeting defines the size of the flies you’ll be casting and how much strength your rod needs.

The bigger the fly and the fish, the stronger and more powerful your rod needs to be. 

Crappie on the Ground Next to a Fly Fishing Rod
Crappie on the Ground Next to a Fly Fishing Rod

If you plan on fishing for trout of around 2lbs, you’ll want a lighter rod than for bass of 4lbs, but when musky that reach 15lbs+ are your target, you’ll need a heavier rod to handle them. 

Price Range 

In the world of fly rods, the more you spend, the better performance you’ll get. This doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot to catch fish. The best way of looking at it is to make sure you balance your spending based on how often you fish. 

High-end Rods

If you’re going to use your rod 100+ days a year, then spend as much as you like, as it’ll pay itself off in no time. Plus you’re more likely to notice and want that higher-performing rod due to the amount of time you spend on the water. 

Mid-ranged Rods

If you sit around the 40-60 fishing days a year, then a mid-ranged rod is ideal. 

You’ll still get quality performance but for half the price of the top-end models. 

Budget Options

For those of you who don’t get to go fishing that often, it’s not worth spending $1000 on a rod when you can get one that does the job for under $200. 

Sure it’ll be a drop in performance but you can still get great fly rods in this price range. It’s more about what you do with it than how much it costs. 

Rod Materials 

Fly Fishing Gear on a Boudler at a River
Fly Fishing Gear on a Boulder at a River

Graphite

Graphite rods are by far the most popular with both fishermen and manufacturers as they provide the best performance, castability, and strength while being light and durable

Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber has similar qualities but is used less, probably due to the need for bulk buying one material for production and reducing costs.

Fiberglass

Rods can also be made from fiberglass which is a lot more durable, flexible, and less brittle than graphite or carbon fiber rods – They have a much slower action and are very bendy.

They’re used for delicate presentation or for certain fishing situations, like when you have to hold a fish without your rod breaking. 

TIP

If you want the best material for streamer fishing make sure you pick a graphite rod. It’ll have the backbone and action you need to cast streamers and handle the species you’re trying to catch. 

Weight 

The weight of a rod describes how tough and powerful it is. 

You’ll know that you have to match the weight of your rod with the size of the fish you intend to catch and the size of the fly you intend to throw. The bigger the fish the higher the weight needs to be. 

… you have to match the weight of your rod with the size of the fish you intend to catch

If you’re fishing for small fish like trout then you’ll need a 5/6/7 weight rod.

If it’s bass, upgrade to an 8wt fly rod, and if it’s for pike or musky, you might need a 9wt. Check out my review of the best 9wt fly rod to help you make the right choice.

The weight of your rod will also help you to fish the right line weight. Streamer fishing can have you using both a floating line or a sinking line to get your baitfish pattern deeper in the water.

TIP

A sinking fly line is heavy and you’ll need the right weight rod to cast them properly. 

Length

Picking the right rod length is something else you’ll want to make sure of.

You’ll have an option to choose from a length between 8’8” to 10 feet, but what are the pros and cons of longer/shorter rods? 

The video below goes into detail about what length and weight of rods to use

Streamer Tactics: Rods & Reels

Longer rods allow you to cast further and they can be useful when fishing a streamer. They allow you to stick the rod tip deeper into the water when retrieving so your fly stays deeper. 

Shorter rods are better for accuracy at shorter distances. If you need to place your fly along a mangrove edge at 50 ft, a short rod will help. 

They are also better in terms of lifting power for when you’re fighting stubborn fish. 

Action 

The right action for streamer fishing is fast action

Fast action rods allow you to cast with far more efficiency and power in order to push your casting distance as far as possible. They are also particularly useful when you’re trying to cut through any heavy wind as they create more line speed. 

NOTE

If you’re serious about streamer fishing then make sure you pick a fast rod. 

Winding Up 

The world of fishing with streamers is a diverse one and you need to pick your tool based on what you’re fishing for.

To recap, here are our top 3 winners:

In the end though, it comes down to the model of rod you choose, and I hope this article has given you the direction you needed to make the right choice. If not, 

Here’s a little more advice to help you pick the right one. 

Middle of the Road

If you fish often, like around 60 days a year, and are looking for a rod that performs excellently but don’t want to pay those high-end prices, the IMX Pro is an awesome choice. 

It does everything you’ll need and some more. You can turn over a large fly arcuately at 60ft, punch the wind, and it’s durable as hell 

Tight Budget

If you’re looking for value or are on a budget, you can go for the Redington TC but I’d advise spending a bit more on the Sage Foundation. 

For a few hundred dollars more your performance goes up 1000 times and the range of species you can target doubles too. 

The Foundation is a quality rod that’ll out your flies where they need to be all day long and have the backbone to land some amazing fish, 

Maximum Performance

Where performance is all you want and price doesn’t matter, the Asquith is the rod to choose.

It’s lighter, stronger, and outperforms all the others with ease. You can hit any distance with pinpoint accuracy no matter how large your flies and it’ll handle every species it’s made for like a cakewalk. 

I hope you’ve enjoyed the article and found it useful, please share it with your buddies if they need some help finding the right rod for them too.

Other Helpful Articles

I’ve also written a few other articles you might find useful too, one is about the Best Tarpon Fly Rods available right now and another is how to find the Best Steelhead Fly Rod on the market.

Winter steelhead is upon us and there is no better way to get some time outside in the cold than being by a river chasing some chrome.

(1) Redington Butter Stick by Tom Hart, licensed through Creative Commons 2.0

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Lance Wilkins
Lance Wilkins
Editor @ CallOutdoors. Outdoor gear-head and adventure addict. I fish, camp and enjoy to writing about my adventures.
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