Fly Rod Manufacturers – Guide to Popular Brands

Jeff
| Last Updated April 14, 2021

There are several fly rod and reel manufacturers on the market today, whether available in local stores or online.

However, not all of them produce what you’re looking for, and it may be daunting to find the ideal product for your purposes.

Today, we’ll look at some of the best manufacturers and what they specialize in.

Manufacturers of Fly Rods

We know you may not have time to read through our entire article. Here’s a quick overview of the brands we’re covering.

Fly Rod Manufacturers

Specializes In

Cabelas

Medium-to-fast action fly rods

Orvis

Affordable, modern designs

Sage

Fly rods with durability and power

Winston

Smooth casting and fast action rods

Redington

Versatility for catching a large range of fish

Fenwick

Professional sports fly fishing

Scott and St. Croix

Medium-range fly fishing

Simms

Outstanding gear and equipment

Temple Fork

Pro rods for specific fish

G. Loomis

Lightweight, sturdy designs

Patagonia

Fly fishing video tutorials

Sitka

Tours and guides

Fishpond

Professional fly fishing registration

Tibor

Signature reels with exceptional performance

Hatch

Multi-drag reels with minimal weight

Bauer

Reels for large-arbor fishing

Loon

Tackle and tying kits

Buff

Head and handwear

Graplrz

Gear and decals

Korkers

Fly fishing boots

Nautilus

Reels with unique drag system

Abel

Anodized reel design

Echo

Affordable reels with exceptional power

Ross

Versatile and durable reels

Cabelas

Cabela is a brand that’s been around for a few years, with an online store that also sells other popular fly rod names on the market. Most of its rods are 96% graphite blank, while it has a Prestige series with a Tiger Maple seat. 

If you aim for higher-end rods, you’ll receive a decent warranty, too.

Advantages

  • Also sells other brands in online store

  • Medium to fast action fly rods

  • Most rods include Cordura case

Disadvantages

  • Additional accessories sold separately

  • Price-to-value seems mismatched

  • Limited range of colors and materials

Best For

If you’re familiar with the Bass Pro Shops, you’ll more than likely know the Cabelas name. Its fly rods are best suited for those seeking medium to fast action, but you’ll need to purchase other accessories online before you can start your fly fishing experience. 

For the best range, have a look at the Prestige series.

Orvis

Charles F. Orvis started his retail business in 1856 when he began selling fishing tackle. While it’s extended to clothing, luggage, and dogs, the company’s outdoor equipment shines about the rest. 

Today, you’ll enjoy quality fly rods that many consider value for money. You can find the products online or in any of the U.S. and U.K. stores.

Advantages

  • Excellent versatility and accuracy

  • Outstanding value for money

  • Includes alignment dots for fast assembly

Disadvantages

  • Purchasing the components separately could be cheaper

  • Some rods are slightly stiff for veterans

  • Standard 25-year warranty not applicable to all rods

Best For

Orvis rods are best known for their modern fly reel design that continues to evolve over time. While it may be more affordable to buy the different parts and build the fly rod from scratch, several combos are ideal for beginners.

Sage

The company started its roots in 1980 with Don Green and Bruce Kirschner at the helm. It began with a vision to establish the best performing fly fishing components worldwide. 

With world-class innovation, it joined forces with several rod companies to revolutionize fly fishing for beginners and experts.

Advantages

  • Provides best graphite rods on the market

  • Excellent durability and power

  • Includes lifetime warranty

Disadvantages

  • Not all rods are available at retail stores

  • Some rod tips are too stiff

  • Loses sensitivity at 30 ft or less

Best For

Sage fly rods are exceptional for veterans who are looking for durability and power. If you’re fishing in extremely windy conditions, these products have outstanding graphite material and accuracy to help combat the elements.

There are also a few starter kits for beginners who want to get their fingers wet in shallow waters.

Winston

With a more recent beginning in 1929, the name ‘Winston’ comes from the formation of the two founders' names, Lew Stoner and Robert Winther. It earned a reputation for its bamboo fly rods, pushing them into the arena of performance and excellence.

While the company has changed ownership a few times over the decades, you’ll still find quality material and accuracy.

Advantages

  • Exceptional quality fly rods

  • Smooth casting

  • Soft tips for fast action

Disadvantages

  • Steep prices compared to competitors

  • Doesn’t perform well in windy conditions

  • Loses accuracy over greater distances
  • Best For

    Winston fly rods are what you’d call a pleasant surprise. While you should steer clear from windy conditions, you’ll have a smooth casting and fast action thanks to the soft tips. 

    Maybe aim for the heavier rods if you plan on taking your fly fishing experience seriously.

    Redington

    While Redington isn’t as well known as the other fly rod manufacturer’s on our list, that doesn’t make them any less exceptional. Started as recently as 1992, it strives to bring quality and performance to your time spent at the water. 

    Another one of its objectives is to provide high performance at an affordable price. 

    Advantages

    • Includes lifetime warranty for most fly rods

    • Crisp, powerful delivery

    • Exceptional sensitivity and line control

    Disadvantages

    • Some of the high-end rods are too costly

    • A few outfit reels are slightly too small for serious fishing

    • Most carry cases lack shoulder straps

    Best For

    The Redington range has excellent versatility, granting you the ability to hunt for a range of fish. It’s ideal for beginners with its crips and powerful delivery, making your life easier with the line control.

    In most cases, beginner rods are more affordable than the competitors. You can grab rod outfits that have preloaded reels for easy assembly.

    Fenwick

    Fenwick fly rods aren’t as popular as some of the other names you’ve come across, but there are some quality products in its portfolio. With a formation in the 1940s, its product line targeted soldiers who wanted a simple fishing life after the war.

    There are some stunning designs, from the traditional blanks to gloss-brown finishes. Fenwick experiments with various components and tools to find innovative ways to improve the fly fishing experience.

    Advantages

    • Includes 5-year warranty

    • Beautiful finishes on a few fly rods

    • Some products have a double-foot snake guide

    Disadvantages

    • Not as popular as competitors

    • Alignment lines and dots not always accurate

    • A few fly rods lack the center mark for the sliding ring

    Best For

    Fenwick fly rods are ideal for veteran anglers worldwide who know how to master the reels and waters in any environment. Beginners might struggle with the setup, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start with one of the lower-end products.

    If you’re into sports fishing, there are few fly rods in the range that have specialized accessories for select activities.

    Scott and St. Croix

    St. Croix fly rods started appearing in 1948, with the Scott range only forming in 1973. Scott was the first brand to ever see the 5-piece graphite fly rod, with competitors following fifteen years later. In 1956, the first telescopic range saw St. Croix introduce the 3-piece-travel fly rod. 

    With both brands making a name in the industry, Scott and St. Croix are in constant competition with Orvis for the best fly rods on the market.

    Advantages

    • Extremely versatile range of rods

    • Exceptionally responsive and sensitive

    • Stunning grips and cosmetics

    Disadvantages

    • Some rods would be better with heavier guides

    • High-end heavier rods are pricey

    • Many products have a slow line speed

    Best For

    The Scott and St Croix range of rods are better suited for medium-range fishing, as long-distance casting can be problematic and they suffer accuracy for shorter distances. However, you can get an ideal aim at around 45 ft while it's best suited for trout fishing.

    Simms

    John Simms started his small business in 1980 who wanted to expand the waders industry. It was only in 1993 when K.C. Walsh acquired the brand that the company expanded into fly fishing. 

    Walsh grew up with a family passionate about the field, which shows in the product quality and range. Whether you’re into waders or fly fishing, the performance and durability speak for themselves.

    Advantages

    • Extensive range of accessories and gear

    • Reel cases in single and double reel combos

    • Durable material for warm and cold weather

    Disadvantages

    • More extensive focus on gear than rods

    • Questionable value for money

    • Few models compared to competitors

    Best For

    The Simms range is ideal for anglers who are looking for some of the best gear, equipment and carry cases. While there are also fishing rods available, you’re better off looking at the other brands listed in our fly rod manufacturers’ review.

    Temple Fork

    Known as Temple Fork Outfitters, or TFO, the company offers both fly and conventional rods with more of a focus on the former. It provides stock to several dealers across the U.S., presenting an online store if you want to order directly from them.

    Some of its top-quality ranges include Series I, Professional, Finesse, and the Jim Teeny brand. The legendary Lefty Kreh designed the TiCr range that delivers fast and powerful action.

    Advantages

    • Excellent performance and value

    • Lifetime warranty

    • Outstanding selections for specific fish species

    Disadvantages

    • Some products have low durability

    • Warranty only covers a few defects

    • Stiffness may negatively impact fishing for beginners

    Best For

    The TFO product ranges aren’t as versatile as some other brands, so you’ll need to select the correct type for the fish you want. The rods may be challenging for some beginners, especially where there’s excessive stiffness.

    G. Loomis

    This brand started in 1982 in the State of Woodland Washington. It began with rod blanks for resale purposes, moving over to customized fly rods and then shifting to private rod companies.

    If you’re an avid angler, you may recognize some of their top models. These products include the entry-level Phase One series, Stream Dance, Classic Fly, and the Cross Current Saltwater.

    Advantages

    • Extremely lightweight designs

    • Powerful delivery with Conduit Core Technology

    • Best quality rods among competitors

    Disadvantages

    • Loses accuracy over longer distances

    • A few rods have minimal feedback

    • Highly-specialized models are challenging to use

    Best For

    If you ask any fishing guide about the best fly rod manufacturers, the chances are that they will mention G. Loomis. It has an extensive range for beginners, while it isn’t shy about producing rods for veterans, too.

    Thanks to the lightweight, sturdy design, you can spend several days at the lake without any defects appearing.

    Patagonia

    Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia’s founder, has put a lot of effort into teaching anglers the finer techniques of fly fishing. Having spent many years by rivers and lakes, he’s taken his experience to create his set of unique equipment.

    The product range mostly targets beginners, as do the books and videos. 

    Advantages

    • Handles water depths extremely well

    • Lightweight design for comfort

    • Numerous fly rod technique videos and books

    Disadvantages

    • Doesn’t hold up against popular brands

    • Not suitable for heavy-duty fishing

    • Only suitable for specific conditions and locations

    Best For

    If you’re looking for starter kits or nothing fancy, Patagonia’s fly rods are ideal for you. Some gadgets will satisfy more experienced anglers, but the primary goal is simplicity and enjoyment of the outdoors.

    Sitka

    This fly rod manufacturer looks at the whole outdoor fishing experience, providing tours and guides for anglers at the Sitka lakes and rivers. Less known than many of the brands on our list, it’s challenging to find much information on its rods.

    However, there’s plenty of details on the clothing, accessories, and gear. 

    Advantages

    • Provides tours, lodgings, and guides

    • Delivers exceptional gear for all weather conditions

    • Designed for colder climates

    Disadvantages

    • Reserved for Sitka fishing conditions

    • More extensive focus on gear and tours

    • Very little information about fly rods

    Best For

    If you’re visiting Sitka, you can bring your own rods for some fly fishing in the popular waters. However, you can also buy any of the branded equipment during the trips or at the lodgings. 

    Of course, there’s nothing wrong with taking the fly rod with you to your favorite destination elsewhere.

    Fishpond

    With a company based in Colorado, Fishpond focuses on designing fly rods that have excellent versatility and design. The headquarters is in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, surrounded by plenty of water for fishing.

    What sets this company apart is that they offer professional association and training for fly fishing anglers. 

    Advantages

    • Professional association for fly fishing anglers

    • Fly rod dealers available worldwide

    • Fishpond packs are ideal for weekends away

    Disadvantages

    • Requires specialized 4-way connection system

    • No extensive variety in rod models

    • Limited specifications for durability and function

    Best For

    Fishpond rods cater to anglers taking up the professional association application. Not many anglers have provided much experience with its equipment thus far, aiming for the more well-known brands available.

    However, with so many dealers available worldwide, mostly in North America, you’re bound to find one in a local store.

    Tibor

    If you’re looking for an exceptional reel to go with your new fly rod, you can’t go wrong with Tibor. It has one of the top reel designs in the world, which has evolved since the brand’s formation in 1975.

    The founders were dissatisfied with the corrosion and uneven action of drag systems when the idea came to revolutionize the reel design. By conquering these challenges, Tibor rose to become the highest-quality provider of fly rod reels to this day.

    Advantages

    • Top brand for fly rod reels

    • Provider of signature reels with exceptional performance

    • Outstanding retrieval rate

    Disadvantages

    • Drag consists of high start-up inertia

    • Expensive reels compared to market

    • Some products are quite heavy for fly rods

    Best For

    Tibor is exceptional for finding quality reels for your fly rod. You’ll need to find the right weight for your rod so that it doesn’t interfere with your experience.

    If you have enough funds, you should aim for one of the signature reels taking the world by storm.

    Hatch

    Hatch is another hot contender for the top reels for fly rods. With a multi-disc design, the manufacturer attempts to improve drag while eliminating heat distribution.

    Thanks to the design, you have several options available for any number of fly rod sizes. Fortunately, numerous outlets stock this brand due to its popularity.

    Advantages

    • Multi-disc drag reels

    • Eliminates heat distribution over surfaces

    • Minimal reel weight design with significant stopping power

    Disadvantages

    • Drag range doesn’t always tighten enough

    • The 7-disc reels are heavy

    • Lacks drag strength for 10-weight lines

    Best For

    The multi-disc design lets you choose the reel that suits your fly rod. Opt for a small disc number for lightweight rods, or go for the heavy 7-disc reel if your equipment can handle it.

    The reels are suitable for beginners and experts in the fly fishing field, as long as you know what you’re doing.

    Bauer

    Bauer stepped into the fly rod reel-development world in 1995 when it designed the first large-arbor reels in the fly fishing industry. It won several awards, presenting a drag clutch with no backlash.

    Since then, the design has evolved into different models and features, with few competitors matching its performance. 

    Advantages

    • Stunning design

    • Zero backlash with the revolutionary drag clutch system

    • Excellent drag strength

    Disadvantages

    • Line pick up can be slow at times

    • Drag adjustments could improve

    • Quite costly compared to competitors

    Best For

    With a design for large-arbor fishing, you’re more than likely to use Bauer reels for massive fish, such as trout. It features an excellent retrieve rate, no matter the weight you’re aiming towards at your favorite angling spot.

    You’ll also enjoy the Bauer reel range for the drag consistency and a constant spool diameter.

    Loon

    With a massive focus on fly fishing tackle and accessories, Loon Outdoors started in 1991. Based in Oregon, USA, the company consists of only three employees supported by an extensive community.

    It also shows an impressive concern for the planet with its nature conservation efforts and donation campaigns. 

    Advantages

    • Excellent range of fly fishing accessories

    • Outstanding reputation for fly tying kits and UV hardeners

    • Competitive prices

    Disadvantages

    • Most products lack instruction details

    • Only suitable for knowledgeable anglers

    • Limited shipping areas

    Best For

    If you’re a fly fishing angler who knows exactly what you’re looking for, Loon has many accessories that will suit your needs. Its tackle and tying kits have exceptional reputations, and there are few items that it doesn’t stock to complete your fishing set.

    Buff

    Buff is probably best known for its series of headwear, which was originally designed for bikers. Today, you can sport some headgear and finger protectors while out by the waters catching some fish.

    Started in 1991 by a Spanish motorcyclist, Buff’s products span 70 countries covering several different industries, only one of which is fly fishing.

    Advantages

    • Exceptional protection from adverse weather

    • Strong material to protect your hands

    • Diverse range of colors and materials

    Disadvantages

    • General focus leads to limited options

    • No extensive experience in the fly fishing industry

    • Texture and product list based on popularity

    Best For

    Buff’s products are best for protection from the sun and strong winds or sprays. The hand equipment is outstanding, ensuring that the lines and reels don’t cut your skin. 

    However, product availability depends on what trending in your area.

    Graplrz

    Graplrz has a series of eyewear by the same name, with an attachment that loops around your head to keep it in place. It also provides headwear to protect you from the sun, while you’ll also spot some excellent decals that look like trophy mounts.

    Several U.S. dealers provide Graplrz stock, including apparel for various parts of your body.

    Advantages

    • Variety of headwear and apparel

    • Includes decals for different tastes

    • Dealers are available throughout the U.S.

    Disadvantages

    • Brand not as well known as competitors

    • No items that relate to fly fishing equipment

    • Limited company information available online

    Best For

    This manufacture of fly fishing gear and decals breathes new life in the color and texture you’ll take with you when you head to the lake. While Graplrz doesn’t craft any rods, tackle, or equipment, its passion for the sport is undeniable.

    Korkers

    Sherman Smith began Korkers more than sixty years ago when he watched workers move timber down a river, struggling to grab a foothold on the ground under the water. It would spark a company that specialized in water boots, leading to some of the best footwear for fly fishing.

    While it provides boots for work and outdoor life, it has a specific section for fishing that caters to footwear and soles, while adding some accessories and components to the mix.

    Advantages

    • Lightweight and versatile for different conditions

    • Holds to slipper rocks with strong traction

    • High-quality construction and material

    Disadvantages

    • Rear sole tends to wear quicker than the rest of the boot

    • Interchangeable soles may be challenging to use

    • Some boots aren’t durable enough to last in icy conditions

    Best For

    You’ll want to grab some Korkers when you’re wading through deep and muddy waters during your fly fishing trips. They are extremely versatile, making them suitable for rocky surfaces, too. 

    Nautilus

    Nautilus’ mission statement makes it clear that it intends to design the world’s best fly reel. With a massive community following, anglers love the unique appearance and action of the disc drag system.

    It revolutionized the industry when it replaced the standard rulon and cork drag systems with its graphite versions.

    Advantages

    • Unique disc drag system

    • Quick action and line pickup

    • Exceptional ergonomics

    Photo credit: flylordsmag.com

    Disadvantages

    • Bulky design for heavier rods

    • Requires several drag knob turns

    • Challenging drag adjustments

    Best For

    Thanks to the heavy design, you’ll want to use Nautilus reels for sturdier fish, such as trout, bass, and panfish. Of course, if you head for the XL Max range, you can also aim for bonefish, pike, tarpon, and dorado.

    Of course, you’ll need to pack a heavy rod to be able to deal with the weight of these reels.

    Abel

    Founded as recently as 1988, Abel is recognized as one of the top fly fishing reel manufacturers in the U.S. What sets it apart is its hand-anodized finish, crafted by engineer Steve Abel in the early 1980s.

    While the series was designed with saltwater fishing in mind, the latest models include freshwater adventures.

    Advantages

    • Exquisite design and appearance

    • Massive drag system and response
    • Unique anodized finish that sets it apart from the competition

    Disadvantages

    • Unique concept comes at a high price

    • Some products suffer from tiny spools

    • The startup inertia may be challenging for beginners

    Best For

    Abel’s reel selections are ideal for salt- and freshwater fly fishing. While it has impressive drag, you’ll also enjoy the appeal of the colors, appearance, and texture.

    If you’re a beginner, you may struggle with the startup inertia, so start with one of the starter reels.

    Echo

    Tim Rajeff started the fishing of Echo as a small business for fly fishing enthusiasts, which is run by angler folk in Vancouver today. The company producers single- and double-handed fly rods with a large assortment of reels.

    Not satisfied with only providing equipment, it also offers online videos for fly fishing beginners and veterans.

    Advantages

    • Excellent ratio of price to value

    • Delivers sufficient power under windy conditions

    • Outstanding quality and durability

    Disadvantages

    • The delicate presentation doesn’t suit small, dry flies

    • Loses power and accuracy over 45 ft.

    • Reels have limited drag setting range

    Best For

    You’ll love fly fishing with Echo rods and reels under calm and slightly windy conditions, but you may want to steer clear when the weather turns bad. There are exceptional starter kits available if you’re only beginning on this wonderful journey.

    Ross

    You may recognize Ross reels with the Colorado state emblazoned on many of its products. It’s been in business for more than 20 years, with a variety of designs and prices available for starter and expert anglers.

    On the top of its range is the Evolutions Series, which features most of its top designs for varying drag levels to suit all situations

    Advantages

    • Variety of different drag systems

    • Extremely durable and versatile

    • Impressive range of light and heavy designs

    Disadvantages

    • High prices compared to some competitors with the same value

    • Challenging spool release system that can be simplified

    • Some products are limited in color choice

    Best For

    If you’re looking for versatility and durability in your fly reel, Ross may just be the product line you need.

    You’ll find varying degrees of weight, while the reels have outstanding drag performance. 

    Factors to Consider When Choosing a Fly Rod

    Before you go ahead and jump into buying rods from any of the above manufacturers, there are some factors you need to keep in mind. Let’s take a look at some of them now.

    Decide Which Fish You’re Aiming For

    The first aspect you need to consider is which fish you plan on catching. Some rods and reels have lightweight designs and can’t handle heavy species. Furthermore, you can’t use a freshwater fishing rod for saltwater fish.

    Ability to Withstand Different Weather Conditions

    Will you be fishing at a calm lake on a sunny day, or spending the weekend with stormy weather. Not all rods have a design that’s durable to withstand strong winds and heavy rain. The last thing you want is for the wind to snap your rod in half.

    Understanding How Fly Rod Action Works

    Generally, there are three types of fly rods. Each one has a different purpose and function, which we’ll briefly assess here:

    • Fast action/tip-flex: long casts, windy weather, less demanding on the body, challenging for beginners.

    • Medium action/mid-flex: most versatile, performs well in all weather conditions, easier for beginners.

    • Slow action/full-flex: extremely flexible, ideal for beginners, suitable for one-hand fishing, very forgiving, ideal for small fishing streams.

    How Line Weight Affects Fly Rods

    Fly lines are measured in grains. It begins at one for ultralight and ends with above 14 for heavy. The line weight affects the casting of the fly, which is extremely significant for fly fishing. However, you need to ensure that the rod you select matches the fly line and size you intend on using, otherwise, it may be challenging to handle.

    Conclusion

    Now that we’ve provided you with details on some of the top fly rod, reel, and equipment manufacturers, you have a better idea of what’s available in your local or online store. If you feel that we’ve missed out on any, please let us know.

    People Also Ask

    We might have peaked your interest in some other questions on your mind. Here’s our top list of fly fishing FAQs we receive from our readers. If you have any other queries, please let us know.

    How Much Does a Good Fly Rod Cost?

    You can spend anywhere between $150 and $200 for a decent fly rod with superb quality. Of course, you’ll have better accuracy and durability if you aim for higher prices, but some of the rods in this range are suitable if you pick the right manufacturer.

    Are Expensive Fly Rods Worth The Money?

    Higher prices don’t always guarantee performance. Sure, you’ll be able to spend more days at the lake, and it might be able to withstand adverse weather conditions better. However, you can pick up a more affordable rod with similar performance, if not better.

    Who Makes Cabelas Fly Rods?

    There are a few companies that specialize in different components for Cabelas fly rods. For instance, Bass Pro has a rod factory that makes some of their products, while Cabelas has mentioned that Diawa has delivered some reels over time.

    Where Are Redington Fly Rods Made?

    While Redington rods are popular in the U.S., they are actually manufactured overseas. Most of them are made in China, but you may find factories in other countries, too. The design is done in the U.S., but manufacturing is cheaper elsewhere.

    Where Are Winston Fly Rods Made?

    Winston fly rods are made by the Madison River Fishing Company in Montana, U.S.

    Where Are Orvis Fly Rods Made?

    The Orvis fly rod range of products is constructed by the Orvis Rod Shop and Factory in Manchester, Vermont.

    Which Brands Are Best for Budget Fly Rods?

    If you’re looking for a suitable fly rod range that will suit your pocket, you can aim for select products under the Redington, Orvis, Echo, and Fenwick brands.

    Which Brands Do the Pros Use?

    The professionals use brands and products that are suitable for various conditions. Some of the top names include Scott, Echo, G. Loomis, Orvis, and Sage.

    Jeff

    My name is Jeff and I have been hunting and fishing for over 40 years. I am an avid archery lover, bass fisherman, and all-around outdoorsman. Currently, I'm obsessed with elk hunting but I'm sure I'll move onto a different favorite soon. You gotta love hunting for that reason :) If you have any questions, or just want chat about your latest hunting score or big catch, you can reach me at admin@biggamelogic.com. Read more about Big Game Logic.