All around trout rod for Northeastern streams

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EchoRidgeElder

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Nov 30, 2021
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Belcamp, MD
Somewhere I read that the 8'6" 5wt' was the swiss army knife of trout rods. Now, I have been fly fishing for over 48 years, and I do not own an 8'6" 5wt!
 
Millsertime

Millsertime

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Mar 28, 2013
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I fish some of those streams and others that are similar in size. I have various rods in my quiver but the 2 rods that I use over 90% of the time are:

9' 5wt
8' 4 wt

Rods I don't use much are:

7' 3 wt
8' 6" 5 wt
10' 5 wt
9' 6 wt
11' 6 wt
9' 6" 7 wt
9' 8 wt
 
Tigereye

Tigereye

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Sep 30, 2014
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I think a rod's action is more important to me than length or weight except when nymphing.
 
Prospector

Prospector

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Jul 7, 2015
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Butler Co home, Forest Co camp
My favorite all around rod is a med fast 8’6”for a 5wt line. I fish dries from green drakes to midges, swing 3 wet flies and fish streamers all in the same day. I will occasionally fish nymphs on the bottom but that’s a last resort only because I don’t enjoy it and usually I’m catching enough fish the other way. I don’t think you need to spend $500+. You should find a great rod in the $200-$250 range. I own 19 fly rods and that 8’6” 5wt is the one I use for trout.

My second favorite is similar med fast 9’ 5wt. It casts a little further but doesn’t handle midges as well.

My experience is in PA, NY, VA, MI, CO, UT, MT, WY and Canada.
 
D

dryflyguy

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Sep 21, 2006
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5,421
When I first started FFing, several of my buddies had an 8'6" 5 weight rod made by Orvis - called the Henrys Fork.
And they just raved about it being a perfect all around rod - with a great action

I never bought one for some odd reason.
And I guess it's not made anymore.
 
L

lestrout

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Sep 13, 2006
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1,149
Location
Chester County
When I think about optimum rod lengths, I think about line control and mending. It seems to me that there is a break point at about 8 feet, whereby mending becomes much easier. This is important when working the drift across multiple current tongues. On small stuff like most stretches on Valley, I'm not dealing with multiple current tongues, and with all the low hanging trees, I stay at 7'6" or less. Delicacy is at a premium on Valley and spring creeks, and I get more delicate presentations with the small stuff, especially with bamboo, glass, boron and softer graphites.

For river sizes up to the big Beaverkill, I often prefer 8' 6" ft. over 9' or longer (remember I'm not nymphing much) to get shorter casting cycles. The Delaware, Big Horn or Madison is when I'll pull out the 9 foot plus rods.

Being mostly a dry fly guy, shorter casting cycles are nice. This is especially the case with Tricos, where here out East the spinner fall bite might only last a frenzied 45 minutes or so. Within an rod maker model and action range, shorter lengths means faster casting cycles (also helps dry out the fly too). So on a hot morning (shorter spinner fall) I'll gravitate to 7 foot and even 6 foot sticks (of course the specific rod action is a definite factor). For river sizes up to the big Beaverkill, I often prefer 8' 6" ft. over 9' or longer (remember I'm not nymphing much). The Delaware or Madison is when I'll pull out the 9 foot plus rods.
 
JackM

JackM

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May be of some help. Kind of summarizes alot of what's been said by powers here.

I just gave similar advice to Gino. He is shopping a rod for the 2022 Jamboree.
 
T

troutbert

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Nov 2, 2006
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9,322
If I were to have only one rod for all around use - 8'6" 5 weight.
Be a little more manageable on small streams

Me too. For many years I fished with just one fly rod, and that's what it was.

One reason to get this rod rather than one of the new-fangled 10 1/2 ft rods is that you'll learn to CAST instead of just learning to REACH.

:)
 
pcray1231

pcray1231

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Jan 31, 2008
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Honestly I have only 5 rods I actually use, and 2 reel/line setups. In order of use:

9 ft 5 wt - the all rounder
7.5 ft 4/5 wt - brookie rod, and I use a 7 wt line!
8 ft 4 wt - tweener/travel rod, use it with 5 wt line.
8 ft 5 wt - bamboo - mainly dries
10.5 ft 7 wt - steelhead/bass rod

The reels are a 5 wt and a 7wt. I have backup reels too but they only see the light of day if I am taking someone and lending them equipment.
 
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NittanyBearcat

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Mar 27, 2020
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I fish all the streams in the state college area with a 9’ 5 weight and for an all around trout rod it’s great. I do a little bit of everything dry flies, nymphing, and throwing streamers all which I use my 9’ 5 weight Scott Flex for.
 
N

NRD

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Nov 20, 2021
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Selinsgrove, PA
I disagree with the idea of one all around trout rod. If you are just starting out build a collection of entry level rods. One at a time, not all at once. Discover what you like and how line choice changes the character of the rods. You'll probably end up with a couple favorites depending on exactly where and how you fish.
 
tomgamber

tomgamber

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Sep 10, 2006
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Location
Greensburg, PA
I disagree with the idea of one all around trout rod. If you are just starting out build a collection of entry level rods. One at a time, not all at once. Discover what you like and how line choice changes the character of the rods. You'll probably end up with a couple favorites depending on exactly where and how you fish.
That's a great long term plan for some. Most just can't afford to do that. Once I could, the question was answered by how much gear was I comfortable leaving in my vehicle all the time. That one rod was usually my 4pc 9ft 5wt.
 
CRB

CRB

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Sep 9, 2006
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9' 5wt IMHO is probably the rod most able to be used on all waters of Pennsylvania. One can can fish with dries, nymphs, and streamers. The only spices of fish that would be greatly undoable would be going after musky.
 
Fly-Swatter

Fly-Swatter

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Mar 23, 2014
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An 8'6" or 9' 5 WT can do everything you need to catch trout using a variety of methods on a variety of waters. It also is great for small bass and panfish.

One suggestion for novice anglers: go with a moderately fast action (mid-flex), not a FAST action rod (tip flex). It's easier to feel a softer rod load. And, a beginner cannot use the power of a fast action rod. I think this advice will shorten casting learning curves.
 
C

Charlie G.

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Jan 23, 2022
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Exton, PA
For the streams you mentioned (all of which I have fished extensively) a 9 ft. 5 wt. is the way to go if you want to be able to fish dries, wets, streamers and nymphs. In the $500 price range I can heartily recommend an Orvis Recon. I purchased one last year and it is very accurate and sensitive. For smaller streams, like Valley Creek in Chester County, my go to rod is a 7'6" 4 wt. Orvis Clearwater. It is small and delicate enough to throw midge nymphs or small dries, yet still has enough backbone to throw a bugger with a BB shot when needed. Hope this helps.
 

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D

dryflyguy

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Sep 21, 2006
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Like Les, I agree that certain situations call for smaller rods - even on larger water.
Fishing Tricos and terrestrials with a 9 foot rod just wouldn't seem right IMO
 
Prospector

Prospector

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Jul 7, 2015
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Butler Co home, Forest Co camp
For anyone reading this with the intent to buy a rod. The original poster wanted to get a rod for $500. If you are patient and can watch eBay for a few months you can usually get a very nice rod for $100. I peruse eBay periodically just because I’m curious and today I saw a very nice rod 9’ 5wt that says only used one weekend. Pictures seem to support it is brand new. Current bid is $49.99. I’m guessing this rod was $250 when purchased. The current price for that model is $330.

I’ve bought at least 10 rods off eBay for gifts or my personal use. Been very happy with the results. Most of mine were never used. After taxes and shipping are added to purchase price, usually $125-$140. You can pay more but just be patient.
 
J

JeffK

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Sep 11, 2006
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1,044
I would say 9' or 8' 6" 5 wt. That is a versatile rig. However, I had years when my go to rod was a 10' 3 wt Grey's Streamflex (first generation) with a 4 weight line - did dries, nymphs, wets and streamers with that and met most of my Eastern PA needs.

Get a reasonable rod and fish it. Find out what your favorite places and ways to fish become. Don't get more rods until you can answer the question what is it that I can't do with my current rod. Be honest if it is the rod or your skills. For example, distance casts and subtle presentation may be more skills than the rod. I built a 9 1/2' 5 wt Z-Axis for dry fly fishing when the distance/wind/size of fly caused me to fall short with the 4 wt rod. Had kids living in Nevada and CO at the time and that rod was a favorite of guides out West. Found it worked great out East as well when I needed just a little more punch.

Around 1970 the Fenwick 765 (7/12' 5 wt) was the hot rod for PA fly fishing from my fading memory. I know lighter lines are all the rage now and I like tossing a light line, but often I am more comfortable with a 5 wt or heavier line. Adds just a little more punch through the wind, little more distance, and handles heavier flies a little better. I can make it work often with a lighter line, but it can be more comfortable (which leads to more accuracy) with a heavier line.

Also, you may or may not need a rod at the $500 price point. All the major suppliers, like Orvis, Redington, Cortland, Cabelas, etc make inexpensive starter rods that are fun to fish (even for experienced fishermen). The technology today is such that it is hard to find a bad rod and the starter rods are fun to fish - the suppliers want to get you to have a good time and get hooked on fly fishing to be a steady customer.
 
B

bdhoover77

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Jan 6, 2022
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32
Location
Towson, Maryland
Can anyone tell me about the Remington Classic Trout rod? My current 9’ 5wt rod is an Echo kit I purchased when I first got into fishing. I also have a higher end 10’ 3wt rod for tightline nymphing.

But I’d also like a more traditional trout rod for throwing dry flies and the occasional streamer. I’m not sure whether to go with a 4wt or 5wt, and whether to do 8’6” or 9’. Any thoughts would be really appreciate.
 
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