On the Fly: Choosing a rod and reel doesn’t have to be daunting

Scott Spooner
On the Fly
Kara Moore and a Roaring Fork River brown trout.
Shannon Outing Photography/Courtesy phto

For those uninitiated to this sport, the number of different rods, weights, lengths and actions can be confusing, to say the least.  Like everything else in this world, you can keep it simple or make it as complicated as all get-out. Whether you are purchasing for yourself or someone on your holiday list, here are a few pointers to keep it simple.

To make it easy on yourself, look for a nine foot, five weight rod for most trout fishing here in the Roaring Fork Valley.  You can fish ponds, lakes, creeks, streams and rivers here with that single rod.  Five weights can effectively fish dry flies, nymphs and streamers with ease.  Most rods these days are “fast action,” meaning stiff versus soft and flexible.  Medium to fast action rods are perfect for novices who are learning the different casts for these fishing techniques. 

New fly anglers also ask about which reels and lines to add to their rod selections, which are very good questions.  Reels typically come in different sizes, and any local fly shop can help advise you when it comes to proper size selection.  Most companies utilize a number system, and sizes 1.5 to 2 are usually right on the money for trout-sized rods.

Fly lines are even more complicated than rods, so keep it simple and select a weight forward floating line in the proper weight (five weight rods require five weight lines, etc).  Yes, there are intermediate sinking, full sinking and plenty of other options, but a floating line is really all you need to get started. Once you start to master this sport, you’ll want some different rods for different situations.  A soft and light two weight is a bit more fun to cast on small streams to small fish, and a heavier six or seven weight is optimal for throwing large, heavy streamers.  You’ll get there, but for now, find a reasonable five weight and find some willing fish!

This report is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374 or

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.