They look great, won’t damage the fish, are compact enough to fit on any backpack and even include a magnet to attach correctly.
You can trust my opinion as over the last 20 years of fly fishing, I’ve used, broken and retired many nets. Since the advent of the rubber mesh net, I have sworn never to go back to a “classic” netting material.
Here’s a breakdown of my top recommendations from Amazon and why I made them:
Our Reviews of The Best Fly Fishing Nets
We’ve reviewed hundreds of pieces of fly fishing equipment over the past 20 years and in our opinion, any of these options fall into the category of the best fly fishing nets I’ve owned:
Freestone Outfitters – Best For Most People
This is an awesome net for any level of fisherman. It has everything you need for regular trout fishing, plus, it’s ideal for most freshwater angling scenarios. It comes with a clear rubber mesh that won’t spook or harm the fish and the regular teardrop shape that allows you to safely photograph your catch.
The net is 25 inches long with 8 inches of pocket depth. The size of the hoop is 16.75 by 10.75 inches. These dimensions and its weight make it a great option for travelling or hiking.
It also comes with other fly fishing accessories, including super strong magnets to keep your net secure and safe, a sturdy carabiner that allows you to clip your net to your fly fishing vest or pack, and a 9-inch coil (capable of expanding up to 96 inches) to keep your net attached and easily scoop in your fish.
The frame is made from hardwood material that can withstand mold and mildew. There’s also an attractive burl wood option or carbon fibre option for a slightly higher price. This net is without a doubt ideal for catch-and-release, making it one of the best options on the market.
- No more ripped netting
- Comes with a soft, flexible mesh to prevent tangling
- Some users found that the magnet becomes looser after a couple of uses
- Some users complained of wood warping over time
- Cannot handle very big fish
SF Fly Fishing Net – Cheaper Alternatve
This is a comparably priced rubber fishing net. Some of its key dimensions include a 9-inch handle, 10 inches deep, a hoop of about 9.5 x 16 inches, and a 360-degree copper swivel at the end of the handle.
These dimensions make it ideal for narrower fish, so, don’t go chasing the bigger fish with it.
The SF fly fishing net features a soft, clear rubberized mesh that’s gentle on the fish and won’t spook them away and a laminated hardwood and bamboo frame that won’t catch the trout’s attention.
Other great features of this net include a magnetic release, a carabiner that allows you to mount your net while actively fishing, and a stretchable spring-cord so you never have to lose your net or other gears in water.
The carabiner can also be used with several other different pieces of gear like forceps, pliers, nippers, and tippet spools.
- Strong and durable
- Comes with useful fly fishing accessories
- Can withstand rot and mildew
- Tangle-free mesh
- Ideal for fishing in different environments, including rivers, streams, and lakes
- The holes are a bit bigger on the bottom than on the sides, which may allow smaller fish to escape. The mid-sized ones can also get stuck trying to space, putting their lives at risk.
- It’s a bit heavier.
- Some users found that the wood frame warped after a couple of uses.
- It has a small net that will not be suitable for larger fish.
Fishpond Nomad Emerger – Best for Backcountry
Fishpond is known for designing exceptionally high-performance rubber fishing nets. They didn’t disappoint with their Nomad Emerger Nets, some of the best around for fly anglers. It’s a good all-purpose size and by far the most versatile and most popular in the Nomad series.
The Fishpond Nomad Emerger Net comes with features that allow it to withstand any backcountry conditions. For starters, the handle and hoop are made using a mixture of carbon fibre and fibreglass composite material, making it very lightweight, impact-resistant, and strong.
The handle is finished with a rubberized coating, providing the greatest grip when wet. This allows you to hold on during chaotic fishing scenarios. You also don’t have to worry if you accidentally let go of the net with the fish in it— it floats.
The net bag is made of a wide-meshed clear rubber, which is as great as it gets when it comes to fish safety. With a 32-inch long frame and a 12-inch deep bag, this net is ideal for fishing from a boat and for fishing bigger fish. If you like to hunt down those lunker fish, this is one of the best products out there for you.
- Carbon Fiber & Fiberglass composite
- UV protected
- Only one size
- Fairly Expensive
Trademark Innovations Net – Best For Big Fish
This large fishing net is best for anglers fishing for potentially massive species or those hoping to encounter trophy-sized trout. While the net area is 20 inches, the extra 15-inch shaft accommodates fish that extends beyond the net area, which means the 35-inch length is the reach you can get.
The long handle also makes it the perfect fishing landing net. This rubber net comes with a clear rubber mesh that won’t spook or harm the fish. The burl wood on the handle makes it aesthetically appealing. This net also floats, which means you don’t have to worry should you accidentally drop your net with fish in it – it’s bound to happen some time!
It also comes with markings of 5 and 10 inches on the 15-inch handle, which allows you to measure the size of your fish without having to handle it too much.
- Provides a measuring stick
- Gorgeous, classic design
- The net is quite expensive.
- The product has a total length of 35 inches, and that can make it cumbersome for travelling.
Measure Net (Rubber) – Great For Boats
The Measure Net is one of the best large fishing nets that allows you to catch, measure, and release your catch without having to hold it. After all, size does matter when it comes to getting satisfaction and bragging about it to your friends.
After landing your fish, you can measure it by simply adding the numbers at the nose and tail of the fish. The net is built of quality aluminum tubing with a durable 26-inch telescopic handle. It also features a durable rubber grip that allows your net to float, a gentle & fish-friendly rubber netting to ensure the fish’s safety, and a 28-inch hoop.
- Fish and fisher-friendly
- Allows you to measure your catch
- Ideal for fishing from a watercraft and for fishing bigger trout
- The scale on the bottom seems to wear off faster
PLUSINNO Folding Fishing Net – Best Foldable Option
This collapsible fishing net is made of the best quality high-density carbon fiber, fiberglass, and high-quality nylon materials. The nylon used is waterproof and helps to protect the net from waterlogging, bad odors, and bacteria.
To collapse the landing net, you need to push the button at the lower side and bend the hoops on each side. You can then fold the net and the pole and finish by making small adjustments to the product. This foldable design allows you to store and transport it easily. The net is made to be safe for fish, meaning your catch will most likely survive when placed back in the water.
The net is very lightweight and will usually float on water. The material is also hook-proof. Unfortunately, the net is only 12” large. If you intend to fish in waters with small fish, this product is the best option. Otherwise, your catch will struggle excessively in the small net.
- It has a strong and sturdy design.
- The net has a collapsible design, and this allows you to transport and store it easily. It can also be extended quickly.
- It is made using fiberglass and carbon fiber materials which are very light. This further makes the product easy to transport. The materials are also able to withstand aggressive fishing and will not be damaged.
- The net has a nylon coating which prevents waterlogging and the development of odours.
- The net is very small – not the best net for large fish.
Types of Nets
These nets  actually come in a vast array of styles, some of which offer more than simply retrieving your fish. The most common types are:
These nets have a frame folding in on itself, which means it can be packed flat, allowing you to slip it into a bag. You can also attach it to your fishing vest and easily bring it to the water when you hook a fish.
Scoop nets are usually attached to a rector with a magnetic release, which keeps the net in place. They are generally ideal for grayling and river trout. In addition, most scoop nets are built around a wooden frame.
Fixed Frames and Handle
Fixed frames and handle nets are mostly used for catching and landing large fish when fly fishing. Longer handle nets are used from watercraft, where they can be left on the side in readiness to go to the bottom of the boat once the fishers hook their fish.
Whether you are new to fly fishing or are a seasoned angler, having the best net can be the difference between creating a lifetime memory or having your day ruined for losing the fish of a lifetime. But it can take a lot of time to search for the right one. Here are a few factors to consider when shopping:
The net can be collapsible, fixed frame, or a scoop net. In collapsible fly fishing nets, the frame folds in on itself. These nets are usually clipped to the waist or back, and a simple flick will get them into a usable position. The other type a the fixed frame and handle net. These nets are best for boat fly fishers for landing those tricky fish. The final type of fly fishnet is the scoop net.
The material of your trout net greatly influences the durability factor. Most common materials used to make nets include rubber, nylon, and thanks to modern technology, carbon fiber & fiberglass.
Rubber nets are the most popular and the best option for most anglers. They are durable, some are difficult to spot in the water, pocket-friendly, not to mention slick, which means they are gentler on the fishes’ slime coating. The nylon mesh of the rubber nets is much cheaper, but you risk splitting the fish’s tail fins.
Carbon fiber nets and fiberglass nets rank high due to how durable and lightweight these nets are. They are, however, quite costly.
The right handle length will depend on several things, including water environment, trout’s size and weight, and where you are fly fishing from. For instance, when it comes to fly fishing from a boat, longer handles are the way to go as they allow you to reach the water without having to lean so far over that you can fall.
Nets with a shorter handle are perfect for fly fishing on the river shore. In addition, longer handles are best with big fish, while the medium-sized handles are perfect when fly fishing for different trout sizes.
Cost is a huge determinant when making any purchase, including fly fishing nets. If you are wondering how much a good net  costs, then let’s begin by saying cost, just like the definition of good, is subjective. The cost of a trout fly net depends on quality, brand, not to mention, the additional fly fishing tools it comes with. Go for a net that’s really good value for money.
While most fly fishermen choose substance, quality, and functionality over style, fly fishing often involves photography, which means aesthetics is of much importance. An aesthetically pleasing net won’t catch more or bigger fish, but will surely look perfect in your pictures.
Most river trout range from about 12-16 inches, which means a relatively small net can manage the job. Sometimes you may hook a big fish on the fly, in which case you’ll require a bigger net. However, I’d recommend medium-sized nets as they’re the most versatile.
Tips For Netting a Fish
Having the right fly net doesn’t guarantee the survival of the fish every time. Besides being injured, the fish could still die from distress if handled inappropriately. As a result, it’s important to master the catch and release tips & techniques for fly fishing so as to increase the survival chance of the fishes. These techniques  can also enhance your game:
- Try netting the fish near or on the surface of the river.
- You are most likely to land fish if you net head-first rather than tail-first (fish can’t swim backwards)
- Avoid chasing the fish, instead, bring the fish to you.
- When making your final move to land the fish, avoid lifting the fish, instead, slide them in for a landing.
Why You Need One!
Fly fishing is about catch and release. You need a good net to land and handle trout with minimal impact, allowing them to get back into the river with no injuries and with enough energy to survive. A fishing landing net reduces handling during hook removal, and that allows the fish to stay in the water throughout the entire time.
Secondly, you don’t want to miss that perfect lifetime memory of landing a monster fish, simply because you didn’t bring your fly fishing net. It has happened to me many times when fly fishing. The only other way to secure a fish is to wear it out or get it close enough to grab the tail. This doesn’t work as often as you’d hope, as many fly anglers soon learn!
A lot of fly fishers, especially newbies, don’t know safe catch-and-release techniques. These types of fly fishing nets naturally allow you to use them properly, letting you catch the fish without injuring them.
Fly fish nets are used for catch-and-release fishing. Nets come in many different designs and are one of the most essential fly fishing accessories, but choosing the best net can be difficult.
When shopping for fly fishing nets, you need to take the time to consider the size of the net, the length of the handle, the material used to make the net, and the cost of the product.
For more on the fly fishing basics, you can check out this link. We also have a number of other articles recommending the best gear for your day out.
The size of the net should be determined by the size of the fish you intend to capture. For trout, you can choose a net of around 20 inches.
The nets listed above are all of the best quality, so you can go ahead and select one which fits your needs and budget. So, get shopping, get a net, and land some fish!
If you enjoyed this article then how about checking out our review of the Orvis Clearwater fly rod, perhaps pick up a fishing watch or a fish finder for kayaks. Let us know in the comments below if you have any other great ideas for fly fishing content.