The 5 Best Beginner Fly Rods in 2023 – Buyers Guide

If you’re looking for the best beginner fly rods then you’re in the right place. We reviewed 5 of the top fly rods for beginners and compared their action, durability, accuracy and how well they stack up against professional rods. 

After testing these rods we found the best fly rod for beginners to be the Orvis Clearwater. It’s a durable 4-section rod that has a great medium-fast action (it feels like a more expensive rod) and it has a 25-year warranty.

Image Product Details  
flyfisherpro-table__imageTop PickOrvis Clearwater Fly Rod
  • Easy casting
  • Lightweight and Durable
  • 25-year warranty
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest BudgetWild Water Starter Package
  • Affordable
  • Easy to Cast
  • Very Beginner Friendly
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest ValueRedington Crosswater
  • Great Tip Action
  • Very Effective
  • Lightweight & Durable
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest DesignTemple Fork Outfitters TFO Lefty Kreh
  • Easy to Carry
  • Interchangeable spool design
  • Great Action for the Price
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest PremiumSage Foundation Fly Rod
  • Smooth Energy Transfer
  • Handcrafted in USA
  • Black Nylon Rod Tube
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Best Beginner Fly Rods Reviews

For these reviews, our team went through hours on the river and thousands of online user reviews for a total of 42 hours (combined) to come up with this concise list.

Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod

Orvis clearwater fly rod

Orvis Clearwater Specs:

Line Weight: 3 – 12 Length: 7 – 11ft
Action: Medium-Fast Handle: –
Rod Weight: – Rod Tube: Solid rod tube
Color: Black Sections: 4
Warranty: 25-Year Guarantee Country Of Manufacture: USA

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Key Features

  • Dual Uplocking Black Nickel Aluminum Reel Seat
  • Chrome Snake and Stripper Guides with Ceramic Insert
  • High Modulus Graphite


  • Easy casting
  • Lightweight and durable
  • 25-year warranty
  • Can come in a four-piece


  • Slower action than other rods

When it comes to choosing fly rods for beginners, you can’t do much better for a fly fishing outfit than Orvis. Orvis is known for producing lightweight and affordable fly fishing rods, and the Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod is no exception. A nine-foot, one of the best 5 wt fly rods around, the Orvis Clearwater is excellent for first-time anglers looking to catch large trout. It is made of aluminum, which gives an impressive lightweight feel while providing strength and durability. According to most fly rod reviews, the four-piece design makes it a fly rod that is convenient to carry around and cast.

I particularly liked the Orvis Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod for its rod action — it wasn’t too fast or too slow, making most first-time anglers cast like a pro. This is because of Orvis Helios tapers build and profile, which helps anglers cast with power and precision whether you are throwing large or small flies even on a windy afternoon.

The Orvis Clearwater can come alone or bundled with the standard cast aluminum Clearwater LA II or LA IV and a large arbour standard to Clearwater Outfits. The outfits also come with a robust Rulon-to-stainless steel inline drag to assist anglers in catching fast fish, so consider the whole setup if you can.

Orvis Clearwater is also ideal for anglers fishing in a river, lake, or flat and who do not want to spend a fortune. Which makes the Clearwater fly rod a great starter fly fishing gear.

Wild Water Starter Package

Wild Water Starter Package

Wild Water Starter Specs:

Line Weight: 5 – 6 Length: 9ft
Action: Medium-Fast Handle: –
Rod Weight: 4.16oz Rod Tube: PVC Rod Tube
Color: Tan / Black / Orange Sections: 4
Warranty: – Country Of Manufacture: USA

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Key Features

  • Machined aluminum reel seat
  • Hard tube rod case
  • Waterproof fly box
  • Die-cast aluminum fly reel


  • Great fly rod for beginners
  • Easy to cast
  • Affordable for a beginner


  • Not very durable

The next contender, the Wild Water Starter Package, is best for fishing larger game, hence the line capacity of between 5 and 6. The reel and the rod are designed for freshwater and saltwater lakes, so you don’t need to change when switching from one environment to another.

In addition, the Wild Water Starter Package comes with a rod sock that prevents the line from tangles and abrasions when you tire lures on the reel. The sock also protects the fragile tips and guides of the rod.

Like some of the best fly rods, I found this fly rod’s slow action feature incredibly impressive as it gives anglers a vast range of choices when handling a broad spectrum of fish targets — just the versatility that any fly fisherman needs when their game keeps on changing.

You will also be impressed by the 5x tapered leader and the high sensitivity of this graphite composite rod, which allows the angler to detect fish strikes much easier. The aluminum oxide guides provide a smooth casting experience that gives you the medium flex for beginner angling techniques.

This fly rod is also pretty lightweight, portable, and easy to use. The graphite composite feature combines strength and its lightweight nature to allow anglers to cast with precision. This rod has also been designed to accommodate mono-lines.

This is one of the best saltwater fly fishing kit around today.

Redington Crosswater

Redington Crosswater

Redington Crosswater Specs:

Line Weight: 4 – 9 Length: 7 – 9ft
Action: Fast Handle: Reversed Half-Wells
Rod Weight: 4.1oz Rod Tube: Cotton Rod Sock
Color: Blue Sections: 4
Warranty: One-Year Warranty Country Of Manufacture: USA

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Key Features

  • Anodized Machined Aluminum Reel Seat
  • Graphite Blank
  • Cotton Rod Sock Rod Tube


  • Great tip action
  • Lightweight yet durable
  • Great deal of effectiveness
  • Laser-etched wooden reel seat


  • Fragile outer frame
  • Reel comes off easily

The Reddington Crosswater medium action rod is easy to cast, making it excellent fly fishing gear for beginners. Its ability to provide a greater casting distance than most standard fishing rods and its ample hook-setting power make it one of the best fly rods for applications that use treble hooks like crankbaits, topwater lures, or recreational baits such as spinner baits.

Its four-piece design offers excellent flexibility for anglers on the go. The Redington Crosswater fly rod is available alone as a single rod or in complete outfits to get you fishing your best right away.

The Reddington Crosswater’s graphite construction with chrome snake and stripping guides fitted with a wood insert reel seat give this fishing rod great tensile strength. The fishing rod is made of less material to make it lighter and more sensitive to fish strikes than other types of fishing rods.

Its laser-etched reel seats and durable anodized aluminum seat are great value for the money. Most cheap fly rods have a plastic cushion inside the metal hoods, leaving the reel prone to stain and rust. The Redington Crosswater, on the other hand, is made of aluminum and wood, which reduces the risk of stain and rust development.

Temple Fork Outfitters TFO Lefty Kreh

Temple Fork Outfitters TFO Lefty Kreh

Lefty Kreh Specs:

Line Weight: 2 – 10 Length: 8 – 10
Action: Medium-Fast Handle: –
Rod Weight: 2.9 – 4.5oz Rod Tube: Customizeable
Color: Matte Grey Sections: 4
Warranty: TFO rods purchased from an authorized dealer have a no-fault lifetime warranty for the life of the registered owner Country Of Manufacture: South Korea

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Key Features

  • Alignment dots on each part of the rod
  • Modern single-handed fly rod with a great value for money
  • Supplied with cloth rod sock
  • 4-piece design
  • 25 years warranty


  • Compact
  • Easy to carry
  • Interchangeable spool design
  • Great Action for the Price


  • Fragile compared to other rods

The all-in-one Temple Fork Lefty Kreh is an excellent rod for non-experts. It features a high-performance setup that helps shorten any beginner’s learning curve while letting them develop exceptional fly fishing skills. The kit comes in a Custom Cordura case to include the backing and the leader, a light floating line, and a rod.

The Temple Fork Outfitters TFO Lefty Kreh is made from Graphite, a high-quality material that is lightweight and durable. The rod is fitted with aluminum oxide stripping guides, an anodized aluminum reel seat, chromium-impregnated stainless steel snake guides, and a highly durable composite cork handle.

This fast-action rod allows anglers to catch different types of fish, including trout. The feature also means that the rod can bend half-way onwards to provide great controlling capabilities; it resumes its original form pretty fast, so it doesn’t feel stiff.You can disassemble the rod into four pieces for easy storage and packing and assemble the parts quickly, whether you have prior knowledge or not. The reel is made of cast aluminum, which is durable and provides a lightweight feel when casting. Its spool is smooth and guarantees a hassle-free cast when targeting game.. This is great fly fishing gear.

Sage Foundation Fly Rod

sage foundation

Sage Foundation Specs:

Line Weight: 4 – 9 Length: 9 – 10ft
Action: Fast Handle: Snub-nose Half-Wells
Rod Weight: 2.88 – 4oz Rod Tube: Black Nylon Rod Tube
Color: Black Sections: 4
Warranty: Sage Lifetime Warranty
($30 Processing Fee)
Country Of Manufacture: USA

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Key Features

  • Ceramic Stripping Guides
  • Graphite IIIe Technology
  • Black Nylon Rod Tube
  • Uplocking w/Black Anodized Aluminum
  • The Sage Lifetime Warranty


  • Best fly rod for the money
  • Smooth energy transfer
  • Most durable of the bunch


  • Expensive

Sage is a the top fly fishing brand for fly rods, known to deliver high-performance flyfishing rod varieties, and the 690-4 fly rod is no exception. It can go sub-surface using heavy nymphs and large dry flies that have droppers. There’s a lot of feel to this rod, allowing anglers to fish best when using mayflies to catch trout in large and small water bodies.

The Sage Foundation fly rod operates like other modern fast-action rods; it offers effortless control and efficient casting power. It is outfitted with hard chrome snake guides, ceramic stripper guides, and a black-anodized aluminum locking reel seat. Its snub-nose cork handle gives security and comfort, while its high weight feature is excellent for saltwater fishing.

The Sage Foundation Fly Rod package includes a rugged black nylon tube that has a divided liner.

How are Fly Rods Made

Fly fishing rods are made of carbon fiber, outfitted with resin with the carbon cloth wrapped around a mandrel, and reinforced again with resin to form a long slim cone called a blank.

The blank is then crashed to eliminate any unevenness that develops when using the cloth and is fitted with a reel seat and a cork handle. Guides are also whipped and layered with a transparent resin to protect the rod against the weather elements.

Fly rod manufacturers have introduced a multitude of line ratings, different lengths, prices, and rod actions, which makes buying single-handed rods an incredibly daunting process. Here is a look at fly rod history of various products and factors to consider when buying these devices.

Beginner Fly Rod Buyer’s Guide

Here are some of the main things you need to consider when you are buying any fly fishing rod, whether it is your first or just another one of many.

Fly Rod Weight

Fly rod weight is an incredibly important factor to consider when you buy your first fly fishing rod. Fly rods are classified in different weights ranging from 0 to 16-weight. 0-weight rods are incredibly light rods designed for small streams and fish. 16-weights are reserved only for bluewater fishing targeting species such as tuna and marlin. For a more detailed guide, see our post on fly rod weights explained here.

  • 0-3 Weight Rods – Small stream fishing only
  • 4-6 Weight Rods – Most Trout and Panfish
  • 7-10 Weight Rods – Steelhead and Salmon
  • 11+ Weight Rods – Saltwater fishing, Lakes, Big Fish!

The ideal rod weights for the beginner are 4 to 6 weights. These rods are light in hand and will enable you to catch a wide variety of freshwater species.

Choose a 4-weight if you are planning on mostly fishing smaller rivers and a 6-weight for large rivers. A 5-weight is a perfect all-rounder.

Fly Rod Length

Like weight, the length of your fly rod affects how and where you can use it. It will even affect how well you can cast depending on your skill level.

Fly rods are available in lengths that range between 6′ and 15.’ Rods under 7 and more than 10 feet are considered extreme, and beginners should avoid them. 8-9 foot rods are general-purpose especially if the weight ranges from 4 to 8w. The standard length system is represented in 6” increments, ranging from 7-10. Here are specifics on how to choose a fly rod for the ideal length:

Less than 7-foot fly rods

Less than 7-foot fly rods are the shortest rods and are great for short casts in restricted spaces. Most of them come in 2 pieces. Beginners may find it difficult to cast when using them.

7-8 foot rods

Most 7 to 8-foot rods are popular choices and are easier to throw than the 7-foot rods. The rods come in 2 pieces and are ideal for casting in small water bodies.

8-9 foot rods

Most fishermen agree that 8 to 9-foot rods are some of the best beginner fly rods that should be on any beginner fly fishing setup as they are easy to throw and keep the line above the vegetation on the back cast. They are available in 2, 3, and 4-piece selections.

9-10 foot rods

When it comes to bigger game fish a 9 to 10-foot fly rod enhances line mending and is stronger for large water bodies and catching bigger fish.

10-12 foot rods

More durable and heavier, 10 to 12 food fly rods are designed for saltwater fishing and casting long distances in open water.

12-15 foot rods

Only for the most experienced fly fisherman, 12 to 15-foot fly rods are the longest and used for unique, open-water environments. This unique length requires skilled casting proficiency and endurance.

Fly Rod Action

A fly rod’s action determines the way a rod flexes in response to casting. This action is a result of the blank design, materials used, and guide spacing. On the one extreme, you have slow-action rods. These rods flex deep into the butt section of the blank during the casting stroke. There are three types:

Fast action rod

Fast action rods are stiff, and most of the casting flex occurs in the tip section of the rod. A fast-action rod can generate high line speeds. Therefore, they are perfect for long-distance casts, casting into the wind, and delivering large and heavy flies.

Moderate action rod

A moderate action fly rod is not as powerful as a swift action rod and loads slower. The rod does not generate high line speeds, so it can’t cast long distances. Medium action rods are suitable to add on any beginner fly fishing setup as the line speeds are quite forgiving.

Slow action rod

Slower action fly rods are intended for the angler who has a slow casting style. In general, these rods are better inclined towards dry fly fishing and delicate presentations. Due to the rod’s deep flex, the angler experiences good feedback from the rod and line.

A fast-action rod conveys less feel to the caster and therefore is reserved for the more experienced angler. I recommend choosing a medium-fast action rod if you’re just starting. This action hits the sweet spot between feel and high performance. Often, you’ll find that the more affordable ranges feature this action, making them perfect for beginners.

fly rod material

Fly Rod Material

When it comes to the materials and composition of fly rods, numerous technologies have introduced a variety of substances and composites that are used to make rods with differing characteristics:


The best fly fishing rods are made of graphite. This material is light, durable, sturdy, and extremely sensitive. Manufacturers continue to improve graphite fishing rods, pushing the limit for fly rod length to develop rods that are 10, 11, and even 14 feet long. Rods made of graphite are ideal for fly fishing in physically demanding environments like during strong winds and when throwing heavy nymphs and hopper-dropper rigs.


Fiberglass offers a readily available alternative to traditional bamboo rods as it is light, durable, and flexible. Fiberglass rods are suitable for fishing with small dry flies, small streamers, and light dry dropper rig on small to medium-sized streams. They are, however, slightly heavier than graphite rods by 0.1 ounces.


The oldest fishing rods were made of bamboo. They are designed for delicate presentations and slow casting action. Just like fiberglass rods, bamboo fly rods deliver a unique experience when battling fish. If you enjoy using bamboo fly rods, you might want to look at our post here on how to make a bamboo fly rod.

Nano-silica resin

The technology used to make nano-silica resin rods pushes the benefits of graphite rods to new levels. Hundreds of Nano-silica particles are added to the resin to fill the gaps between cross-sections of the fibers, making resin a structural component of the rod instead of a fill-in element.

wrap up

Wrap up

In our experience, the best fly rod for beginners is either the Orvis Clearwater or another favourite is the  Redington Crosswater. Both are well-rounded fly rod that delivers plenty of power, plus, they’re both backed by lifetime warranties.

I’ve used each fly rod personally, and they both stack up with the much more expensive rods from Sage and Hardys.

With so many choices on the market, it can be tough to choose the best rod for you and your skill level. Selecting the best beginner fishing rod is about knowing the right fly rod weight based on the type of game you want to catch and the kind of fly you are using.

Following these recommendations, you should be able to make an informed decision and get out on the water. We suggest that you go for the Orvis Clearwater as your beginner fly rod. But remember, no matter what kind of fly rod you end up with, actually going fly fishing is the only way to learn and improve your game.

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