When searching for the best fly rods for salmon fishing there is an abundance of options and it can be quite hard to pin down and understand which fly rods will work best for you and where you spend most of your time fly fishing.
If you want to know more about fly fishing for salmon, check our post here on Salmon Fly Fishing.
|Sage X Fly Rod||Check Today’s Price|
|Redington Chromer Spey Fly Rod||Check Today’s Price|
|Orvis Clearwater Two-Handed Salmon Fly Rod||Check Today’s Price|
|Echo Swing Two-Handed & Switch Fly Rod||Check Today’s Price|
Our Best Fly Rods For Salmon Fishing
Sage Fly Fishing – X Fly Rod
- Wt: 7 weight
- Size: 10 foot
- Action: Fast
- Pieces: 4
The Sage Fly Fishing – X Fly Rod comes in both a two-handed Spey or a switch outfit in a rnage of weights. For salmon fishing, the Spey outfit is what I’d recommend, especially if you travel to large waters. But, the switch option is a happy medium if you often switch between fly fishing for trout, salmon, and steelhead on smaller rivers.
Being a Sage fly rod, it has a high price and it might blow the budget but it is top of the line. The blank is built from top-draw graphite for durability and is equipped with Sage KonneticHD Technology for better recovery.
This gives the Sage X fly rod a quick recovery for better energy transfer and tighter loops on your casts. This will not only increase the feel and distance of your casts but also ensure excellent presentation and you’ll see your leader turnover perfectly every time you push a line.
The Sage X salmon fly rod comes with top-quality Fuji guides, a cork handle, and an aluminum unlocking seat for your reels. Everything about the Sage X fly rod is about as good as fly fishing gear gets, and it’s the best fly rod in the review, but it comes at a price.
- Comes in both Spey and Switch options
- Excellent blank and tip recovery for tighter loops on your cast
- A lot of feel for a fast action rod for better accuracy and presentation
- Tough and durable build that will handle freshwater and saltwater
- Great power for throwing 70 feet of line with ease
See also our full Sage X Review here.
Redington Chromer Spey Fly Rod
- Wt: 6 weight
- Size: 11 foot 6 inches
- Action: Fast
- Pieces: 4
The Redington Chromer Spey Fly Rod is made from a quality graphite blank and is designed to be smooth but fast. This 6 weight fly rod loads quickly and easily making your Spey casts as effortless as possible.
You’ll typically be able to throw a cast into the 60 feet range and thanks to the excellent feel and energy transfer of the Redington salmon fly rod, it’ll turn over even the big flies, like hitched tubes, you might be swinging for salmon and steelhead.
Another thing I love about this Redington salmon fly rod is that its light. You can cast consistently all day long while slowly making your way down the river or lake swinging flies into the depth of each pool without getting an achey arm.
This Redington salmon fly rod also comes equipped with a durable aluminum reel seat, top-notch cork handle, and polymer pinch grip sections that help maintain your body temperature which is ideal if you love swinging flies for steelhead in the dead of winter.
- Great all-around Spey rod for most steelhead and salmon river sizes
- Super smooth and fast fly rod for accurate casting
- High-quality handle and guides made for cold weather
- Loads quickly and easily for Spey casting a large salmon fly
- Well balanced and lightweight for consistent performance
Orvis Clearwater Two-Handed Salmon Fly Rod
- Wt: 8 weight
- Size: 11 foot
- Action: Fast
- Pieces: 4
The Orvis Clearwater Two-Handed Salmon Fly Rod is made up of a mixture of standard, intermediate, and high modulus graphite which is said to make the Orvis salmon fly rod 10-15% stronger.
This doesn’t mean it’ll survive being slammed in a car door (we have all been there) but it does help when you hook a monster salmon or steelhead, particularly when fishing near snags, as you can use the strength and backbone of the fly fishing rod to control the fish.
This Orvis fly rod comes in a range of weights from a 3wt for Czech nymphing for trout all the way to a 10wt for when you’re chasing giant salmon like kings in Alaska. I’d go for the 8 weight rod as it is an all-around weight fly rod that will transfer between swinging big flies for trout, bass, steelhead, and it has enough weight to handle a big salmon too.
These Orvis fly rods cast pretty well and you should expect to throw lines of 50-80 feet quite easily, especially with a Spey line on the fly rod. This salmon fly rod comes complete with a top-quality aluminum seat for your reels, a proper premium cork handle, and top-notch guides too.
- Durable mixed modulus graphite rod build
- Great power and strength to fight big salmon and steelhead
- Excellent for casting long distances with accuracy
- Top-quality cork handle and reel seat that can survive saltwater
- Excellent length/weight for big and small freshwater lakes and rivers
Echo Swing Two-Handed & Switch Fly Rod
- Wt: 7 weight
- Size: 13 foot
- Action: Medium-fast
- Pieces: 4
The Echo Swing Two-Handed & Switch Fly Rod is actually a trout Spey rod and would be fitting on a trip to Alaska where the tactics and species you’re after can change in minutes. This Echo fly rod comes in a range of weights from a 6-8 weight and the 7 weight rod in a length of 13 ft is the happy medium outfit.
The extra few feet on this Echo fly rod outfit means you could even use it on big rivers in Oregon and BC with ease but being a 7wt, the outfit will still be light enough so you can swing flies for salmon and steelhead all day long. You might worry that it might not have the power to catch a big 20lb salmon but these fly rods are built tough and can handle it.
These Echo fly rods are medium-fast giving you more feel which is great when you’re pushing a line or just learning how to Spey cast. The Echo fly rods load nicely and will have you throwing lines of up to 60 feet with ease.
This Echo outfit comes complete with a great seat for your reels, a top-of-the-line cork handle, and stripping guides. They’re so durable you could even use them in saltwater. One more great thing about this Echo salmon fly rod is the price. It’s a great value rod if you’re on a budget and it still comes with a lifetime warranty.
- Excellent price for the quality of the rod
- Med-fast for a better feel on your Spey cast
- Quality stripping guides, reel seat, and handle
- Great strength for handling salmon and steelhead
- Light for tireless all-day casting
What types of fly rods are best for salmon?
When it comes to fly fishing for salmon and the fly fishing gear you need, you have two types of fly rods to choose from; switch fly rods and Spey fly rods.
You can also see our full breakdown of the Best Salmon Flies here.
Switch Fly Rods
Switch fly rods are great salmon fly rods for smaller rivers. They are just like single-handed fly rods and but with a small handle on the bottom of the rod. This means you can fish them for multiple fish from trout to salmon and steelhead, and use them to throw your salmon fly with an overhead or roll cast. They are great for smaller rivers but won’t have the power of Spey rods needed on large salmon rivers.
Spey Fly Rods
Spey fly rods have two handles and are long so you can Spey cast the large distances required when fly fishing on wide salmon rivers. If your salmon fish often, and on wide rivers, these are the best fly rods to go for. You’ll always be able to fish your salmon fly where it needs to be, even if that’s 80 feet across the river.
What Weight Fly Rod Is Best For Salmon Fly Fishing?
As with all fly fishing gear you need to match it to the weight of the fish and water you’re fly fishing in. This is why brands make salmon fly rods in a range of weights and lengths.
As a general rule, you should be fishing an 8-10wt fly rod when fly fishing for salmon. These are heavy enough to handle a 20lb plus salmon and if you’re going for king salmon that get up to 50 lbs plus, a 10wt is recommended.
Your gear should never be lighter than a 6wt as it won’t have the strength to cast a hefty salmon fly the distance needed on salmon rivers.
For more selection of fly rod weights, see our reviews here:
- Best 3 Weight Fly Rod
- Best 4 Weight Fly Rod
- Best 5 Weight Fly Rod
- Best 6 Weight Fly Rod
- Best 7 Weight Fly Rod
- Best 8 Weight Fly Rod
You can also check out our post on the Best Fly Rod Under $200 here.
What Length Fly Rod Is Best When Fly Fishing For Salmon?
When fly fishing for salmon how long your fly rods are makes a huge difference to the waters you can fish. When using equipment like Spey rods, you need them to be longer so you can manage the line and make your Spey casts effectively and the happy medium is around 13ft.
When it comes to using fly fishing gear like Switch or single-handed rods for salmon, the rods only need to be about 9-11ft as your overhead cast will help you get the distance needed.
Does it matter what material the fly rod is made from?
Fly fishing gear gets more and more sophisticated every year and when it comes to rods, there are a few materials to choose from including; bamboo, fiberglass, and graphite.
Almost all the fly fishing gear brands make rods in all the materials mentioned above but when it comes to the best fly rods, they are pretty much all made from graphite.
Graphite is strong, doesn’t bend too much like fiberglass or bamboo, and thus performs the best when it comes to energy transfer on the cast. The use of graphite in fly rods is why we have such fast action rods on the market today.
When it comes to salmon, you’ll want to fish with graphite. It’s a lot lighter than both bamboo and fiberglass, is easier to thrown lines with, pushes better distances, and is overall a lot more responsive.
Bamboo and fiberglass can bend almost in half, giving them a slow action and line speed. They are more suited for super delicate presentations of tiny dry flies on short casts to spooky trout.
Which is the best fly rod to take fly fishing for salmon?
The best fly rod and the clear winner in my eyes is the Sage X salmon fly rod. These fly rods are built to perform and with the Sage X’s fast action and quick recovery, your casting and presentation will be the best it can be. Fly rods from fly fishing gear brands like Sage do come at a high price but they do have a lifetime guarantee – so you’re getting a fly rod for life.
The runner-up best fly rod that’s ideal on a budget is the Echo Swing. This outfit is one of the best fly rods for switching between salmon, steelhead, and trout that’ll have you pushing those long lines you need on larger and smaller rivers. It’s also durable, light, and like all the brands, Echo gives you a lifetime guarantee too.
Thanks for reading my article, I hope you enjoyed it and found the right salmon fly fishing rod for you. Enjoy swinging those flies this summer and tight lines!