How to choose the right fly rod

This may be the number one question we get.  What fly rod should I use/buy?  I already have an X weight, now I want to add this.  Why would you suggest using this rod over another?  Well I'm here today to answer all those questions.

My reasoning in choosing a fly rod may be different than many, but I believe once you read through it you will most likely agree.  Here's my top 3 reasons for choosing a fly rod, in order of importance.

*we are ONLY addressing fly rods.  I know that line, leader, etc can effect your choices as well but that's for another topic.

Reason 1

Choose a fly rod based on the flies you are throwing.

Yes, I know, I know, you're going and catching the next world record fish and that's the most important thing.  Well hear me out.  Unfortunately when we go fishing 90%+ of the time all we are doing is casting our flies.  (sometimes 100%).  The whole point in fishing is to present your offerings the best way possible, so why not put this as the top reason to choose a fly rod?  So you're throwing dry flies?  Try a moderate action rod to make a more delicate presentation in a 3-4 weight.  Tossing a triple articulated musky fly made out of half of a chicken worth of feathers?  Try a 10-12 weight to properly chuck all that meat.  Fishing for bass and throwing streamers, poppers and large nymphs?  Maybe a 5-6 weight to help turn over those flies properly.  Do what you do most often the best way you can.

Reason 2

Choose a fly rod based on the water you are fishing.

This one seems a bit simple to understand.  After you know what flies you are throwing, figure out where you are throwing them and adjust accordingly.  Fishing a big piece of water, step that rod weight up 1 size.  Fishing a tight cover area, maybe that 9 foot rod should be 7-8 feet instead.  Fishing a stream with lots of boulders and eddies, it's possible an 11 foot rod would help get you more reach rather than your 9-10 foot rod.  

Reason 3

Choose a fly rod based on the fish you are catching.

Yes, here it is.  If you get lucky, every once in a while, you actually will catch something.  Unless you're catching fish every cast because you're blessed by Jesus to cast on the right side of the boat, or you're just an amazing fisherman (aka liar) then this reason belongs right here at number 3.  After you take reasons 1 and 2, then adjust accordingly from here.  If you're fishing a small mountain stream and you're never going to encounter a fish over 8", then maybe stepping that 3 weight down to a 1 or 2 weight would be a bit more enjoyable.  On the other hand, if you're targeting bluegill in a farm pond but may encounter a few large bass, then that 3 weight might be a little too light to handle them and you should step up to a 4.  


With all this being said, the most important thing in fishing is just enjoying your time on the water.  Hopefully these tips will help you enjoy it just a bit more.  If you still have any questions on choosing the best rod feel free to reach out to us at any time.  You can email me at

Also, check out our line up of fly rods HERE.


Written not so eloquently by:

Ryan Gouldsbarry

Owner of Risen Fly



  • paul linski

    good job ryan i leqarned alot on my own and from shop owners such as yourself! I believe in this sport there is no end to the learning curve! But that is ok thats half the fun.The other half is progressing in a sport you love and seeing my wifes face when i say i have to stop at a fly shop lmao!

  • Jason Myers

    Good topic, helpful information and not drawn out into a 8 page sales tactic. Short, sweet and on point to help the reader choose a rod based on practical information. Looking forward to more.

  • Jim Schafhauser

    Well done Ryan that’s actually a nice help for the old rookie like me. A good read.

  • Jim Rauch

    Nice job on the first blog Ryan, I thought it was a good choice of topics.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published