Fly Fishing Rod - What Length Fly Fishing Rod Is Best For Me?

"The length of a fly fishing rod effects its handling"

The question of what the length of the fly fishing rod should be, elicits another question in response, “what is your height?”  There is no “one size fits all” with a fly fishing rod.  If the height of the angler is 5’4”, a rod that is seven feet long is as good as not having a rod.  If the person is thin, then they certainly would not want to end up with a weight that is unmanageable.

It is important to choose a rod that fits the buyer’s specific needs and not what someone else has.  The first criteria when looking for a rod of the perfect length is the comfort it affords when holding and casting it for a few hours at a stretch.  Believe me! It is going to be very disappointing if the rod does not feel comfortable.

While the angler’s size matters, there are other crucial factors that need to be taken into account. 

  • Type of fishing
  • Location of fishing
  • Weather conditions

Let’s break things down further, in order to arrive at the perfect length of a fly fishing rod. 

Short Fly Rods - If the fishing is going to be done in a small stream or a small spring creek with lots of brush, a small or shorter fly fishing rod, about 7½ feet if the casting conditions are very tight, is easier to control and the chances of it breaking between the trees are going to be less.  There are even smaller ones that can be chosen.  If a 9-feet rod is used in a small stream, it is going to hit the brush.  Since the short rods are not as powerful as the long ones, they have slower line speeds and cannot be cast far or used effectively in windy conditions.

Medium Fly Rods - Medium-sized fly fishing rods are great for use in open places with 50 feet or more room and not covered with brush, such as rivers.  The longer the fly rod, the better control it offers over casting as well as giving the ability to mend the line, and do other things that cannot be expected with a short line.  The 8-feet length fly fishing rods are good for trout fishing on small to medium sized rivers.  They are also good for people who are small and short, as they are not as challenging and there is less weight to move when casting.

Large Fly Rods - Large fly fishing rods are good for larger rivers.  Usually a 9-feet rod is used for fishing in large rivers, float fishing or for casting in windy conditions.  One of the most popular sizes is the 8½-feet rod, as this is considered by many as striking a balance between the large and medium; as it neither too big nor too small.  There are also 10-feet rods or bigger available for big saltwater game fish.

This should give a pretty good idea of what one should be getting.  In case it does not, read on to look at it from another angle.

For a beginner or an angler who fishes in several different sized rivers, ponds, lakes; an 8-feet rod is good.  For an intermediate or advanced angler who will be fly fishing in larger waters, windy conditions or looking to catch very large trout, then a 9-feet rod is great.  For people looking to catch fish that require light tackle, such as brown trout or smaller trout, then a rod between 8 and 8½-feet works well.

As long as the rod meets the angler’s specific needs, it can’t go wrong.  Generally, 8 to 9 feet rods suit most fly fishing situations.  However, the length of the rod depends on the type of waters, physical size of the person and the comfort it provides when fly fishing for hours on end.