Choosing Your Colorado Fly Fishing Rod

Choosing Your Colorado Fly Fishing Rod

Whether you are upgrading existing gear, beginning the sport or simply treating yourself, there are guidelines to keep in mind when choosing a new rod for fly fishing Colorado. While just about every experienced fly fisherman will have his own strong opinion about the “best” rod, there are a few basic critical elements to consider.

Cost is always a major concern. Most rods are made of bamboo, fiberglass or graphite.  As with most products, expect better quality, workmanship and performance with the more expensive fly rods. A quality rod can contribute to better casts and a superior fishing experience, so choose what your budget can bear.

Decide how you will be using the rod. Consider the kind of water you mostly intend to fish, the size of fish you expect to catch, as well as the size of fly that is likely to be used. Rod size affects both casting and playing of a catch. Rods are assigned size numbers depending on their intended use. For example, a rod labelled number 3 is a light rod, best used for small trout in smaller streams. A 12 weight rod is more appropriate for large flies, longer casts and bigger fish like tarpon.

Scott Radian Fly Rod from Minturn Anglers web fly shopRod length is another important consideration depending on the characteristics of the Colorado fly fishing waters. A popular 9 foot fly rod allows effortless long distance casting and good drift control. However, if you will be fishing smaller streams and bushy areas with less room to manoeuvre, a 7 foot or even smaller rod is appropriate. Check the rod action classification provided by the manufacturer, giving an indication of how much the rod will bend during a cast.  A fast action rod flexes mainly at the tip, allowing longer casting and specialized casting techniques. Most fly fishermen choose a medium action rod. Also, choosing the right grip makes for comfortable day-long working the water.

The most versatile fly rod for fishing in Denver or Vail Valley waters is a 9 foot medium weight rod. While conducting some internet research will help narrow down rod and manufacturer options, your best approach is a hands-on experience at your local fly shop and then visit our online fly shop. Talking to the friendly knowledgeable staff at tackle shops such as Minturn Anglers in Minturn, Vail or Denver is one of the best ways to ensure that you end up with equipment that is just right for you.


It’s time to nail down your 2024 fly fishing trip with Minturn Anglers.

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Justin Nolan

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