Fly fishing is a popular worldwide pastime. The United States has a particular affinity for it, which has led to the wide availability of angling products across the country.
Some are produced elsewhere and imported, and others are local brands from the US. There are pros and cons to every sporting goods company, so we have compiled a few of the best fly fishing brands so you can stay informed.
There are many components to a great fly fishing setup, from reels and rods to waiters and vests, to boots to keep you planted on the riverbed.
Many of the best brands of fly fishing gear produce all of the abovementioned, so we’ll be sure to discuss the specialties of each and provide some recommendations of who does what best. Read on to get to know some of the best brands much better!
Top 12 Brands for Fly Fishing
- G Loomis
- Scientific Anglers
Colorado-based Scott has been handcrafting quality flyrods since the early 1970s. Initially working with fiberglass, Scott was quick to innovate when graphite became an option.
Favoring longer rods than competitors at the time, another innovation was the first 5 piece rod, which became an instant hit with those looking for a more portable setup.
The Scott team moved from California to Colorado in the early 1990s. They have significantly increased production levels since their move.
The company calls its approach “The Scott Difference”, which describes purpose-built products that are carefully tested and vetted. They are a bigger company than they were in the 70s but have strived to maintain quality manufacturing alongside a larger yield.
Scott still makes some fiberglass rods, in their F series. This is alongside the production of graphite rods, saltwater-specific rods, custom builds, and even cane rods.
Their bamboo offerings are made in collaboration with craftsmen in Japan and provide big business reliability with handmade quality. Visit their website to see which one may be best for you!
Sage is another option for those looking to “buy local,” as they’ve been located in the USA for the entirety of their 40+ year history. Sage’s rods and reels are all handmade in their Washington State shop and pass through numerous pairs of hands to guarantee superb quality.
The Sage company promises that they are avid anglers too, meaning head and heart go into each rod and reel. As fishers, they know how to craft quality fly fishing gear. They also ensure that practical applications are prioritized over flashy marketability.
The company sells products for saltwater and freshwater applications. If you feel so inclined, they also offer a handful of clothing products if you feel like representing the brand on and off of the water.
This quality comes at a cost, as does most handmade sporting gear. Don’t expect to find a bargain basement reel or rod in Sage’s lineup.
That being said, if you can afford these products you won’t be disappointed. Each piece of equipment is checked over by at least 23 employees before it gets the stamp of approval.
There’s a lot to talk about with the Orvis company. Not just regarding their massive line of fly fishing products, but also their 150+ year history and rise to where they are today.
Starting in the mid-1800s in Vermont as a small fly fishing outfitter; Orvis still has flagship shops around the Northeast. They now conduct North American operations out of Roanoke, Virginia, and European business from the United Kingdom.
Fly fishing products are still at the focal point of Orvis’ business, but their love of the outdoors has led them to expand to hunting and shooting gear, clothing, and a wide range of dog products.
Their dog products can make them a one-stop shop for anglers who brought a canine companion. Some locations even offer breeder recommendations for hunting dogs, if that’s part of your adventure plan.
Orvis still has a great reputation for quality, capitalizing on its success by lowering prices and offering more diverse products. With shops around the US and UK, it’s not hard to go and check out Orvis products yourself.
Echo is a company created and curated by angler Tim Rajeff. Based out of Washington state, they provide quality fly rods, reels, strike indicators, and apparel, at a more reasonable rate than many competitors.
Rajeff has ample experience in both fishing and developing products, with a storied career taking him to the north of Russia, Alaska, and finally back to the west coast of the USA.
He learned rod-making upon his return and brought all of this experience to Echo. In a business that’s not afraid to charge consumers large amounts for products, Echo sets itself apart by maintaining quality at lower rates.
All of their reels and rods are developed in-house by a knowledgeable team.
Idaho-based Rio is a great source for flies, lines, and tippets. Freshwater or saltwater, and no matter what you’re fishing for, you can find Rio products to bring in your next big catch.
Rio’s website even has simple ways to search for flies by pattern/description. Know what to use, but don’t feel like tying? Search it with Rio, and order flies of all patterns delivered directly to your door or local fly shop.
Their signature tier flies are some of the best quality you can find, designed by some of the top fishers out there.
Like many brands these days, Rio offers apparel as well. From representative items like hats and tee-shirts to more practical offerings like storage and cases for your gear, chances are you can find them from Rio.
If you’re going on a fly fishing trip and don’t want to tye your flies, Rio offers collections. You can pick saltwater options from blue water to flats, and tarpon to bluefish, or check out their variety of river options to fill up your fly box.
Simms is a company that does it all and manages to do so without skimping on quality. Their website is overwhelming at first due to the sheer number of options, but the brand is set up in such a manner that all of these products are of high quality.
The Montana-based company has been around since the 1980s and specializes in purpose-built clothing like waders and vests.
They offer wading boots and other types of footwear to keep your balance steady from rocky riverbeds to the deck of a floating boat. Their top-notch waders are crafted by hand, made only one at a time to ensure precision and quality.
Simms is specialized enough to charge market prices or higher for their robust products, but you can also find deals on styles and catalogs from years past.
They commit to quality from year to year, but if you’re not obsessed with the latest trend on the river you can save some money buying last year’s vest or waders.
Redington is a common name for rods and reels but also offers up waders and other apparel, plus accessories and more. Need a total overhaul of your fly fishing setup?
Redington’s “combos” are a great way to pick up a rod and reel that are a match made in heaven. Not only will your gear be stylish, but you’ll be sure to get all the quality promised by a top-notch brand.
From steelhead to trout, to bonefish, you can search their website based on the specific type of fishing you’re going to be doing. They are a true one-stop shop, and while the products aren’t all made in the USA, they are guaranteed and can be purchased with great warranties.
They are also all designed and developed in Florida by the company. You can look at their different essentials collections to find the perfect gear for your specific needs.
G Loomis has been a well-known name among anglers for some time now and has recently managed to uphold strict standards despite growing into a larger company than ever before.
Their rods and reels are still crafted in Woodland Washington, but the company is now owned by Shimano, who are recognized for their excellent cycling products and sporting goods.
They use the most modern technology available to ensure you’re getting only the best, including a unique fiber blend tailored specifically for fishing, as well as a multi-taper design for rods.
They triple layer their rods in a special design called Spiral X, which increases rigidity but not weight. This is due to a blend of Infinity Tape and Muscle Carbon, reducing weight but adding strength.
Lastly, they have something called GLX Matrix, which is a graphite system blended with resin to ensure your rod is light, sturdy, and can take a beating over the years.
Having a large and diverse product line while maintaining quality is no easy feat, but G Loomis does just this.
Offering rods and reels for fly fishing, spin fishing, and baitcasting, the company has grown a lot since its inception at the hands of Gary Loomis. G Loomis also offers some apparel if you’d like to have your outfit match your gear
Scientific Anglers was started in the mid-1940s in Michigan and quickly went on to revolutionize fly lines as we know them. The “science” present in the company’s name is far more than just a gimmick or marketing strategy.
They have pioneered many innovations in fly line products, from the addition of micro balloons to help floating lines, to replacing lead with tungsten in sinking lines for a more eco-friendly product.
This innovative attitude towards fly lines led Scientific Anglers to develop rod and reel systems and unique waterproof fly boxes.
The company was purchased by Orvis in 2013, but they have maintained their commitment to quality just as they were before the merger.
Ownership by the larger brand has led to new logos and marketing strategies, without compromising Scientific Anglers’ innovative and forward-thinking nature.
Many of us know California-based Patagonia as a large outdoor clothing retailer. They have a wide range of fly fishing-specific products available and offer men’s and women’s apparel.
This is in combination with all of their gear. Patagonia has done a great job of entering the fishing market without overextending itself.
Many products they sell are made of recycled products. Their waterproof backpacks and jackets are touted as being Earth-friendly and long-lasting. Patagonia also makes a handful of purpose-built accessories and items like wading boots.
Patagonia’s website features fly fishing books. They address the fly fishing hobby regularly in their blogs and emails.
As with the company’s streetwear and hiking products, don’t expect Patagonia’s fly fishing products to be cheap. Their quality is high, and their products are unique. As such, they are priced accordingly.
Fishpond is a Colorado-based, family-owned, and hands-on brand, that delivers a wide range of products. From purpose-built niche gear to lifestyle clothing and accessories, Fishpond offers it all with heart and soul.
A jack of all trades style company, Fishpond has struck a balance between offering numerous products without sacrificing integrity.
This does not come cheap, as evidenced by their high-quality top-tier nets and vests, and they are a small enough company to know better than to gouge or charge exorbitant premiums.
Fishpond continues to manufacture all of its products in Colorado, and they maintain their family-owned integrity after several decades in the business.
They have even expanded outside of their fishing products and sell quality luggage and packs so you can go wherever your adventure takes you.
Nautilus is a company renowned for its high-quality fly fishing reels. American-owned and based, they craft their reels out of a factory in the north of Miami Florida. Nautilus’s prices vary, but they commit to quality across their product line.
The Florida company has begun making apparel like hats, vests, shirts, and even facemasks. This is all they offer outside of their reels, which indicates how seriously they take their signature products.
Not only are Nautilus’ reels robust, but they are also lightweight. This is possible due to technical innovations the company has developed.
Their website cleverly states all their products are “tested on animals”. This is evident given the number of anglers who swear by their reels.
Where will your next fly fishing adventure take you? Whether you’re reading this from the United States or are abroad and curious about this uniquely American pastime, these brands have carried the torch for decades.
Transporting gear is not always easy, especially if you have to take a flight. This is why so many of these brands offer compact products and even purpose-built luggage to transport them in.
From the flats of the Lower Florida Keys to salmon fishing in the Pacific Northwest, the United States offers a diverse set of landscapes.
Once you know where you want to go, rest assured that one of these tried and true brands will outfit your ideal fishing experience. From week-long trips to a visit to your local headwater, find your favorite shop today, and surprise the fishes with some new gear!