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Lateral view of a Male Baetis (Baetidae) (Blue-Winged Olive) Mayfly Dun from Mystery Creek #43 in New York
Blue-winged Olives

Tiny Baetis mayflies are perhaps the most commonly encountered and imitated by anglers on all American trout streams due to their great abundance, widespread distribution, and trout-friendly emergence habits.

Ventral view of a Hydropsyche (Hydropsychidae) (Spotted Sedge) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
With a bit of help from the microscope, this specimen keys clearly and unsurprisingly to Hydropsyche.
27" brown trout, my largest ever. It was the sub-dominant fish in its pool. After this, I hooked the bigger one, but I couldn't land it.
Troutnut is a project started in 2003 by salmonid ecologist Jason "Troutnut" Neuswanger to help anglers and fly tyers unabashedly embrace the entomological side of the sport. Learn more about Troutnut or support the project for an enhanced experience here.

87North's profile picture
New York

Posts: 3
87North on May 9, 2020May 9th, 2020, 3:23 am EDT
I've only fished an 8wt for steelhead/salmon, and would like to get a smaller rod for smaller streams. Wanted to know what you guys sugggest. I have no brand preferences or bias. I want something with decent backbone when casting/fast action.

- $500 budget for both rod and reel. You can go a little over, $50 +/- is reasonable.

- Not interested in Fiberglass rods

- 5wt.

- Primarily fishing small to medium sized Adirondack rivers, and small ponds for trout, smallmouth, panfish, etc.

- 8.5ft~9ft rod. 4 piece preferred for traveling purposes.
- Echo ION XL 8wt Rod // Ion 7-9wt Reel // Steelhead & Salmon
- St. Croix Triumph Light Rod // Daiwa BG 2000 Reel
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on May 9, 2020May 9th, 2020, 6:54 am EDT
Why, with those parameters, you have a million of them! That's about as standard a trout rod as you can get and you'll find them in any price range you want. For the smaller creeks and ponds I recommend a 7 1/2-foot 3-weight, as you will have trouble fishing brushy creeks with a 9-footer, and the 3-weight line falls more delicately on shallow, clear waters. Just my 2 cents! Good luck finding a stick (or two or five) that works for you.

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on May 9, 2020May 9th, 2020, 2:22 pm EDT
As Jonathon mentioned with a $500 budget you have many options and choices. At that price point there are quite a few good makers with lesser prices rods that will perform nicely for trout. Orvis has a nice combo called the "Encounter" that you can get for $160 rod, reel, line, and rod case. I've mentored two guys and recommended that for them and the rod is very nice.

Cabela's offers some nice combo's that can be purchased for $500 or if you prefer you can mix and match. Buy a rod from one maker, a reel, from another, and a line from yet another. I could pick an outfit for you but you might want to look on line for a comparison of 9' #5 rods. Different fly shops do these "rod shootouts" every few years. They typically sound unbiased but I'd be careful if they are selling any the rods they list in the top three. There are also YouTube videos with rod comparisons and evaluations. Hope that helps.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on May 10, 2020May 10th, 2020, 2:10 am EDT
I can vouch for Cabelas fly tackle, been using it for decades and they make pretty good stuff for not a whole lotta money. Always remember, skill is far more important than the price of your equipment! But, you will always need equipment that performs up to your skill level too. I prefer a fast graphite stick, and there's just hundreds out there in the $100-$500 price range. My advice is shop the sales and bargains and get the most expensive stuff you can within your price range when it goes on sale! Though a different hobby, I recently nailed a whole lot of sales and used equipment for astronomy (a pastime which can cost you some serious $$$) and now I am equipped like never before, and literally saved thousands over full non-sale, non-used prices.

As I said, best of luck in finding the perfect stuff for your needs, it's out there somewhere.

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
RleeP on May 10, 2020May 10th, 2020, 3:45 am EDT
I see you evidently already have one Echo Rod. IMO, you could do a lot worse than to explore what they have to offer in the smaller water trout rod you're looking for. I think Echo offers one of the best bangs for the buck there is to be had. Decent prices and very good rods. I have two Echos. I'm pretty sure they also offer package or outfit setups and, while I don't have any of their reels, I've heard nothing but good stuff about their reels as well as their rods.


Red_green_h's profile picture
New Mexico

Posts: 64
Red_green_h on May 11, 2020May 11th, 2020, 9:24 am EDT
I remember being in the same boat when I first started. I went to a local sportman's store and the fishing expert turned me onto a Redington Path combo. I've loved their gear since. It's probably not the best, probably not the worst but I can catch fish with it so I'm happy. Anyways if I go out and get skunked it's not cause of my gear, it's because of me. The Vice rod is a fast action rod for $200. Pair it with one of their reels for about $400 total. Redington is pretty decent equipment. It's really all I have save a red-headed step child or 2 in the arsenal. That original path combo (a 4wt 8' rod) I bought was for $180. I changed the line out on it this spring and intend to catch more fish with it.
Red_green_h's profile picture
New Mexico

Posts: 64
Red_green_h on May 11, 2020May 11th, 2020, 9:29 am EDT
I recommend a 7 1/2-foot 3-weight

Over the winter I got a new 7'6" 3 wt set up. I went up to the mountains last week and tried it out. I absolutely loved the way it presented anything I put on it. From dries to San Juan worms even with an indicator. It did not disappoint.

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