5 WT Fly Rod Reviews:

5 WT Fly Rod Reviews:

Posted by by Nick Teynor on Mar 24th 2021

When it comes to finding the “perfect” 5 weight trout rod these days, there is no shortage of options. Afterall, the 9 foot 5 weight fly rod has become the “daily driver” for a massive number of fly anglers pursuing trout here at home in Utah, and across the world. Because of their popularity, due largely to their versatility, there are many great rods to choose from between the rod makers we represent: Sage, Scott, Winston, St. Croix, and Livingston Rod Co. In order to help simplify the buying process, I decided to write about our favorite 5 weight rods for the following categories: Dry Fly-Fishing, “All-Around”, Specialty, and Budget. Giving you [the customer] an easy to follow breakdown of the rods we carry in the shop and what they excel at. That way, if and when you are in the market for a 5 weight, you can feel confident that you are getting the best rod for your fishing.

Our goal(s) at Western River's when helping customers pick out the“perfect” fly rod, is to help each customer hone in on the “right” rod that matches their casting style, and future fly fishing needs. To achieve that, we pride ourselves on casting every fly rod we carry, even fishing most of them, and in doing so test these rods with all the fly lines we stock. Rod choice and line choice are equally important when putting together a new or any outfit. Many rods act vastly different based on how they are lined, and your casting stroke. So, in order to help you make a “perfect” rod/line pairing, we have current fly lines listed in the review, and available for you to test cast with any of the rods that made our list if you have the opportunity. We did this so that when it comes to helping you [our customers] find the rod of your dreams, we can give you the best rod and fly line options to fit your needs.

One thing I want to point out before listing my shop favorite 5 weight fly rods is that none of them will be listed in a specific numeric order. Ranking them from “best to worst” does nothing but create a bias that is founded on one persons opinion, and gives the unfair impression that the other rods listed are inferior. The most reliable way to find out which rod is a good fit for you is to cast them before you buy them. No amount of internet praise, rod reviews, and opinions can beat how YOU feel about a rod when it is in your hands.

So, if any of the rods on this list peak your interests, or match something that you are specifically looking for, I would encourage you to come by the shop and cast them! If you don’t have this opportunity, I hope you’ll find my advice and recommendations helpful. You are also welcome to call us at the shop to further help personalize this important decision. Now, onto the list! I’ll be starting with rods meant to cast and fish one of my favorite family of flies: The Dry Fly.

Shop Favorite Premium “Dry Fly” 5 Weight Fly Rods

This is the criteria I used to choose the rods for the “Dry Fly” 5 weight fly rod category:

  1. Rod excels at making presentation casts (reach casts, aerial mends,accuracy, etc.) between 20’-50’.
  2. Rod can turn over long leaders in all weather conditions.
  3. Rod can cast and fish all sizes of dry flies, and light Dry-Dropper rigs.
  4. Rod helps protect fine, delicate leaders and tippets (5X-7X).
  5. Rod is “fun” to cast/fish.

Based on this specific criteria, I have found the following rods to be perfect matches for the angler seeking a “Dry Fly” specific 5 weight fly rod:

When it comes to pairing these fly rods with a line that will make them perform at their best, we have many good options to choose from. However, in the context of fishing the dry fly, I have found these following lines to be universally great at helping get the best dry fly presentations:

How to Pick A Dry Fly Line:

We at the shop prefer Double Taper (DT) fly lines for dry fly fishing because they allow us to sofly pick-up, and lay down our flies with ease, and minimize the need to strip in weight forward line head in order to recast our flies. However, when dealing with the wind, or when fishing more air resistant dries, or dry-droppers rigs, I would strongly recommend a Weight Forward fly line. The heavier front portion of both the Technical Trout and Amplitude Trout weight forward lines will allow you to deal with the wind, make delicate presentations, and turn over reasonably sized dry-dropper rigs.

Shop Favorite Premium “All-Around” 5 Weight Fly Rods

The rods I selected to be put into this category have proven themselves capable of the following:

  1. Rod is capable of fishing all sizes of trout rivers and stillwaters at a variety of distances.
  2. Rod is capable of fishing a majority of all trout dries, nymphs, and streamers.
  3. Rod can fish any fly between sizes #6-#20.
  4. Rod can deal with windy conditions, but still has touch for more delicate presentations.
  5. Rod is able to cast a variety of fly line tapers in order to meet a specific job requirement.

The following rods have proven themselves to be great “All-Around” trout rods, and more than capable of meeting the aforementioned criteria:

Pairing lines with these rods is relatively easy, because all of these rods have proven themselves capable of casting a wide range of line tapers-including a majority of the “All-Around” fly lines on the market today. What’s more impressive is that these rods have also proven they can be paired with more technique specific lines (i.e. lake lines, sink-tips, single-hand spey lines, etc.) when angling situations change. I have found that the following lines are the best for allowing anglers to fish anything from dry flies, nymphs, and streamers with these fly rods:

If you are in the market for a premium fly rod that will literally “fish it all”, then you can’t go wrong with any of the rods listed here. They have proven themselves to be the only fly rods you’ll need for fishing any of our medium-larger streams across Utah and the West, and can fish anything from a #4 streamer, to a #20 BWO dry fly.

Shop Favorite Premium “Big Fly/Big Water” 5 Weight Fly Rods

The rods that made this list are what would be considered the “power” 5 weights of the fly rod realm.

They are on this list because they can do the following, and do it very well:

  1. Rod can cast heavy and/or air resistant flies in all weather conditions.
  2. Rod can efficiently cast all medium-heavy indicator nymphing rigs.
  3. Rod can pick up and efficiently cast all kinds of sink-tip/sinking fly lines.
  4. Rod is capable of picking-up and laying down longer than average lengths of line with minimal effort.
  5. Rod is the perfect tool for large rivers, lakes and reservoirs.

The following rods have proven themselves to be perfect tools for the angler seeking to fish the aforementioned flies and locations:

These rods are very powerful, and because of this, I’d recommend that anglers pair these rods with lines that are a half-size heavy. Why? In short, half-size heavy lines are essentially 5.5 weight fly lines, and will allow you to cast at actual trout fishing distances well, and then load up the lower sections of the rod to allow you to cast as far as you could possibly need. The following lines have proven themselves to be great options for these rods:

Shop Favorite “Budget” 5 Weight Fly Rods

With so many new anglers looking to jump into the game, especially after last year, I wanted to make sure that I included our shop favorite “Budget” 5 weight fly rods. While these rods may not have all the glitz and glamour of their high-end cousins, they have proven themselves to be just as capable, and at prices that are kinder to your wallet. Rods that made this list had to meet the following criteria:

  • Rod price tag is between $350-$600.00
  • Rod is made in the USA
  • Rod is capable of “growing” with the angler
  • Rod is able to perform at all “Trout Distances”, and reach out further when needed
  • Rod is fun to cast and fish

Based on this criteria, these are our Favorite “Budget” 5 Weight Fly Rods:

Since these rods do not have the same quality of graphite, and sensitivity as high end fly rods, I would highly recommend pairing these rods with the “half-size” heavy 5 weight fly lines mentioned with the "Big Fly/Big Water" five weights. In my experiences teaching folks how to cast, especially those new to fly-fishing, having a high quality fly line that makes the fly rod bend more is very beneficial. It makes it easier to learn how to feel your fly rod cast, which greatly aids in developing the essential casting skills, and it also makes it easier to make those shorter, 15-40 foot casts that make up a vast majority of our fishing for trout here in the Intermountain area.

  • So, here they are! Our shop favorite 5 weight fly rods. I hope that this list aids you in finding that “perfect” rod, and gives you a clearer understanding of the 5 weight fly rod options available to you at Western Rivers. They are all great rods, and capable of catching any trout that you may come across during your adventures.