The Sage fly rod company has been synonymous with making premium fast action fly rods for the last two decades. While there are many anglers who love to fish quicker rods, there has always been a population of anglers who prefer rods with a little more “soul”. When I say “soul”, I mean rods that bend a little more, give the angler more feedback and feel during the cast, and flex deep when fighting fish. The Sage LL fly rod series is one of the most beloved Sage fly rods series ever made, and the LL has been used as a measuring stick to compare and contrast moderate-action fly rods ever since it was released back in 1987. Although these fly rods have been discontinued for over twenty years, the “OG” LL’s are still highly sought after in used and vintage fishing gear markets worldwide. Enter the Sage Trout LL; Sage's newest moderate action fly rod; ideal for many of the waters we have here in Utah and throughout the west.
The Trout LL was extensively talked about when it first came out six months ago, but unlike others in the industry, I don’t and won’t post any of my thoughts about any new rod series until I’ve had a chance to put it through my evaluation process. I cast every rod available to me extensively with a variety of lines, I cast them under varying weather conditions (i.e. calm days, breezy days,etc.), and if possible I took them out on the water to fish. This review process takes more time to do, but I feel it is the best and most fair way to give our customers an accurate evaluation to help them find a rod that will maximize their enjoyment on the water. Today, I’m here to share with you my thoughts on four of the Trout LL rods I’ve been able to put through their paces, and as with every gear review I do, I always encourage those interested in buying new gear to “try before you buy”. What I like may not be what you like, so take the time to find out what gear works best for your needs. That is what matters most!
7’9” 3 Weight Trout LL
- Out of all the small-stream rods Sage makes, this is my favorite. It has a quicker action than most of the other Trout LL’s, which is great for casting bushy dry flies on a windy day, and also makes fishing a light dry-dropper rig fun too. The tip of the 7’9” 3 wt. Trout LL still flexes deep enough to aid in protecting fine leaders and tippets, and makes catching anything from a dainty brook trout, to a larger brown, a lot of fun. I had the opportunity to fish this rod on our small Wasatch Front streams, and it performed amazingly well. From bow-and-arrow casting to overhead casts, the 793 Trout LL made fishing in potentially frustrating conditions fun.
- Fly Line Suggestions: I REALLY loved the RIO Gold (which is a weight-forward line) on this rod. The RIO Technical Trout in a weight forward taper, or the Scientific Anglers Trout taper in a weight forward taper would also be worth considering.
8’9” 3 Weight Trout LL
- I own this rod, and it has proven itself to be the perfect tool for delicate and technical dry fly fishing situations we face during the Fall, Winter, and Spring. The 893 Trout LL is an excellent dry fly rod because it flexes deep to protect fine leaders and tippets, but it also has enough backbone to handle a breezy day and any big fish you fool into sipping your fly. I prefer to fish it on small-medium sized rivers like the Upper Weber and Middle/Lower Provo, but I wouldn’t hesitate to fish it out on the Green below Flaming Gorge during any midge or mayfly hatch.
- Fly Line Suggestions: I have my 893 TLL lined with a Weight Forward RIO Technical Trout. I liked this line the best on the 8’9” 3 weight because it allowed me to cast and fish a variety of dry flies, and it did so without making the rod feel clunky or overloaded when casting. Another line that paired well with the rod was the weight forward Amplitude Trout line from Scientific Anglers. The longer, weight forward heads of both these lines makes the 893 a joy to fish at all distances, without sacrificing the rods ability to make delicate presentations to spooky fish.
9’ 4 Weight Trout LL
- This is another Trout LL that I own, and I can’t say enough good things about it! The 904 TLL is a great 4 wt. fly rod for western creeks, streams, and rivers. I specifically bought this rod for fishing dry flies and dry dropper rigs on our local streams, and for stalking spooky trout on technical waters like Silver Creek and the Henry’s Fork. The 904 TLL has proven itself to have enough delicacy to protect the lightest tippets, but will turn over long leaders in a heavy wind. I have fished this rod on a variety of rivers and streams across Utah, and it has proven itself to be a deadly fishing tool.
- Fly Line Suggestions: This rod is one of the most versatile rods in the series when it comes to picking the `right’ fly line for your fishing needs. For all around fishing applications, I prefer the RIO Gold on this rod. For more delicate, dry fly specific fishing, the Double Taper RIO Technical Trout line is an amazing match with this rod.
9’ 5 Weight Trout LL
If you’ve been looking for a versatile, moderate action five weight fly rod that has both power and feel, I would strongly suggest you cast the 905 Trout LL. As you would expect from a modern five weight fly rod, the 905 TLL is more than capable of fishing dries, nymphs, and small-medium sized streamers well. Having fished the 905 Trout LL with all of the aforementioned rigs, I can tell you that it a joy to mend line with, casts well in both calm and windy days, and the softer tip makes catching fish of any size enjoyable. This rod would be perfect for anyone looking for a five weight fly rod for fishing rivers the size of the Provo, Weber, Henry’s Fork, Green, and prefers to fish a rod with a softer touch than the 905 Sage X.
Fly Line Suggestions: The 905 TLL casts certain fly lines better than others-especially at certain distances! For all-around fishing and casting at short-long distances, I liked the RIO Technical Trout in a weight-forward taper the best. I’ve also fished the RIO Gold on the 905 TLL with nymph rigs, larger dry-droppers, and streamers. The 905 TLL will definitely cast and fish a RIO Gold well at distances between 20’-40’, but the Gold made the rod sluggish casting between 50’-70’.
These are some of the finest moderate action fly rods Sage has built since the original LL. Beautifully crafted, smooth and an ideal rod for may of the waters we have here in Utah and throughout the west. Stop in, check them out. Take one out to cast and see for yourself what a great series of fly rods the new Trout LL is. Or, follow the link to order the Trout LL on-line if your not in our neighborhood.