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Thread: How to choose a fly reel and line for small trout streams?

  1. #1
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    Default How to choose a fly reel and line for small trout streams?

    I'm new to this game. Been to a few local streams and my St Croix Reign 5WT 9FT is going to be too big most of the time, so I just ordered a Redington 3WT 7'-6" CT flyrod today. At times the truth of the matter is what I am doing is a lot like bass fishin with a one of my baitcasting rigs lol. Castin round the boulder, under the tree branch etc. Sidearm casts and a little roll casting off the stream. A real backcast will be a rare thing for this new setup. I am catching small native Browns and stocked Rainbows (and getting addicted). The trips to more traditional water with larger fish will come later and be infrequent. I guess I can optimize my 5WT for that day.

    Your reel and flyline recommendations for the 3WT small stream fishing are invited. My guess is there won't actually be fish "on the reel" much, but want the drag to be there reliably when I occasionally need it a few times a year. I need a line that has decent durability, as I expect it will be rubbing obstacles on every trip. It doesn't need to have extraordinary long casting capability. As far as budget, I will pay what I truly need to pay.

    thanks, Dewayne

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How to choose a fly reel and line for small trout streams?

    I have the SA Sharkskin trout on my 3w. It's good stuff but after the fact I became aware of the clear floating flyline from Airflo and I gotta say... they really hit it on the nose. I think I may even buy a spare spool for my allen reel and grab some of this clear line.

    Here's the vid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSAD84l6Ys4#t=121
    ~Todd
    "...Nympin' ain't Easy"

    Chief Thread Starter
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  3. #3

    Default Re: How to choose a fly reel and line for small trout streams?

    I have an Orvis Superfine Touch 8'6" 3wt with a CFO II or III (Korean made) with a AIRFLO Tactical WFF-3...it works just fine. I've looked at their clear line and may get one on an extra spool if I'm fishing low water conditions and spooky trout. So far longer leader/tippets, the right position and approach seems to work for me.

    I hardly use the drag on that CFO often palming it since I use that rod for native brookies in Virginia. So you won't need a drag.

    That superfine is a full flex rod delivering tiny flies softly and with accuracy. It's mostly a dry fly rod for me.

    But be aware that using a light rod (3wt and lower) can unnecessarily tire out big fish since you can't exert enough pressure on them to land them quickly.
    Best save that 5wt for the big stockers.

    My 2 cents is get as light a reel as you can to match the weight of that Redington CT. Not so light that the rod is tip heavy, that'll ruin all the fun of using a light rod! Lamson Waterworks has some light reels but again, go to a shop with the new rod and put the reels on and test the balance.

    Enjoy!
    "...all snobbery is defensive..and as important as fishing seems, the most important thing about it is, it's just fishing."

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  5. #4
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    Default Re: How to choose a fly reel and line for small trout streams?

    Thanks for the input so far. Guess I should say there are no local fly shops to my knowledge. That is why I am so eager for advice here. I do realize that 95% of the time my reel is just a line holder in my situation. If I have to, I can buy an ebay reel and line while I figure this out. And my daughter is showing considerable interest in fishing so she would enthusiastically accept a lightly used hand me down fly reel while she learns in the event I need to upgrade a month later.

  6. Default Re: How to choose a fly reel and line for small trout streams?

    I would normally say on a 3wt it doesn't really matter. I have a Grey's Streamlite on that same rod and I love the setup but it is a click check. If you have to have drag look at the Redington Rise. I have one on my 4wt CT and it looks great.

  7. Default Re: How to choose a fly reel and line for small trout streams?

    Redington drift fly reel is a decent reel for a hundred bucks and matches the CT nicely. Only click pawl drag but I think that's fine for a 3 wt.

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  9. #7
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    Default Re: How to choose a fly reel and line for small trout streams?

    Quote Originally Posted by amertens View Post
    Redington drift fly reel is a decent reel for a hundred bucks and matches the CT nicely. Only click pawl drag but I think that's fine for a 3 wt.
    The Drift was being considered. I assume a click-pawl is not an issue when the likely target is 1-3 pound fish?

    I looked at the Airflo fly lines youtube vid mentioned in this thread. Looks like an upgrade for my 5WT rod. Really necessary when I am typically casting the 3WT 15 feet in the tiny streams?

  10. #8
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    Default Re: How to choose a fly reel and line for small trout streams?

    Quote Originally Posted by enolaeagle View Post
    I have the SA Sharkskin trout on my 3w. It's good stuff but after the fact I became aware of the clear floating flyline from Airflo and I gotta say... they really hit it on the nose. I think I may even buy a spare spool for my allen reel and grab some of this clear line.

    Here's the vid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSAD84l6Ys4#t=121
    Now that is slick, have to get one of those for my 3wt.
    When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost. - Billy Graham"

  11. #9
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    Default Re: How to choose a fly reel and line for small trout streams?

    Quote Originally Posted by fredaevans View Post
    Now that is slick, have to get one of those for my 3wt.
    I saw Cortland has a crystal clear line as well but I thought Airflo describes everything to a T in that theirs is a low floating line to reduce issues with shadows. Either way, its just fishing and we will all catch em anyways
    ~Todd
    "...Nympin' ain't Easy"

    Chief Thread Starter
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  12. #10

    Default Re: How to choose a fly reel and line for small trout streams?

    Not to be a stickler... But you're in Iowa. Browns aren't native to the US.

    Back to the subject. My favorite rod for small streams is my 8'6" 3wt CT or if I need to be in tighter quarters I use my 7'6" 4wt Imperial does the job well.

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