Fly rods for Salmon

There are five (5) species of Pacific Salmon. Unlike fishing for trout and other smaller species of fish, fly fishing for salmon requires a stouter fly rod.  Fly rods for salmon are generally heavier than those for other species.

The best fly rods for salmon should be ready for an aggressive fight. When selecting a fly rod for salmon it is important to take your time as salmon put up a longer fight and you will need a salmon fly rod that will stand the test of time.

When buying a fly rod for salmon you need to consider if you will be fishing for a specific species of salmon or four of the major five salmon categories.

The species of Pacific Salmon that anglers can fish for are:

  • Chinook Salmon
  • Chum Salmon
  • Sockeye Salmon
  • Pink Salmon
  • Coho Salmon





Specifications for the best Salmon fly rods


The best fly rods for salmon should have these following specifications:

  • Weight: 7 – 10
  • Length: 9′
  • Action: Medium to Fast
  • Fighting Butt Necessary
  • A Real Tip on Your Reel: Ensure that when you are outfitting your fly rod for salmon that you dress it with a lot of fly line backing.

Best Fly rod for salmon by brand name

A list of the top fly rods for salmon by brand name:

  • SAGE– since its beginnings in 1980, Sage has earned a solid reputation for world renowned fly rods. Sage fly rods have earned them over 75 world records.
  • THOMAS & THOMAS – a fly rod that is truly presidential. So much so that President Reagan purchased these rods to “gift” to another dignitaries.
  • St.Croix– starting their company in 1948, St. Croix has had years to perfect their ability to make an outstanding fishing rod.
  • G. Loomis – also a fierce competitor in the world of fly fishing with approximately 24 world record titles.
  • ORVIS – more than just a clothing store. Orvis has a solid reputation from Field & Stream for their quality built fly rods.

The best fly rod for Salmon (by model)


Sage salmon fly rods

The best Sage Salmon Fly Rod Models for Salmon are listed below.

99 Series: the 99 series is named for the poles length measuring 9′ and 9″. This fly rod is designed with the Nymph angler in mind!  This is a medium-fast action fly rod. The taper loads lower on this particular fly rod to create open loops and allow for multiple fly indicators. ($698.00 USD)

One Series: If you have no other Sage fly rods in your possession – let this be the One. Sage has designed this fly rod to be the best all-around fly rod in their collection. This is a Fast Action Fly Rod. ($728.00 USD)

One-Switch Blanks: The One Switch blanks provides the same technology as the One Series in a Switch blank style. This Sage One Switch Fly Rod blank measures 11′ and 6″ in stature. ($860.00 USD)

One, Two Handed Series: Ranging in size from 13′ and 6″ to a length of 15′ is the two handed fly rod blank by Sage.  ($1,024.00 USD)

TCX Series: the TCX Sage fly rod is for long distance fishing – as in extreme casting.  This fly rod is ultra smooth and fast action.  Measuring 10′ in length the only weight available in this series is a 7 wt, while sturdy for most salmon fishing but not as ideal as an 8wt – 10 wt. Please keep this in mind. ($820.00 USD)

VXP Series: Slender, responsive and fast action. This fly rod is designed to be light weight to allow anglers to maintain the light weight dependency they come to expect from a fly rod. Don’t let its slender physique fool you – the kryptonite color proves just how mean this fly rod is! ($524.00 USD)

Thomas and Thomas Salmon Fly Rods

The best Thomas & Thomas Fly Rod Models for Salmon are listed below:

Vector Series: The Vector series is a special order fly rod and comes in 3 pieces. This is a fast action fly rod with taper and high line speed. Fantastic speed and tight loops. Available up to a 9wt.  ($740.00 USD)

Helix Series: This fly rod is built for extremities and fishing in the most brutal conditions. They load and cast with a short line. This is a medium to fast action fly rod. Ranging in length from 9′ to 10′ this is a great fly rod for anglers who fish in primary windy conditions. ($690.00 USD)

Horizon II Series: Said to be aligned with laser accuracy, this fly rod transfers your energy from wrist to tip. Excellent for tight loops and distance casting. This fly rod is said to be so well designed it is intuitive to the anglers needs allowing the angler to physically feel when to release. This fly rod only comes in two lengths 8′ 6″ and 9′.  ($680.00 USD)


St. Croix Salmon Fly Rods

The best St. CroixFly Rod Models for Salmon are listed below:

SCV/Nsi Resin Graphite Series: Featuring IPC and ART technology, the SCV series fly rods are designed to have reduced weight and reinforced power. Super high modules and known for its sensitivity, this fly rod is a “life time” purchase. ($640.00 USD)

SCIV/SCII Series:  designed to come in a rich burgundy color as well as a fun fuchsia this fly rod is entertaining but don’t mistake its looks for a lack of power. This fly rod is light weight and fast action.  ($360.00 USD)

TFO Salmon Fly Rods

The best TFO Fly Rods for Salmon are listed below:

Axiom: made using Kevlar, this TFO Fly rod allows the angler to experience a smooth cast and extreme play on the tip.  This fly rod comes in a translucent blue and is 9′ in length.  ($336.00 USD)

BVK Series: it is difficult to find a heavy duty fly rod that is light weight as well but the BVK series has made this its mission. ($250.00 USD)

Professional Series: this is a medium to fast action fly rod that are designed for anglers of all skill levels.  This is TFO’s best all-around fly rod and are 9′ in length. ($200.00 USD)

TiCr Series: this fly rod is elegant in its matte black color and assertive with its eagerness to delivery accuracy.  Designed by “Lefty” this fly rod is said to be only limited by the angler. ($250.00 USD)

TiCr X Series: in cobalt blue this fly rod truly reaches for the sky – casting great lengths. This fly rod captures the power to sling heavy flies, like the Dolly Llama, across sizable distances. ($250.00 USD)

*For those who do not know, Gary Loomis (the creator and name of G. Loomis) has developed a relationship with Temple Fork Outfitters (TFO) to develop high performance fly rods.

Orvis Salmon Fly Rods

The best Orvis Fly Rod Models for Salmon are listed below:

Access Series: this Access is a smooth and balanced fly rod that allows anglers to experience good casting at a really reasonable price. This fly rod is designed to be lightweight and ranges from 9′ to 10′ for salmon fly rods. ($400.00 USD)


What makes a fly rod “The best”?

What makes a fly rod “the best”?

When it comes to building the best fly rod, a lot of engineering goes into the matter.  Building a fly rod that is sturdy enough to withstand the fight of a salmon but also flexible enough to respond appropriately is no small accomplishment.

Each year, there are world competitions that judge the ingenuity of fly rods based on perforamcne, response, casting distance, etc., in which rod manufacturers come to compete. Contestants are judged and awarded placement in various categories.

As an avid angler and a custom fly rod builder, I want to know which brands my anglers prefer when it comes to every day salmon fishing.

After all, most of my anglers are fishing 271 days out of the year – there is no better way to test a fly rod than by using it in practical application.

Several factors go into determining how “good” a fly rod is and as a consumer, it’s important to know.

The top rated qualities of a fly rod are their:

  • Engineering Integrity
  • Flexibility
  • Response
  • Action and Casting Abilities
  • Warranty
  • Price

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