Here in Maine, when targeting trout and landlocked salmon, a fly rod that can manage various type of techniques from dry flies to heavier, multiple nymph rigs is what most anglers are looking for, especially if they are going to only bring one rod fishing. A fly rod that can throw streamers in the early spring or fall, light dry flies in summer, and heavy nymphs in the warmer months can be hard to come by. It's tricky, as there are seemingly endless rod options even within the 5wt category. Even further, price options with fly rods is all over the map. $100-$1000 rods are advertised alongside each other, saying they can "do it all," so it can be difficult to understand the differences and what exactly you might be getting. Here at All Points, we have many different fly rod options, but we generally tend to steer a majority of our customers towards a few specific options when ideally looking to get that one "do it all" rod and to also not break the bank. Below are our three most popular choices which cover the general "budget friendly" category. These rods range from about $170-$425 and even include a fully American made option.
ECHO Carbon XL
The Echo Carbon XL is one of the first rods we suggest for an introductory set up for fly fishing. It is usually between this and the Redington Classic Trout that are our best options for a price-friendly/entry level and capable fly rod. The Carbon XL is classified in the medium/moderate action category and very much has the feel of a traditional trout rod. It does well with beginner and intermediate angers as the medium action helps with a wide range of casting abilities. This rod can also handle a wide variety of light weight fishing applications but does best with dry fly fishing and lightweight nymphs. Similar to other medium action fly rods, it starts to suffer when managing heavier multi-nymph rigs and heavy-weighted streamers or sinking lines. We have found the ECHO Carbon XL to be popular with guides as a good "all around client rod" because they are affordable and fit well with most anglers abilities. It is available in 7'3" 2wt - 9' 6wt.
Check out the ECHO Carbon XL HERE
The Sage Foundation, as it implies is a great introductory fly rod that you probably won't want to put down even after years of experience. This is Sage's most budget friendly rod and is made right here in the USA. The Foundation will be able to accommodate a broad range of fishing techniques and casting styles making it a great versatile rod. As is with all Sage rods, the fit, finish, and attention to small details is impeccable. Compared to the other rods on this list, this rod will have a faster feel giving it a little more capability with various fly and line setups such as heavier weighted streamers and sinking tip lines. In turn, this makes the Foundation a little better suited for either intermediate-advanced casters or entry level anglers looking to buy a rod they might never need to upgrade. The overall build quality will be noticeable compared to the others on this list as well. If you are looking for an American made fly rod but don't want to break the bank, the Foundation is a great option. A good looking Stealth black finish on a blank which utilizes Sage's high quality Graphite IIIe technology certainly set this rod apart from others in a similar price range. Available in 9' 4wt - 9' 9wt options.
Check out the Sage Foundation HERE
TFO LK Legacy
This rod is, according to TFO, the direct replacement for the very popular BVK in both price range and also performance. The BVK, in its time, was one of the most popular fly rods in the industry. It was a fast action rod that had a softer tip. This allowed for a wide range of techniques. Now with the LK Legacy, Temple Fork Outfitters has continued with a rod that is also fast action but welcoming to beginner/intermediate angers. Though coming in at $289.95-$319.95 (depending on specific model), we see it as a high performance rod that keeps up with many of the American made or higher end brands. In addition to the standard 9' models, this rod also comes in shorter 3wt and 4wt models that are fantastic for precision dry fly fishing as well as navigating small streams, and 9'6" lengths in 6wt and 7wt models that are great for their mending and distance casting capabilities. If you want a rod at a very reasonable price that you can certainly "grow with," the LK Legacy is a great choice.
Check out the TFO LK Legacy HERE