Best 3 Weight Fly Rod of 2022 -Buyer’s Guide

// By Leonard Schoenberger
// Updated August 3, 2022

If you’re interested in fly fishing, the most essential tool at your disposal will be your rod.

Everyone is different when it comes to the feel and preference of their particular fishing rod, so it’s important to choose the right one that works for you. In this article, you can read all about the best 3 weight fly rods on the market, and make an informed decision about which one to purchase!

3 wt fly rods are a great choice in several fly fishing situations. Shorter 3 weight fly rods of 7 to 8 ft are the weapon of choice for small creeks. Longer 3 wt fly fishing rods are perfect for euro nymphing and last but not least there are #3 rods for so called trout spey fishing. For that technique you fish light double-handed rods.

Table of Contents

Important Features in a 3 wt Rod

Best 3 Weight Fly Rods Quick Answer List

3 Weight Fly Rod Review

Best 3 Weight Fly Rod Combos

Conclusion

Review of the best 3 wt fly rods
A 3 weight fly rod can be great for euro nymphing

What are the Most Important Features of 3 Weight Fly Rods?

Action and Strength of 3 wt Fly Rods

The action of a rod refers to how much it flexes when you cast or when you have a catch on the line. Depending on what the action for a rod is, it can be stiff or flexible. Three weight rods have a quick or moderately strong action. 

The term “power” refers to the amount of force required to flex and bend the rod. When the power is reduced, less pressure is required. Usually, three-weight rods are low-power and flex quickly with little pressure.

Weight, Size, and Alignment

When used in conjunction with fly rods, the term ‘weight’ relates to the ability or density of the line used on that rod. Three weight rods are intended for use with light flies and can accommodate fly line weights 1-3. 

While the term “weight” does not correspond to the rod’s actual weight, it is worth noting that the majority of 3-weight rods are relatively light. When evaluating the length of your rod, be careful to select a reel that is proportional to the rod’s weight. 

With the reel connected, a properly adjusted rod will rest on your finger while lying one inch below the top of the grip.

Appearance and Usability

Fly fishing is an energetic sport, and if your grip is uncomfortable, you will not enjoy it as much. A strong rod feel may also translate into improved outcomes, as the more receptive rod enables more precision on the water. Prioritize comfort before appearance, as you can always tweak it afterwards to fit your taste!

Cost and Warranty Information

You can locate a rod to meet your demands at nearly any price range, so avoid settling for one you are unsure about. Along with the pricing, be careful to inquire about the rod’s warranty. Numerous businesses provide complete lifetime warranties, which may add an additional layer of protection and assurance to your purchase.

Best 3 Weight Fly Rod Quick Answer Guide

1. Echo Carbon XL

2. Fenwick Aetos

3. Redington Classic Trout

4. Orvis Superfine Glass

5. Redington Butter Stick

6. Moonshine Ephiphany

7. Hardy Ultralite

8. Douglas Upstream

9. Sage Trout Spey G5

10. OPST Micro Skagit Trout Spey

Best 3 weight fly rods review
Best 3 wt fly rods review: a 3 weight fly rod is great for small creeks

The Best 3-Weight Fly Rods

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Echo Carbon XL (7ft6in 3 weight fly rod)

The Echo Carbon XL is an excellent value at about $179.99. While its range and precision casting skills seem to be ordinary, the rod’s grip while casting is considerably above what is typically found on the market. It’s difficult to describe, but the Echo Carbon XL gives you the impression that you’re a greater caster than you actually are throughout many casts. It’s impressive to achieve this sensation with a rod at this pricing range.

Therefore, who is this rod most suited for? Th Echo Carbon XL is an excellent rod for the majority of starting fly fishermen. While it is not a real fast-action rod, it is quick enough that you won’t feel as if you had to wait for it to function. 

Furthermore, the Echo Carbon XL provides sufficient casting input to assist a fly fisher in determining when the rod is set and suitable to throw forward, which seems to occur somewhat quicker than the average medium-fast action rod in this price range. The final result is a very suitable, adaptable rod that can effectively be thrown effectively by the majority of anglers. If you’re looking for an exceptionally fantastic fly fishing adventure without spending a fortune, the Echo Carbon XL is a must-have. At this pricing range, the Carbon XL is a no-brainer.

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Fenwick Aetos (3wt 7ft)

Fenwick’s entry-level all-purpose freshwater fly rod is the Aetos. The Fenwick Aetos is accommodating, caster-friendly, and very adaptable when being used. Fenwick has created a rod that performs much above its pricing range. 

The Fenwick Aetos is very precise out to a range of 60 feet and is one of the most preferred trout rods for many fly fishers despite the price. The AETOS blank is optimized for anglers with a quick casting motion. The rod’s rapid action design provides enough reserve power and enhanced line speeds. 

The Fenwick Aetos blank has a smooth tip for superior quality over short distances and lots of power over longer distances. Choose the AETOS if you’re on the hunt for a new freshwater fly rod that appeals to a broad spectrum of angler skill and performs well in every fishing situation.

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Redington Classic Trout (8ft6in 3wt)

The Redington Classic Trout is an economically priced moderate action 3 weight fly rod for trout. It is ideal for spring creeks and tiny streams, and maybe even some drift boat fishing in bigger tail water areas. 

The Redington Classic Trout‘s medium action makes precise presentations at close distance a delight, and the CT’s utilitarian components elevate it to the top of the dry fly rod market. The Classic Trout’s mild action blank is ideal for short- and mid-range approaches. The rod promotes a more deliberate casting stroke and is equipped with real mid-flex technology. 

The mild blank action preserves delicate tippets and assists with carefully landing tiny flies in front of rising fish. The blank is finished in a rich clay brown that complements both the rod tube and the reel seat. If you’re a beginner dry fly fisherman seeking to step up your game, the Redington Classic Trout is one of the better 3 weight fly rod options available at this price point.

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Orvis Superfine Glass (3wt 7ft6in)

Orvis Superfine Glass (3wt 7ft6in) - One of the best fly rods 3 wt
Orvis Superfine Glass (3wt 7ft6in) – One of the best fly rods 3 wt

The Orvis Superfine Glass was designed for primitive woodlands and cold mountain streams, for little streams and indigenous brook trout. Cold water cascades over large stones and deep pools. 

The Orvis Superfine Glass‘ incredibly accommodating nature and speed combine to create a delicate little rod that any fan of smaller streams that meander through mountain paths and vegetation would want in their possession. This rod is definitely going to make you a fan in no time!

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Redington Butter Stick

With seven weight classes to choose from, the Redington Butter Stick Fly Rod offers a great way to explore fiberglass fly rods no matter what species you’re after.

You can fish tiny streams and rivers using the #1 – #3. The #4, #5 and #6 of the Redington Butter Stick make for excellent trout rods and the #8 enables you to target bigger species such as pike or bass for example.

Built on Redington’s Heritage Taper, the Redington Butter Stick is a great modern glass rod with a slow action and deep flex. Comes with the excellent Redington lifetime warranty.

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Moonshine Rod Co. The Epiphany Series

Moonshine has successfully garnered a large following that has made them a favorite with anglers. The Epiphany series was first released in 2017. Since then the nymphing rod has been redesigned to become even better than before. 

The nymph fly rod is perfectly balanced and is very sensitive, making it a favorite with competitive fishers. Moonshine have been able to reduce the weight significantly by making the blank lighter. This fast-action rod’s blank is made of black and concrete bindings. By using a titanium frame stripping guide, the line sag is reduced. Along with that they have also used high-quality components that make this model amazing. The manufacturer also offers a lifetime warranty.

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Hardy Ultralite

Hardy has been in the game for 1.5 centuries and still makes some of the best fly rods on the planet. Their Hardy Ultralite is no exception to this rule and a great choice if you are looking for a premium rod to fish small streams and creeks. As a #3 it measures only 8ft, making it the right choice for tight quarters.

As the successor the brand’s hugely popular Zephrus seires, the Hardy Ultralite features the Sintrix NSX technology making it one of the lightest 3 wt fly rods on the market. Everything on this rod is top notch and the lifetime warranty is the icing on the cake.

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Douglas Upstream (3 wt fly rod 8ft 6pc)

The Douglas Upstream is a small water and small fish model. The unusual cane-shaped blank and complete cork reel seat provide an old-fashioned feel to this rod. Yet, under its exterior shell is cutting-edge graphite technology that elevates the Upstream to the top of the small water fly rod industry. 

The Douglas Upstream is very accurate within 30 feet and is excellent for protecting light tippets. On shallow streams, little dry flies turn smoothly and softly to trick cautious fish with the Upstream. Douglas created the Upstream’s blank in a traditional cane form. 

Although the rod resembles traditional cane rods, the graphite rod blank is highly efficient on the water. The blank has a somewhat slow action, which protects delicate tippets and maximizes performance within 30 feet. This is a true little water rod designed for the most deft presentations. If you’re in the market for a new slow-action short-range dry fly rod, the Upstream is a great option.

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Sage Trout Spey G5 3 weight (11ft)

TheSage Trout Spey is designed to be used for a variety of spey applications on your preferred body of trout water. Whether you’re trying to swing soft hackles on floating lines throughout evening hour hatches or trying to throw streamers on Skagit heads as the climate temperature decreases and the insect population declines, the G5’s amazing quality blank and trout spey-specific action will handle the job effortlessly, without the need for a back cast or double haul. 

Simply lift the rod, set it in position, start casting, and let the Sage Trout Spey take care of the rest. This rod is intended for simple casting of modestly weighted flies up to 3 inches and for streamer-loving anglers looking to implement a new strategy or explore every part of the water with confidence. It’s never been more enjoyable to discover new answers to past issues.

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OPST Micro Skagit Trout Spey 9’9” 3wt

The OPST Micro Skagit two-handed rods have been designed to work with single-handed casts and double-handed casts as well. Whether you are on foot, finding your way through small and medium rivers, or fishing off a boat, the hybrid rod should be a part of your arsenal. The rod took five years to develop and is proof of Ed Ward’s vision. 

The handles of the OPST Micro Skagit Trout Spey are cigar-styled and offer a good grip on the rod. Its shorter length makes it perfect for overhead casting as well. This allows you to swing with a Skagit head, or opt for a dry fly line. The medium-fast action trout spey rod is perfect for trout and even smaller fish. Make sure to read our in depth review of this fantastic rod.

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Best 3 wt Fly Rod Combos

In the second part of this review we’ll take a look at the best fly rod combos in the 3 weight range. A combo is a good idea if you are fairly new to fly fishing or want to make sure that the entire equipment works well together and don’t have a fishing friend to ask for advice.

Orvis Clearwater 763-4 Outfit (7’6″ 3wt)

The Orvis Clearwater 763-4 Outfit is a powerful trout and light bass fly rod that is equally adept at casting large, heavy streamers, huge hair poppers, dropper setups, and nymph rigs. This is an excellent rod for hammering the banks from a drift boat or for dropping poppers along the lily pad edge. 

Depending on where you live, this can also be an essential rod for casting mouse patterns, drifting egg patterns, and much more. The redesigned Clearwater Series is more than a makeover; it is a full redesign from the bottom up by Vermont designers. 

Everything else has remained the same except the price. It’s still the greatest value for money fly rod on the market, but with a considerable performance and aesthetic boost in a series that caters to every fisherman from tiny stream fanatics to Skagit flinging two-handers. Each rod was created with a profile and action optimized for the kind of fishing usually associated with the rod model, ranging from medium-action small stream rods to medium-fast freshwater rods and fast-action large game rods.

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M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Ultra-Lite (7ft 3 wt)

The M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Ultra-Lite Fly Rod is ideal for use in tiny streams. This rod may help you improve your short-range performance and dry fly experience. This rod incorporates patented Maxspiral blank technology, a medium-fast action rod blank constructed of IM8 graphite, and a full flex rod profile for precise fly presentation, tippet protection, and short distance casting.

A shorter length of between 6′ and 7’6″ makes it simpler to fish in confined spaces. If you’re traveling through tough environment, this product fits perfectly in a backpack.

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Conclusion on the Best 3 Weight Fly Rods

Well there you have it, a comprehensive rundown of all of the best 3 weight fly fishing rods on the market today. As you can probably already tell, there are rods available for various price points, ranging from expensive to affordable, so you will definitely find something that suits your needs, no matter what your skill level is! So what are you waiting for? Choose your favorite rod from the bunch and bring home a catch!

Notice: The Wading List is reader-supported. We take part in the Amazon Associates Program and earn a small commission at no extra cost for you if you end up making a purchase. We only recommend products we are convinced of and use ourselves. Thanks!