Best 4 Weight Fly Rod – Top 10 of 2022

// By Leonard Schoenberger
Updated: Nov 20, 2022.
Leonard Schoenberger
Latest posts by Leonard Schoenberger (see all)

When it comes to fly rods, there are different weight categories. It’s important to select a weight class after determining the level of flexibility and performance you’re looking for.

Because there are different types of fly fishing – for example saltwater and freshwater fishing, you need to invest in something that’s designed to help you enhance your experience in the type of fishing you’re looking to do. So, in essence, buying a rod will either maximize your performance or hamper it depending on the type of fish you’re hunting. 

A 4 wt fly rod is basically at the bottom spectrum of the weight classification – meaning it’s one of the lowest weights. This also means that they’re perfectly suited for anglers that are looking for a combination of high-end precision and the necessary power to catch small to medium-sized fish, even in windy conditions. It’s also important to keep in mind that 4 wt fly rods are also often used for a technique called euro nymphing.  

In light of this, we’re going to talk about why you should select a 4 wt and the best products available on the market. 

Disclaimer: All products in this guide are independently researched by our team. We only recommend products we believe in and never get paid for the reviews. Learn more about our review process here.

4 wt fly rod at a river
A 4wt fly rod can be a great choice for small streams

Why You Shouldn’t Pass on the 4 wt Fly Rod Category 

A lot of experienced anglers are mostly seen going for the 5 wt category in fly rods. And rightly so, 5 wt rods are designed for power and versatility. However, although both 4 wt and 5 wt rods are considered more or less the same weight class, there are some important differences between the two. Let’s discuss how a 4 wt differs and why you should definitely try one out!

Great for Precision-Based Fishing and Handling 

When it comes to trout fishing, a 5 wt rod is an excellent choice mainly because its built to provide anglers a high degree of flexibility. On top of that you can use a variety of streamers, nymphing presentations, etc. But when you talk about delicate handling, it can’t get any better than a 4 wt. Why? Well, that’s because casting with a 4 wt is smooth and a bit softer. Moreover, it will also help secure lightweight tippets

You Can Catch Larger Fish Species with a 4 Weight Fly Rod

Most people believe that to catch larger fish species or casting streamers, you need a heavy fly rod. And sure, there’s a lot of truth to that because big fish hunting comes with a variety of factors such as abrupt gusts of wind, sinking lines, etc. However, a fast-action 4 weight fly rod is a surprisingly effective streamer for unweighted and weighted patterns.  

Small creek for 4 weight fly rod
An ideal setting for a 4 weight fly rod

4 Wt Fly Rods – Top 10 of 2022

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Echo Carbon XL Euro Nymph 4100

Key features:

– Aimed at the avid nymph fisherman

– Cordura rod tub

– High versatility

Why we picked it:

When you talk about affordability and performance, it doesn’t get any better than the Echo Carbon XL Euro Nymph 4100. The fly 4 wt fly rod is designed for tight line fishers. Moreover, the fly rod’s built quality is the same as its predecessor’, the Carbon XL, made with a powerful blend of high-quality resin and graphite.

We found the Echo Carbon XL Euro Nymph 4100 to be very precise at setting the hook when euro nymphing – that’s what this rod is made for and where it shines. With “only” 10ft it is rather short for a nymph rod. On the upside, this means you can also use it for streamer or dry fly fishing, hence the Echo Carbon gives you a lot of flexibility.

Pros:

– Quick to assemble thanks to alignment dots

– Very versatile due to shorter length (for a nymph rod)

Cons

– Not the longest reach if you’re purely nymphing

GET IT AT REELFLYROD

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Cortland Nymph

Key features:

– Long reel seat

– Medium length at 10’6″

– Comes with a guarantee

Why we picked it:

If you’re more into using specialized nymphing strategies to become a master angler, you should look no further than the Cortland Nymph. The 4 weight fly rod has a durable yet lightweight blank made with high-quality graphite. This helps considerably dampen the rod, increasing its tensile performance, offering anglers a nice, powerful feel.

The Cortland Nymph boasts a down-locking mechanism for the reel seat and has a lightweight yet durable butt for added flexibility and balance. Moreover, it’s perfect for fast hooks. The rod is built with topnotch composite and resin coating, which makes it crack-resistant and highly flexible. 

Pros:

– Reel seat is made with anodized composite 

– Good allrounder for nymphing

– Guarantee for first owner

Cons:

– Rod tube does not have premium look and feel

GET IT AT TRIDENT

GET IT ON AMAZON

Redington Butterstick 476

Key features:

– Fiberglass rod

– Slide on reel seat

– Individual look with yellow blank

Why we picked it:

If you need a smooth, balanced, and flexible fishing experience, the Redington Butterstick is exactly what you’ve been looking for. The Redington Butterstick 476 4wt fly rod is designed for relatively small streams but it does have an impressive casting distance and can be loaded with comparably bigger flies. The rod is built with high-quality T-Glass material.

In addition we liked the Redington Butterstick 476‘s slow-action, a feature that’s characteristic to glass fly rods. It’s affordable, top-quality, and is designed to be accessible for all types of anglers from beginners to experienced individuals. 

Pros:

– Smooth and flexible performance 

– Chrome snake guides 

– Rod dividers are built-in 

Cons:

– Not suitable for fast action afficionados

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Scott F Series 724/4

Key features:

– Scott’s modern take on fiberglass

– Aluminum rod tube

– Comes with a guarantee

– Medium action

Why we picked it:

The Scott Scott F Series 724/4 4 wt fly rod is perhaps one of the more aesthetically pleasing products on this list. It incorporates masterful craftsmanship. The rod is fitted with an orange blank and boasts a fiberglass reel seat that’s quite meticulously designed. Moreover, the Scott F Series 724/4 also features topnotch Fuji SiC guides and the frames are made with blended titanium. The reel seat is manufactured with high-quality aluminum (CNC milled). All these factors make the Scott F Series one of the best 4 wt rods for experienced anglers. 

It’s a medium-action rod that provides anglers with quick feedback and brilliant balance. In addition, the Scott F Series 724/4 is designed with a flexible butt to allow fishers to cast with infinite finesse and top-class feel. 

Pros:

– Medium action is not as slow as the Redington and feels a little more modern

– Aluminum rod tube

– Orange blank is an eye-catcher

Cons:

– Medium action needs some getting used to to get the timing right

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GET IT AT TRIDENT

Redington Classic Trout 490-4

Key features:

– Entry level trout rod

– Wooden reel seat

– Good trout allrounder

Why we picked it:

The Redington Classic Trout 490-4 is another example of topnotch engineering and craftsmanship, especially considering that it’s a medium-action rod. Built with quality materials and innovative technology, the fly rod offers a crisp and versatile balance and is perfect for trout fishing no matter what the situation or environment is like.

The Redington Classic Trout 490-4 offers exceptional presentations when it comes to medium to long distance castings, especially when you talk about nymphing. Moreover, the fly rod is quite lightweight and is designed for protecting tippets.

Pros:

– Surprisingly smooth feel for a rod in this price range

– Premium look and feel

– Alignment dots help entry level casters

Cons

– Lacks a bit of punch on longer casts

GET IT AT REELFLYROD

GET IT AT TRIDENT

GET IT ON AMAZON

Hardy Ultralite 864-4

Key features:

– Very lightweight

– Wooden reel seat

– Black aluminum tube

Why we picked it:

When you talk about strength, durability, and lightweight fly rods, the Hardy Ultralite 864-4 is one of the most effective rods for trout fishing. Designed for versatility, the Ultralite is manufactured with the reputed Sintrix NSX graphite, which offers exceptional performance in a variety of fishing situations and environments. And because the product is constructed with top-class lightweight materials, anglers have the opportunity to use specialized modifications on the blank to make the rod even more powerful. 

We found the Hardy to be highly responsive and precise, giving you great feedback and feel on everything from mid-range to long casts. On top of that you get the Hardy look and feel – they are always spot on mixing tradition with cutting edge technology. If you are looking for a very lightweight 4 weight rod, the Hardy Ultralite 864-4 is an excellent choice.

Pros:

– A lot of power for a 4 wt, almost feels like a 5 wt

– Absolute, all-around premium look and feel

– Hardy guarantee

Cons

– It takes a rather advanced level of casting to take advantage of the full potential of this 4wt

GET IT AT REELFLYROD

GET IT AT TRIDENT

Sage Foundation 490-4

Key features:

– Sage’s intermediate light trout rod

– Sleek looks

– Sage guarantee

Why we picked it:

The Sage Foundation 490-4 is another high performing fly rod in the 4 wt category. It’s primarily designed for greater casting speeds and the blank is entirely made from topnotch graphite. This is what gives the rod flexibility and power in delivering medium-action control and casting. Plus, it’s great for anglers that have different casting styles. 

With smooth control, the Sage Foundation 490-4 is built for unwavering performance no matter where you fish – be it camp fishing or going on extended fishing trips. The 4 wt fly rod has ceramic stripper guides and the reel seat is built from anodized aluminum for durability and peak performance. 

Pros:

– Handmade in the USA

– Cool black finish (comes in silvers trims as well)

– Packs a lot of punch for a rod in this price segment

Cons

– An aluminum rod tube would round-off the premium feel

GET IT AT REELFLYROD

GET IT AT TRIDENT

GET IT ON AMAZON

Orvis Clearwater 1144-4 Switch

Key features:

– Trout spey rod

– Very versatile

– Big river rod

Why we picked it:

The Orvis Clearwater 1144-4 Switch is another marvelous fly rod for trout fishing that’s designed to effortlessly load wet flies and is especially built for large streams. The rod delivers powerful casting, enabling anglers to quickly and easily cover a bigger area.

Moreover, you can also use the 4 wt fly rod for catching smallmouth bass, and it has the capability to cast dry flies over considerably longer distances. The blanks on the Orvis Clearwater 1144-4 Switch are made from quality chrome and feature white accents. The reel seat is designed using nickel aluminum. Overall, it’s a durable and powerful trout fly rod

Pros:

– Lightweight and easy to cast long distances

– Exceptional line control

– Orvis warranty

Cons:

– Highly specialised rod that needs some experience to cast

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GET IT AT TRIDENT

Sage Trout Spey 5G

Key features:

– Premium trout spey rod

– Made in the USA

– Sage guarantee

Why we picked it:

The Sage Trout Spey 5G is designed for long distance casting and greater spey utilizations no matter where you fish. Moreover, the Spey 5G is excellent for launching streamers to catch tricky and otherwise more aggressive species of fish in larger streams and rivers.

The Sage Trout Spey 5G comes with Fuji tech ceramic stripper guides with the snake guides made with hardened chrome. The down-locking reel seat is built with anodized aluminum for topnotch performance and durability. The rod comes with customized gripping for comfortable and ergonomic handling. 

Pros:

– Powerful and precise, particularly on mid-range

– Excellent grip on the lower cork section with fighting butt

– Traditional, brown blank design

Cons:

– Nylon rod tube does not live up to the premium approach of the Sage

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GET IT AT TRIDENT

GET IT ON AMAZON

Orvis Clearwater 804-6 Travel

Key features:

– Travel fly rod

– 6 piece rod

– Orvis guarantee

Why we picked it:

The Orvis Clearwater 804-6 Travel strikes a nice balance between weight and length. This is one of the reasons why so many experienced anglers rave about the excellence of the 804 4 wt fly rod. Longer than most rods in the 4 wt category, the 804 is a great choice for catching small fish in small to mid-sized streams.  

However, that isn’t to say that you can’t occasionally use it to catch bigger fish, especially freshwater trout. The Orvis Clearwater 804-6 Travel isn’t just superior because of its aesthetics, Orvis completely redesigned the fly rod from top to bottom. The stripping guides come with a ceramic insert and are coated with chrome. The reel seat consists of black nickel aluminum and the blank is designed with a rod identifier. All in all, it’s a well-rounded fly rod for novice to mid-level anglers. 

Pros:

– Great for travelling thanks to 6 pcs

– Saltwater suited

Cons

– Only for small streams, not the best choice for streamers

GET IT AT REELFLYROD

GET IT AT ORVIS

The Best 4 wt Fly Rod Combos

If you are unsure which 4 wt fly rod works well with which fly reel, fly rod combos can be a great option for you. Those are sets where every component is sure to work well and create a balanced fly rod outfit. Here are some of the best 4 wt fly rod combos money can buy.

Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod Outfit

Key features:

– Light trout combo

– Well-balanced setup

– 25 year guarantee

Why we picked it:

The Orvis Clearwater 4 wt fly rod combo is designed for medium-action and is manufactured from top quality materials for durability, precision, and versatile performance. Moreover, the fly rod offers quick loading, and casting is smoother. In addition, beginners will find it relatively easier to cast longer distances, especially if they’re using nymphs. The reel seat is made from nickel aluminum, which essentially makes the fly rod lighter and more agile. While the rod doesn’t have a fighting butt, it does feature a quality, full wells cork for precision and quick response. 

Pros:

– Rod and reel work well together

– Makes for a great gift

Cons:

– Tippet and a couple of flies would complement this set

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Redington VICE Fly Fishing Outfit

Key features:

– Good set for beginners

– Excellent protection

– Lifetime warranty

Why we picked it:

The Redington VICE Fly Fishing Outfit comes with a traditional rod, designed for fast-action trout fishing. The blank is made using multi-modulus carbon fiber, which enables anglers to enjoy exceptional recovery response when casting over long distances. Moreover, the material also helps make the rod precise, balanced, and easy to control. The reel seat of the Redington VICE Fly Fishing Outfit consists of anodized (CNC milled) aluminum, making it perfect for all types of fishing conditions.   

Pros:

– Rod tube features an integrated reel case

– Comes with a lifetime guarantee

– Included Rio Mainstream fly line is good for intermediates

Cons:

– Tippet and a few flies to get started out of the box would be a great feature for this set

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GET IT ON AMAZON

Bottom Line

So there you have it, the top 10 list of some of the best 4wt fly rods available on the market. Of course, what you invest in will strictly depend on your budget and preference. It’s strongly recommended that you should go for a product after determining the type and style of fishing you’re looking to do. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I get a reel and line with a 4 wt fly rod?

If you decide to get a fly fish combo, you won’t have to buy lines and reels separately. However, if you’re just buying a 4 wt fly rod, most products don’t come with reels and/or lines.  

What type of fish can I catch with a 4 wt fly rod?

Although 4 wt rods are the lowest weight category, they’re exceptionally versatile. You can catch different types of freshwater fish species both small and large – for example, bluegills, whitefish, carp, bass, etc.

Notice: The Wading List is reader-supported. We take part in various affiliate programs such as amazon associates or avantlink. If you click on one of the links in this article and end up purchasing a product we earn a small commission at no extra cost for you. Thank you!