Expert Review: Orvis Mirage LT SpoolPublished on 08/15/2022 · 6 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the fly reel, which I purchased with my own money in May of 2021.
All photos courtesy of Jacob Jesionek
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the fly reel, which I purchased with my own money in May of 2021.
I can't go without an extra spool for my Orvis Mirage LT fly reel. It allows me to be ready to fish two different line types so I can fish sinking line for streamers or floating line for dries on the same day. This spool opens up more fishing opportunities for all levels of fly anglers.
About the reel I own
- Model: Orvis Mirage LT Extra Spool
- Reel Size: LT III (5–7wt)
- Backing Capacity: 125 yards of 20lb backing
- Arbor Size: Large arbor
- Construction: 6061 T6 aluminum barstock
- Drag System: Sealed and maintenance-free carbon and stainless steel disc drag
- Drag Pressure: The actual numbers are not specified, but it has more stopping power than I need for most freshwater fishing applications, with the ability to stop salmon and steelhead in their tracks
- Preferred fishing style(s): Dry fly, nymph, streamer
- Experience: 15+ years of fly fishing
- When I bought this: May 2021
- Rod Paired with Reel: Orvis Helios 3D 9’ 6wt Blue
- Line Paired with Reel: Orvis Pro Depth Charge 3D Smooth 200
- Days tested: 30+
- Waters I’ve used it on: Rivers and lakes in Ohio, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and more
- Species targeted with reel: Steelhead, brown trout, rainbow trout, salmon
How it performs
What I was looking for
When I bought my Orvis Mirage LT reel, I knew I was going to need an extra spool. I like to keep multiple options in the fly line I carry with me. In Colorado, I fish on many different types of water, so being able to switch quickly between sinking and floating line is key. This extra spool allows me to use both.
Why I chose this gear
This is an exact copy of the spool that comes with the Mirage LT reel, so I knew it would be a perfect fit for my rod. It is also made in America with the Orvis craftsmanship that myself and many others have come to love. It’s not possible to substitute other companies' extra spools to reels, so an extra spool has to match the reel. In the end, it just made sense for me to have two options for what fly lines I wanted to fish.
What I love about it
- Performance: The extra spool is a perfect fit to the reel; the lightness of the reel as a whole allows it to pair well to a sturdy, lightweight fly rod.
- Quality: When I pick up the extra spool, I can tell how tough the material is as it is built out of the same 6061 T6 aluminum barstock that the reel is made of. It feels sturdy in my hand. It's also made in America, so I know that the materials are quality and carefully manufactured by trained Orvis craftsmen.
- Versatility: An extra spool allows for the ultimate versatility as an angler. Say I'm fishing some shallow, flat water with dries. Then I come around a bend and there is a deep current against a rock. From here I can simply pop the floating line spool off and put on the extra sinking line spool and fish a streamer deep.
- Use Case: I use my extra spool to hold my sinking line so that I can fish heavy streamers for the big browns and rainbows that hold deep in the river. It also helps for those jointed streamer eaters like musky and pike where you need specialty sinking line. In a way you can cheat your fly rod weight by having a few extra spools with a variety of line weights. A fisherman with a few extra spools can dial in different fishing types even more with different style sinking or floating line.
- Size: This is a 5/7 weight extra spool, so it fits the size III Orvis Mirage LT reel. I chose this size because I needed a slightly heavier setup to compliment the 5wt that I already own. It helps to have a variety of setup weights depending on the size of the water and fish you’re targeting. I fish this extra spool on a 6wt Helios rod.
- Drag System: The drag on this reel is smooth and easily adjustable. With one full turn of the drag knob I can go from zero drag to full drag, making it very easy for quick adjustments. It's also fully sealed, so I have no concerns about corrosion.
- Feel: The spool is very light, and even when it's clicked into the reel, the entire apparatus only weighs four and a half ounces. It lets out drag smoothly when fighting a fish and has zero inertia when casting, making it very easy to get line out quickly.
- Build: This reel is made at the Orvis factory in New Hampshire, and it has the precision crafting of an American-made piece. It fits perfectly into the Orvis Mirage LT housing.
- Aesthetics: The fun thing about getting extra spools is that it’s easy to mix and match spool and reel colors to create a custom fly reel. Most of the color reels look great with most of the extra spools. The finish of the spool that I own is the glossy black to match my black Mirage LT.
- Features: Swapping the reel between spools is very quick and easy to do thanks to Orvis’s sharp design. The Mirage LT swapping system is great because you do not have to completely unscrew anything, so there are no small pieces to drop in the water if you are making a spool change while wading.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Durability: While I have no concerns about the extra spool breaking, I can definitely tell that I have used it a lot; the finish has gathered a lot of little knicks.
Favorite moment with this gear
A few months ago, my fishing buddy had a bachelor party to celebrate his upcoming wedding. We planned two days for him on a trout stream in Pennsylvania with a cabin rental and a group of his best friends. We were focusing on having a good time and catching as many fish as possible. After a successful day one, we moved to a different spot for the second day, and I found myself overlooking a deep hole that looked like it was begging for a streamer. I swapped out my original spool for my Orvis Mirage LT extra spool with sinking line and swung my biggest brown-trout streamer through. As the line sank and I started retrieving, I watched a massive brown follow and then inhale the streamer! It was one of the coolest eats I've seen in my life, and a moment I won’t forget.
Value for the money vs. other options
There aren't any other options when it comes to extra spools, as each extra spool is built to fit a specific reel. I always recommend getting one for situations where it’s advantageous to make a quick line change. The price of an extra spool is also greatly reduced compared to the actual reel, so the value of picking at least one extra is high.
I highly recommend picking up an Orvis Mirage LT Extra Spool. It has helped me to be a more versatile angler and has saved me from kicking myself in the scenario that I need it and don’t have one on me.