Most Recommended Fly Reels of 2023

Updated

Is there such a thing as the "best" fly fishing reel? Here at Curated, we believe that there's only the best reel for you. This list compiles our experts' top recommendations, but be sure to chat with a Fly Fishing Expert to ensure that you find your perfect match!

Craig Dorsey, Fly Fishing Expert
Aaron Tate, Fly Fishing Expert
Boone Tullett, Fly Fishing Expert
By Fishing ExpertsCraig, Aaron, Boone and others
The Orvis Hydros Fly Reels are a top pick for 2023, offering high performance and excellent value. They are lightweight, with a large arbor and a fully sealed clutch bearing drag. These reels are perfect for both novice and expert anglers, offering quick line retrieval and low start-up inertia, ideal for hot fish in both fresh and saltwater. They are durable and dependable, with a great drag ratio, and are particularly good for trout fishing. However, they may not be the best choice for lighter trout applications or heavy saltwater fishing.
Ideal for
  • Novice and expert anglers looking for high performance without breaking the bank
  • Anglers who need a strong drag and a worry-free machined aluminum frame
  • Trout fishing, especially when a good size fish needs to be put on the reel
  • Anglers who want a high quality reel at a great price
  • Anglers who prefer a fully sealed drag
Not ideal for
  • Lighter trout applications
  • Most saltwater fishing besides light inshore
  • Shark fishing
  • Surf fishing or beach/flats wading
Cory G, Fly Fishing Expert
Baily Dent, Fly Fishing Expert
Kendrick Wilson, Fly Fishing Expert
by Curated experts Cory G, Baily Dent, Kendrick Wilson
The Redington Behemoth Series Fly Reel is a top choice for 2023, particularly for those seeking a heavy-duty, versatile reel that doesn't compromise on power or aesthetics. Its unique die-cast construction and large arbor spool design make it ideal for tackling larger fish, while its super heavy-duty carbon fiber drag ensures strength, reliability, and performance. Despite being a little heavier and susceptible to dings, its eye-catching design, variety of color options, and affordability make it a highly recommended reel for both fresh and saltwater fishing.
Ideal for
  • Those needing a durable, heavy-duty reel
  • Fresh and saltwater fishing
  • Anglers seeking a reel with high stopping power
  • Those looking for a reel with a unique, eye-catching design
  • Anglers using a 5/6 or 7/8 weight rod
Not ideal for
  • Those who prefer a lightweight reel
  • Those who frequently submerge their reel in saltwater
  • Those who prefer a narrow spool to prevent line stacking and tangling
Matt Beam, Fly Fishing Expert
Jeff Henderson, Fly Fishing Expert
Lawson T., Fly Fishing Expert
by Curated experts Matt Beam, Jeff Henderson, Lawson T.
The Redington Run Reel is a top pick for 2023, thanks to its lightweight design and impressive performance. Weighing in at just 5.8 oz, it's designed for both fresh and salt water fishing. Its large arbor design and compact carbon fiber drag system offer smooth stopping power and quick line retrieval. While it's not as light as machined aluminum, it offers tremendous stopping power and durability. It's a great entry-level reel for large freshwater species and smaller inshore species in the salt. Ideal for fishing dries, nymphs, and smaller streamers.
Ideal for
  • Fresh and salt water fishing
  • Large freshwater species and smaller inshore species
  • Fishing dries, nymphs, and smaller streamers
  • Anglers looking for a lightweight, high-performance reel
  • Entry-level anglers looking for a reliable and durable reel
Not ideal for
  • Anglers looking for a super lightweight reel
  • Fishing for large species in big waters
  • Anglers seeking a state of the art drag system
Jeff Henderson, Fly Fishing Expert
Jesi Scott, Fly Fishing Expert
Kendrick Wilson, Fly Fishing Expert
by Curated experts Jeff Henderson, Jesi Scott, Kendrick Wilson
PROGRESS

What is your level of fly fishing experience?

The Lamson Liquid Fly Reel, an American-made beauty, is a top pick for 2023. Its smooth drag, durability, and affordability make it a standout. Ideal for trout fishing, it boasts a large arbor design for high-speed line retrieval and a fully sealed conical disc drag system. Its quality and performance are praised by users, despite being more affordable than other Lamson reels. However, it's not recommended for fishing big streamers due to its susceptibility to dings and scratches.
Ideal for
  • Trout fishing
  • High-speed line retrieval
  • Users who value smooth drag
  • Those who appreciate American-made products
  • Budget-conscious consumers
Not ideal for
  • Fishing big streamers
  • Those who prefer a full cage design
  • Users who prefer a larger drag knob
Matt Beam, Fly Fishing Expert
Aaron Tate, Fly Fishing Expert
Joe Price, Fly Fishing Expert
by Curated experts Matt Beam, Aaron Tate, Joe Price
The Redington Rise Series Fly Reels are a top pick for 2023 due to their lightweight design, large arbor, and saltwater compatibility. They are perfect for long fishing sessions, with a strong, smooth drag system that's easy to clean. The machined aluminum construction offers a balance of weight and durability, while the U-shaped arbor effectively stacks line. The carbon fiber drag system prevents reel torque, making it ideal for handling larger fish. Despite its high-class feel, it's not recommended for very large fish or light applications.
Ideal for
  • Long fishing sessions
  • Saltwater fishing
  • Handling larger fish
  • Those who prefer lightweight and durable equipment
  • Those who value a smooth and strong drag system
Not ideal for
  • Very large fish
  • Small light applications
Brek L, Fly Fishing Expert
Boone Tullett, Fly Fishing Expert
Davis B., Fly Fishing Expert
by Curated experts Brek L, Boone Tullett, Davis B.
The Lamson Guru S Fly Reel is a top-notch choice for fly fishing enthusiasts. Known for its rugged reliability, this lightweight reel is equipped with a large arbor for swift fly line pick up and a strong, sealed drag system for smooth start up inertia. Its all-purpose design makes it suitable for most fishing conditions, making it a high-performance reel that offers great value.
Ideal for
  • Fly fishing anglers looking for an all-purpose reel
  • Those who value a strong, sealed drag system
  • Anglers who prefer a lightweight reel with a large arbor for quick and easy fly line pick up
Not ideal for
  • Anglers who prefer a full cage reel to prevent finer lines from getting pinched between the cage and spool
Joseph Smith, Fly Fishing Expert
Skyler B, Fly Fishing Expert
by Curated experts Joseph Smith, Skyler B
The Orvis Clearwater LA Reel is a top pick for 2023, particularly for beginners and those on a budget. This reel is praised for its smooth, adjustable drag system, lightweight build, and large arbor for quick line retrieval. It's perfect for freshwater fishing, especially for trout, bass, and bluegill. However, it's not recommended for saltwater fishing due to its unsealed drag system. Despite being an entry-level reel, it doesn't compromise on quality, offering durability and ease of use.
Ideal for
  • Beginners in fly fishing
  • Anglers on a budget
  • Freshwater fishing
  • Fishing for trout, bass, and bluegill
  • Those who value quick line retrieval
Not ideal for
  • Saltwater fishing
  • Fishing for salmon or steelhead
  • Those who require a sealed drag system
Joseph Smith, Fly Fishing Expert
Matt Beam, Fly Fishing Expert
David W., Fly Fishing Expert
by Curated experts Joseph Smith, Matt Beam, David W.
The Lamson Remix Fly Reel is a top contender in the 2023 fly reel market, boasting a perfect blend of quality craftsmanship and reliable performance. Its sealed conical drag, large-arbor design, and sleek look make it a standout. It's a bombproof reel with an excellent drag system, ideal for medium to heavy freshwater applications. Its larger arbor size allows quick line pick-up, and the robust, reliable sealed conical drag system is perfect for fighting big fish on delicate tippet. This reel is a hybrid of cast and CNC machinery, 80% USA manufactured and 100% Idaho built, offering fantastic quality and performance for the price.
Ideal for
  • Medium freshwater applications (trout, bass, etc.)
  • Heavy freshwater applications - steelhead, salmon, pike, musky
  • 9-11 weight saltwater rods
  • Multi-species fishing
  • Anglers seeking good size to weight ratio to balance their fly rod
Not ideal for
  • Use on a rod heavier than a 6 weight
  • Use with anything smaller than an 8 weight rod
Connor McCollum, Fly Fishing Expert
Kendrick Wilson, Fly Fishing Expert
Jade F., Fly Fishing Expert
by Curated experts Connor McCollum, Kendrick Wilson, Jade F.
The Sage Spectrum Fly Reel is a top-notch choice for fly fishing enthusiasts. Its large arbor design offers impressive line capacity and a powerful drag system, perfect for chasing large, line-hogging fish. The reel's CNC machine aluminum construction ensures durability and balance with any quality fly rod. It's a high-end value reel that's been praised for its longevity and flawless performance, even after years of use. However, it may not be the best choice for oversized line or tarpon fishing.
Ideal for
  • Fly fishing enthusiasts looking for a high-performance reel
  • Anglers chasing large, brutish fish
  • Those who value durability and longevity in their fishing gear
  • Anglers who prefer a smooth feel and large line capacity
  • Bass fishing and most inshore salt species
Not ideal for
  • Tarpon fishing
  • Holding oversized line
Bob P., Fly Fishing Expert
Franklin Jones, Fly Fishing Expert
David W., Fly Fishing Expert
by Curated experts Bob P., Franklin Jones, David W.
The Temple Fork Outfitters NTR Fly Reel is a top-rated choice for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. Its lightweight, fully machined design is durable and versatile, with a smooth cork drag system and a wide ported design to keep water out. The reel is also easy to use, requiring no tools to switch retrieval direction. However, its wide spool design may allow for line stacking, and it's not a full cage design, which could lead to line snagging.
Ideal for
  • Freshwater and saltwater fishing
  • Anglers looking for a durable, lightweight reel
  • Those who appreciate a smooth cork drag system
  • Anglers who need a reel that keeps water out
  • Users who value ease of use and tool-free operation
Not ideal for
  • Those who prefer a full cage design to prevent line snagging
  • Anglers who prefer a narrower spool to prevent line stacking
  • Those who prefer a lighter reel
Matt Beam, Fly Fishing Expert
Rylyn S., Fly Fishing Expert
Danny Salinas, Fly Fishing Expert
by Curated experts Matt Beam, Rylyn S., Danny Salinas

Curated experts can help

Have a question about the article you just read or want personal recommendations? Connect with a Curated expert and get free recommendations for whatever you’re looking for!
Result Summary
  1. Orvis Hydros Fly Reels
  2. Redington Behemoth Series Fly Reel
  3. Redington Run Reel
  4. Lamson Liquid Fly Reel
  5. Redington Rise Series Fly Reels
  6. Lamson Guru S Fly Reel
  7. Orvis Clearwater LA Reel
  8. Lamson Remix Fly Reel
  9. Sage Spectrum Fly Reel
  10. Temple Fork Outfitters NTR Fly Reel
Which Fishing product is right for you?
Get free recommendations from a certified expert. Take a short quiz to get started!