Most Recommended Fly Reels under $250

Updated

Sometimes you need great fly reels on a budget. Curated experts make sure to take each fisher's budget into account every time they make recommendations. This list brings together their top recommendations for fly reels under $250. Want a more personalized pick? Don't forget to talk to a Fly Fishing expert for free advice and recommendations on the best reels for your needs.

Wilson Jones, Fly Fishing Expert
Aaron Tate, Fly Fishing Expert
Boone Tullett, Fly Fishing Expert
By Fishing ExpertsWilson, Aaron, Boone and others
The Orvis Hydros Fly Reel is a high-performance reel that offers excellent value for both novice and expert anglers. Its lightweight large arbor design, fully sealed clutch bearing drag, and quick line retrieval make it perfect for hot fish in both fresh and saltwater. It's durable, dependable, and has a great drag ratio. However, it may not be ideal for lighter trout applications or heavy saltwater fishing.
Ideal for
  • Novice and expert anglers looking for high performance without breaking the bank
  • Fishing for hot fish in both fresh and saltwater
  • Anglers who need a strong, smooth drag with little start-up inertia
  • Anglers who value durability and dependability
  • Anglers who want a high-quality reel at a great price
Not ideal for
  • Lighter trout applications
  • Heavy saltwater fishing
  • Surf fishing or beach/flats wading
  • Anglers who don't want to perform heavy maintenance
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 heavy-duty, versatile reel that is perfect for both fresh and saltwater fishing. It's a great fit for a 7/8 WT rod and is also a suitable size for a 5 weight rod. It's an entry-level reel with impressive stopping power and a large arbor for fast pick-up speed. Its unique, die-cast construction and super heavy-duty carbon fiber drag make it a reliable and high-performing choice. It's ideal for big trout, bass, pike, and saltwater fish. However, it may not be as durable when submerged in saltwater.
Ideal for
  • Freshwater fishing
  • Saltwater fishing
  • Big trout, bass, pike
  • Entry-level fly reel users
  • Users looking for high stopping power
Not ideal for
  • Frequent saltwater submersion
  • Users who prefer a lighter reel
  • Users who dislike 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 choice for those seeking a balance between lightweight design and performance. Its carbon drag system is robust enough to handle a variety of situations, and it's suitable for both fresh and salt water. The reel's large arbor design and compact carbon fiber drag system provide smooth stopping power and quick line retrieval. While it's not as light as machined aluminum, it offers tremendous stopping power and durability, making it a great entry-level reel for large freshwater species and smaller inshore species in the salt.
Ideal for
  • Anglers seeking a lightweight yet high-performing reel
  • Fishing in both fresh and salt water
  • Fishing for large freshwater species and smaller inshore species
  • Anglers who value smooth stopping power and quick line retrieval
  • Those looking for a quality reel at an affordable price
Not ideal for
  • Anglers seeking the lightest possible reel
  • Fishing for very large species
  • Fishing in big waters
Jeff Henderson, Fly Fishing Expert
Jesi Scott, Fly Fishing Expert
Kendrick Wilson, Fly Fishing Expert
by Curated experts Jeff Henderson, Jesi Scott, Kendrick Wilson
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The Lamson Liquid Fly Reel is a top-notch, American-made reel that offers exceptional value. It's praised for its smooth drag, durability, and aesthetic appeal. Its large arbor design allows for high-speed line retrieval, and it's equipped with a fully sealed conical disc drag system. Ideal for trout fishing and a variety of freshwater applications, it's a popular choice among anglers. However, it may not be the best choice for fishing big streamers.
Ideal for
  • Trout fishing
  • Freshwater applications
  • Anglers seeking smooth drag
  • Those who value American-made products
  • Anglers seeking high-speed line retrieval
Not ideal for
  • Fishing big streamers
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 anglers seeking a lightweight, durable, and reliable reel that won't break the bank. With a large arbor design, a smooth carbon fiber drag system, and a saltwater-friendly construction, these reels are perfect for long days fishing the flats. The machined aluminum body offers a perfect balance of weight and durability, while the U-shaped arbor stacks line effectively. These reels are a great fit on a 5wt rod and can handle larger fish if needed, making them a versatile choice for various fishing scenarios.
Ideal for
  • Anglers seeking a lightweight, durable reel
  • Long days fishing the flats
  • Use with a 5wt rod
  • Handling larger fish
  • Various fishing scenarios
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 Orvis Clearwater LA Reel is a top pick for those new to fly fishing or on a budget. Its smooth disc drag system, large arbor for quick line retrieval, and lightweight build make it a reliable choice. It's particularly suited for freshwater fishing, handling trout, bass, and bluegill with ease. However, its unsealed drag and cast aluminum build may not hold up in saltwater or heavy-duty scenarios.
Ideal for
  • Beginners in fly fishing
  • Budget-conscious anglers
  • Freshwater fishing
  • Trout, bass, and bluegill fishing
  • Those needing quick line retrieval
Not ideal for
  • Saltwater fishing
  • Heavy-duty fishing scenarios
  • Fishing in muddy, sandy, or dirty conditions
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 perfect blend of quality craftsmanship and reliable performance. It's a large-arbor reel with a sealed conical drag system that offers smoothness and stability. It's ideal for medium to heavy freshwater applications, including trout, bass, steelhead, salmon, pike, and musky. The reel is also suitable for 9-11 weight saltwater rods. It's not recommended for use with a rod heavier than a 6 weight or anything smaller than an 8 weight rod.
Ideal for
  • Medium freshwater applications (trout, bass, etc.)
  • Heavy freshwater applications (steelhead, salmon, pike, musky)
  • 9-11 weight saltwater rods
  • Anglers seeking a good size to weight ratio to balance their fly rod
  • Anglers who need a robust and reliable reel
Not ideal for
  • Use with 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 Temple Fork Outfitters NTR Fly Reel is a top-rated choice for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. It's known for its durability, lightweight design, and smooth cork drag system. The reel is fully machined and features a ported design to prevent water build-up. It's also praised for its affordability, versatility, and lifetime warranty. However, its wider spool design and lack of a full cage may lead to line snagging and stacking.
Ideal for
  • Freshwater and saltwater fishing
  • Anglers looking for a durable, lightweight reel
  • Those who prefer a smooth cork drag system
  • Anglers seeking an affordable, high-quality reel
  • Anglers who value a lifetime warranty
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
The Orvis Battenkill Disc Reel is a classic, reliable choice for both novice and seasoned anglers. Its fully sealed drag system, derived from pricier models, ensures smooth performance and longevity. Ideal for freshwater and light saltwater fishing, it's perfect for landing trout, bass, and lake trout. Its classic design and durability make it a great value for money. However, its standard arbor design may not be ideal for species that like to run line, and it requires careful handling in saltwater environments.
Ideal for
  • Freshwater fishing
  • Light saltwater fishing
  • Anglers using 5-7 weight rods
  • Those who appreciate classic trout reel styling
  • Anglers seeking a reliable, long-lasting reel
Not ideal for
  • Shorter rods with line under 5wt
  • Species that like to run line
  • Anglers preferring large arbor designs
  • Heavy saltwater fishing
Baily Dent, Fly Fishing Expert
Cory G, Fly Fishing Expert
Jacob Jesionek, Fly Fishing Expert
by Curated experts Baily Dent, Cory G, Jacob Jesionek
The Lamson Liquid 3-Pack Fly Reel and 2 Spare Spools is a stellar value bundle for budget-conscious anglers who want versatility in their fishing tactics. With a sealed, conical drag, an aluminum frame and spool, and the ability to switch from floating to sinking line with ease, this reel is perfect for those who want to fish above or below the water. Made in the USA, this durable reel is a fantastic value, especially with the inclusion of two additional spools and a storage case.
Ideal for
  • Budget-conscious anglers
  • Anglers who want versatility in their fishing tactics
  • Anglers who want to fish above or below the water
  • Anglers who value durability and quality
Not ideal for
  • Anglers who only want to fish one line
  • Anglers who do not need additional spools
Kendrick Wilson, Fly Fishing Expert
Jonathan Graham, Fly Fishing Expert
Stefan E., Fly Fishing Expert
by Curated experts Kendrick Wilson, Jonathan Graham, Stefan E.

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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. Orvis Clearwater LA Reel
  7. Lamson Remix Fly Reel
  8. Temple Fork Outfitters NTR Fly Reel
  9. Orvis Battenkill Disc Reel
  10. Lamson Liquid 3-Pack Fly Reel and 2 Spare Spools
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