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The Backstage Pass

Top 5 Small Stream Fly Rods

May 03, 23

While fishing large rivers throughout Patagonia, the U.S. West, and other trout-focused destinations is fun, branching out and fishing some colder faster small streams can be a great way to spend a toasty summer day. A cool stream combined with a short, lower-weight fly rod can make a great day unforgettable. Learn more about our favorite small stream rods from low price to high right here!

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Echo Carbon XL
- $169

The 7'6" 3-weight Carbon XL is an excellent fit for anglers looking for a fun little creek rod without breaking the bank. This baby has some great action without being too fast or too slow.

  • Four-piece travel design
  • Action: Med Fast
  • Tube: Fabric-covered rod case & sock
  • Guides: Lightweight ceramic stripping guides
  • Grips: Features two grip styles

Redington Butterstick - $249.99

Okay, this stick in the 7'0" 3 weight is beyond fun. Made of fiberglass, the Butterstick is slow. Like very slow. But nearly indestructible. It is not great when the wind picks up, but making short casts on small water is precisely what this rod is made for. It also can make small fish feel huge. Fun. Very Fun.


  • T-Glass construction is built on Redington's Heritage Taper, a traditional fiberglass taper providing a classic glass feel
  • 1wt – 5wt feature unique all-cork handle with slide rings
  • Alignment dots for easy rod setup
  • Durable cordura rod tube with dividers
  • Lifetime warranty

Sage Sonic - $550

Now we are stepping up into the serious small stream fly rods. This will be an incredibly versatile and powerful rod for tight casting conditions. Definitely on the faster side of the spectrum, this rod is capable of covering distance while still fun to fight smaller fish and protect light tippet. Plus, the Juniper color scheme is jaw-dropping.


  • Konnetic Technology
  • Juniper blank color
  • Charcoal primary thread wraps with Gunmetal trim wraps
  • Fuji ceramic stripper guides
  • Hard-chromed snake guides and tip-top
  • Black rod bag with Titanium logo and Green model tag
  • Matte Black powder coated aluminum rod tube with Sage Medallion

Sage Dart - $700

7'6" across the board, the Dart is available in 1-4 weights. It is ultralight, powerful, and designed specifically for small-stream applications. This rod requires little effort to generate impressive line speed, even in the wind. Possibly the best rod for an early morning Trico hatch on the East Gallatin, the dart is THE shop's favorite small stream stick.


  • KonneticHD Technology
  • Sapling Green blank color
  • Bronze thread wraps with Gold trim wraps
  • Fuji ceramic stripper guides
  • Ultra-Light hard chromed snake guides and tip-top • Vera wood insert with Bronze anodized aluminum up-locking reel seat.
  • Super Plus snub-nose, half-wells cork handle
  • Tan rod bag with brown logo and model tag
  • Portobello-colored powder coated aluminum rod tube with Sage medallion

.Sage Trout LL - $800

A nice blend between the old school, slower action, and new graphite technology, the Trout LL can be used all over Montana, Idaho, Chile, and other great trout destinations. We like the 8'9" 3 weight for small streams, but the 9' 5 weight is a blast on any river. This Medium action rod provides great tippet protection and an excellent feel throughout the casting stroke. Perfect for the wade and float fly angler alike.


  • KonneticHD Technology
  • Mahogany blank color
  • Bronze primary thread wraps with Gold trim wraps
  • Fuji ceramic stripper guides; Hard chromed snake guides, and tip-top
  • Walnut wood insert with Bronze up-locking reel seat
  • Super Plus snub-nose, half-wells cork handle
  • Tan rod bag with Brown logo and model tag
  • Brown powder-coated aluminum rod tube with Sage Medallion

Small Stream Fly Fishing Destinations

Are you interested in pursuing trout (with the above small-stream fly rods) in intimate fly fishing settings and cold mountain streams worldwide? Below are several of our staff's favorite small-stream trout destinations:

  1. Patagonia River Guides - North (Argentina)
  2. Las Pampas Lodge (Argentina)
  3. Magic Waters Lodge (Chile)
  4. Cinco Rios/Estancia Del Zorro (Chile)
  5. River of Dreams Basecamp (Chile)
  6. Absaroka Beartooth Outfitters (Montana)
  7. Yellowstone Backcountry Adventures (Yellowstone National Park)
  8. Pyrenees Fly Fishing (Spain)
  9. Clonanav Fly Fishing (Ireland)