What weight for rivers?

Overmiwadrers

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Just a bit of a reflection type post really how things have changed in terms of what is usually accepted as being the GOTO weight rod for rivers. When I started in the early 70s I was advised that a seven weight is just the job. Since then my rod weights have got lighter. to the extent that I rarely now even use 5 weights . I only now have one . I have a few four weights but use them pretty infrequently i see them as a big river rod . Thinking the Ure or Swale. I would say that 95% of BT and Grayling fishing is with 2 and 3 weights . Certainly modern carbon rods are much better as well as fly lines which have improved by a huge amount in the last 40 to 50 years . Not sure I will ever really get down to 1 weights . A good friend fishes one weights regularly but tbh I feel that the 3 weight is just about the perfect rod weight what do you lot fish... Dont fish lakes / lochs so not thinking about that .......

O M W
 

icejohn

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You should be using the newest zero weight!

Seriously though 10 ft 3wt is what I consider as the new standard and certainly, what I would recommend to anyone getting into river fishing.

As rivers appear to be getting shallower... In the summer I don't need to fish 3 or 4 mm tungsten flies so am picking up the 2 wt version more. Am after greyling mainly.

Certainly depends on the river and species you fish for. Scandinavians fish heavy streamers 2-3 inches for brownies use heavier gear.
 
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mc nab

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I've been using 7'6"/8'/8'6" 4 weights for trout this season. I fish drys and nymphs on a barrio smallstream line and streamers on a wulff ambush short 175gr. I tend to cover alot of ground through rough bankside vegetation, gorge and woods so I try keep my gear to a minimum, only carry one rod, often forego a net etc. I find a 4 weight can cope with some wind, has the backbone to fight a big fish effectively and allows me to fish small dries and large streamers just by changing line and so has become a very versatile tool for me.
 

smallmouth

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I use a 7ft 9ins #3 on my heavily wooded local river. And have recently got a 10ft #3 for winter grayling on the same river, amongst other things.

If I regularly fished some bigger rivers I might add an 8ft 6ins #4.

I'd like to try a 2 weight on my local river, and likely will sooner or later.
 

kingf000

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My go to rods nowadays are 10ft 3wt rod for larger rivers and 7ft 3wt for small rivers. Like you, I used to use a 5wt and only used the 3wt for ESN, but over the years I've been using the 3wt for everything on the river - for trout and grayling. I now use the 5wt on my local small, weed free lake.
 

anzac

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I'd say it depends on the river. Light rods are the way to go in the UK. What I've seen them using in the US is 5 and 6 wt rods.
 

Spider

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Practically the only rod I use now is a 10ft 2 wt. Silk line, long leader to 18ft at a push, 15ft more comfortably. This now covers for French nymphs and dries, with no need to keep rechanging lines on different parts of the river to suit dries or FN. I tried a 8.5ft 4 wt recently with a less used silk line and hit felt coarse and I thought it lacked fitness and lightness, and drag set in very fast.
 

mrnotherone

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With the popularity of contact nymphing there are a lot more lighter weight rods in use, but it would be wrong to suggest that now this is all that’s being used. There are a lot of 4 and 5 wt rods used for trout and grayling on UK rivers.
 

eddleston123

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I went fishing with this guy who extoled the virtues of his 3# outfit. We were fishing a reasonable sized stream. Unfortunately, he was simply beaten by the downstream wind. We were fishing dry fly. We were fishing together - a pool a piece. I caught, using my 5# outfit he didn't.

I simplify things for myself and fish a 5# for everything. Overgunned a lot of the time, but just right when there is a howling downstream hoolie! which is quite common in my neck of the woods.

I am referring to trout fishing - Grayling fishing, I'll fish with a 10' 3#




Douglas
 

skinner

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7’7”#2 & 9’ #3 are my go to rods for river & stream.
I found that the Orvis Superfine Troutbum 7’6” 1wt felt more like a 3wt. The Orvis superfine touch 6’ 2wt felt true to weight.
 

three rivers

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I must admit I almost always use a #5 on running water, unless it's a big river or I'm after sea trout. I do have 7' and 8' rods which take a #4 line, which I use when it's calm, but my default is #5. I've never cast a #3 or less. I don't for one minute suggest #5 is better - I completely agree that you should use what works for you.
 

BobP

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Like everything else it's horses for courses. Big river like the lower Test and 2/3 weights are going to struggle especially casting 25m across to a big brown under a tree in a breeze. We seldom wade chalkstreams, and on the lower Test you'd need a snorkel and a periscope.

Top end of the Itchen then a 9' #4 is a good choice. Don't forget we rarely have the conditions for Euronymphing due to the weed growth and we only fish single flies anyway. Often we'll need quite heavy nymphs to get down quickly into a hole in the weedbeds that might be only 3-4m long, and chalkstreams very often DO have quite a rapid flow.
 

Mrwayne

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You need to read the trout and Co 10ft 3 comparison as not all #3 are born equal heres the link. http://www.trout-and-co.com/article/gear/fly-fishing/2020-10-3wt-fly-rod-shootout.

Some 3s are a 2 and others are a 4. I own both the greys GR80 Stream flex and nymphmaniac in this article and both are rated 10ft #3. In reality they are very different and I agree with the article.

I've landed big fish in big European rivers with the so called nymphmaniac 10' #2. I no longer use a fly line, even for dries. For me a #3 euro rod is heavy and the standard is still moving towards #2s as the rods get lighter and stronger and tippers get thinner and thinner.

I keep an 8'6" #5 for tossing dry droppers in tight spots. That's the only time I'd use a fly line anymore. I've now mostly sold off my 5s and 6s.

One thing that is my personal opinion these new euro rods are much better than the latest and greatest traditional 9' #5 in terms of protecting tippet. I can pull hard on my euro rods and the tippet is just cushioned wonderfully. Biggesg reason I now use euro rods for nearly every type of trout fishing.
 

Sash

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I was brought up on various Hardy Jets and Fibalites: nothing lighter than a #6, and #7-8 for sea trout. 8ft rods for “normal“ rivers and dry fly (= Mid/Upper Wiltshire Avon), 9ft for “big” rivers (Lower Avon/Test etc). And then the sea trout “specials” Invincible and Esk!
Interestingly, these #6 and #7 rods in 8’, 8’6” and 9’ are what dominate the auction site nowadays: Hardy’s must have sold thousands of them!

But, when I started to fish the Cleddau in Wales, I started fishing a 8’6” #3, because the brown trout are small, and I have far more fun. I catch the odd sewin, so have proved that a #3 rod will happily handle them, and now feel pretty over-gunned using a #6 rod, except after dark with a sink tip And/or big flies.

I suspect that, with a floating line, I could do >90% of my daytime fishing with a #3, and that’s why, on another thread, I am asking for advice/recommendations for a 10ft #3 rod: this might become my all-rounder. But I can’t see myself going back to 6-weights again.
 

JohnH

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Agree with Bob in that "...it all depends on what you mean by rivers". I am lucky enough to fish chalkstreams, and I probably prefer the Itchen, Test tributaries and the main Test above Andover to the wide open middle to lower Test. And I'm equally lucky to encounter my share of quite big trout and grayling. I am very happy with my 8'6" 5-weight here. I have used that same outfit on the Teign in Devon and it felt over-gunned and even a touch clumsy, whereas my buddy's 9' 3-weight was a delight for those shorter casts and smaller trout. But would be a poor choice for dealing with a 4lb-plus brown in a brawling Hampshire hatchpool...
 

Hardrar

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Bearing in mind all my syndicate waters are upstream single fly dry until 1st July, then you can upstream a single Nymph, I use 7’ to 8’ #3 to #5 we are a bit restricted with tree and bush lined banks. Longer rods are a hindrance, we have some more open water that I will use a Greys XF 2 9’-6” - 10’ #3 on Winter Grayling.
Light lines are ok for casting until you hook a decent fish, then you’re in trouble and will likely lose the fish. I’ve changed to fast glass rods now as they have more forgiving tips but way more progressive power and feel lower down. They are also Less tiring on a long day as the rod does more of the work.
Anyone else using Glass?
 

skinner

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Bearing in mind all my syndicate waters are upstream single fly dry until 1st July, then you can upstream a single Nymph, I use 7’ to 8’ #3 to #5 we are a bit restricted with tree and bush lined banks. Longer rods are a hindrance, we have some more open water that I will use a Greys XF 2 9’-6” - 10’ #3 on Winter Grayling.
Light lines are ok for casting until you hook a decent fish, then you’re in trouble and will likely lose the fish. I’ve changed to fast glass rods now as they have more forgiving tips but way more progressive power and feel lower down. They are also Less tiring on a long day as the rod does more of the work.
Anyone else using Glass?
2wt Scott 7’7”G2 will handle a decent fish , also a 7’6” 1wt superfine Orvis Troutbum will also ... just as much as any 3wt in that size rod ...
 

skinner

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^ On writing the above I only fish for wild fish and I’ve caught decent fish .. the only thing I’d struggle with fishing for stocked fish is that why imitate a fly when I could glue a pellet to a hook and catch a lump...... that ain’t wild fishing, I’m not knocking anyone fishing for stocked fish at all , at the end of the day we all are fishermen and it’s not a chore it’s there for enjoyment.
 
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