It’s time to get out to streams across the Blue Ridge and haul in trout with gear that makes fishing an art. These are our favorite tools for the job.
Helios 3F 5# 8’6″ rod and Mirage LT II Reel
Meet the perfect setup for stalking the cold mountain streams of the Blue Ridge this spring. The top-performing Helios 3F rod simply casts like butter in tough spots—giving you perfect presentations with small dries as well as the ability to place nymphs just where you need them in fast currents. The light, trusty reel offers the drag you need to catch big fish on minimal gear without overpowering your setup and makes it fun to land small fish on tight streams.
$998 rod, $429 reel; orvis.com
Redington X Topo Designs
Fly Fishing Kit 590-6
We are always fans of the fly fishing combo kit as a practical way of getting into the game. It makes sense: You get a rod and reel (plus a few extra goodies) in one package. This kit—a collab between core fishing brand Redington and outdoor apparel hotshots Topo Designs—really delivers with a 9-foot, six-piece, 5-weight rod and reel that’s easy to stash and ideal for backpacking. Top that off with a leader, line, a loaded fly box, hemostat, and tippet and you have everything you need to catch fish. But the real winner is the Topo Designs hip pack made to carry all that gear.
Swiftcurrent Wet Wade Wading Pants
All too often, waders are too hot and just too much during a balmy day of fly fishing, but wet wading in shorts can be chilly. The answer is these fast drying, fair-trade-certified recycled nylon pants that give you a bit of protection in the water without all the bulk.
These burly-wading boots are easy to batten down and don’t get waterlogged during a full day of casting, but what we like best is how they can take on a stiff scramble down to the stream. Credit that performance to the OmniTrax sole that grips both wet rocks and the trail. Want something more refined for the stream? Just switch it out to one of Korkers’ specialized felt or sticky soles. A new Boa version secures even faster and easier without the trouble of lacing.
$260 ($300 with Boa); korkers.com
Eyewear is the all-too-often forgotten essential when it comes to fly fishing—for both protecting your peepers and to better see the water (and fish). The sleek Sable provides a wrap fit to better protect from errant flies and offers up polarization to cut through water glare. Better still, the plant-based plastic in the frames is easy on the environment.
Women’s PRO Fishing Jacket
Designed with the rigors of casting and rowing in mind, this shell is a godsend when the weather gets rough out on the water. With fully taped seams and built from waterproof/breathable material, it keeps out the wet but it never feels too claustrophobic. Cut for the female form, it’s also a breath of fresh air in a sport where women, who are getting on the water more than ever, are finding more gear made specifically for them instead of having to settle for men’s stuff.
Quick Release Mounts
Innovative bike rack brand Küat worked with fly rod rack masters Riversmith to make quick-release flip mounts that make it easy to take that rod carrier on and off when you need it in between other adventures that require rack space. We combine them with the 10-foot, four-inch Riversmith River Quiver ($480) to have our best rod at the ready and protected when we head to the stream.