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It’s no secret that fly fishing is an expensive sport, and prices only seem to increase. Fortunately, it’s still possible to find a budget-friendly fly rod that performs extremely well. Manufacturers like Greys, Echo, TFO, and others continue to produce exceptional fishing tools at a fraction of the price of premium rods. Today, we’ll share our favorite budget fly rods of 2024, discussing their features, intended uses, and pros and cons for each. If you’re looking to get into fly fishing, or just want a new rod that won’t break the bank, keep reading to learn about the best budget fly rods of 2024. 

Greys Lance

The Greys Lance can be summed up in four words: bang for your buck. At a reasonable price of under $250, the Lance offers remarkable accuracy, plenty of power, and great overall versatility. We tested the Greys Lance with a Scientific Anglers MPX line and found it to bring out the best of this budget rod. At close and mid-range, the rod is very accurate, peppy, and fun to cast. Moving back to long range, the rod still has a good amount of power and speed and decent accuracy. For beginners, the Lance would be a fantastic do-it-all rod that could handle everything from dries to heavy nymph rigs quite well. For intermediate to advanced anglers, the Greys Lance could serve as a fantastic backup rod, for those times when you need multiple rigs ready to go, but you don’t want to risk carrying around $2000+ of graphite. Overall, we think the Greys Lance is, hands down, the best budget rod on the market today. If you’re looking for a great performing rod that won’t break the bank, look no further than the Greys Lance.

You can find the full blog review HERE

Price: $219.95


  • Exceptional value
  • Great across-the-board performance
  • Perfect pairing with Scientific Anglers Amplitude MPX


  • Aesthetically bland
  • Standard componentry

Orvis Clearwater


As a trout guide in Colorado, I had Orvis Clearwater rods in my drift boat for clients to use for many years. The primary reason was the price. At under $300, Orvis delivers a forgiving rod that’s easy to cast and has a great (25-year) warranty. In the lighter trout models, the Clearwater excels at close-range casting and delicate presentations. Sure, it’s not the most accurate fly rod out there, but it's adequate for most trout fishing scenarios from dry flies to nymphing and streamers. The Clearwater loses some steam at longer distances, but it isn’t designed to be an aggressive cannon of a rod. It is available in models ranging from 2wt to 12wt, each with a unique taper designed for specific fishing applications. Overall, the Orvis Clearwater is a functional rod with solid componentry for under $300.

Price: $249.00


  • Under $300 for most models
  • Medium-fast action is easy and fun to cast
  • Solid componentry


  • Lacks long-distance power
  • On the heavier side

Echo Carbon XL


The Echo Carbon XL replaced the old Carbon as Echo’s flagship ‘do-everything’ freshwater rod. XL stands for ‘extra light’, using modern graphite technology to create a lighter and more enjoyable rod to cast than the previous iteration. We like the Carbon XL because of its versatility. This is a rod that can go from a heavy indicator rig to a hopper with ease. Additionally, the Carbon XL is a handsome rod with an elegant rosewood-colored blank and a durable anodized aluminum reel seat. For an attainable price of under $200, you can get your hands on the Carbon XL in 2wt to 6wt models. If you’re looking for a versatile trout rod that looks sophisticated but won’t cost a fortune, consider the Echo Carbon XL.

Price: $199.99


  • Versatile action can handle everything from heavy nymphing to dry flies
  • Handsome aesthetics
  • Affordable price


  • We’d love to see more 10’+ models
  • Not the most accurate for sight-fishing applications

TFO Blitz

We were big fans of the Axiom series rods from TFO, but the new Blitz is even better. The TFO Blitz is a mid-priced saltwater fly rod that features a low swing weight and premium components. We included it on the list because, for its price, you’ll get performance that rivals many premium fly rods. Unlike many modern saltwater rods, the Blitz isn’t all about power and fast action. It features a medium-fast action blank, which is much more enjoyable and forgiving to cast than many premium rods on the market. Although it isn’t the most accurate or powerful rod at longer distances, it performs extremely well at short to middle distances. Interestingly, it prefers less aggressive fly lines than its name might suggest. We expected the Blitz to prefer lines like the Rio Outbound Short or the SA Titan, but it feels overloaded by these aggressive tapers. Instead, we’d recommend the Rio Striper (for cold water temperatures) or the SA Bonefish (for tropical water temperatures), which both performed great. Overall, the TFO Blitz would make a fantastic rod for targeting Striped Bass or any species where pinpoint accuracy or long shots are generally not required.

You can find the full blog review HERE

Price: $429.95


  • Fun to cast!
  • Top-notch componentry


  • Line-sensitive
  • Not super accurate beyond 60 feet

Redington Vice

Advertised as the ‘transitional fly rod’, the Redington Vice is designed to be the rod that takes you from beginner to intermediate and beyond. The Vice certainly has the performance to back up this claim, boasting great accuracy and recovery at key trout distances. Its drawbacks are its weight and its finesse game, which both make it feel clunky at close distances. That being said, the Vice is a great tool for indicator nymphing, small to medium-sized streamers, and beefy dry/dropper rigs. It has enough power to turn over larger rigs with decent accuracy, making it a versatile freshwater rod. What’s more, the Vice is offered up to a 9wt, meaning it can handle saltwater or big-game fishing as well. The Redington Vice is a rod that you can grow into and enjoy fishing for many years, with the bonus of being priced as an entry-level rod.

You can find the full blog review HERE

Price: $219.99


  • Snappy, fast-action blank
  • Cool-looking green & gold color scheme


  • Heavy
  • Not ideal for close-range finesse casting

Atlas Signature

Although $500 may be considered by many as a mid-priced rod, the Atlas Signature made the list because of its incredible value. With features like extremely light swing weight, graphene blank, Cerecoil guides, and premium cork, the Signature competes with rods double its price. Whether you’re stalking bonefish on the flats or throwing 12” musky flies, the Signature can deliver accurate presentations with a variety of lines. We found the most compatible fly line tapers to be the SA Bonefish, the SA Grand Slam, and the SA Titan. Considering these three lines cover nearly every saltwater or big-game scenario you’d encounter, the Signature is as versatile a rod as any. Offered in 6wt and 8-10wt models, the Atlas Signature has quickly become a favorite of anglers across the globe who need a lightweight, accurate rod for an attainable price. 

Price: $499.99


  • Very light swing weight
  • Pinpoint accuracy
  • Incredible value


  • Limited models available

Douglas ERA

The Douglas ERA is the ultimate value fly rod, priced at under $150. If you’ve done any rod shopping lately, you know that finding a rod under $200 is very rare, let alone a rod with reasonable performance. Fortunately, the ERA performs quite well and would make an ideal starter or backup rod. Beginners especially should consider the ERA for its medium-action blank, which offers plenty of feel during the casting stroke. We found it to be a joy to cast at close to middle distances, which is where the majority of your trout fishing will occur. The ERA is offered only in 5wt and 8wt models, which we think is fine since these are the common line weights on the market. The only major drawback to the ERA is its swing weight. At 70 gm2, the 5wt ERA is quite heavy, comparable to premium 8wt rods. That being said, many beginners won’t notice the weight and may find it nice to pair with a heavier entry-level reel. For beginner to intermediate anglers who need an affordable 5wt or 8wt rod to get started, the Douglas ERA is a wonderful choice.

You can find the full blog review HERE

Price: $149.00


  • The most affordable rod on the list
  • Great feel and accuracy at close to middle distances
  • Casts an SA MPX well


  • Lacks power for longer distances
  • Heavy swing weight at 70 gm2
  • The gray color isn’t very exciting


What fly line should I choose for my budget fly rod?

Choosing the right fly line depends on many factors such as target species, the size of fly you’ll be fishing, and the water temperature. For detailed information on picking the right fly line, check out our Blog.

How do I choose between a fast-action or medium-action budget fly rod?

Fast-action rods are generally stiffer rods that offer more power and line speed but at the expense of feel or “flex”. Typically, fast-action rods are best for windy conditions, casting bigger flies, and casting heavier fly lines. On the other hand, medium-action rods flex deeper into the rod blank, offering more “feel” and increased finesse, but at the expense of power. Most anglers who prefer medium-action rods appreciate their finesse and overall gentler presentation, especially for spooky fish. Generally, medium-action rods are more beginner-friendly to cast, whereas a fast-action rod might take more practice to get the timing just right.

What are the key differences between premium and budget-friendly fly rods?

We are fortunate to have many budget-friendly fly rods that still perform quite well. That being said, there are some distinct differences between premium rods and their economic counterparts. Primarily, the materials used in premium rods will be of higher quality than those found in budget rods. Some of these materials, like the graphite used in the blank, can greatly affect the rod's performance. Other materials, like the reel seat insert and the paint finish, are more cosmetic and subjective. Additionally, warranties may differ between premium and budget 9-weight fly rods. Premium rods tend to have a more substantial warranty, but you should check with the manufacturer for each specific model.