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Here at Trident, we’re big fans of the Hardy Ultralite, and the rod remains one of our best-performing all-around 5-weights. Since the Ultralite’s release, Hardy has put out several different rods under the ‘Ultralite’ umbrella designed for niche applications, such as the LL and the Ultralite X. The SR is Hardy’s latest Ultralite offering, a lightweight graphite rod series purposely built for creeks and the smaller fish that inhabit them. 

The allure of leaving overcrowded and overfished rivers behind for more tranquil settings has piqued the interest of a new generation of anglers. The fly fishing industry has taken note, and The SR enters a growing field of fly rods designed for small stream applications. Going into this review, we questioned whether the rod offered anything different from others in its category. After all, $825 is a good amount for a specialized tool, and it is hard to reinvent the creek rod wheel. If you have similar questions and find yourself in the market for a new rod for your next blue line adventure, you will not want to miss this review.


Hardy Ultralite SR 7' 3wt Fly Rod

Royal Wulff Triangle Taper

Fit & Finish

We’ve always been impressed by the build quality of Hardy rods, and the Ultralite SR is no exception. At first glance, It’s easy to mistake the SR for a scaled-down version of the standard Ultralite. Visually, they share the carbon fiber logo section at the blank’s base that bleeds into a shade of pearl green. However, the SR is far from a mere clone and has several standout features, like the rounded, asymmetrical seat designed to keep the reel secured. The snub-nose half-wells grip features an indentation to rest your thumb or index finger. Hardy even opted to use titanium recoil stripping and snake guides, an anomaly for creek rods.


The Ultralite SR delivers dry flies delicately at slightly extended distances when paired with the Royal Wulff Triangle Taper line. This combo is great for fishing spring creeks, where trout are often picky and presentation matters.

Flex & Feel

This NSX SR is surprisingly versatile for a small stream rod, ESPECIALLY regarding line options. While the Triangle Taper worked great for delicate presentations at longer distances, the SR handled the RIO Creek’s shorter, heavier head thanks to its thoughtful taper design and just quick-enough action. The RIO Creek helps load the rod’s slightly stiff tip at short range and is a great line choice for fishing the tumbling brook trout streams in the southern Appalachians and New England. 

This rod definitely lives up to its name! The Ultralite NSX SR is one of the lightest rods we’ve ever tested, making it a nice rod to throw into your pack on your next hike-to-fish excursion.


In a summer filled with fishing small streams and testing purpose-driven rods, the Ultralite SR has emerged as one of our favorite options. The rod checks off most hallmarks of a top-class creek rod. It’s light, well-built, accurate, and surprisingly rangy. The Ultralite SR is quicker than glass but is a little softer than other short graphite rods like the Sage Dart and G. Loomis IMX Creek. Whether you fish small spring creeks or rhododendron-chalked overgrown streams, the Ultralite NSX SR is the perfect tool for the job. 




  • Incredibly lightweight
  • High-end components 
  • Good performance across the board