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Ross Reels has brought back the Cimarron fly reel, a USA-made freshwater reel that features some nice technology upgrades with classic Ross aesthetics. The new Cimarron is the most budget-friendly reel in Ross’ lineup, which will undoubtedly grow their customer base in these times of ever-increasing prices. While this new reel isn’t the highest-performing trout reel in any one category, it scores solidly in many aspects. Because we pride ourselves on giving unbiased reviews, we’ll also discuss the things we didn’t love about the new Cimarron. Keep reading to learn more about this resurrected trout reel from Ross.

Pros & Cons


  • USA-made craftsmanship. It looks and feels like a Ross!
  • Solid performance. Not the best in any category, but is an extremely capable freshwater reel.
  • Heavy. For anglers who like heavier reels, there aren’t many options, so this could be a huge win for some.


  • Heavy. If you’re looking for a lightweight trout reel, there are better options at this price point.
  • Expensive considering its weight. Mid-range price for an “entry-level” reel.

Who It’s For

The Ross Cimarron will appeal to a few categories of anglers:

1. Ross Reels fanatics, or anglers who couldn’t afford a Ross until now.

2. Those who want to support USA manufacturing, and don’t mind paying a little more for it.

3. Anglers who want a heavier trout reel. There are lots of lightweight options on the market nowadays, but less heavyweights. The Cimarron will balance nicely with heavier rods (entry-level rods), euro rods, and trout spey rods.


At 6.3 ounces, the Ross Cimarron is a hefty trout reel. For comparison, the Lamson Guru S ($299) is 4.5 ounces, and the Orvis Hydros ($279) is 5.5 ounces. This additional weight is probably good news for some anglers, as it is hard to find high-quality, heavier reels these days. Additionally, we could see euro nymphing and trout spey applications with the Ross Cimarron, as it would balance out longer rods nicely. Unfortunately, the Cimarron doesn’t feature a full-cage design, so it's not an ideal choice for euro or trout spey.



The Cimarron features an unsealed disc drag that's very similar to the drag on the Ross Animas. This is a smooth drag that offers roughly 5 pounds of stopping power, which is more than adequate for most freshwater fishing applications. 


We love a pleasing drag sound, and the Cimarron delivers just that. The incoming and outgoing clicks are differentiated, and both sound really nice. Maybe not as nice as the Animas or other high-end reels, but that's to be expected for the price. As always, this is a matter of personal preference.

Spool & Cage Design


Ross has become known for their asymmetrical spool arbors, which allow for quicker line retrieval. We’re happy to see Ross incorporated this clever design into the Cimarron since this is their “budget” offering. In the 5/6 size, the Cimarron’s spool features a maximum diameter of 3.2”, a width of 1”, and an arbor diameter of approximately 2.18”. These specifications will yield about 7.5” of line pickup per turn, which is solid. This is right up there with other mid-range performers like the Lamson Liquid and should be considered a true large arbor reel.

The cage of the Ross Cimarron is a pretty straightforward open cage design. To remove the spool from the cage, you simply wiggle the spool and “pop” it off, making spool changes quick and efficient.

Looks & Ergonomics

Aesthetically, the Cimarron looks like a Ross - it's well-machined and comes in two anodized matte colorways. The porting is unique and looks stout but handsome.

Ergonomically, the Cimarron features Ross’ canvas micarta handle, which remains grippy and comfortable even when wet. We wish the handle was a little bit longer, but it's adequate for most trout fishing. The drag knob is also a little small for our liking, but it is quite grippy and gets the job done.


Ross Reels Warranty


Price: $295.00

As we mentioned earlier, the Cimarron is Ross’ “entry-level” offering, with the next closest option being the Animas at $385. For budget-oriented anglers, $295 is still pricey, and they're probably going to seek out imported reels that cost half the price of the Cimarron. For those with a mid-range budget, however, the Cimarron offers solid performance and classic Ross aesthetics. If you like a stout trout reel and want to support a Colorado-based company, we think the $295 price tag makes sense. How many anglers fall into this category will be interesting to see, but we suspect that it will be respectable thanks to Ross’ strong reputation and high-quality workmanship.



Overall, the Ross Cimarron is a solid USA-made reel that’s ready to take on most trout fishing applications with confidence. Although it's not a featherweight tool, Ross stayed true to their roots by designing a heavier reel that feels hefty and well-built. We appreciate the Cimarron’s modern design elements like its asymmetrical spool arbor and the micarta handle. Additionally, you can rest assured that Ross stands behind their products with their limited lifetime warranty. For anglers shopping for a mid-range priced reel with a smooth drag and solid line pickup, the Cimarron is a strong contender. 

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