Selecting Your Rod

We only use the Best Blanks when creating our custom rods (SAGE and EPIC) - Whether you want a custom rod or a factory rod, we carry both.  We can help you choose the rod best suited to your needs. 

We sell what we consider to be the two best factory made rod brands in the world, SAGE and LOOP.  We also sell Redington rods for the fly fisher on a moderate budget.  The Redington rod will catch just as many fish as the LOOP and SAGE rods.

We have a rod that will fit your needs in every price range from our inexpensive Redington rods to the best LOOP and SAGE rods!

We frequently take excellent rods in trade or on consignment.  If you are looking for a great deal, please review our "Rods and Reels-USED" page in the Menu to the left.

Please continue reading to discover which rods we recommend for your type of fishing.

You may call us directly at (509) 998-2321 and we will take the time to help you with your selection.  You may also email us at with questions.

are some of the many questions that need to be answered prior to choosing the fly rod that is best for your needs.

Your continuing happiness with your rod and reel is our goal!

Please take the time to honestly assess your abilities, needs, and budget. 

If you are a beginning fly fisher and do not have an adequate budget for a top of the line fly fishing outfit, and you may not even know if you are going to enjoy fly fishing, you really don't need to buy a top of the line rod and reel.  You won't know the difference between a truly great rod and a discount store model so why not save some money and buy an inexpensive outfit and see if you even like the sport?  You can always use the outfit as a backup in the future and buy a top-of-the-line outfit when you know how to cast and can appreciate the quality of the products.  Redington makes many inexpensive outfits that will save you money and still do a great job in catching fish.

The owner of our company started his own kids out using inexpensive rods because they are cheap, perform adequately, and he knew that he would not cry when they broke one.   

We sell Redington outfits that include rod, reel, and line .  Outfits start in a current range of only $100-$160.  Factory prices change frequently.  For that reason they are not quoted here.


Here are some of the Basic questions you need to ask yourself when selecting a rod:

1) What type of fishing am I intending to do?  example - Will you be after 10-14" trout in small creeks or 20"+ trout on the Missouri River?  --- For those small trout you may want a 2, 3 or 4 weight rod.  For the larger fish you will probably want at least a 5 or 6 weight rod and possibly a 7 weight if the wind  really comes up.  If you are looking for an "all-around" rod that will work in most trout fishing situations, you may want a 9' 5 weight.  This is probably the most commonly chosen trout rod.

2) Will you be fishing primarily from a pontoon boat, a float tube, a drift boat, from the bank, or wading?  Your responses can make a big difference in the rod that you need.  We would not suggest anything less than a 9' rod when fishing from a pontoon boat or float tube and you may wish to go with a 9'6" , 10', or even an 11' rod since you will be casting from a sitting or low position in the water.   For normal wade fishing in rivers, 9' and 9'6" rods are good choices.  On very small streams, long casting distance is not crucial and you may wish to go with a rod of shorter length.  For example, our owner prefers a 7 1/2' or 8' rod in 3 or 4 weight for small creeks. 

3) Will you be casting primarily dry flies or nymphs or do you want a rod that will perform adequately doing both?   Generally a medium to medium fast rod works better with dry flies in delivering a more delicate presentation.  For nymphing, a longer rod is normally desired.  Rods up to  10' or even 11' long are becoming quite common.  A wider loop is desired with double nymph rigs, big bugs, and double dry rigs.  For this type of fishing we suggest a rod that flexes deeper into the middle sections of the rod to make this type of casting easier.  Nothing faster than a medium-fast action is recommended.  A super fast rod is not the ideal nymphing rig

4) What is your budget?  If you cannot afford a Premium LOOP, SAGE or Custom SAGE or EPIC, we do not want you to buy one!  However, if you are single and choose to drive a '72 pickup so that you can afford to own 12 custom rods, that is totally understandable and we will willingly help you expand your collection!  Our prices on our top of the line custom rods actually begin at  less than factory MSRP.   They can be a a great deal. - (Please check out our "Package Pricing page and always ask us about any  "in-shop specials we may be running that cannot be advertised on the web.) - If you would like a wonderful rod at a bargain, check our "Rods and Reels-USED" page in the menu on the left.  We sometimes have very nice rods that we accept on trade-in or that may have been used as a demo.  You can save a lot of money with one of these rods and still end up with a great rod.

5) Do you already own at least one other rod?  If you fly fish, you should own a minimum of two fly rods.  Most fly rods are easy to break so we strongly recommend that you never go fishing without a backup rod.  Many trips have been ruined by a closing car door or trunk lid on a rod!  If you tend to be hard on rods, we recommend that you consider a "Fast-Glass" rod from EPIC.

6) Will the rod ever be used in saltwater?  If it will be used in saltwater, you do not want any nickel silver fittings.   Stay with aluminum or titanium reel seats on these rods.

7) What is your level of experience?  Some people that ask for a "fast rod," because a friend recommended it or some "expert" said it was the latest and greatest.  Most people would be much better off using a medium-fast or medium rod with a wider timing window.  We estimate that about 80% of all fly fishers can cast better using a medium to medium-fast rod.  Unless you are wanting a rod for distance casting competition or plan to cast into a 40MPH headwind on the salt flats, you don't need a super fast action rod.  It will just tire you out.

8) Do you intend to travel with your rod?  If you only intend to drive when transporting your rod, you can go with a 2, 3, 4, or 5 piece rod.  If you intend to fly, we do not recommend that you buy a 2-piece rod. and some 2 piece rods are hard to fit in smaller vehicles.  One of our staff members regularly takes long motorcycle trips and fly fishes along the way.  We made a 5 piece 4 wight EPIC fastglass rod for him that fits in his saddlebags!

Please remember that at Lord of the Streams, we do not have any vested interest in the rod that you buy.  In our custom rods, we have generally the same labor costs and margin on all of our rods whether you buy a $1000 rod or a $695 rod.  Our one and only interest in the rod that you choose is that you will be happy with the equipment you buy!  If we don't sell what you need or want, we will tell you.

General purpose rod recommendations:

Over 75% of our clients contact us looking for a general purpose trout rod for fishing small to large sized rivers and streams.  They want a rod that does a good job of battling the wind, that can handle double nymph rigs and double dry or hopper-dropper rigs.  They may want to be able to fish from a drift boat, a float tube, and while wading.  They also want a rod that can present flies delicately but one that is strong enough to battle the typical winds found on the rivers of the west.  If this is you, you want at least a 9' long rod in either a two, three or four-piece configuration in either a 4, 5 or a 6 weight (depending on the model selected).  If you lean toward nymph fishing or fish bigger waters, choose the 5 or 6 weight.  If you tend to fish medium to smaller waters, lean toward the 4 or 5 weight.  As we covered above, we recommend a medium to medium-fast rod unless you have tested fast or slow action rods and are certain that you can use the rods effectively.

Save Money in your rod selections!

Before you select your rod, we suggest that you consider the other rods that you currently own and determine what kind of fishing rod arsenal you ultimately desire.  If budget is not a problem, buy whatever you want.  However, if you want to save money and own the minimum number of rods necessary to catch a wide variety of fish in varying situations, don't buy the same type of rod over and over again.  For example, consider purchasing rods in alternate weights e.g. 4, 6, 8, and 10 weights or 3,5,7, and 9 weights.  If you normally lean toward stronger rods, go with the first set of rods and if you tend to prefer lighter, more flexible rods in a given situation, choose to go with the later set of rod weights.  If you have the budget, you can fill in all of the weights and even choose to go with varying types of rods with duplicate actions in each weight.  Just be aware of what you are doing before you end up with four six weight rods that are all identical in performance.  

Number of sections?

Choose a four or five piece rod if you want to pack the rod in your luggage or desire to take it on a plane.   You may choose a two or a three piece rod if space is not a problem or the rod is not going to be used for travel in space restricting methods (a plane is not a good place to take a two piece rod).  Many types of luggage will only accommodate a 30" or 31"  or shorter tube.  This will restrict you to a maximum length of a 9' rod in a 4-piece model.

Relaxed action or Dry fly specialty rod?

If you don't have to battle winds a lot and want a bit more relaxed action, you may wish to try the LOOP Evotec medium-fast in a 3 or 4 piece rod, a LOOP OPTI CREEK or a LOOP OPTI STREAM, or a SAGE MOD rod.  (Even though the Winston WT is no longer in their catalog, it is still available by special order as of this update (6/15/2016).  The LOOP Evotec CAST rod is one of the very best factory produced medium priced rods ($469-$499 in 2017).

If you want the best all around rod for battling winds that meets the rest of the characteristics above, we recommend the SAGE X.   The LOOP Cross S1 was a great rod in this category but it is no longer made. (We really do not like it when companies stop making great rods!)


Other Specialty Rods?:

If you want an extremely fast rod  or are looking for a great bonefish rod or another specialty rod, please call us and discuss your needs.


We have some of the best prices anywhere on custom fly rods and factory fly fishing outfits!  No matter which one you choose, you are getting a great deal!  But, we do not want you to spend more than you can afford.  If you are in the market for a superb rod but need to buy a rod on a limited budget, please give our LOOP Evotec CAST rods a look.  Call for a price on the specific rod you are looking for and please check out "Package Pricing" page for specials.


Pricing and Satisfaction:

We believe that we have the best prices anywhere for the quality provided.  Some of our custom rods are currently priced LESS than factory rods and most people that try them think they are better.  Just read the comments from some of our recent customers under "Client Stories" in our menu.  

We individually inspect and mark every blank for proper spine alignment.  This step is by-passed by every rod factory that we know of by their own admissions.  All of the blanks we use are warrantied by the manufacturer and are first quality blanks--not seconds.  We do not choose to construct rods using the mid-line and lower lines of blanks from any rod manufacturer. 

Whether you need a top of the line rod that is sensitive enough to handle size 28 dry flies with a gentle presentation in light weight blanks or strong enough to battle Tarpon in the heavy weight blanks, we can suggest the correct rod for you. One of our rods will suit your needs.

When you add our craftsmanship to any of the blanks that we sell, the result is an heirloom quality rod. 


Specific Rod Recommendations


"We have tested and fished with the LOOP CROSS S1 and believe it to be one of the best all around  fly rods that we have ever used.

We have tested and fished with the SAGE "X" rod and we have sold many of these rods.  Our clients (and their guides, and our clients who are guides) greatly enjoy the rods.  (They are a fast rod but you can still feel them load!) 

We have tested the Winston BIIIx and wish that Winston had not replaced the BIIx with this rod. 

The following recommendations are based on the testing of actual rods.  Some of these rods are no longer available but you may be able to find one used on eBay.  Please call or write for specific recommendations.  We want you to be happy with your rod even when you do not buy it from us!


Our recommendations for you are as follows: (written in 2018) If you like a light, medium-fast to fast action rod, select the LOOP Cross S1 in either medium-fast action or the LOOP CROSS SX in a fast action, the LOOP OPTI Stream and Coast, the LOOP Evotec CAST in medium-fast or fast action, the SAGE X, or the Winston BIIx .

If you prefer a rod with a bit more relaxed casting tempo, choose the Sage Circa or the SAGE MOD or the SAGE ZXL (if you can find one on eBay) or the Winston WT (in our opinion, the best trout rod that Winston ever made.)  

If you want a fast action rod that is also extremely light, please look at the Sage METHOD or the SAGE X or the EPIC Carbon Fibre rods in 5 and 6 weights.  These are incredible rods for those that like fast.

(The following comments are based on our interpretations of the combined recommendations of LOOP, Sage, R.L. Winston Rod Company and our own experience.)


Small creeks:

LOOP CROSS S1, LOOP  Evotec CAST, LOOP OPTI Creek, Winston WT, SAGE TXL-F or SAGE ONE, in 3 or 4 weight in 7'6"-9' . The SAGE MOD, the EPIC 4 weight 7'6"  or 8' fiberglass rods, or the delightful SAGE Circa in 8'9".

Spring creeks and technical waters:

LOOP CROSS SI medium-fast, LOOP OPTI Creek, Loop Evotec CAST, Sage Circa, SAGE MOD, SAGE ONE, SAGE TXL-F, Winston WT, or Winston LT in 3 or 4 weight in 7'10"'-9' length. 

General purpose from small creeks to big freestones:

SAGE X, LOOP CROSS S1, LOOP  OPTI, LOOP Evotec CAST, SAGE ONE, LOOP OPTI PEAK (11' 4 weight specialty) Winston WT, Winston BIIx, Sage ZXL in 4 or 5 wt. 9'.

General purpose lake or river fishing from a pontoon boat:

LOOP CROSS S1, LOOP EVOTEC CAST, SAGE X, LOOP OPTI PEAK (11' 4 wt.) SAGE ONE, Winston WT in 5 or 6 weight 9'-10'

Streamers and nymphs:

SAGE X, LOOP CROSS S1 in 9' 6 wt. or 9'6" 7 weight, LOOP OPTI, LOOP EVOTEC CAST, LOOP OPTI PEAK (specialty 11' 4-wt. rod), LOOP Cross S1 Switch rod 7107-4 (an outstanding switch rod in 10' 7" 7 weight 4 piece model), SAGE ONE or Winston WT in 6 or 7 weight in 9' (some models available in 9'6".)

Smaller Steelhead and small salmon:

SAGE X, LOOP CROSS S1 in 9' 6 wt. or 7 weight 9'6", LOOP CROSS S17107-4 Switch rod, LOOP OPTI Coast in 9'6" 7 weight, LOOP EVOTEC CAST, LOOP OPTI PEAK (11' 4wt.) SAGE ONE, or Winston WT in 6 or 7 wt.(small steelhead)

Bonefish and bigger steelhead:

LOOP CROSS S1 FLATSMAN in 8 wt., SAGE X or SAGE METHOD in 8 or 9 weight

Stripers, Big Salmon, Blues:

LOOP CROSS S1 FLATSMAN in 8 weight, SAGE X or Sage SALT, in 9 wt. 9'

Permit, small tarpon, bonita:


Big Tarpon: 

LOOP CROSS S1 FLATSMAN, or Sage SALT in 11 or 12 weight. 9'

Historical Note: The SAGE Z-AXIS line of rods was designed by SAGE to replace their very popular XP model.  Frankly, We hated to see the XP go and now the Z-AXIS is gone.  So is the" SAGE ONE" rod.  These are still excellent all around rods and we do consider them on trade-ins.  Ask about our lightly used stock of rods!  The CROSS S1 and SX rods deserve a look whenever chasing big fish!

-A word about Backup Rods-

We believe that everyone needs at least one backup rod on every trip.   (On a 2006 trip to Montana and Idaho, both my fishing partner and I broke rods.)   Don't let your trip be ruined by breaking the only rod you brought with you!

Whichever Rod you choose, make sure it is the one that you want, not one that your neighbor thinks you should buy.  If it feels right to you, it is right!