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Best 3wt Fly Rods [2021 Review]

If you do a lot of fishing in small streams, a three-weight fly rod is one rod you’ll use. These smaller streams usually have very tight quarters with trees, bushes, boulders, and logs all crowding in the water to create casting hazards. These hazards are all around you, and it can make it challenging to make those long casts.

You’ll use roll casts, high sticking, bow and arrow casts, or another method you favor to get your fly in the water. None of these techniques use heavy rod weights to make the cast; a three-weight rod is more than sufficient.

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Buying Factors

There are several factors you want to consider when you purchase this rod. We’ve picked out the biggest ones below.

Graphite is one of the most popular materials for your fly rod because it’s very lightweight, durable, and it flexes as you cast. Graphite also withstands different elements and wear and tear without slowing down.

Carbon fiber and fiberglass are two other options, but they’re not as durable as graphite. However, they’re decent for beginners who want to get a feel for fly fishing but aren’t ready to pay out hundreds of dollars.

Action Type
Since you’re going to fish it tight quarters, you want to pay close attention to your rod’s action type. Fast and moderate fast action rods allow you to make longer casts while having the versatility of a rod that has a deeper flex.

Slow or moderate action levels are more than sufficient for fishing with a three-weight fly rod. They’ll give you excellent line control, and they’re versatile enough to fish in a variety of streams, ponds, or lakes without presenting a problem. You may want to have one of each to swap out for different conditions.

Your budget will play a role in the rod you pick out. These fly rods start around $30 and can quickly climb into the hundreds of dollars. You want to set a budget before you shop. This way, you shouldn’t find yourself going way over because you like a rod that is out of your range.

Fly rods come in a range of pieces. These pieces make it easy to break down the rod to transport and store it. You want to double-check how many pieces your three-weight fly rod has before you buy it. Some are single pieces, but most come in two or three.

What Fish Can I Catch with a Three-Weight Fly Rod?

You’ll most likely target smaller fish when you use this rod because you’ll fish in smaller streams or areas. It’s not unusual for the fish to range from 6 t 14 inches long at a maximum. The most popular fish people go after with this rod include trout, small bass, bream, panfish, and sunfish. The nice thing about this rod is that even smaller fish will feel like you hooked a monster. You’ll get the excitement and thrill that comes with hooking a larger fish every time you take this rod out.

What are the Best Flies to Use With This Rod?

The smaller flies are easier to cast, but they may not be as effective. Ideally, you won’t use a fly that is smaller than a size 12 at the lowest. Crappies and sunfish are opportunistic feeders, and they tend to go for things that don’t imitate the natural surroundings.

If you’re after small bass, you can make a small fly appear much bigger than it is without adding unnecessary weight to your rod. Get a slender imitation baitfish and use a few rubber leg, marabou, Flashabou, or bucktail strands to extend the tail.

What is the Best Fly Line?

Generally speaking, you try to match the line weight with the rod weight. This means that you’d usually use the three-weight line for a three-weight fly rod. However, the line you use will depend on your personal preferences, and you don’t have to pick the same weight.

You can overline your fly rod by using a four or five-weight line. This practice allows your rod to load more, and the rod will load with less line out. You’ll be able to cast confidently into the wind as well. However, it does add drag while removing a lot of stealth if you overline it.

Only Fly Reel for My Three-Weight Rod – Redington ID Fly Reel

Redington ID Fly Reel.

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This sturdy and sleek reel features a die-cast construction with a full-frame back. You can apply decals to personalize this reel, and it has a large arbor design that gives you tippet protection and speedy line retrieval.

The Rulon disc drag is very strong and smooth. You get the choice of five different sizes, and there is a pre-spooled version available. This version uses RIO Mainstream fly line suitable for different weights. There is a lifetime warranty on this reel that protects you against damage or defects.

The Best Three-Weight Fly Rods

Unifishing Fly Rod V Light

3wt Unifishing fly rod.

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This is a fast-action rod with a deep green fish and a chrome guide that is resistant to rust and corrosion. It’s a very well balanced setup that will reduce your arm fatigue while improving your accuracy levels for every cast.

The soft casting stroke makes casting easy. The rod is flexible enough that you’ll feel the line loading. It works very well with small flies or dry flies. The plated brass up-locking cork reel set is resistant to breaking, mildew, or cracking. Finally, the rod breaks down into several pieces for easy storage.

Maxcatch 3wt Medium-Fast Fly RodMaxcatch 3wt fly rod.

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This rod comes in eight different styles with a range of weights. It’s a medium-fast action rod with IM8 carbon that adds durability and flex. The aluminum reel seat resists corrosion, rust, wear, and tear to create a long-lasting rod setup.

The ceramic ring stripping guides and the hard chrome stainless steel snake guides make casting and reeling in your line a smooth process. The AA-grade Portuguese cork handle has an ergonomic design that reduces fatigue and gives you a firm grip. The rod breaks down into four pieces for transport.

Fenwick AETOS Fly Rod (9’0)Fenwick 9 foot 3wt fly rod.

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This durable rod comes in nine sizes and nine styles that allows you to pick the rod that best matches your fishing style. It’s a fast-action rod that features gunsmoke stripper guides with larger diameters. There are also double foot gunsmoke snake guides running to the tip of the rod.

The reel seat on this rod is an aluminum anodized double uplock design, and you get a mini fighting butt that is easy to grip. You’ll get a durable tube to store your rod in between uses to keep it in great condition.

Redington Vice Fly Fishing RodRedington-VICE 3WT Fly Fishing Rod.

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This rod comes in 11 different sizes with several different weights in a simple and sleek design. The fast-action rod makes casting quick and easy, and there is an anodized machined aluminum reel seat that makes fishing in all water conditions easy.

It comes with a laser-etched model reference on the reel seat. This number makes it easy to identify the rod at a glance. You get a Cordura rod tube with rod dividers built-in, and each purchase comes with a full lifetime warranty against defects or damage.

Echo Boost Freshwater Fly Rod
9 Foot 3 wt Echo Boost Fly Rod.

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You’ll get the choice of seven colors and five sizes when you choose this high-end fly rod. It’s specially designed for freshwater fishing. Suited for aggressive fishing, this rod gives you an excellent balance of power and precision that will help you land those trophy fish.

The graphite is very lightweight and durable, and the titanium guides resist rust and corrosion. There are multiple grip styles available that ensure you can find the one suited for your fishing style. The lifetime warranty protects you from damage, and there is a rod storage tube included in every order.


Further Buying Guide and FAQ

Best 3wt Fly Rod for Under $100 – Unifishing Fly Rod V Light

This cost-effective rod allows you to have a high durability factor without breaking the bank. It has chrome guides, a soft casting stroke, balanced construction, and a glossy finish that seals out moisture.

Best 3WT Fly Rod for Beginner – Maxcatch Three-Weight Medium-Fast Fly Rod

The IM8 carbon design adds a good degree of flex without compromising the rod’s durability factor. It has a cork handle that gives you a sturdy grip, and the ceramic and aluminum elements ensure the rod lasts.

Best 3wt Fly Rod For Bass – Fenwick AETOS Fly Rod (9’0)

Bass anglers will delight with this fly rod. It’s a fast-action rod packed with several features. The gunsmoke stripper and snake guides ensure you get a smooth cast and reeling experience that allows you to fight the fish right to the shore.

What is the 3wt fly rod good for?

  • This lighter weight rod is good for catching smaller fish in tighter streams. This type of rod gives you the capability to make short and precise casts in areas that have an abundance of objects in the water that your fly could catch on. They’re flexible without giving away too much line control, and they can be relatively inexpensive for beginner fly fisherman.

3wt Fly Rod vs. 4wt Fly Rod

  • Your rod weight is more about the type of flies you want to fish with when you go out. If you plan to fish for very small panfish or trout with smaller flies, a three-weight rod is better. If you want panfish or medium-sized trout with slightly larger flies, a four-weight rod is a better choice.

3wt Fly Rod vs. 5wt Fly Rod

  • There is a bit of a difference between a three and five-weight fly rod. The smaller three-weight rod can be more fun to use with smaller fish because you can feel every pull and fight the fish puts up. A five-weight rod works better for almost all sized trout and average bass. This weight is less sensitive than the three-weight one, so some of the fun will go out at this stage.

Can You Use a Four-Weight Line on a Three-Weight Fly Rod?

  • Yes! We touched on it earlier how it’s acceptable to use a heavier weight line on a lighter fly rod. It’s called overlining, and this practice lets you load more onto your rod. If you have windy conditions, using a heavier line will increase your casting confidence levels because the line is heavy enough to withstand the wind.

What Length Should Your Three-Weight Rod Be?

  • Many anglers swear by a seven-foot three-weight rod. But, if you have this length, consider going a little larger. And eight or nine-foot rod will give you a greater versatility to fish in wider streams for different types of trout. However, you should try out a few different lengths to see which one compliments your fishing style the best. Many people routinely use two or three different lengths.

Can You Catch Trout with a Three-Weight Rod?

  • Yes! The three-weight rod is great for catching trout that range between 6 and 14 inches long. This rod is ideal for fishing for trout and other panfish in smaller and tighter streams. Even better, this rod makes the fight these smaller fish put up seem like you’re fighting a monster. You may want to consider a longer rod if you choose to fish in wide streams because it’ll help you cast longer.

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