Fly Rod Review: The Orvis Clearwater Trout Spey

Orvis Clearwater Trout Spey

Trout Spey isn’t anything new. For many years, anglers have used light Spey rods to cover big water for trout all over the world. Certain areas of the U.S., such as the Missouri River in Montana, have seen more trout Spey rods than most, but the rationale makes sense: cover bigger water with minimal effort and enjoy casting methods that are fun, effective, and bring in a new level of both beauty and challenge to fly fishing.

Many years ago, the first fly rod I ever bought was an Orvis Clearwater 9-foot 5-weight. In the years since, the quiver has grown to epic proportions, and most of the rods added to the collection over the years were the latest and greatest at that time. In my mind, they each new rod was a step up from Orvis’ entry-level rod. With that, little did I expect that decades later, I would spend a good chunk of the summer fishing a Clearwater rod again.

At the International Fly Tackle Dealer Show in Orlando in July, my attention was immediately taken by the new Clearwater trout Spey rods (coming March 2019). Frankly what stood out was the look. The black chrome blank is simply beautiful, and the cork has composite on the tips of each section, giving the rod a striking look. What also stood out was the cut of the cork, which not only looks good, but it allows a better grip with each hand when on the water.

Orvis Clearwater Two-Handed Grip

On the water, is everything you could ask for. Fishing an 11’4″ 3-weight for trout on the Yuba River, this rod felt light, was easy to cast, and was plenty strong to battle fish in heavier currents. The 3-weight was ideal for dries and small streamers, and covering the wide riffles of the Yuba was both easy and fun with this rod. And when wind tore up the canyon and even moved the raft upstream, this rod continues to perform — easily delivering flies across the river with a nice, slow, methodical Spey cast. Frankly, despite having trout Spey rods that are twice the cost of the Clearwater, it is this rod that will get the nod more often than not.

Due out in March, this rod is great for those wading into trout Spey for the first time as well as seasoned anglers who want a great 3-weight trout Spey rod. The Orvis Clearwater Trout Spey will be just under $400, will come in a hard rod tube, and will have Orvis’ warranty. Strong recommendation for this rod.

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— TH

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