Trouts Journal

3 Reasons You Need a 3 Weight

Ivan Orsic / Jul 28, 2021

Fly Anglers are gear junkies. Probably just as big of gear junkies when compared to rock climbers, alpinists, and thru-hikers. Especially, if the gear reduces weight on the back or in the hand. Anglers want the best waders, best wading boots, the most efficient sling pack, the list could go on and on. When most anglers dive into the sport, they typically leave their local fly shop with a classic 9' 5wt, and for good reason. This staple fly rod can do just about anything and go just about anywhere. In a way, a 9' 5wt is a Toyota Corolla but, the ones from the 1990s. The best ones. Nevertheless, there is an increasing number of anglers venturing further into the backcountry and becoming more acquainted with small mountain streams and lakes. As a result, many anglers are starting to notice sometimes you cannot paint all trout streams with the same 9' 5wt broad brush. When anglers head back to their local fly shop and ask for advice, there is a rod on the wall that never seems to get the recognition it deserves. The 3wt. Both overlooked and underappreciated. This week I am giving the 3wt its rightful moment in the sun. So without further ado, let's get into it.

1.) Mountain Streams

It is no secret that now, more than ever, anglers are starting to explore their backcountry public lands and waters and, rightfully so. The backcountry has numerous options to offer when it comes to streams and lakes. However, in many cases, the heavy load of a 5wt or even a 4wt packs too much of a punch when a delicate presentation is of the utmost importance. Also, many times in the high country the casting real estate one may be used to on larger rivers may not exist. In these situations, you can save yourself the inevitable headache with a smaller loading rod, such as a 3wt. Let us not forget that landing fish on a low-weighted rod is exhilarating and will have every fish feeling like a trophy.

2.) Nymphing

One of the most overlooked applications of a 3wt fly rod is the rods' nymphing capabilities. A 3wt, especially those 10 foot and longer, is an excellent option when looking to diversify your nymphing portfolio. High Stick Nymphing? Check. Euro Nymphing? Check. Czech Style? Czech. Why? The lightness of a 3wt rod allows for heightened sensations between you and the fish, especially in small creeks or when those takes are soft. The lightness also contributes to the angler's ability to keep the rod straight to get those perfect drifts. Additionally, the differing styles of rod length allow for the use of Switch Rod tactics if you enjoy swinging flies or Spey casting.

3.) The Fight

If you have an addiction to hearing a 'whizz' come out of your fly reel as it goes into the backing but don't have any Permit trips coming up, a 3wt is for you. It does not matter if you are targeting Bluegill at your local pond or wild brookies on North Carolinas infamous blue lines, every fish will feel like the fish of a lifetime. Even your typical 8-in Bluegill will take the most experienced 3wt fanatics into their backing. Why? Typically when fishing with a 3wt you are decreasing your tippet size and as a result, you are decreasing the strength of the tippet you use. In addition, you are downsizing the flies used, inherently leading to a smaller hook size. This means that most of the time your hook set will not be deep. These situations call for more finesse when fighting fish as to not exhaust the fish and lead to a more rewarding release after the fight is done.

When choosing where to go with your 3wt many times you will be looking for locations where the wind does not play a big role. Many times you will be nestled in the trees along mountain streams, a small local pond, or if wheater permits the cove of an alpine lake. By decreasing your rod weight you are increasing your experience on the water. Swing by the shop today to test our large selection of 3wt rod options and see for yourself why downsizing your fly rod is not a bad thing.

Our Favorite 3wt Rods

Winston Pure Fly Rod - 7' 3wt

Pure Feel, Pure Presentation, Pure Fun. Winston's new Pure rod presents flies with the utmost delicacy. If you are "dry or die" or need the perfect dry fly rod the Pure is the rod for you.

Sage TROUT LL Fly Rod - 8'9" 3wt

The SAGE TROUT LL is a perfected tool for wade fishing, close-quarters casting, small bugs & light tippets. The TROUT LL is THE rod for presentation fanatics. Not to mention at 30' this rod will cast like a dream.

G. Loomis IMX-PRO Creek Fly Rod - 7'9" 3wt

Small water. Big rewards. Now more than ever, anglers are searching for new opportunities to explore the path less traveled. The G Loomis IMX-PRO C is THE small water, light presentation king. For post-work solo missions or alpine weekend wanderings, the IMX-PROc blanks blend a compact 7'9" length with a stable tip to create a moderate action that loads short and tracks true.

Scott G Series Fly Rod 7'7" 3wt

Most trips to the high country start with "What rod should I take"? In our opinion, a Scott G-Series checks all the boxes. The engineers at Scott were able to design a medium-action fly rod that bends deeply and remains stable when casting. The G-Series by Scott also touts a completely redesigned hollow internal ferrule. This redesign of the internal ferrule allowed Scott to produce a rod that is stronger, more flexible, and 20% lighter. When pack weight is of the utmost importance in the high country, this rod should be your go-to.

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