Lightweight fly gear is the name of the game when it comes to fly fishing bluegill and other panfish. You will have to put down your trout rod and pick up a 3wt to 4wt fly rod if you’re serious about fly fishing bluegill. Here we will take a look at some of the best fly rods to use for catching bluegill.
Table of Contents
Best Fly Rods for Fishing Bluegill
- Redington Butter Stick Fly Rod
- Redington Fly Fishing Rod
- Sougayilang Fly Fishing Rod Reel Combo
- Echo River Glass
- Sage Fly Fishing Foundation Rod
Brand Name: Redington
Rod Length: 5’9″ – 8’0″
Weight: 1WT – 8WT
The Redington Butter Stick Fly Rod is our top recommendation. These rods are available in line weights ranging from 1-8 in lengths from 5’9″ to 8’0″. Since we’re interested in fly fishing bluegill and other panfish, stick with the 3WT to 6WT options.
A lighter 3WT rod will give you better performance when tossing lighter poppers and streamers, but a higher weight will work fine too and is recommended if you’re targeting other species like bass or trout.
This one is made from durable T glass with a taper design. It has all the standard features of a good rod: cork handles with slide rings and also has alignment dots to make setting up easy.
The only drawback is that beginners may have a hard time mastering how to cast this one. It takes a little bit of practice but as soon as you get the feel of it, it’s incredibly accurate and might turn into your favorite for tossing flies.
Brand Name: Redington
Rod Length: 8’6″ – 10’0″
Weight: 1WT – 8WT
If you’re looking for a fast action rod to catch panfish, the Redington Vice Fly Fishing Rod might be the one for you. This rod is made from multi-modulus carbon fiber blanks which are designed to provide superior accuracy and control. It features an anodized aluminum reel seat with a comfortable grip that makes fishing a breeze.
This one performs great with good accuracy, though it is a little stiff so if you’re not used to casting stiff rod you may have a little trouble getting used to the timing.
Brand Name: Sougayilang
Rod Length: 9′
Weight: 5WT – 8WT
If you’re shopping for a cheap fly rod for bluegill, the Sougayilang Fly Fishing Rod and Reel Combo is a budget-friendly option that is ready to use out of the box. If you just want to get your feet wet with fly fishing without buying a higher-end model, this is likely the one for you.
This combo has everything you need to get started: a fly rod, fly reel, fishing line, backing line, leader, zinger, nipper, 12 flies, and a zippered carrying case.
The rod itself is 9 feet in length and made from graphite with stainless steel guides and a cork handle.
The reel is aluminum alloy and features 2+1 ball bearings. It feels sturdy and smooth and gets the job gone.
Overall this is an excellent set for beginners. It’s one of the better values you will find on the market.
Brand Name: Echo Fly Rods
Rod Length: 6’9″ – 8’6″
Weight: 2WT – 5WT
The Echo Fly Rods River Glass Fly Rod is our number four spot on the list. This fiberglass fly rod is medium-fast action and is available in 2WT to 5WT options which are all perfect for bluegill.
The rod has stainless steel stripping guides and a comfortable cork reel seat. It’s excellent for casting small flies but it does take some getting used to. Just be prepared to master your accuracy and distance casting with this rod.
Brand Name: Sage
Rod Length: 9′
Weight: 4WT – 8WT
The Sage Foundation Fly Rod is the final spot on our list. The rod is a fast action fly rod available in 4WT to 8WT options. It’s a graphite rod with Fuji ceramic stripper guides, an aluminum reel seat, and a cork grip.
This is a premium fly rod, so expect the price to reflect that. But for the performance you get out of this rod—it just may be worth it. It has unmatched casting power and control, and in the right hands, this thing is deadly for panfish, trout, or any other species you are after.
Bluegill Fly Rod Setup Guide
What Size Fly Rod for Panfish?
If you’re just interested in targeting bluegill and other panfish a 1 to 3wt fly rod would be ideal. However, because bluegill inhabits the same freshwater as bass, trout, and pike, if you want to go after multiple species a 5wt rod is more versatile for when a larger fish attacks your fly.
Really bluegill can be caught on any kind of action rod. Slow, medium or fast are used by anglers all the time. Fast action fly rods have a lot of power to fight big fish.
They also tend to better for casting distances. If you’re going to be catching more than just bluegill with your rod, and you need to cast a good distance you may want a fast action rod.
Slower action rods tend to perform better with light flies. They are difficult to use for long-range fishing, so they are better for fly fishing panfish in small streams and ponds.
Stick with an option between 7′ and 9′ in length. Again shorter rods will perform better in smaller bodies of water. If you’re fishing somewhere you need to cast a long distance you may want a longer 8′ or 9′ rod.
Use light gear when going after bream. Your tippet is rarely heavier than 4X to 6X.
Bluegill love to eat smaller insects so any fly that resembles what they are feeding on tends to be effective. Streamers, woolly buggers, and poppers around size #10 to #12 will work. Read our full review of the best flies for bluegill.
There are many good options on the market that will help you toss flies for bluegill. Again if you’re just going after smaller fish you can get away with a lighter rod, but if you want to target other species as well, you may want to go up in weight.
Learn more about catching bluegill on flies here
If you’re interested in using conventional tackle read our guide on the best spinning rods for panfish.