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What gear do you need for fly fishing trout in small still waters?

What gear do you need for fly fishing trout in small still waters?

There are many differences between regular fishing and fly fishing, one of the main elements being the gear used. If you're new to fly fishing, then you're likely looking to start in small still waters. Small still waters offer the perfect learning environment allowing you to really perfect your skills before moving on to rivers and large waters. Let's break down exactly what you need to catch a trout in small still waters, the fly fishing way.

What is the best fly rod for trout fishing in small still waters?

Finding the right fly rod for your fishing adventures can seem daunting. There are many different rods to choose from, and finding the perfect match can take time and effort.

The hashtag symbol (#) indicates the rod's weight. When choosing the best rod for still waters, you require a fly rod between #6 - #7 in weight which will come with a half-well handle. As for length, a fly rod in the 9 - 10ft range is perfect.


Budget-friendly and perfect for beginners, the Shakespeare Oracle 2 is ideal for small still water. This rod provides easy casting action thanks to its lightweight, ensuring your lakeside trout fishing is as fun as can be.


Sensitive and responsive this Guideline Elevation Fly Rod is easy to cast and forgiving allowing you to enjoy accuracy at high line speed.


When it comes to high precision and extreme sensitivity casting, the NAM's Ren SH 5-piece fly rod is the way to go. Featuring a premium Delgado cork handle, this rod delivers extremely high line speed without sacrificing finesse. Firmly getting the Rod and Tackle seal of approval, this fly fishing rod is the absolute best money can buy for trout fishing.

Which fly reel should you get for small still-water trout fishing?

A common misconception is that a fly reel's only purpose is to hold the line; therefore, the cheapest one will do. Along with holding the line, the fly reel should balance the rod setup, control the line, and apply a sound drag system.

We recommend a reel made of cast alloy and ideally have cassette spools that will take both a floating line and different density lines. Not only will the reels likely last longer and be lighter in weight, but they also aid in catching the trout.


When it comes to finding a fly reel at an affordable price then look no further than Greys Fin Fly Reel. Designed in a never seen before di-case construction, this beautiful reel is fitted with a full rulon disc brake system to provide a smooth drag, making it fantastic for trout fishing.


If your budget can stretch a bit further then you must consider the Lamson Liquid Fly Reel. Incredible value for money, this reel delivers on quality, performance and durability aiding in your trout fishing endeavours.


If it is the best of the best you require, then it is without a doubt the Hardy Ultradisc Cassette Reel you should go for. This fly reel is Hardy’s lightest high performance cassette reel yet, and is a dream for trout fishing. Featuring a built-in line guard, a full-drag system, and a fast spool locking system ensures this reel gets the Rod and Tackle stamp of approval.

Choosing the correct Fly Line for trout small still-water fishing

The topic of fly lines can get complicated, but if you're starting, this is all you need to know. Match the weight of your rod and get a weight forward floating line. For example, if your rod is a weight #6/7, you would get a #7 fly line. If there is any part of the fly fishing setup where quality places the most significant role, it is with the fly line.

A weight forward fly line is where the front part of the line is thin before building to a thicker section, hence weight forward. Weight-forward lines are ideal for beginners as they make casting a little bit easier.


The first fly line we recommend for you is the Rio Mainstream Floating Fly Line. This affordable line is slightly heavier than an average line allowing trout fly fishing enthusiasts to load the rod quickly making casting fast and deliberate.


If you’re looking for a delightful combination of power and finesse then the Mastery MPX Floating Fly Line is one of the best. Built to be slightly heavier than its predecessor (the GPX), to deliver larger flies more easily.


When it comes to our top pick for the very best fly line for trout fishing in small still waters then it has to be the Premiere RIO Gold Fly Line. With a revolutionary taper design and dual tone to easily identify the colour change of the sweet spot, this is the ultimate line for trout fishing. It has incredible loop stability for distance casting, and a unique profile that allows for close range also, ensuring precision casting.

Which backing to choose?

To reduce line memory, prevent line coiling, and extend the length of your line, you'll need backing. You should be looking to add about 45 metres (50 yards) of backing to your reel before adding the fly line. As some trout will swim away when hooked, especially in shallower small, still waters, the extra length will save you from looking silly and possibly breaking your equipment.

Our Choice: Rio Backing Line

Leaders & Tippets

The fly does not go straight onto the fly line, despite what you may have thought. First, we must discuss leaders and tippets. A leader is a material that goes between the line and the fly and is often transparent, helping fool the trout. As a beginner, you want to keep it simple with a 9' / 3m leader. The tippet attaches to the leader and ties on the fly, and allows the fly to float or 'swim' more naturally. Most anglers choose to use a tippet as it extends the longevity of your leader.

Our Choice: RIO Powerflex 9’ Trout Tapered Leader and SEAGUAR Grand Max 30yd Spool

What are the best flies for trout fishing?

Now you have chosen your fly rod and accommodating pieces: it is time to pick the flies. Fly fishing is all about imitating the natural diet of the fish you're looking to catch. In this case, we are fly fishing for trout in small still waters, so we must replicate this type of trout's diet.

It is necessary to choose quality trout flies to replicate a trout's preferred lunch. There is a choice of dry, lure, nymphs, and wet flies, all of which are suitable for trout fishing.


One of the most overlooked elements of fly fishing is the clothing, but if you're to catch that trout, you must be comfortable and in non-restricting attire.

What are the best waders for trout fishing in small still waters?

Waders are a must for fly fishing trout in the UK, where the fisheries allow them. It's cold, very cold most of the time. Even in summer, as the air temperature creeps higher, the waters remain uncomfortably cold. As a successful fly angler, you will spend extended periods in the water, which becomes dangerous in colder months.

For trout fishing, you want breathable waders that offer comfort all year round. Chest waders are best as they do not restrict your capacity to enter the water. Here are our top picks to ensure you not only look fly but you're successful too.


Our first choice of the best fishing waders are Simms Tributary Waders. Not only are these budget friendly waders durable, breathable, but they’re also fleece-lined to keep you warm all year round. Sporting a secure chest pocket, they are perfect for holding essential tools too.


One of the most popular choices with trout fishing enthusiasts is without a doubt the Simms Freestone Waders. Engineered to withstand the toughest of fishing conditions with heavy-duty micro-porous waterproof coated fabric to keep them leak proof.


When it comes to the very best waders you can’t go wrong with the award winning Simms G3 Guide Waders. With 20 years of innovation, Simms introduced the most stylish, resistant, waterproof waders yet. If it’s superior all-day comfort, reliability, and puncture-resistant durability you’re after then it’s the G3 you need.

Best Sunglasses for Trout Fishing

As you look for any sign of the trout fish you will be putting your eyesight at risk. Proper polarised sunglasses aid your ability to see through the water more clearly by blocking the blinding glare and harmful UV rays.


The budget-friendly Berkley B11 Black Frame Polarised Fishing Sunglasses are ideal for reducing light reflections and protecting you against UV and infrared rays. In a stylish black frame these sunglasses offer a minimalistic aesthetic to suit all fishing gear.


If you’re looking for a sporty frame that offers 100% protection against both UVA and UVB rays then the Tactical Copper Sunglasses by Guideline are for you. The copper coloured lenses offer excellent contrast in daylight ensuring you spot that trout.


When it comes to fishing the risk of breaking your sunglasses is off the scale, that’s why we love these shatterproof G4 Polarised Sunglasses by Greys. Not only that, but they are hydrophobic, reducing water spots and aiding in effortless cleaning. They also include anti-reflection back coating to reduce glare further making them our number one choice.

Choosing the right bag for small still-water trout fishing

A tackle bag is essential for your trout fishing adventures. You will require a lightweight, comfortable one with many compartments. A successful small still-water trout fishing trip relies on being well stocked. Ensure the bag you choose is easily accessible and big enough for all the essentials while remaining small enough to be light to carry and comfortable to wear.


Kicking off our recommendations of the best tackle bags is the Grey's Bank Bag, ideal for the angler on the move. It contains lots of compartments to store all your essentials whilst the padded shoulder strap ensures carrying it is comfortable. It also features a waterproof base so you don’t have to worry about putting your bag down on the wet grass.


Built to stash tackle, fishing tools, and all your essentials, the Simms Stash Fishing Bag has it all. Structured to keep its form making for easy access and covered in water-resistant TPU coated polyester ripstop material to protect your trout fishing gear from all weathers. Not to mention, this fishing bag looks pretty cool.


When it comes to the very best fishing bag when out and about on your trout fishing trips, it has to be the Freestone Sling Backpack by Simms. One of the best features of this bag is the workstation allowing you to change and organise your flies whilst on the water. The sling strap also makes carrying and accessing your gear easy and fast and ensures you have all you need.

There we have it, the essential list of gear for fly fishing for trout in small still waters. If you are looking for further information, we cannot recommend Peter Cockwill’s ‘Fly Fishing Trout in small stillwaters’ book, enough.

Grant Ottignon-Harris

Grant Ottignon-Harris

Grant Ottignon-Harris is one of the most respected names in the fishing industry, with two decades of experience including as a Managing Director EMEA at Pure Fishing and Group Managing Director at Farlows.
As the founder of Rod and Tackle, Grant brings his extensive expertise and guidance to anglers across the UK, both in-store and through the online shop. His mission is to provide the very best in fishing tackle, alongside unrivalled advice and support.

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