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There are many good reasons to use a 7 wt rod. But there are really just a handful of 7 weight fly rod uses that everyone agrees on. We’ve listed four of them below, but first some context.
The most common fly fishing rod for beginners to purchase is a 5 weight. A good 5 weight can be used to catch trout in most trout streams while fishing with dry flies, nymph rigs, and even small streamers.
A 5 weight can be too much rod for some situations, though. If you’re fishing a small stream in thick cover, a 5 weight will be too long to comfortably cast. You’ll be spending more time untangling your line from branches than you’ll spend fishing.
And a 5 weight can be too little rod in other situations. If you’re throwing big-streamers from a drift boat, a 5 weight won’t have a strong enough backbone to cast with accuracy or distance. Or if you’re fishing in a river with steelhead or salmon, your rod won’t bring a fish that size in without taking 30 minutes if by some miracle it doesn’t come off (or break your rod) first.
So, when you branch off from the most common types of fly-fishing into more difficult waters, you need a new rod. As is usually the case, different tasks require different tools, and fly fishing is no different. Don’t believe me? Just listen to the experts over at Orvis.
But that doesn’t mean you need to buy every weight fly rod, 1 through 10. Instead, what we recommend is that you purchase fly rods in intervals. For example, I fish with a 5 weight, 7 weight, and a 9 weight. Other people prefer to fish a 4 weight, 6 weight, and 8 weight- to each his own.
Having rods in these weight ranges will have you prepared to fly fish in almost any situation from 12-inch trout in a stream, to 30-inch steelhead in a river, and all the largemouth, small mouth, and carp in-between.
We’ll talk about all these different sized rods on our page, but today we’re talking specifically about the 7 weight fly rod’s uses.
Table of Contents
1. Throwing Streamers for Trout
When I purchased my 7 weight fly rod, I had one thing in mind: throwing big streamers at fat brown trout.
If you’re fishing on a typical trout river, a 5 or 6 weight rod will be your go-to. That’s what you will use for throwing most of your dry flies at rising trout, and it’s perfect for all that boring nymphing.
But when you get tired of staring at a bobber, or of missing top water strikes, you may get the itch to start throwing something bigger, more aggressive, and meatier. That’s when you grab your 7 weight that’s rigged up as a streamer rod.
A 7 weight rod is perfect for chucking big streamers, whether you’re in a drift boat or wading. The backbone of the rod has the strength to propel the heavy and un-aerodynamic chunks of steel and feathers, but also has the flexibility to fight fish without breaking them off.
If you’re looking for a streamer rod, I highly encourage you to purchase a 7-weight, because not only will it fill that role perfectly, but it will also have more uses in other situations such as the ones that follow.
2. Bass Fishing
I recently moved from Salt Lake City back home to North Alabama. After investing hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars into fly fishing for trout, I found myself in an area surrounded only by warm water.
Sure, there are trout fishing opportunities nearby in the Smoky Mountains, but it just wasn’t the same as having blue-ribbon fisheries in my backyard. I’m getting nostalgic, though, so let’s move on.
What Alabama lacks in trout fishing, it makes up for in bass fishing. The Tennessee River is full of bass: largemouth, smallmouth, and stripers. And bass fishing was my first love, so I quickly found myself putting my fly fishing knowledge and tackle to a different use.
I was pleased to discover quickly that the 7-weight rod I had purchased for throwing streamers at trout was also the perfect rod for fishing for largemouth and smallmouth.
Whether you’re fishing for largemouth from a boat or smallmouth from the shore, a 7 weight fly rod of 9.5 feet will be perfect for casting buggers, streamers, and poppers. And, the rod will have the strength to pull these fish out of the crowded places they love to hangout in, while have the flexibility to fight them safely.
3. Small Steelhead and Salmon
If you get a chance to try this I will be insanely jealous of you. But if you’re lucky enough to live near these beautiful fish, a 7-weight fly rod can be effectively used to target salmon and steelhead.
In fact, some experts claim that a 10-foot 7-weight fly rod is the best tool for targeting these hard fighting fish.
Using a 7 weight rod to target steelhead and salmon allows for more effortless casting than with the heavier 8-weight, while still providing enough strength to wrestle these powerful fish.
If you’re fishing in an area with steelhead and salmon that commonly surpass 10 pounds, you may want to opt for an 8 weight.
But most fisheries aren’t that lucky, so choosing a 7 will be perfect for you. Just be sure to check out our page and look for a reel with a powerful drag system. You don’t want to bring a knife to a gunfight.
4. Fishing For Small Saltwater Fish
For you coastal people, one of the best uses for a 7 weight fly rod is for targeting small saltwater fish.
Saltwater fish species frighten many fly fishermen into using the heaviest rods possible, but a 7 weight rod is great for catching speckled trout, small tarpon, and even bonefish.
In fact, I fished with a guide in Belize who swore that his favorite rod for targeting bonefish on his rare day-off was his 6-weight rod. We’re not all pros though, so let’s stick with 7 weights.
So, if you choose to purchase a 7 weight rod, don’t be afraid to take it with you on your next beach trip.
Which 7 weight should you buy?
I personally love my 7 weight bad ass glass for throwing streamers at trout, and for bass fishing in any situation. This rod is accurate, affordable, and provides a different feel from graphite rods.
If you’re looking for a fast-action 7 weight rod, Orvis’ Helios H3 is one of the finest rods we’ve seen in a while.
7 Weight Fly Rod Uses
A 7 weight fly rod can be a valuable tool to add to any fly fisherman’s arsenal.
If you do choose to purchase a 7 weight fly rod, let us know how you like it! And if you found this article helpful in making your purchase decision, let us know in the comments below.
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3 thoughts on “Four Solid 7 Weight Fly Rod Uses”
I will be purchasing a G. Loomis 7wt because of this article. I just moved to Vancouver, WA and salmon and steelhead fishing just seems like the thing to do up here. I am very fortunate and look forward to tying some steelhead flies to go with my new rod.
I started fishing with a cheap 5wt combo, and moved to a nice 8’ 4wt for panfish in local streams. Just picked up a new 5-7wt reel, and debating between a 6 or 7wt rod. The 5wt will be reserved to lend to friends for now. Thoughts?
I think the 6wt would be a good next set up for you. I usually only break out the 7wt if chucking streamers to browns from a drift boat, or large mouth bass on a lake. Although, of course, it’s nice to have options! Unless you try a certain rod and line set up, it’s hard to know if you’ll love it. You might buy a certain rod and use it all the time, or simply have it in the arsenal for certain applications. I have a 7wt TFO rod that must be slightly mismatched with a Rio line (I’ll have to check which one), and I simply can’t cast it very well. So it sits in my closet… I only use it once or twice a year. Let us know what you end up with! Thanks for the comment. – Tim
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