Annual Gear Awards: Fishing Rods
Sage 590-4 One Fly Rod
Everyone on our staff who tried this rod listed it under their Gold Award sections, so that should tell you it’s simply one of the finest 5-weights ever made. Fishing for Dolly Varden, we even had an accidental hookup with an 8-pound jack king—the king took a smolt fly, and the ONE had more than enough to bring him to shore for lunch!
If you’re looking to punch out long casts through western Alaska’s famous winds, while fishing the big streamers that attract gargantuan trout, this is the rod series for you. We recommend the 5- and 6-weight versions for most spring and summer fishing, while the 7- and 8-weights are just right for fall rainbows.
TFO Axiom 06 90 Fly Rod
Need to drop a fry imitation on that slick 40 feet distant? Or how about easing a size 12 Stimulator beneath that overhanging willow, where a two-foot rainbow has been sipping at something for the past ten minutes? Then this is the fly rod for you—a do-it-all, perfectly balanced 6-weight just right for Alaska’s trout and char, whether tossing sculpins, nymphing a bead rig or casting dries.
Lamiglas Si 98MS Spinning Rod
This is a high-end spinning rod, for high-end applications like chasing Alaska’s salmon and steelhead. We tested the 9-foot, 8-inch model (rated 8- to 12-pound-test) and loved the sensitivity the rod provided, without sacrificing any of the backbone necessary for fishing Alaska.
St. Croix Wild River Spinning Rods
With a spinning rod for every application imaginable, these all-new salmon and steelhead rods from St. Croix are a must for the dedicated Alaska angler. We found several actions particularly outstanding on the water—light and sensitive in the hand, strong in the fight and easy to cast all day.
Lamiglas LX 90 XHC Spinning Rod
This 9-foot, two-piece spinning rod was engineered with the salmon troller in mind, and in every scenario we encountered it performed with distinction.
Okuma SST Casting Rods
Okuma continues to deliver with its technique-specific platform of salmon, steelhead and trout rods, and we loved the versatility and performance provided by the SST casting rods, in particular the SST-C-1062H, a powerful 10-foot, 6-inch salmon trolling rod.
Ross Reach 13’4” 8-wt Spey Rod
We covered more water with this two-handed rod than ever before, and as a result earned some nice autumn trout. It’s a smooth rod that helps you cast precisely with less effort. For someone learning to two-hand cast, it is at the lower end of the price spectrum for Spey rods, yet it remains a rod of