3wt or 4wt for these streams?


Active Member
my LL 389 is great with small flies and small waters. if you are casting with some wind, the LL 490 is my rod of choice. either way, short precise casting with both of these is very enjoyable.

Brian Miller

Be vewy vewy qwiet, I'm hunting Cutthwoat Twout
I've always thought I'd by a 3wt rod to add to the pack, as I have 5 and 7 weight rods. My mindset has always been that a 4 would be too much like the 5 and maybe not be a worthwhile purchase. If you were thinking of fishing Upper Cle Elum or the North Fork Snoqualmie, would you be more like to grab the 3 or 4?
I'd recommend a 9' or 8'9" 4 weight.

I started out with a 9' - 6 weight back in 1976 or 77 when they were touted as an all round rod. I also bought an 8 weight for bass, salmon, and for steelhead (which I was no good at and gave up). As graphite technology evolved 5 weights became all the rage so I bought a 9 ft rod that came with 2 tips; fast and less fast. I really began to like fishing dries and wet flies on remote smaller water and the 5 weight was just too much rod.

I went with a "traditional" (moderate) action 7'9" TFO Finesse 3 weight for a bigger gap between rods. I would not recommend it for nymphing (not long enough and too much flex) and the distance it can actually "fish" is limited by its length; about 20 feet (+ or - a few) for mending and getting a good hook set so it's undergunned for the water you mentioned. But it's great for small- dries and wet flies on smaller water; dinks to (I think biggest I ever landed with it was) 16".
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Active Member
I just wait until there is a slow down in the wind before I cast out. The wind that blows here in Montana just about blows all the time.. At least it keeps most of the biting bugs off of you in the summer time.
I hear ya.
I do favor my little 4wt most often these days. In fact, I think I'll take it for a little walk in the morning. I'm late getting out on the water thus far this sprin.


Active Member
After asking myself the same question two years ago, I settled on the 8'4" Orvis Recon 3wt and it's now my favorite rod. Long enough to do a little nymphing, enough backbone to get you through some wind, able to cast into almost any area I would want to fish on those kinds of rivers. It's the perfect compliment to my 5wt and makes fishing really fun. Good luck on your search!
Sounds like it's a 4wt for now then. Thank you for the inputs.
A 4wt will serve you well but don't pass up a good deal on a 3wt if you find one you like.

I fish the NF Snoqualmie frequently and my favorite rod for it is a 2wt. It's a pretty narrow stream in most places so you don't do much casting with a lot of line out. Nymphs and wind are less of a factor when you have less than 10 feet of line out and can flip your rig back to the head of the run.

I don't think you can go wrong with whichever you choose.

Rob Allen

Active Member
I'd get a rod that you enjoy casting a 3 wt isn't going to make the fish ant more fun than a 3. Isn't going to cast any more delicately. So i say try out as many 3s and 4s as you can and pick the one you like best.
Do yourself a favour and find yourself a Winston TMF to try or buy.
Tom rated it a 3.5 wt. and fished it with a 4 wt. WF line or 3 wt. DT line.
There are reasons its legendary and still made by Winston.
Hi tackleman. I called Winston other day to get some clarity on their 3 and 4wts. And of course the TMF came up. Having understood what you’ve already said, I asked, if it’s a 3.5, then why do you see most people use with a 4wt line. He said well, the upper section is a 3.5, and the bottom is a 4. So, it’s really a 4wt. I didn’t have to go into it any farther than that with him, because during our talk I had already decided that I want a 3wt. I’m not disagreeing with anything you’ve said, and I’m not saying that guy was the ultimate expert. Just adding in a little more info.
I think a medium action 8' 4wt is great for around here. A few points to consider...

The difference between a fast 9' 5wt with a disc drag reel and a medium 8' 4wt with a clicker reel is huge.

A 4wt is better than 3wt for wind and nymphing.

The forks are very open, so I don't see any reason to get a rod shorter than 8' and lose reach.

You don't need to do a lot of super close range casting, so I don't think the self-loading nature of fiberglass is worth the cost over cheap graphite rods.