Good steelhead reels?

The Trion is not as terrible reel and is at, or just under, $100

The loomis venture on the other hand is garbage. I came to this conclusion by both owning one and selling tons of them. I never had so many customers come back to the shop asking WTF? If you do go with one, make sure and get extras of the plastic bearing cases, because once they are spent--so is your reel.
Interesting.:confused: A lot of very good single hander rod-types here in So. Oregon (self included) use this reel. None of us, to my knowledge, has had a bit of a problem. That said, the Trion IS a very good reel.
I have a G Loomis Venture 7 on my single hand 8wt. $100 brand new, very smooth, and the unbeatable loomis warranty. I haven't found a reel i like better for under $100. I have a Lamson Konic for my 6wt which I think is a better reel, they're $130, but I don't think they make one big enough for an 8wt yet.
Have you looked at the Sage series that is a 7/8 weight for $99.99? 16XX

Jeremy Floyd

fly fishing my way through life
The last cheap reel I bought was when I was on vacation and I absolutely had to have one so I bought a Crosswater 6 from Redington. It is crap. The reel is so poorly made that even when I overline and use 8 wt there is still enough room that the head slips between the spool and body and pinches almost every cast. If a fish runs the same thing happens half the time.

That reel has been used twice and I wish I had never bought it. Save some money and don't buy one of those.
Beg, cheat, or steal! :) (joking about the steal part) do whatever it takes to get a decent reel. Don't skimp at all. You will end up like most addicts with a grave yard of poorly barley functioning mediocre reels and thousands of dollars spent on just plain crap that can't be used for anything. Lamson, for the money. Nautilus, Ross, solitude all good. go lifetime warranty and USA or europe built. My theory is "Rods break! Reels are forever!" :beer2:
Don't be afraid to consider an Okuma, including the Integrity if your budget constraints keep you in that price range. I used the 7/8 for several seasons, and the only problem was on a 19 degree morning on the Clearwater, when it iced up and free-wheeled, but then what didn't?

I have since sold it to a friend , who continues to abuse it in saltwater. The Helios, their top of the line isn't bad for the price either, I use a 5/6 for SRC's and coho as well.

I have also caught lots of steelhead on my Ross Cimmaron (standard arbor) which I found used for under a hundred bucks, and it's still strong years later.

All that said, I'm really stoked over my Ross Momentum for most heavier use, but it's way past the price you're looking for. Find something serviceable and save your change for a top notch reel. Back in the 80's I caught plenty of steelhead on an old Martin click and pawl by palming the rim. I didn't know what I was missing, and it never cost me a fish, even when I could smell the hot metal on a good Deschutes summer run..
i was given a orvis batenkill iv reel gold this summer as a present...

i have to say this is my favorite reel....i useed it all the season and still am for steel head the drag adjuct is very easy to use...and hold great for big steelhead...handled perfect to a 13.5 lb erie trib steelhead this year buddy had a bogo grip with a scale on it...released to be caught another day...

but i love this reel and i use it from lil brook trout up to the steelhead or erie and new york tribs...

i have my eye on the loop classic and saving pennies for it but that will be along way off...but for now the orvis batkinell is awsome and u can pick one up fairly cheep!>>!
I have both the Orvis mid-arbor and a Teton Tioga. Just got the mid-arbor because I needed a reel for a 6 weight I only use occasionally. I've not been real (or is that reel) impressed. I frankly like the Tioga better. I tend to agree w/ Rick. Buy something serviceable used or get something cheap like a Pflueger and then save for a nicer reel. You can get the older model Lamson Velocity for about $150.00 brand new. Just go to and go to the bargains. I'm pretty sure they still have some 3.5's. I have a 3.0 and a 4.0 and they're a pretty decent reel for the money. Same drag as the Litespeed, just a little heavier.


Active Member
I agree, "rods break, reels are forever". I can't imagine what kind of abuse it would take to wear out or damage a fly reel short of wildly overmatching reel and fish (such as using a Pflueger Medalist for marlin) or simply ignoring the simplest maintenance procedures. Fly reels are among the most overdesigned (and overpriced) consumer items on the market today. Given minimal maintenance I would expect nearly any reel available today to last a lifetime or two.

For that matter, come to think of it, rods don't just "break", rods are broken. The overwhelming majority of rod breakages are the result of operator error.
All said above; the Venture-7 by G. Loomis, is hard to beat in that price range. Second season Salmon fishing and Steelhead fishing. 15+ fish over 35lbs. and no problems with the reel or the drag!!! VM.

Mark Speer

It's all good.....
You can get the older model Lamson Velocity for about $150.00 brand new. Just go to and go to the bargains. I'm pretty sure they still have some 3.5's. I have a 3.0 and a 4.0 and they're a pretty decent reel for the money. Same drag as the Litespeed, just a little heavier.[/QUOTE]

:thumb:I picked up one of the Velocities a month ago, they call it a Hybrid..last years spool with current ported frame. If you don't mind the mis matched colors ( which I don't) it is a sweet reel. $170 for the 4.0. My son has a litespeed, and Lamson has been great to deal with on parts.
It is hard to find a reel that has a lifetime warranty that costs between 80-100.00, although they do exit.

If you are hard pressed to not go beyond that 100.00 dollar mark, look for used, say a used Orvis BBS ie;

here is another great deal:

Deals like these come all the time on Ebay. All the Okuma,Phluger,etc reels have only a 1 year warranty. Why waste 30-50.00 dollars on something that after a year, you are SOL if it breaks. Hard earned money in the garbage.:ray1:


Active Member
Ross Cimarron ....sometimes you can get a deal on these, still 150 bones.

Redington has a nice CD reel ...approx 139.00

Orvis options :thumb: watch for deals from store

Tioga ...solid

and there's the medalist which is tried and true for many, it works.

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