5wt vs 4wt


The strong silent type
I have been looking to buy a new rod for a couple months. I was just about to run down to the local store (Creekside Angling) and buy a new 5wt rod. When I got to thinking. I have a 7wt rod why don't I get a 4wt rod instead.

So here's my question to you all, should I get a 4wt for trout rivers/streams with the knowledge that I can just grab my 7wt if I go to a big river?
Buy a 5wt like I originally planned.

Thanks in advance
Steve, I like to skip a weight....4,6,8, or 3,5,7. That said right now I am using a 4,5,6. the 5 for drys and the 6 for nymphs. I love the 4 for drys when there is no wind. I have the Winston B2x in the 5 and b2mx in the 6. I couldnt be happier with either rod. I live by Creekside also and spend a lot of $ there. I know they will waive the sales tax and you might get a line out of them also if you buy a reel. Go see Pete.


Purveyor of fine hackle, wine & cigars!
You don't say if the 7wt is your only fly rod or if you have others as well. However I would probably stick with your decision for a 5wt, since I think it would be a better all around rod for trout.

I have 3 5wt's and 3 8wt's so I don't know that it matters if you're two or three weights apart. I'm also building a 3wt.

A lot depends on where you're planning on fishing and what types of flies you plan on throwing (dries, nymphs, streamers, etc.). I think a moderate action 5wt will handle most situations and you'll be able to deal with windy conditions just a bit more than with a 4wt.

Good luck with you choice!
I happen to have a rather fast 5wt T&T that I have always thrown a 6wt line with...it is a great general purpose trout rod and will handle windy conditions and by no means is a "cannon" when throwing dry flies.......

If your asking for an opinion....the 5 wt can actually be a true 5 wt or a 6 wt, depending on the wind you might encounter with the addition of a spare spool......

I own three rods... the 5 wt, an 8 wt, and a spey...I think I have all of my fishing needs covered with the three of these rods, anywhere from pan fish to kings....


Earl Smith

David Loy

Senior Moment
2 cents
I think the most valuable 2 rod setup for this area would be a 5 and 7 wt. You will regret jumping to a 4wt unless you see several rods in your future. All around, the 5 is the most versatile trout rod. The 7 can throw streamers, fish SRCs and Coho in a breeze, and I think realistically its good for all but the largest steelhead your likely to encounter. If you ever decide to throw heavy Winter flies you may need to go up a notch or two but 20/20 hindsight, if I could only have two, that would be my pick.


Active Member
that's a next to impossible question to answer. however, i got started on a 5 and an 8. used those 2 rods for years and years before i started to add to the collection. the 5 is very versitle with 3 in my collection, all different actions. to go lighter i ended up with a classic 3 LL which is really nice for very small stream fishing. of course the collection goes up and down in rod weight as i added other fishes to my habit.

all of that said, if i ended up in some new location that offered small and medium stream frishing for trout, i often wish i had that 4wt. in fact, if i could find a good condition sage 4 LL i would buy it right now.

totally confused? i can understand that sentiment and it can only be addressed by stopping typing and starting fishing. your habits should dictate which rods are in your budding collection.

Jeremy Floyd

fly fishing my way through life
In the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter which one. Depending on brand, action, or length, their characteristics in all honesty could/would be nearly identical.
There's a good reason why the five is the most popular size for trout fishing in general. It has just the right balance of delicacy and power to best handle a day on a trout stream or lake in normal conditions. (I think, though, that too many anglers try to make their five-weight do everything; they'd be better served with a six or seven when using dense sinking lines for substantial nymphs or streamers.) A four-weight, though, matches so well with the kind of conditions we tend to remember as ideal: clear water, little or no wind, moderate distances, small flies. If I'm matching the hatch, stalking up a small creek, fishing an alpine lake or enjoying a calm evening on a local lake, it's usually with a four.


The strong silent type
If I am understanding all the comments clearly, you are all stating that a 4wt is more for dry flies on the small streams and alpine lakes. If that is the case then I should get a 5wt due to my use of nymphs and wet flies, but will still have the use of a lighter rod for some dry flies if I chose.

I would be using the rod for pretty much everything from the Madison in Montana to local PNW lakes a rivers.

My 7wt is mainly used for steelhead and occasionally when I am throwing really big nymphs and streamers to the deep holes for the "big ones".

I do currently have a 5wt backpackers 30$ special that I keep in my car with a couple flies just in case I come across something I want to fish. But I want a nicer rod that will actually do what I want it to.

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