Echo hit the ball out of the park with their new series of Carbon XL Fly Rods. There’s a lot of options out these days for the value-minded fly angler, but Echo has been at the forefront of fly rod design in the $100-$250 range for quite some time now. The new Carbon XL fly rods are incredibly light, medium-fast action rods that will do just about everything you need to do on a trout stream. This series of rods comes in a full range of sizes, ranging from a 2 weight that’s perfect for small stream dry flies to a 6 weight that will throw bobber rigs and streamers with the best of them. We’ll go over the various models in this blog post and tell you a little bit about them, as well as reel and line recommendations. The Carbon XL is a game changer whether you’re looking for your first fly rod, you want a backup rod for a trip, or you simply want a great fly rod at an even better price point!
7’3″ 2 weight
This is the small stream dry fly fisherman’s stick for sure. If you’re fishing streams that you can jump across for smaller wild fish, or if you’re fishing a stream that’s really canopied with brush and trees, this shorter rod will get the job done. The upper portions of all our streams in the Hills are perfect for this rod. An 8″ Brook Trout on this rod will take you for a ride – this is a fun rod to fish! It’s a little slower than the heavier line weight models, with a more relaxed casting stroke that’s better for fishing dry flies and light dry-dropper setups. Pair this rod with an Echo ION 2/3 reel, and either a RIO LightLine or Trout LT fly line – WF or DT based on your own personal preference.
7’6″ 3 weight
If you fish a lot of dry-dropper rigs, this is an excellent rod for the job. Perfect for fishing a smaller stream with an attractor dry with a smaller nymph pattern trailed below. This is a great rod for fishing dry flies to rising fish as well – you can lay down a smaller dry fly very gently with this rod. It’s long enough that you can still control a reasonable distance of line, but short enough that you can get it maneuvered around brush, trees, and other obstacles easily. Perfect for an all-around small stream rod that’s mostly used with dry flies and light nymphs. It will throw some smaller nymph rigs, but this rod likes dry-droppers much better. Pair with an Echo ION 2/3 and a Weight Forward RIO Gold or Trout LT fly line.
8’4″ 4 weight
Echo knocked this rod out of the park by a long shot. This is easily one of the best feeling sub-$350 4 weights I’ve ever cast. If I had to have one length and weight for fishing the Black Hills, an 8’4″ 4 weight would be the one. Super light in the hand, and great medium-fast action that can delicately land a dry fly in front of a rising fish, as well as fish two nymphs under an indicator with ease. An 8″ fish is fun on this rod, but you can easily subdue a 20″+ fish as well. If there’s one rod in this lineup I would have for an all-around Black Hills rod, this is the one. Pair with an Echo ION 2/3 – the rod is very light, and the 4/5 makes the bottom of the rod too heavy in our opinion. A RIO Gold is a fantastic option for this rod, but if you wanted a little lighter feel a Trout LT would be a good choice as well. Echo killed it with this rod!
9′ 4 weight
This is a great all around small stream rod, especially if you’re fishing a little larger streams. The extra reach is nice if you’re doing a lot of nymphing as well, as it allows you to mend more easily, as well as pick line up of the water if you’re fishing the faster stuff. Good big river dry fly rod as well – Trico and Caddis hatches on the Bighorn come to mind. Essentially, this is just a bigger water version of the 8’4″ 4 weight. Pair with an Echo ION 4/5 and a RIO Gold or Trout LT.
9′ 5 weight
If you want a rod that will do just about anything you need to do in trout fishing, this is the one. If you’re looking to upgrade from an entry level rod this is a great step up at an even better price. Fishing dry flies on a small stream? This rod will do it. Indicator rigs on the North Platte? Done. Streamer fishing with smaller flies? No problem. This is simply a great all-around fly rod that will do nearly everything the average trout fisherman needs their rod to do. Light in the hand, but powerful enough to cut through a breeze and throw a little heavier setups if needed. Pair with an Echo ION 4/5 and a RIO Gold or RIO Grand if you want the rod to load a bit deeper.
9′ 6 weight
Fishing bigger rivers and want a little beefier rod to cut through the wind, fish bigger flies, and fight bigger fish? This is the rod you want if you’re fishing the Bighorn, Madison, North Platte, Shoshone, or any of the other big rivers around. It’s considerably faster than it’s lighter brethren, with more power in the butt and mid section. This is a good rod to toss streamers with as well, and it will throw sink tip lines with a mid-size streamer well. The 9′ 6 weight is a solid rod if you’re taking your first trip to bigger water, as well as if you just want another rod in the boat as a backup. Pair with an Echo 4/5 and a RIO Grand or RIO Gold if you like a little lighter feel.
This is an incredible series of fly rods to say the least, and the price can’t be beat. Shop Echo Carbon XL Fly Rods. If you want an an incredible fly rod at a fantastic value, this is the rod for you. Great action and feel, lifetime warranty, and a rod to cover just about every trout fishing situation out there. Order online or give us a call at the shop at 605-341-2450 to get yours on the way!