The holidays are here in the Vail Valley! The Eagle River has ice shelves lining the banks, and the trout are stacked in their wintering holes. The fly shop is fully stocked with the latest products from premier fly fishing brands for the 2024 year ahead. If you are shopping for the angler on your list or want to add something to your wishlist, below you will find some of our favorite picks for gift items for fly anglers.
Best Premium Holiday Gifts for Fly Anglers – Over $500.00
Quality has no compromise, the products below are all made in the United States and are built to last a lifetime.
Winston has been a longtime premium fly rod brand and for good reason. They are handmade in Twin Bridges, Montana by a small team of professionals. The new Air II fly rod is their flagship fly rod, which can do everything from delicate presentations to rising trout or retrieving your favorite sculpin pattern along the bank. Winston Rods have always been known for the “feel” of the rod but the latest Air 2 Fly Rod packs a punch while giving you the OG Winston “feel”. The Air 2 is also one of the lightest fly rods on the market making it a perfect 24/7 stick that won’t wear out your casting arm.
Favorite Size: 905-4, the do everything trout rod.
The latest addition to the Winston Fly Rod lineup is the Air 2 Max Fly Rod. This rod is meant for bigger game, bigger flies, and bigger fish. The Air 2 Max is a faster action fly rod as opposed to the flagship Air 2. The Air 2 Max series is powerful without affecting castability or lightness in hand. The Air 2 and Boron materials create unprecedented feel, power, tracking, recovery, and lightweight performance – truly redefining fast-action performance for any saltwater and big-game application worldwide.
Favorite Size: 909-4, the all-around saltwater big game rod.
With Winston Fly Rods on the top of this list, it only made sense to add another Made in Montana product. The Bauer RVR Fly Reel is a fully machined tool perfect for everyday angling. The team at Bauer started with a groundbreaking and beautifully modern design and quickly found out how challenging it is to machine a reel this complex. No one had ever seen anything like it. The complexity and double anodized design of the RVR would prove too difficult to achieve on a conventional 3-axis machine, so we sought out the newest 5-axis machines available. The result speaks for itself.
Favorite Size: 4/5 Fly Reel to go along with the Winston Air 2
Best Holiday Gifts for Anglers Under $500
If your budget is under $500.00 there are some great gifts for anglers whether it be a new fly rod, pack, or fly reel.
This is the ultimate glass fly rod for the fly angler. If you or someone on your wishlist is looking to add a fun dry fly rod to your quiver, look no further than the Superfine series. Orvis has redesigned these glass rods, to have the retro feel of a glass rod but the power to be able to still cast and perform at a high level. These glass rods are made in the Orvis factory in Vermont. The Superfine Glass fly-fishing rod series is built with S-2 fiberglass for smooth, slow casting with the strength to get the job done. Black type III anodizing aluminum reel seat with wooden insert (2-5 wt.) or aluminum tube (6 and 8 wt.).
Favorite Size: 763-4, the ultimate small creek fly rod.
If you aren’t looking for a glass fly rod like the Orvis Superfine Rod listed above, the Echo Streamer Rod might be the fly rod to add to your quiver this year. Living in #TroutCountry, it is nice to have a dedicated streamer fly rod rigged up 100% of the time. And the Echo Streamer-X Rod is the perfect rod for this as the price doesn’t break the bank. Designed by the Streamer Guru himself Kelly Galloup, these new rods are designed to hit a coffee cup at 50 feet with a fly bigger than the cup. Every inch of these rods has been reverse-engineered to quickly load and deliver a fly with a minimum number of false casts. With its fast tip and powerful bottom section, they are uniquely tapered to deliver heavy payloads.
Favorite Size: 690-4, the perfect 6-weight streamer rod for #TroutCountry
The ultimate angler backpack. This new pack from Patagonia brings forward a simplistic design for a functional and fully submersible pack. The 29-liter backpack has minimalist construction to reduce weight without sacrificing durability. Fair Trade Certified™ sewn. Another great pack in the Patagonia lineup, this product has endless possibilities from a nice carry-on to your next saltwater trip or a wading pack for a local float trip in #TroutCountry.
The Cimarron Reel is a new take on an old classic, with a fully new re-design. The Cimarron Reel is fully machined in Montrose, Colorado. With a price point of $295.00 it may be the lowest priced machined fly reel that is made in the United States. The fly reel comes in two different colors and two different sizes. It’s the perfect fly reel for your everyday trout setup that takes an absolute beating. It’s complete with a bronze cerakote drag knob, a brown canvas micarta handle, and a new semi-caged spool.
Favorite Size: Matte Olive in the 5/6, the everyday trout fly reel.
Best Holiday Gifts for Anglers Under $200
If you’re not trying to break the bank and want to find something that every fly angler wants this holiday, check out our favorites here.
A brand new net design and size from the folks over at Fishpond. The Nomad Canyon Net is small enough to fit easily into your fishing pack, but big enough to land that 20-inch trout. As with all Nomad nets, the Canyon is expertly crafted using a combination of carbon fiber and fiberglass, resulting in an extremely lightweight and durable platform. Offered in one color at the moment the Nomad Canyon net is an essential for the trout angler.
This might just be the best gift anyone can give an angler. Like it or not, a nice nipper is worth every penny. That is as long as you don’t lose it (that’s why it comes with a lanyard). At the $147.00 price point that may be asking a lot for something that you can simply use your toenail clippers for. But, this nipper is crafted from 6061-T6 aluminum, protected with type II Anodize, and finished with a misted texture for ideal grip. It lends to a more natural feel and precise control in hand. Trim up those delicate 7x and heavier fluorocarbon tag ends with confidence. The nipper comes in three different colors and each nipper comes with a lanyard.
Like every Fishpond Bag, the Green River Gear Bag is over-engineered to be the perfect organizational tool for every fly angler. The ease of access makes it perfect for on the go fishing and traveling. The bag is made from 420 denier Cyclepond Fishpond eco-conscious fabric to offer great durability and water resistance. 14 pockets cover the exterior and interior for maximum organization and a built-in rod tube attachment on the front, while the zip down fly bench allows anglers to store flies and work on their rigs when needed. Keep your fly gear in order and organized for a more productive outing on the water.
Other Gift Options for Fly Anglers
If you are not sure what exactly the angler on your list may want for the holidays. Giving the gift in the form of a gift card is a great idea. We offer gift cards that can be used for guided trips, in-store credit, and they can be used on our online store. To purchase a gift card, click the link above or give us a call at 970-926-0900.
From everyone at Vail Valley Anglers, Happy Holidays!! Be sure to check out the blog, Stocking Stuffers for Anglers for some great ideas for gifts under $100.00.
Patrick Perry, Former Float Fishing Guide, and Content Contributor @patperry