Redington Classic Trout vs. Orvis Clearwater: Battle of Budgets

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Redington Rod

The Redington Classic Trout is more affordable than the Orvis Clearwater but less versatile. It performs great as a dry fly rod and in situations where you don’t have to make as large of casts or mends. The Clearwater is a jack-of-all-trades and keeps up with rods outside its price range.

Sometimes, finding budget-friendly and high-quality fly fishing rods is a battle. There is a seemingly endless supply of budget rods, but their quality isn’t always up to our standards. Thankfully, companies like Orvis and Redington offer budget options that are sufficient for anglers of all experience and skill levels. Two rod options, the Redington Classic and Orvis Clearwater, have been circulating for years and continue to pass the tests. 

Redington Classic Trout

I’ve always been a fan of Redington fly fishing gear. Since I started fly fishing, I’ve appreciated their commitment to keeping gear affordable despite the constant price increases from other large fly fishing brands. 

Their gear isn’t high-performance, but it isn’t far behind. Most of their products are perfect for beginner to intermediate anglers or people needing a backup/secondary rod. 

Redington Rod Blank
Redington Rod Blank

Sizes and Components

The Redington Classic Trout is designed specifically for trout anglers. It ranges from 2-weight to 6-weight. Plus, it’s available in varying lengths, and there’s a rod specifically for your style of trout fishing. The smaller weights are only 7’6” long, and the larger weights get up to 9’ long. 

The rod blank is graphite paired with machined reel seat components, cork handle, and titanium oxide stripping guides. Plus, you can purchase 4-piece or 6-piece rods, depending on your needs. 

The 4-piece rod is standard, while the 6-piece is perfect for backpacking or other situations requiring something that packs easier. 

Plus, Redington provides anglers with a brown nylon rod tube that keeps the rod protected in just about every situation. 

It’s a well-made rod that doesn’t break the bank and can last multiple seasons. 

Fishing with Redington Classic
Fishing with Redington Classic


I’ve fished the Redington Classic Trout for years. It was one of the first fly rods I ever owned. It was passed on to me by a family friend, and I learned how to fly fish with it on small mountain creeks in Wyoming. 

I had the 5-weight 9’ rod, so it wasn’t the ideal creek rod, but I’ll always love it because of how much I learned from and with it. 

It’s one of those rods that is good for one type of fishing. It’s a moderate-action rod that’s sensitive, lightweight, and forgiving, so it thrives in trout fishing situations. Whether you’re targeting trout in a small stream with heavy foliage or from a drift boat on the Yellowstone, it’ll do the job. 

It’s not the biggest, most aggressive rod on the market. It doesn’t help your line slice through the wind or easily fight salmon, but it does help you make a 2-foot mend in gin-clear streams that don’t spook the fish. 

I’ve found that it molds and fits the angler using it. As I improved my skills, it kept up with me. To this day, I use it in tight conditions or on water where I need ultimate control over my line. 

It doesn’t respond as well as a high-performance Sage, Wilson, or Orvis rod, but it fits me. I’m comfortable and confident with it, and I know the situations to use it. 

I don’t expect to make 60-foot casts across the river with my 5-weight. I stick to 30-40 foot casts and shorter to get the most out of it. It’ll softly lay down dry flies, gently drop nymph rigs, and put some backbone behind streamers

It’s lightweight enough not to feel fatigued after a full day on the water with it. No matter how many casts you make with it, it’ll feel as light as it does the first time. Every model of the rod weighs less than 3 ounces. 

I trust that the Redington Classic Trout is up for the challenge of any trout fishing I do. However, it sets itself apart from other budget-friendly rods in its ability to throw dry flies. The rod lays down the flies as gently as you need. It protects your lighter tippet, and you feel in control of your rig. 


The Redington Classic Trout costs anglers $170. For a reputable fly rod, that’s a phenomenal price. You won’t outgrow it, and Redington’s lifetime warranty protects it. If there’s a manufacturing error, Redington replaces the rod. 

Sure, there are more budget-friendly rods on the market, but only some have the dry fly capabilities that the Redington Classic possesses. 

Orvis Clearwater Rod
Orvis Clearwater Rod

Orvis Clearwater 

When I started growing my passion for fly fishing, the Orvis Clearwater was the first rod I bought. I knew Orvis was a reputable brand and wanted the nicest rod my money could buy. 

For the past 7 years, I have gone back to my Clearwater often. It never lets me down and continues to surprise me with its capabilities. Every time I think I’ve maxed it out, it does something I think it couldn’t. 

Sizes and Components

Anglers can purchase the Clearwater in weights ranging from 2-weight to 12-weight. There’s a Clearwater rod for just about every single fishing situation you’ll find. 

Most trout anglers purchase the 2-weight to 6-weight rods, while steelhead, bass, pike, salmon, and saltwater anglers stick to the 7 to 12-weights. 

The Clearwater blank is graphite with chrome snake stipping guides and full black nickel aluminum reel seats. 

Each rod breaks down into four pieces and stores in the nylon rod tube provided by Orvis. The rods are fully designed and tested in Vermont. 

Orvis Clearwater Reel
Orvis Clearwater Reel


I own the 6-weight 9’ Clearwater. I’ve used it to catch panfish, trout, bass, and pike. It’s a shockingly strong and powerful rod for a medium-fast action. The backbone of the rod is impressive. 

It casts well in the wind and more challenging situations but has enough delicacy to drop a dry fly on top of a rising fish without spooking it. The medium-fast action gives it a little stiffer feel and more power when fighting larger fish or looking to make longer casts. 

I’ve fished it on lakes, rivers, streams, and ponds. After a while, it feels like an extension of your hand due to how smooth it feels. I purchased the Clearwater Combo, so it’s paired with the Clearwater reel. The balance of the combination is perfect. Plus, the fly line within the reel is the perfect weight to maximize the rod’s casting ability. 

The rod isn’t perfect in any particular situation, and that’s why I love it. I’m not an expert caster or line manager, but I’m good at both. I feel like the Clearwater fits me perfectly. It’s the ideal combination of power and control.

If I had to choose, I’d say it performs better in more power fishing situations than true finesse fishing. The 6-weight wasn’t built to perform well in finesse situations, so the lighter models compensate for it. If you want a creek rod, the 3 and 4-weight is the ideal option for you. 

For budget-friendly fly rods, versatility is an appreciated feature. You want it to work in as many situations as possible. The Clearwater gives you confidence that it can hold its own wherever you go. 

Orvis Clearwater Combo
Orvis Clearwater Combo


The Clearwater rod costs $250. It is protected by a 25-year warranty from Orvis. Orvis’s warranty is one of the better options in the industry. You don’t have to pay as many fees to get everything fixed. 

It’s on the higher end of budget-friendly rods, but you get the quality of a rod that seems as if it should cost twice as much. 

What’s Better?

The Redington Classic Trout is better in true trout fishing situations. It can throw small dries to rising fish, nymphs in shallow riffles, and small streamers to the edges of pools. 

While the smaller weights of the Clearwater can do these things, the touch you get with the Classic is tough to beat for budget-friendly models. 

You won’t find a better option than Clearwater if you want versatility. It’s one of the best rods on the market for all-around fishing. It’s strong and just the right amount of sensitivity. It can catch carp, trout, bass, small pike, and panfish without trouble. 

Both rods give you added confidence when you’re using them. They’re affordable, protected by warranties, and well-respected. For years, anglers have used both rods and continue to buy them. 

Your skills will surpass the capabilities of the Classic Trout before the Clearwater. It’s a challenge to find the limits of the Clearwater. However, the more skilled you become as a dry fly angler, you’ll want even more touch and sensitivity that the Classic doesn’t quite have. 

I’d pay the extra $70 and purchase the Clearwater. However, if you only want a trout rod, then you can’t go wrong with the Classic. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Redington a Good Fly Fishing Brand? 

Yes, Redington is a good fly fishing brand. It’s affordable, and the products always perform better than anglers imagine. 

Is Orvis Clearwater Good for Saltwater? 

The 10 to 12-weight Clearwater models work well for saltwater. The rod is corrosion-resistant and has the power to withstand aggressive strikes and runs from saltwater fish. 


Anglers who use the Classic model from Redington swear by it. It’s fun, capable, and easy to cast in finesse situations. Clearwater users don’t like any slander on the rod. It’s a prized possession for its owners. Thankfully, both rods prove their capabilities whenever you’re on the water. You can’t go wrong with either. 

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