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Choosing the best euro nymphing rod is the first and arguably the most important step in fishing this discipline.
Euro nymphing rods are longer (10ft+), have a more sensitive tip, and typically have a fighting butt and a down locking reel seat to counterbalance the longer rod set-up.
Top 3 Euro Nymphing Rods for 2023
The goal of euro nymphing is to have a drag-free drift so that the nymph looks natural while it floats in the water column where the trout are feeding. Nothing affects this drift more than the rod you fish with.
To truly euro nymph effectively, you need a good euro nymph fly rod. Period. Our team has fished countless nymphing set-ups and we have over two decades of euro nymphing experience between us.
We’ve done the research and hands-on testing to help you make the right decision. In this post, we’ll help you find the best euro nymphing rod that’s perfect for you.
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10 Best Euro Nymphing Rods 2023
Below, I’m going to go over several different euro nymphing rods covering all of the most important aspects of the rods based on our team’s hands-on assessments and research.
We’ve spent hundreds of hours fishing these rods and we’ve broken them down into which rods are best for each situation, budget and fishing capability.
1. Best Overall Euro Nymphing Fly Rod: Sage ESN HD
- Best For: Hardcore Euro Nymphers, Sensitivity, Accurate Casting
- Pros: Excellent blank recovery rate, high build quality, best on the market
- Cons: The price tag
The Sage ESN HD (European Style Nymphing) fly rod isn’t just the best Euro nymphing rod 2023 has to offer, but it’s likely the best of all time. This is a top-of-the-line Euro nymphing rod built by one of the world’s most prestigious rod builders.
Sage has been building beautiful rods since 1980, and the ESN was their first foray into the world of Euro nymphing-specific rods. The next-generation ESN HD rod makes use of its most advanced blanks with KonneticHD technology.
This KonneticHD technology may be some kind of gimmick, but these rods really do have a wonderfully sensitive feel to them and they’re incredibly accurate at a wide range of distances. The blank recovery on the Sage ESN is perfect for Euro nymphing.
Pierre has fished the Sage ESN for years and he just got his hands on the HD version of the rod. We have a full review of the ESN HD coming soon.
Sage ESN HD Specs & Info
|Handle Type: Half Wells Snub-Nose||Blanks: Matt Black KonneticHD Technology|
|Fighting Butt: No||Action: Medium|
|Reel Seat: Downlocking Anodized Aluminium||Sections: 4|
|Warranty: Lifetime Original Owner||Country Of Manufacture: USA|
|Guides: Fuji Ceramic Stripping, Chrome Single Foot Snake||Sizes: 10′ 2wt, 10′ 3wt, 10’6″ 3wt, 10′ 4wt|
2. Runner-Up Best Nymphing Fly Rod: Thomas & Thomas Contact 2
- Best For: T&T lovers, Die-hard Euro Nymphers, Distance Casting
- Pros: Super sensitive tip, industry-leading blanks
- Cons: Not much aside from the price tag
It was a really close call for us to decide between the Sage ESN HD and the T&T Contact 2 for which would win the spot as the top euro nymphing rod of 2023.
Honestly, whether you get the T&T Contact 2 or the ESN HD, you’re getting the very cutting edge of euro nymphing technology in both of these poles.
Die-hard nymphers and lifelong Thomas & Thomas fans will love the sensitive tip and the blank recovery rate of the T&T Contact 2. This is a nymphing rod for nymphers and it shows in every aspect of the rod.
T&T’s proprietary StratoTherm resin technology really does provide this rod with incredible accuracy and blank recovery. It also keeps the tip ultra-sensitive and the entire rod feeling ridiculously light in hand.
It’s hard to find any fault with this rod. It’s a big improvement over their previous series of the Contact fly rod and it’s worth the upgrade.
As with all T&T rods, it will be really hard to beat. With a price tag of $900, this is to be expected.
Only die-hard euro nymphers who euro nymph frequently should ever consider spending this much on a euro nymphing rod.
T&T Contact 2 Specs & Info
|Handle Type: Reverse Half Wells||Blanks: StratoTherm Matt Grey|
|Fighting Butt: Yes||Action: Moderate-Fast|
|Reel Seat: Black Ash Aluminum Downlocking||Sections: 4|
|Warranty: T&T Lifetime||Country Of Manufacture: USA|
|Guides: Titanium Single Foot||Sizes: 10′ 2wt, 10′ 3wt, 10’9″ 3wt, 10’9″ 4wt, 11’2″ 3wt|
3. Best Value Euro Nymphing Rod: Moonshine Vesper
- Best For: Value-Shopping Euro Nymphers
- Pros: Extra Tip, Great Blank Recovery Rate
- Cons: Would prefer a double downlocking reel seat
The Moonshine Vesper Fly Rod is a great new addition to the lineup of the best Euro nymphing rods of 2023. I just got my hands on this rod late last year and I’ve fished it extensively.
The team has been fortunate enough to fish a lot of the Vesper and Epiphany series rods by Moonshine, and without a doubt, we think that the Vesper is their best rod for euro nymphing.
The swing weight, balance and blank recovery rate of the Vesper are miles above the Epiphany series, and the after-sales and warranty service that Moonshine offers is second to none.
This one was an easy choice for the best value euro nymphing rod on the market today.
Check out our Full Hands-On Review Of The Moonshine Vesper Euro Nymph Rod.
Moonshine Vesper Specs & Info
|Handle Type: Reverse Half Wells||Blanks: Matt Black High Modulous Graphite|
|Fighting Butt: Yes||Action: Moderate-Fast|
|Reel Seat: Downlocking Tiger Tobacco||Sections: 4|
|Warranty: No Fault Lifetime||Country Of Manufacture: Korea|
|Guides: Light Wire Single Foot||Sizes: 3wt 10’6″ (Only Euro Nymph size)|
4. Best Midrange Euro Nymphing Rod: Echo Shadow II
- Best For: Euro Nymphers who prioritize sensitive rod tips
- Pros: Well balanced, affordable price, fishes true to weight
- Cons: No fighting butt unless you buy the competition kit
The reason we went with the Shadow II on this list is that it is the top performer for the price and is hands-down the best value rod in the Echo line.
For an extra $100 or so, it’s miles ahead of the Echo Carbon XL. At the same time, when you get up to the $500 price tag of the Shadow X, there are definitely better options on the market (namely the Moonshine Vesper).
The Echo Shadow 2 is the goldilocks of the Echo euro nymphing series and we think it’s definitely one of the best options for euro nymph fishermen at this price point.
We’ve fished this rod extensively over the past 5 years and have beaten it up. This thing is super durable.
Pierre has done a full, hands-on review of the Echo Shadow II euro nymphing rod, so make sure you check that out if you’re considering this pole.
Echo Shadow II Specs & Info
|Handle Type: Reverse Half Wells||Blanks: Slim High-Modulus Graphite|
|Fighting Butt: No (Only w/Competion Add-on)||Action: Fast|
|Reel Seat: Counterweighted Uplocking Aluminum||Sections: 4|
|Warranty: Lifetime Original Owner||Country Of Manufacture: China|
|Guides: Light Single Foot||Sizes: 10’2wt, 10’3wt, 10’6″4wt|
5. Best Intermediate Nymphing Fly Rod: Redington Strike
- Best For: Intermediate Euro Nymphing Casters
- Pros: Good value, Lifetime Warranty
- Cons: A bit more difficult to cast
The Redington Strike Euro Nymphing Rod is the perfect rod for an intermediate euro nymphing angler. It has a medium-fast action blank and comes with all the features you’d want in a EN rod.
The downlocking reel seat, short fighting butt, and comfortable long grip all combine to make a great rod in the $300 range.
The Redington Strike is Redington’s first take on a euro nymphing specific rod and after a considerable amount of testing, we do love this offering from the brand.
It’s a little bit difficult to cast and isn’t as sensitive as the more expensive rods on this list, but that is to be expected when keeping a euro nymphing rod in this price range.
I’d say if you’re a euro nymph angler who absolutely needs to have a fighting butt and a downlocking reel seat (2 features that should come standard on all EN rods), then the Strike is a better option than the Shadow II.
But if you want that perfect sensitivity and great casting capability, then the Shadow II still has the Strike beat.
Because the Redington Strike is a little bit more difficult to cast, and because it comes with all the features a die-hard euro nympher would want, we’re rating it as the best intermediate euro nymphing rod.
Danny did a full, hands-on review of the Redington Strike rod. Make sure you check it out if you’re considering adding the Strike to your arsenal.
Redington Strike Specs & Info
|Handle Type: Reverse Half Wells||Blanks: Unpainted Carbon Fiber|
|Fighting Butt: Yes||Action: Medium-Fast|
|Reel Seat: Downlocking Skeletonized Aluminum||Sections: 4|
|Warranty: Lifetime||Country Of Manufacture: China|
|Guides: Titanium Oxide Strip/Single Foot Snake||Sizes: 3wt10′,10’6″&11′ / 4wt10’&11′|
6. Best Budget Nymphing Fly Rod: Maxcatch InTouch Nymph Rod
- Best For: Absolute Euro Nymphing Beginners
- Pros: Amazing value, 3-year warranty
- Cons: Poor after-sales service, cheaper build
The Maxcatch InTouch Nymph is a great rod for someone looking to start out Euro nymphing. The price is under $100, meaning you don’t have to invest too much money in order to start.
The rod itself is pretty well-built, considering the price point. It’s easy to cast and has a tip that will allow you to feel the most subtle bites from trout. It also has a strong enough back end to haul in some larger fish.
Keep in mind though that for avid euro nymphing anglers, this rod won’t even come close to an ESN or a Contact II, but it’s a great starter rod or a decent backup rod if you’re going on a euro nymphing trip and don’t want to spend a fortune on a spare.
Maxcatch Nano Nymph Specs & Info
|Handle Type: Reverse Half Wells||Blanks: Black 40T mixed 46T carbon fiber|
|Fighting Butt: Yes||Action: Fast|
|Reel Seat: Downlocking Tobacco Smoke||Sections: 4|
|Warranty: 3-year Limited||Country Of Manufacture: China|
|Guides: Titanium with Ceramic Insert||Sizes: 10′ 2wt, 10’6″ 3wt|
7. Orvis Clearwater
- Best For: Orvis Rod-Lovers, Beginner Anglers
- Pros: Good value, high-quality build
- Cons: A bit pricey
The Orvis Clearwater is the best Euro nymphing rod for the money.
The newer Clearwater also has increased strength, which gives you the ability to easily cast your Euro nymph setup while also being able to consistently fish in the current.
There are many sizes in this line, but the only sizes that include a fighting butt and would be good for euro nymphing are the 10′ 2wt and the 10′ 3wt Clearwaters.
Check out our full, hands-on review of the Orvis Clearwater euro nymphing fly rod.
Orvis Clearwater Specs & Info
|Handle Type: Full Wells||Blanks: Black Nickel Aluminum|
|Fighting Butt: Yes (On Euro Nymph 10′ Rods)||Action: Medium|
|Reel Seat: Downlocking Anodized Aluminium||Sections: 4|
|Warranty: 25 Year Limited||Country Of Manufacture: USA|
|Guides: Chrome Snake & Stripper w/ Ceramic||Sizes: 10′ 2wt, 10′ 3wt (Other sizes not EN)|
8. Best For Tight Line Nymphing: TFO Drift
- Best For: Tight Line Nymphing for Small Trout
- Pros: Great value, versatile for nymphing & tenkara
- Cons: Guide wraps could be cleaner
The TFO Drift Three Weight is TFO’s most versatile and innovative fly rod they’ve ever designed. It’s made specifically for Euro nymphing, but can also handle throwing dries or nymphing under an indicator.
The tip is extremely sensitive, allowing the angler to differentiate between a subtle take or the tick of the bottom of the river. The light tip allows you to easily cast light tippets and lighter flies.
TFO Drift Specs & Info
|Handle Type: Cigar||Blanks: High Modulous Carbon Fiber|
|Fighting Butt: Yes||Action: Moderate Fast|
|Reel Seat: Downlocking Carbon Fiber||Sections: 4, 5, 6|
|Warranty: Lifetime Original Owner||Country Of Manufacture: USA|
|Guides: Patented Unstringing||Sizes: 9′ 3wt, 10′ 3wt, 11’3″ 3wt, 12’3″ 3wt|
Trident Fly Fishing
9. Best Euro Nymphing Rod and Reel Combo: Cortland Competition Complete Nymph Rod Set
The Cortland Competition Complete Nymph Rod Set contains a great nymphing fly rod for any angler.
It’s also a good enough rod that a seasoned Euro nympher could use this without missing a beat. There may be better setups out there, but there are few better combos.
Cortland Competition Specs & Info
|Handle Type: Full Wells||Blanks: Black Premium Graphite MKII|
|Fighting Butt: Yes||Action: Medium-Fast|
|Reel Seat: Carbon Fiber Uplocking||Sections: 4|
|Warranty: Limited Lifetime||Country Of Manufacture: USA|
|Guides: Chrome Stripper & Single Foot||Sizes: 10′ 2wt, 11′ 2wt, 10’5″ 3wt, 11′ 3wt|
Read more: Best Fly Rod Combos (Buyer’s Guide)
Features of a Good Euro Nymphing Rod
If you’re wondering how to choose a Euro nymphing rod, below, I’m going to cover some of the different features that make the best fly fishing rods for Euro nymphing.
Consider these points when choosing a nymphing rod.
Euro rods are a little different from normal fly rods. The main difference is that all of them are 10′ or longer. Very rarely do you see a Euro rod that’s shorter than this.
The reason for this is that the angler needs some extra reach when they’re fishing. You won’t be making long casts. Instead, you’ll be flicking your fly the distance of the rod and allowing it to drift in the current.
You need a rod that has a very sensitive and light tip. This will help you detect very light strikes on your fly, while allowing your fly to move as drift-free as possible.
A sensitive rod tip will allow you to better mend the line without having to work too hard at it, ensuring that your fly looks exactly the same as an actual nymph floating through the current.
The light tip will help you with fighting too. Since your leader is so small, you’ll need something that can absorb the shock of a fish running on a 6X tippet.
When fish are feeding on nymphs that float past them in the lower water column, they don’t strike the fly nearly as aggressively as they would a dry fly floating on the surface. This means the angler has to be able to feel even the faintest of strikes on the fly.
While the tip of the rod needs to be light and sensitive, you’ll find that the other 2/3 needs to have a strong backbone. This helps to turn over light flies quickly and in potentially windy conditions. This also helps with fighting fish.
Also, the extra backbone will allow you to fight fish more efficiently. This is what separates a 3 weight Euro rod from a normal 3 weight fast-action rod.
Euro nymphing rods are all about balance. The rod should feel comfortable when held up for long periods of time.
The goal of euro nymphing is to have a natural-looking, drag-free drift, and to do this, you need a balanced rod that is comfortable even after long days of high sticking on the river.
Most euro nymphing set-ups achieve a good balance by adding a fighting butt, a longer grip, and a down locking reel seat.
The down locking reel seat ensures that the reel is placed as low on the rod as possible and the longer grip allows you to hold the rod higher up and rest the butt on your forearm.
All of this helps to counterbalance the longer tip on the euro nymphing rod.
A great euro nymphing rod will typically have a fighting butt. This allows the angler to balance the rod better and prop it on their forearm for those long days of high sticking the rod over the current.
That’s right, in no other fly fishing discipline does the actual finish of your rod blanks matter as much as it does in euro nymphing.
Typically when you’re fishing this style, you’re in close proximity to the fish. At times, your fly will be drifting directly below the rod tip. A high gloss rod will reflect the sun and spook the fish nearly every time they come towards your fly.
This is why most dedicated euro nymphing rods have a matte black finish to avoid glare that might scare off trout.
What Is Euro Nymphing?
The sighter is essentially the leader, which has been replaced with a Euro nymph leader. It’s a multi-colored line that allows you to see the line twitch.
It’s extremely effective for nymphing and is considered one of the best ways to catch trout when they’re holding to the bottom of the river.
What Weight is Best for Euro Nymphing?
The 2wt nymph rod is the lightest that’s recommended, with the 3wt being the most popular weight for Euro nymphing.
Below, I’m going to go over several different weights that can be used for Euro nymphing. Take a look and see which one will work as the best fly fishing rod for Euro nymphing for you.
Typically a euro nymphing rod is within the lighter weights and is longer than normal rods (10ft+).
The 2wt Euro nymph rod is the lightest that’s recommended for the technique. This is ideal if you know that you’ll be throwing extremely small nymphs.
The smaller size will help you flick those nymphs out easier. The same applies for landing fish. A 2 weight is not ideal for fishing a river known for big fish. So this is great for a river with finicky, averaged size trout.
The 3 weight is the most common and the best weight fly rod for Euro nymphing. You may think that the 3 weight or anything smaller is too light for trout, especially browns and ‘bows.
However, a Euro nymph rod is not a normal 3 weight. It has extra flex at the tip to help protect the light tippet and lighter rod, allowing you to fight a larger fish for longer periods of time and come away successful.
The weight of your rod is all relative to the size of the leader you plan on using. If the water clarity is low and you can get away with a heavier leader, then moving up to a 4 weight could be the ticket.
The same goes if you know that there are big fish in the river. A 4 weight will allow you to throw heavier line and also to put the wood to some big fish that may come out and swipe at your nymph.
What Are the Euro Nymphing Rules?
The rules of Euro nymphing came to be because of the strict rules set in place by fly fishing tournaments. Below, I’m going to cover some of these rules to give you a deeper understanding.
No Split Shot
You can’t Euro nymph with a split shot on your line. So, how will you get your flies down quick enough to where the fish are?
Instead, you’ll be using a lot of nymphs that feature a tungsten bead head. This allows the fly to sink quickly without having to tie a split shot to your line.
No Strike Indicator
Since you cannot tie anything on your line that would tell you if a fish has bitten your fly, you’ll instead use the multi-colored leader I mentioned earlier.
The multi-colored line will sit straight up in the water. The colored lines give you a better line of sight so you can easily detect strikes on your fly.
Nothing Can Be Attached to the Leader
Your leader must be completely free of anything. You can only have your fly attached, and that’s it. So that’s why all Euro nymphers use a multi-colored leader.
It allows them to stay within the rules, but they’re still able to fish with nymphs. All fly anglers know that a trout’s main source of food comes subsurface. This way, anglers are still able to catch large amounts of many different species of fish.
Review This Post
Table of Contents
- Watch The Video
- Fly Rods
- 10 Best Euro Nymphing Rods 2023
- 1. Best Overall Euro Nymphing Fly Rod: Sage ESN HD
- 2. Runner-Up Best Nymphing Fly Rod: Thomas & Thomas Contact 2
- 3. Best Value Euro Nymphing Rod: Moonshine Vesper
- 4. Best Midrange Euro Nymphing Rod: Echo Shadow II
- 5. Best Intermediate Nymphing Fly Rod: Redington Strike
- 6. Best Budget Nymphing Fly Rod: Maxcatch InTouch Nymph Rod
- 7. Orvis Clearwater
- 8. Best For Tight Line Nymphing: TFO Drift
- 9. Best Euro Nymphing Rod and Reel Combo: Cortland Competition Complete Nymph Rod Set
- Fly Rod Reviews
- Features of a Good Euro Nymphing Rod
- Fly Rods Info
- What Is Euro Nymphing?
- What Weight is Best for Euro Nymphing?
- Fly Rods By Weight
- What Are the Euro Nymphing Rules?
- Fly Rod Brands
Euro nymphing is a great way to go out and catch a lot of fish. It’s extremely effective, and every fly angler should have a solid Euro nymphing rod in their repertoire.
Now that you know a little bit more about it, you should be able to confidently order your fly rod and have it in the mail within a couple of days. It’s like Christmas for anglers! 2023 Euro Nymphing rods are the perfect gift for any angler.
Some images in this post are courtesy of Shutterstock.
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