The best 5 wt fly reels are a freshwater angler’s best friends. Their size is right for all kinds of trout and most freshwater species.
After evaluating dozens of fly fishing reels in freshwater conditions, Sage Spectrum C tops the list of the best 5 wt fly reels in 2023.
Disclosure: The Wading Kit is a reader-supported website and takes part in the Amazon Associates Program. We may earn a small commission if you shop through links on this page. At thewadingkit.com we test products and recommend them based on unbiased research.
7 Best 5 Weight Fly Reels
Below are the best 5 wt fly reel reviews:
1. Sage Spectrum C Fly Fishing Reel with Rio Backing – Best 5wt Fly Reel For The Money
Being one of the leading brands in the fly reels industry, Sage keeps doing wonders with whatever they create. Their Spectrum series seems to cover the requirements of all kinds of anglers, with Spectrum C aimed at the budget-conscious ones.
With a price tag well below $200, Sage managed to provide a decent reel without ripping off your bank account. Even though the construction is die-cast, the finishing looks excellent. The spool handle and the drag knob are machined to maximize quality without costing too much.
Just like other members of the Spectrum series, the C also has a sealed carbon drag system that ensures smoothness. It spins smoothly and exerts a drag force of up to 2 pounds, sufficient for a 5 wt reel for trout. Also, the drag dial is numbered for easy adjustability.
But speaking of drag, I found that this smoothness is not consistent in lower settings. It felt a bit tight and could not manage light tippets as effectively.
- Best 5wt fly reel under 200
- The finishing is too good for a die-cast construction
- The handle and knob is machined
- The drag is sufficient for freshwater species
- Numbered drag dial for adjustability
- The reel feels tight on lower drag settings
Fly Reels Guides:
2. Hardy Ultraclick UCL Fly Fishing Reel – Best 5wt Fly Reel For Trout
If you are looking for the best 5 weight fly reel light as a feather, you can trust Hardy. The Ultraclick weighs mere 2.4 ounces in its biggest size. This weight is the lightest I have ever experienced in trout fishing. And yet, the capacity is ample too, that is, 75 yards of a 20 pounds backing. Impressive!
What’s even great is that Hardy focused on making this reel light and made it sturdy and beautiful. The machined construction and finishing are practically flawless, and the durability is true to the brand’s name. Moreover, the large arbor is quick to pick up lines.
But the headline of this best freshwater reel is its click-and-pawl drag system. It attributes to keeping the weight light and gives extreme precision when dealing with light tippets or delicate flies.
However, you may sometimes feel that the Ultraclick is a little too lightweight. Few rods may not balance quite as well with an ultralight reel. Also, the pawl felt too delicate to put any drag pressure on the line.
- Ultraclick is ultralight
- It has ample capacity
- The machined construction is sturdy
- The finishing is flawless
- A classic click-and-pawl drag
- It feels a little too light on a few rods
- Pawl is too weak for exerting tension on lines
3. OKUMA SLV45 SLV Fly Reel – Best Budget 5wt Fly Reel
The next entry in my 5wt fly reel shootout is an affordable reel that works wonders on a fly rod. The Okuma SLV reels are die-cast but very good ones. They are lighter in weight than you’d expect them to be, and the arbor is large enough to store sufficient lines and pick them up quickly when you need to.
The drag is stainless steel and pretty smooth. The force it exerts is more than enough for freshwater pursuits. Also, the knob, handle, and spool-release mechanism are top-notch. Meaning there is no compromise on the ergonomics either.
But with die-cast reels, there is an issue of being a little fragile. If you are not careful, they can shatter and drop them on a hard surface.
- The Okuma SLV is lightweight
- It has a large arbor for sufficient storage capacity
- It picks up lines quickly
- The drag is smooth
- The ergonomics are on-point
- Die-cast reels are a little fragile
4. Redington Reels Crosswater – Best 5wt Reel For Beginners
If you are new to angling or just want a simple reel, the Redington Crosswater is the best 5 wt fly reel to get. Its construction includes no rocket science, and the machinery inside is plain and simple. The entire structure is made of hard plastic, which may not be as durable as aluminum, but is sure cheap.
One more thing the plastic in this reel is good at is keeping its weight light. Also, the drag system is pretty reliable and smooth. There is little that could go wrong with a good old clicker drag, which is why Crosswater is the best 5wt fly fishing reel for beginners.
The storage capacity is good for 5 weight but falls short when using the bigger saltwater sizes. Plus, the plastic is plastic. I’ve heard many complaints about the spools breaking or the handle detaching. The finishing is also a little off in some places.
- Good 5wt fly reel for beginners
- It has straightforward mechanics
- The drag system is smooth and simple
- It is lightweight
- The plastic isn’t too durable
- The finishing isn’t flawless
5. Orvis Clearwater Fly Reel – Best 5 Weight Fly Reel In Terms Of Drag
The Orvis Clearwater fly reels are another great 5 wt fly reels for the amazing performance. They may not win any beauty pageants because of their simple looks and far from perfect powder finish, but that is not what they were made for.
The drag system is impressive. There was no inertia to start with, and the reel kept spinning smoothly. Also, the acoustics are nice with moderate clicks. The drag knob requires two turns to crank the drag from zero to maximum and produces subtle clicks. Also, on the scale, it weighs just like the best reel for 5 weight fly rod.
Next, the reel handle is a nice size and comfortable shape for a good grip. You may feel a little wobble in it, but it is so slight that it does not affect the performance. The spool-release mechanism is straightforward, too, with only a push-button doing the job.
- Smooth and reliable drag
- The acoustics are nice
- The reel handle is the right size and shape
- The spool-release mechanism is straightforward
- It is a simple-looking reel
- The finishing isn’t perfect
6. Echo Ion Fly Reel – Best Value 5 Weight Fly Reel
Unlike the Redington’s Crosswater fly reel, the Echo Ion is an affordable and simple reel yet caters to the needs of both novices and experts. It stands out among the best 5/6 weight fly reels with a unique construction. How so? Ion uses a die-cast spool which is later machined to achieve the highest accuracy in design while being pocket-friendly.
The internal parts are stainless steel and pretty durable. The large arbor also gives sufficient space for storing lots of backing and fly lines. Plus, the airy design helps in drying out the lines fast.
Then the drag system is smooth and low-maintenance. I detected zero initial inertia, and the spools kept spinning smoothly throughout. The spool-release knob is a handy way of getting the job done. Plus, the handle is okay, and the drag knob is oversized for ease of use. The only bad thing was how it is painfully loud when it clicks, but if you are using it at a gushing river or the sea, I guess the noise won’t even matter.
- Unique construction for the best price-to-quality ratio
- The internals are durable
- The large arbor that stores sufficient backing
- Drag is smooth
- The parts are ergonomic
- The click is too loud
7. Piscifun Crest Fly Fishing Reel – Best 5wt Fly Reel Under 100
For those who want the best 5 weight reel under as low as $100, Piscifun Crest tops the list. It comes in a vibrant green and a beautiful black. Both colors go perfectly with most modern fly rods.
The design sets this reel apart. It gives a futuristic look and is efficient at keeping the weight light. Also, durability is something I can vouch for. I have had a Crest as my backup reel for more than a couple of years now and have used it more than I needed to, but the structure still looks solid.
Next, the drag is smooth and sealed, so you only need to rinse it with fresh water in the name of maintenance. The performance is good enough to make you consider ditching higher-end reels altogether. I’m not even kidding!
What’s not that great, though, is that changing spools is an absolute pain with these. I bent and dented my reel from a few places trying to release and then reseat the spools. How sad for an otherwise best five-weight fly reel.
- It comes in two beautiful colors
- The design is futuristic and good-looking
- The durability is great too
- The drag is smooth and low-maintenance
- The spool-release mechanism is messed up
When Do You Use The Best 5 Wt Fly Reel?
Five Weight Fly Reels are a versatile option for most freshwater fishing. They are good for trout, bass, carp, perch, bluegills, whitefish, and other similar-sized fish.
I have reviewed the seven best 5-weight fly reels above, out of which I found the Sage Spectrum C the overall best 5 wt fly reel in terms of versatility. It is affordable yet offers some high-end features that you cannot have without spending a ton of fortune otherwise.
If you are into more freshwater fishing, I have reviewed the best fly reels for trout.
So do check them and keep fishing!