Fly Fishing On a College Budget

Whether you’re a college student who’s tight on money, or just getting into the sport, there are a lot of awesome deals to be had if you know where to look. This article will serve as a guide to building a complete fly fishing setup with affordability in mind. Just because you are trying to save money doesn’t mean you always have to sacrifice quality. There are a bunch of brands that offer affordable, high-performance options with the warranty to back it. Here are some of my favorite tips, tricks, and options for building your fly fishing set up on a college budget. 

Our favorite high-performance, affordable fly fishing gear:

Temple Fork Outfitters Pro II 

Image courtesy of Temple Fork Outfitters

Temple Fork Outfitters offers a variety of well priced high performing fly rods. Their Pro II 5wt is the perfect rod for anglers of all skill levels. At $169.95 this is an outstanding value. The Pro II is a medium action rod that offers a smooth and powerful yet forgiving cast. 

Ross Reels Colorado LT

Image courtesy of Ross Reels


This is one of the pricier items on the list at $295 but the extra cost is well worth it. With so much going on in the water around you sometimes the simpler the better. Ross’s Colorado LT is just that, a simple, bulletproof reel that allows you to focus on the fishing rather than fumbling with your reel. It uses a metal click/pawl mechanism which is a smooth nonadjustable drag system perfect for any trout fisherman. Another great performing yet more affordable option is Orvis’s clearwater reel which comes in at $129, this makes it a great bang for your buck purchase. 

Scientific Anglers Mastery Trout Line 

Image courtesy of Scientific Anglers

Scientific Anglers’ Mastery Trout line is a great all-around line that will allow you to chase trout using dries, nymphs, and even streamers. Coming in at $79.95, this an awesome high-performance line at an affordable price point.  

Dr. Slick Co Mitten Scissor Clamp

Image courtesy of Amazon


I was originally introduced to these plyers on a float trip in Jackson Hole and since then they have been a mainstay in my fly pack. They do everything from cutting tag ends to clearing the hook eye of that stubborn fly. They can be found for as low as $16.33 on Amazon, which at that price and functionality, make them an absolute no brainer for the fiscally concerned fly angler. 

Fish Pond Slings 

Image courtesy of Amazon

Fishpond offers a wide range of packs at all price levels. Their summit sling pack is the perfect pack for the angler on a college budget coming in at $99.95. It is durable, comfortable, and packed full of features and storage for all the gear you’ll need for a day on the water. The summit sling even includes a slot for your water bottle to keep you hydrated all day. 

Rio and FishPond Tippet Holder 

Image courtesy of Amazon

FishPond, in collaboration with Rio Products, has created an affordable tippet holder that comes pre-loaded with Rio’s 2x through 6x Powerflex Tippet. For $40 you get a tippet holder and five spools of tippet.  


Image courtesy of Buff

This cheap $24 essential can save your day. Whether it’s keeping you from getting bug bites, or saving your neck from an awful burn, Buff’s are a no brainer essential for every angler’s fly kit.

Patagonia Tropic Comfort Hoody II

Image courtesy of Patagonia

This simple yet versatile hoodie is an essential piece of clothing perfect for any day on the water. With its fast-drying and moisture-wicking properties, it is ideal for a frigid morning or a hot afternoon. In conjunction with a buff, the hood can offer great sun protection. The Patagonia Tropic Comfort Hoody comes in at $59.00.   

Gas Station Sunglasses 

Image courtesy of Backpacker

Sunglasses can often be expensive, and until you can afford your dream pair of Costa sunglasses, gas station polarized sunglasses can be a great alternative. The beauty of cheap sunglasses is if you break them or even lose them, there is often another gas station close. If you have some extra money to spend, be sure to check out Costa Sunglasses “Sunset Specials” category for deeply discounted frames!

Reddington Waders and Boots 

Image courtesy of Reddington
Image courtesy of Reddington

Reddington offers a really reasonable price point on wading gear that comes with a lifetime warranty. Their Escape Waders coming in at $229.99, are a durable and high performing wader that will withstand all your falls, spills, and snags. Just like the Escape Waders, their Forge Boots are a durable workhorse that offers comfort and an affordable price at $149.99. 

Additional Tips: 

There are some awesome websites such as Steep and Cheap, Moose Jaw and Sierra Trading Post that offer great deals on high-quality fly fishing brands such as Patagonia and Simms. If you watch closely, you can often find a lot of steals on all things fly fishing. Another tip is to sign up for fly fishing brands mailing lists so you know when their sales happen and you can be sure to hop on them.

On the Water with Ross Reels New San Miguel Reel

9 Best Reusable Bottles for Anglers (2019 Unranked)

Product Spotlight: Scientific Anglers Absolute Tippet


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.