Can I Use My Trout Fly Rod To Catch Other Types Of Fish?

An angler wearing a brightly colored fish pack rests her fly rod on her hip.

To answer this question, let’s assume we're talking about a 9’, 6WT fly rod used for trout. Many types of other fish live in trout waters. Most commonly, there are whitefish, suckers, and chub. Each have a size close to a trout and eat the same food sources.

If you are trout fishing in waters that contain these types of fish, you’ll likely catch a few and notice the rod and line you’re using for trout will suit catching these other fish just fine.

Mouths of All Sizes

Smallmouth and Largemouth bass can also be tamed with a 6WT trout fly rod. Just use streamers and other flies that are relatively the same size you’d use for trout. Casting a large deer hair popper for bass may be easier and more accurate with a larger rod like a 7WT, but it’s doable on a 6WT with a stout leader.

You can also over load the rod with a heavier fly line like a WF7 to help turn over the fly a bit better. This could save you the cost of buying a larger rod to target bass by just purchasing a spare spool for your reel and a larger fly line.

Keep Things in Line

When using your trout rod for other types of fishing, be realistic. It’s difficult to cast large flies on light rods, and typically with different types of fish you’ll be using different types of flies (usually larger). For example: You could cast and present a fly to a tailing redfish just fine with a 6WT. However, once hooked, controlling a brute like a redfish with a light rod is going to be tough on both the angler and the fish.

Basically, the bigger the fish, the bigger the rod should be to present the fly the right way and tame the hooked fish. This means the rod should have a higher, heavier WT. It could be a long day trying to “make due” with a light rod casting heavy flies. Most times, you won’t have the power to turn over your casts, making your casting inefficient and tiring and your day a real drag.

Be Wise—Stay Trout Size

So, for all around fishing, as long as the fish you’re targeting are trout-size, you’ll be fine targeting bass, even carp and a myriad of other freshwater species, with a 6WT. But beware: You can’t catch bigger, stronger fish on a 6WT, nor should you try.

You’d risk breaking the rod very quickly! So, when you plan your first trip for tarpon, be sure to include a new, heavier rod on your packing list.

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