The perfect 2023 Fly Reels comprehensive guide

When it comes to fly fishing, having the right equipment is crucial. Orvis, a well-known brand in the fly fishing world, offers a variety of high-quality fly reels to meet the needs of different fishing styles and fish species. In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at the different series of Orvis fly reels and what sets them apart.we provided the essential details to help you zero in on which reel is right for you.

  • Mirage
  • Mirage LT
  • Hydros
  • Hydros Euro
  • Battenkill Disc
  • Battenkill
  • Clearwater
  • SSR Disc Spey
  • C.F.O.

Orvis Mirage Fly Reel

The Orvis Mirage reel is their flagship  high end reel that is made in America. It is made with 6061-T6 aluminum with a titanium shaft to increase strength without the weight.

The carbon and stainless steel drag system has a proprietary ball and ramp drag mechanism that provides a non-linear curve in the resistance in order to offer smoother adjustment. The super large arbor provides maximum line retrieval.

The reel is sealed and maintenance free and comes in extreme heavy weights. While this reel can handle al conditions, it’s clear that this reel was made with saltwater in mind.

Available in Midnight Black or Pewter colors. The price range on this reel is extremely wide depending on which weight model you are getting so be sure to check the appropriate price.

It comes in the following models:

II3-5 wt
III5-7 wt
IV7-9 wt
V9-11 wt
VI11-13 wt
VI-D13-15 wt

Orvis Mirage LT Fly Reel

The Orvis Mirage LT reel offers the same rock solid performance of the Mirage, but is with a slightly adjusted design to accomodate freshwater fishing in small weight models. 

The American-made LT features the same high grade 6061 T6 anodized aluminum construction. It features a lighter weight version of the carbon and stainless steel drag while still maintaining the proprietary non-linear response technology that allows the drag to be adjusted from zero to full drag in one turn.

The LT frame is also slightly thinner than the Mirage to reduce weight and make it more suited for lighter weight freshwater rods. It comes in 4 colors – Midnight, Blackout, Olive, and Carbon.

It comes in the following models:

LT-I1-3 wt
LT-II3-5 wt
LT-III5-7 wt
LT-IV7-9 wt

Orvis Hydros Fly Reel

The Orvis Hydros reel is the best selling model from their entire line. The imported reel features a lightweight anodized aluminum frame and a carbon and stainless steel sealed disc drag.

The Hydros series of fly reels is designed for serious anglers who demand the best. With a fully sealed drag system, these reels can handle anything from trout to tarpon.

It features a large arbor for fast line retrieval, a radius reel foot to decrease line kink, and an ergonomically improved reel handle. The drag boast zero line start up intertia and the most recent design is slightly lighter than the previous version.

The sealed drag means it’s at home in both fresh and saltwater. This is a truly a great all-purpose fly reel.

Available in five colors: Black, Green, Silver, Matte Olive, and Ice Blue. 

It comes in the following models:

I1-3 wt
II3-5 wt
III5-7 wt
IV7-9 wt
V9-11 wt

Orvis Hydros II Euro Fly Reel

The Hydros II Euro reel is exactly what it sounds like. They’ve taken the wildly popular Hydros II and modified it to better suit Euro nymphing.  The reel features the same durable 6061 T6 aluminum design and carbon/stainless steel disc drag as the Hydros II.

The spool on the Euro model is fully caged, and the tolerances are tightened to avoid any line slippage between the frame and the spool. The weight on this model has also been slightly increased to counter-balance 10′ and 11′ rods that are more commonly used in euro nymphing.

The large arbor facilitates faster line retrieval and it also has a more ergonomic drag adjustment knob. Available only in Matte Green. 

This reel comes in a single model with a 3.5″ diameter and weighs 5.6oz.

Orvis Battenkill Disc Fly Reel

The Orvis Battenkill Disc reel continues a decades long tradition of a tried and true design that has been around since the 60s. The imported reel features a fully sealed disc drag that is based on the Hydros drag.

The Battenkill series of fly reels is a classic choice for anglers of all levels. These reels are known for their durability and dependability. The simple design and solid construction make them a favorite among traditionalists.

It offers a mid arbor design and a large drag adjustment knob for quick changes.  The lightweight and functional design also features a striking black nickel finish that you really have to see in person to do it justice.

This reel comes in the following models:

I1-3 wt
II3-5 wt
III5-7 wt
IV7-9 wt

Orvis Battenkill Fly Reel

The Orvis Battenkill reel is the click pawl offering that utilizes the same classic design that has been around for decades. This is the reel for minimalists who love the classic feel and sound of a clicker drag system.

While most clicker drag reels have a single drag setting, this features a 4 position internal drag adjustment. Without a disc drag system, the reel is extremely lightweight and pairs well with shorter rods.

This imported reel is CNC machined high grade bar stock aluminim and is extremely durable. Available in a ported jewel black nickel finish.

This reel comes in the following models:

I1-3 wt
II3-5 wt
III5-7 wt

Orvis Clearwater Fly Reel

The Clearwater series of fly reels is a great option for beginner to intermediate anglers. These reels offer a smooth drag system and are lightweight and easy to use. The affordable price point makes them a popular choice for those just starting out.

The Orvis Clearwater reel offers a lot of functionality for the price. The imported reel utilizes die cast construction to deliver a durable reel in a powder coat finish that performs under pressure.

It features the same carbon to stainless steel stacked disc drag, but the drag is not sealed. So you would probably want to stay away from saltwater with this reel. 

It features a large arbor design and a large drag adjustment knob with positive click positions for consistent settings.  Available in Matte Grey color.

This reel comes in the following models:

II4-6 wt
IV7-9 wt

Orvis C.F.O. III Fly Reel

The Orvis CFO III is an updated design that is a throwback to an old favorite from Orvis. The original CFO was patented in 1971 by Stan Bogdan and was designed after the original ventilated port design from reel that was created in in 1874 by Charles Frederick Orvis.

The CFO utilizes a classic click pawl drag just like the original. And it’s meant for those who have a passion for the way things used to be done, and remember a simpler time with clicker drag reels and bamboo rods.

The durable design features Type III anodizing that resists corrosion and has the same look as reels from long ago.

This lightweight reel comes in a single 3-5 weight model that has a 3″ diameter and weighs just 3 ounces.

Orvis SSR Disc Spey Fly Reel

The Orvis SSR Disc Spey reel is a model specially designed and tune for pairing with spey and switch rods. The larger arbor and increased weight balances well with larger two handed rods.

It features the same high performance carbon and stainless steel disc drag that has made the Hydros reel famous. It also has a specially ported design to allow backing and fly line to dry easily and to prevent your reel from freezing up in cold temperatures.

The drag knob also has. aspecial indented design to provide a better tactile surface to grab when fighting a fish. Available only in Black. 

If you’re using a two handed spey or switch rod, this is the reel for you.

This reel comes in the following models:

Disc III3-5 wt
Disc IV5-7 wt
Disc V7-9 wt

Orvis offers a variety of fly reels to meet the needs of different anglers. Whether you’re a serious angler looking for the best of the best or a beginner on a budget, there’s a Orvis fly reel that’s right for you. Don’t hesitate to invest in a high-quality fly reel – it’s an essential piece of equipment that can make all the difference on the water.