SAGE TROUT LL FLY ROD REVIEW – Fins and Feathers Bozeman
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Category_Gear Reviews -


The new SAGE TROUT LL family of fly rods are an ideal choice for summer fly fishing throughout the western Rockies and especially appropriate for our home waters around Bozeman, Montana. Perfectly suited for in close to medium distances with dries and light nymphs, the TROUT LL will surprise the experienced angler with its ability to deliver accurate casts at distance and in the wind as well.

The Sage Trout LL hit the market in mid-2019 as the standout choice for Best Freshwater Fly Rod at the 2019 IFTD (fly-fishing industry tradeshow). The rod name itself is a callout to Sage loyalists, bringing to mind images of buttery smooth loops laying out small dries with delicate precision. Although nobody would suggest that the old LL is anything short of an all-time favorite, the current TROUT LL is my personal favorite dry fly rod for the time-being.

The TROUT LL story starts with SAGE delivering on their mantra of “Perfecting Performance” which is often confused with building something that is lighter, faster, and more durable. Although those are salient attributes that resonate in magazine ads and web descriptions, sometimes the most meaningful progress can be found in attributes like smooth, easy, and accurate which are much more difficult to quantify. With the TROUT LL, SAGE brought to market a remarkably nimble and accurate dry fly rod that is fun to fish with while delivering accuracy and performance that is uniquely SAGE.

The blanks are rolled on Bainbridge Island from premium graphite featuring KONNETTIC HD technology. In a nutshell - this is the part about “Perfecting Performance” – including lighter, more durable, and increased energy transfer efficiency. This technology is found in all of SAGE’s high-end fly rods including the IGNITER, X, SALT HD, ESN, DART, & TROUT SPEY HD. Sage is able to use this technology and decades of design expertise to deliver application specific, best in class fly rods.

Having fished the TROUT LL rods in 3-6-line weight ranges and settled on a 486 and 590 as the two models to add to my quiver. I enjoyed fishing all of the rods, but those are the two models that are best suited to the waters I find myself casting a dry fly on, more times than not. Although they are slower than most modern rods, they have plenty of power to launch a full line and deliver tight loops in the wind in the hands of an experienced angler. The novice angler will quickly improve their casting stroke with the TROUT LL as they are easy rods to feel loading throughout the casting stroke. The real hallmark of these TROuT LL series is the way the rods bend with feel when under load during the cast or while hooked up on a fish.

I spent the better part of 9 months fishing on and off with the TROUT LL as I wanted to give it a fair shake before giving it my final “thumbs up.” The TROUT LL 590, in particular, has been with me while fishing hoppers on the Yellowstone, Salmonflies on the Madison, Tricos on the East Gallatin, Brown Drakes on the lower Madison, various winter dry fly sessions, spring Baetis adventures in Southwest Montana, and finally a week in the Coyhaique region on Chile this past winter. That rod has been in every dry-fly and light nymphing scenario a trout fly angler is likely to encounter. The biggest surprise to me was the rods ability to perform on some really windy days on the Yellowstone and during my week in Chile. Paired with the right line (RIO Technical Trout WF), I had no problems creating tight loops to cut through the wind and deliver accurate casts in the 40-60’ range with big dries and dry/dropper rigs.

As the summer season is finally starting to come into its own here in Southwest Montana, it’s time to start thinking about dry fly fishing for a few months. Whether it’s Spruce Moths on the Gallatin, Ants on Slough Creek, or attractor patterns on you favorite small stream, the SAGE TROUT LL in your hand will make the days ahead more fun and productive. Stop by our Bozeman fly shop or take a more detailed look at the TROUT LL family online as well. The Sage TROUT LL retail for $850, are made in the USA, and come with the SAGE Lifetime Warranty. We offer free shipping to anywhere in the Continental USA with purchases over $50 or you can order ahead for free Curbside Pickup as well. Stop by and check these rods out at your convenience or call ahead to arrange for a private shopping experience.