Fly reels are used to balance the weight of the rod during fly fishing.  They provide the necessary power to the rod to hold the fish when it is trying to escape. Different types of inexpensive fly reels are made for different types of fish and water. 

People who love fly fishing or are at a beginner level don’t know much about the type of reel they should buy for their fly-fishing trip. Due to this, they spend much more on the type of reel that isn’t up to their expectations.

Every type of gear in fly fishing is made for certain tasks keeping the outer environment and conditions in mind. Everyone has his/her choice when it comes to fly fishing, whether they love freshwater or saltwater.

After some research, we have found the 7 best fly reels under $100 that are suitable for specific conditions and environments and would help you choose the right reel for the right price.

What does a Fly Reel do?

A fly-fishing reel does three basic tasks related to the fly line to catch the fish. One use of a fly reel is to store the line. The reel can hold more than twice the amount of line, which balances the weight of the rod.

Fly reel helps to attract the fish quickly without much effort, which makes it easier to fight against the fish. It also helps to throw a larger and farther fishing lure to catch a fish, increasing your chances of catching more fish.   

The reel also helps maintain the pressure required to control the fish while fly fishing.

What should you look for in a Budget Fly Reel?

A Fly Reel should support the fly rod and the external conditions in which it is being used by the angler. A fly fish reel comes in different shapes and sizes, so it is important to choose the right reel size that can support your rod’s weight.

There are hundreds of inexpensive fly reels out there, but some specific factors will help an individual choose the right reel for their choice and main purpose. The main factors that determine the right choice for a reel are as follows: –

Price- Depending on the quality and the make, fly reels run from as low as $40 to $800 and above. But a very good trout fly reel can be bought in the range below $100, and you can buy an excellent reel with exceptional features and specifications that will last you a lifetime.

Material/Construction- Most of the time, reels are made of aluminum or plastic. Aluminum is stronger than plastic and acts well. It is up to your suitability which material you choose. 

Arbor Size- Size is very important as it supports the fly rod. Arbor size should be chosen to easily handle the line weight and support the rod.

Drag System- Drag system plays an important role while fishing for a big fish but not in the case of a trout. So, one must choose a strong drag system for fishing for big fish.

Here are the 7 Best Fly Reels under $100

1. Best Cheap Fly Reel Under 100 – Orvis Clearwater

The Orvis Clearwater fly reel is often said as an all-rounder fly fishing reel. This budget fly reel has a completely reconstructed recently, bringing it up to date with the latest technology to match the best entry. The Orvis fly reel is durable, so there is no need to customize it with some fly combos. 

With a large reel size, you get a powerful pull to draw the fish in your direction. This is a major quality that makes this the best-value fly reel. You can use the Orvis Clearwater in most environments, rivers, and lakes to work well in freshwater and saltwater.

 The reel is well made, while the graphite insert is strong and requires little maintenance. This reel is very cheap in price; therefore, it is so popular among fly-fishing enthusiasts – especially if you don’t have a huge budget but still want to get the most out of your fly-fishing hobby.


  • Very lightweight to balance the fly rod.
  • 25-year warranty
  • Pulling capacity


  • Large arbor increased drag pressure
  • The texture is not very smooth
  • Not suitable for the beginners

2. Best Trout Fly Reel Under 100- Redington Zero

This affordable fly reel is best suited for trout angling on shallower streams and rivers. This reel is a fast-action reel that does not require much effort to handle and operate. This reel comes with soft touch handles, so the angler can easily do multiple hand movements.

This reel offers a fast draw which requires less force to catch the fish. A person can use this reel with any hand he/she wants, whether it is left or right. So, if you need a fast, actionable reel to catch much small fish, you should definitely purchase this reel. 

One can choose the best match for your fishing setup based on the rod and fly line you favor using.


  • Lightweight
  • Soft touch handles
  • Durable and strong construction
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Best suitable for the beginners


  • The clicking sound is very much loud
  • Has very little drag power

3. Best Saltwater – Redington Crosswater Fly Reel

The Redington’s Crosswater reel offers an excellent choice for the beginner learning fly fishing. This fly reel can be used for any size of fish, whether it is a big fish or a medium fish. It is the best saltwater fly reel under $100 which can resist corrosion by harsh saltwater conditions.

It is equipped with a graphite medium-fast action fly rod which is hard to break. This reel is made to attract even a big fish with much less effort. The Crosswater reel provides great length to pull a farther line, but it also comes with a shorter length, increasing its fighting capability against the fish.

It is a slow-action fly reel that provides stability against saltwater currents and can last much longer than any other fly reel. This makes it a perfect choice for travel anglers.


  • Large arbor design for a strong pull
  • Strong drag system
  • Great for the beginners
  • Excellent price


  • Does not work well with small fishes
  • Lack of a shoulder strap on the carry case
  • 1-year warranty only

4. Best 5 Weight Fly Reel – Temple Fork Outfitters NXT

This fly reel is a lightweight fly reel that helps in learning the sport for beginners in an easy way. The 5-weight reels are often considered ideal for an all-around fly device; these reels work very well for small fishes and trout.

This reel is made of large sizes, providing a great reach and choice for many anglers. It is equipped with a strong handle which provides a smooth grip and eliminates wrist pain.

This reel is made with a large arbor and strong drag system, and this will allow the fly line to flow off with ease and smoothness. A large arbor also increases the capability to quickly pull the fish out of the water. It also features a reel case to protect it when you take a road trip this summer.

Designed for fly fishing in both saline and fresh waters, the aluminum reel can tackle the tough conditions in salty water.


  • Large arbor reel
  • Easy to control/ handle
  • Lifetime warranty
  • The adjustable gear drag system


  • Does not work well on saltwater
  • Not good for big fish or big trout
  • Not great at long distances

5. Pflueger Trion Fly Fishing Reel – Best Fly Reel under $50

This budget fly reel is made for a better and smooth fishing experience. This reel is a lightweight reel that gives some relaxation to the shoulders. This reel is good for long-hour use, as it is properly balanced.

Stainless steel protects it from harsh saltwater conditions. This reel is equipped with a center draw system used for fishing in hard water conditions like drift and provides stability to the rod.

These reels are great for teaching beginners as they can draw the fish from any hand, left or right, giving a similar result. These reels are designed for fast and strong fish species, as they can put great pressure and force on a fish.

Comes with a powerful knob to control the lining; this under 50 dollars reel is an excellent choice for all types of anglers.

This reel comes at a low price and offers the best quality that is worth buying.


  • Lightweight
  • Large arbor size
  • Powerful knob
  • Central drag system


  • They don’t hold many lines
  • Nonadjustable drag

6. Okuma SLV Diecast Aluminum Fly Reel

These reels can perform any task on water and are suitable for all types of anglers. These heavyweight reels increase the rate of bringing the fish out of the water. This reel is designed to fight against big fish and easily attract them. These reels can smoothly work with the fly rod and control the movements of the fish by drawing them in a particular direction.

This reel offers short-line recovery, saving time and reducing the chances of fish escaping.

These reels come with a short length, giving the rod extra power to maintain stability while fishing. This reel works well in saltwater, made with stainless steel to avoid corrosion from saltwater. These reels are equipped with a large arbor, allowing anglers to throw the line farther. This reel can be a suitable option for people who like to take on big fish and trout.


  • Large arbor size
  • Fast recovery rate
  • Suitable for big fishes


  • Causes shoulder pain
  • Not suitable for beginners

7. Wright and McGill Dragon Fly Reel

Wright and McGill Dagon Fly Reel are made of lightweight design, which greatly benefits newcomers. This reel is effective for speedy fish species and other small fishes that are hard to catch. These reels offer precision-based aiming in which anglers can draw the line at the right position and increase the chances of catching fish.

This reel provides smooth function while releasing the line. Equipped with a focused drag system, this reel cash in a particular direction. This is a great feature that makes it a buyable option for many anglers.

This reel comes with a large arbor design that can hold large lines. 

This reel comes with a protective case to protect the reel. All these factors, including an affordable price, can be all an angler can ask for. 


  • Lightweight
  • Super large Arbor
  • Protective case
  • Good for beginners


  • Not suitable for saltwater
  • Nonadjustable drag


You can save your hard earned money and still get that superior-quality fly reel for $100.  You can check out all the reels mentioned above which can suit you and your style of fishing. These reels can add more value to you by providing better functioning and services.

Many expensive reels just take money out of your pocket and, in return, give bad-quality functioning. While purchasing a reel, one must keep in mind all the aspects like drag, weight, and arbor size to get a better-functioning reel for a much more affordable price. You can choose a reel according to your suitability from the abovementioned reels.