Fly anglers forget how valuable our nets are until we forget them. The process of landing a fish becomes far easier with the proper net. Fly fishing nets are a bit different than traditional nets due to their smaller size, so it’s important to choose the net that best lands fish and fits your needs.
The following list of nets includes some of the best options on the market. Any of these nets are going to work great for your fly fishing adventures.
Best Fly Fishing Net: Quick Picks
The Orvis Nomad Camo is the ideal fly fishing net. It's lightweight, durable, and has a rubber net that is deep enough for you to land a variety of fish. The Nomad Camo comes in three different sizes that will fit all needs you would have on the water.
The Orvis Brodin Eco-Clear net is made from plantation-raised teak wood from Costa Rica. Combine this with the rubber net, and you have a beautiful fly fishing net that's more than capable of handling even the most tricky landing situations.
The Fishpond El Jefe is a beautiful long-handled fly fishing net. It has a built-in scale on the handle, and it's extremely light. You can carry it with you all day long while you're out pursuing fish. It's durable enough for all the different types of fish you find.
Best Fly Fishing Nets: Full Reviews
The Nomad Emerger from Fishpond is one of the best fly fishing nets on the market. Anglers are well aware of the Fishpond reputation, and the Nomad Emerger net continues to amplify all of the quality features.
The net itself is 32 inches long and weighs less than one pound. This net is a nice length that allows it to be tucked in the waders or hooked to a vest. The basket is 12 inches deep, so it's plenty deep to handle those larger fish. The actual basket dimensions are 10 inches by 19 inches.
At $160, you're going to be making a large investment, but Fishpond products are worth the price.
- Carbon Fiber & Fiberglass Composite
- Rubber net bag
If you're in the market for an affordable fly fishing net with all of the necessary features, then go with the SF Fly Fishing Soft Rubber Trout net. This net is the perfect travel size. The handle is around 8 inches long, and the hoop is 16 inches.
At 24 inches overall, anglers can stuff this in the wading belt or attach it to the back of their vest. Plus, the 16-inch long hoop is plenty of room for those 16-20 inch giants that you happen to find. The wood is high quality enough that it's going to withstand UV rays and any other inclement weather.
For around $30, you're getting a high-quality net that already comes with ways to attach it to your vest or pack.
- Wood frame and handle
- Stretchable spring cord with magnet connection and carabiner
- Rubber net bag
O'Pros has found the perfect formula for fly fishing nets. Their nets are held in high regard by anglers of all skill levels. The Driftless Dry Fly comes with two different bag depths: 12 inches or 16 inches. Both depths do a fine job of scooping trout, but the 16-inch is perfect for those larger trophies that we all hate to lose.
On both models, the handle is going to be nine inches long, so it's plenty long to dip into the water, hold your fly rod, and land the fish. Plus, the width and length of the hoop (19 inches x 14 inches) ensure you won't lose any of the fish you land.
The net is going to cost you around $130, but the investment is worth it.
- Rubber Bag
- Fiberglass Composite Frame and Handle
- Rubber Grip
No list of great fly fishing products is complete without an Orvis product. The Orvis Nomad Camo net is just about perfect in every single way. Orvis offers this net in three different handle sizes: hand length, mid-length, and guide length. The smaller sizes are great for small stream anglers, and the longer option can work in the drift boat or on those larger rivers where fish seem to be more of a challenge to land.
These nets are built to float high on the water column and have a rubber bag that is not going to harm the fish. These nets range from $120 to $200 depending on the size you choose, but you will get a lifetime worth of use out of them.
- UV Protected
- Carbon Fiber
- Rubberized RiverKoat Handle
Frabill offers a few different sizes for anglers. One of the most common options is the 48-inch handle with a 26-inch by 30-inch hoop. This net is going to work great if you spend most of your time fishing off of a boat or a kayak.
You'll have plenty of lengths to dip deep into the water and scoop up your fish. Plus, these nets have collapsible handles, so if you do need to travel with them, it's more than capable. At $130, you're getting a solid net.
- Nylon Net
- Pow'R Lok yoke system
- Limited lifetime warranty
The Kingfisher Long Handle Net is a mid-length net that works great for both wade and boat fishing. Overall, the net is 40 inches long, with the basket being 19 inches long and 13 inches wide with a depth of 13 inches. It's the ideal size for steelhead, salmon, or similar-sized fish.
The handle is about 20 inches long, so you can get as deep into the water as you would realistically need. The net is too long to attach to your vest or sit in your wades, so you're going to want to keep it in your boat most of the time. You're going to get a great net for around $50. It's going to last a lifetime.
- Wood Handle
- Rubber net
- Fully waterproof and buoyant.
The Orvis Brodin Eco-Clear is the ideal option if you're especially worried about harming fish. These nets are PVC-free and are made with plantation-raised teak wood from Costa Rica. Combine these with the rubber net basket, and you have an entirely natural and safe fly fishing net that is perfect for the job.
Orvis offers these nets in 22, 24, and 30-inch options. They aren't the longest nets, so they're ideal for the walking angler who wants to travel and cover ground.
The Orvis Brodin Eco-Clear net is going to cost you around $160.
- Metal cylinder to clip to pack or vest
- Rubber net
The McLean Short Handle Weigh Net is a good choice for anglers who are handling large fish that want a chance to weigh them. The built-in weigh scale is able to weigh fish upwards of 14 pounds. The net is around 28 inches long with a 20-inch long and 16-inch wide basket. The net depth is 24 inches, so you can land some extremely large fish in the McLean Short Handle.
- Rubber mesh bag
- Fixed frame
- Rubber handle
The final net on this list is another from Fishpond. The overall length of this net is 41 inches, so it can feel long for the walking angler, but it can work. It's especially nice on the drift boat. The basket dimensions are 13 inches by 21 inches, and the net is 14 inches deep. Anglers are going to get an extremely reliable net for around $200.
- Rubber Net
- Scale on Handle
- Carbon Fiber
Buyer’s Guide: What to Look for in a Fly Fishing Net
Fly fishing nets are a vital asset. Along with their abilities to protect the fish, they make landing the fish far easier. For fly anglers, it’s also important that the nets used are easy enough to travel with. We’re moving up and down banks, through rivers and streams, all in tight conditions. The proper net is going to make fly fishing far easier.
Generally, anglers have three different types of materials to choose from when they’re looking to purchase a fly fishing landing net: wood, fiberglass, and aluminum.
Wood nets are a classic design that has been around for years. The main thing that makes wood a good trout fishing net material is its ability to float. Wading through rivers and streams can be a bit treacherous. Anglers all have stories of dropping their net into the river and watching it float downstream. With a wood net, you’ll at least be able to see it as you’re chasing after it. Plus, they’re fairly light.
Fiberglass nets work extremely well. These nets are also known to float, and they’re extremely strong. So, if you slip on a rock and crash into a tree along the bank or happen to drop it on the pavement, a fiberglass net is going to withstand some beatings. Plus, they’re going to last for years. The fiberglass material will be slow to corrode and won’t fall apart.
The final option for frame material is aluminum. Aluminum nets are found in all areas of fishing. They do a great job of landing fish, and you should consider an aluminum frame for your next fly fishing net. They’re strong, light, and able to do the job. Plus, they’re a bit more affordable than fiberglass or carbon fiber nets.
Net Material: Mesh vs Rubber
The next thing anglers should consider is the net material. Most professional fly anglers and fish experts encourage people to use rubber nets. Rubber nets work well for a variety of reasons. First, they’re not easy for fish to see in the water. When you drop it into the water to land the fish, they won’t be able to see the rubber netting as easily. Secondly, and most importantly, a rubber net is going to protect the fish. The material won’t wipe off the vital slime that protects trout. A good fly fishing net has rubber. Plus, rubber nets don’t snag hooks, and they’re quite durable.
Mesh nets can work for fly fishing. If you aren’t targeting trout, then a mesh net works just fine. They’re a good option because they’re far more affordable than a rubber net. Beware that these nets wipe off the necessary slime and can cause hooks to get stuck. Keep a mesh net in your backup fly fishing gear. It’s the ideal material for a budget fly fishing net.
If you’re fishing with an aluminum or fiberglass fly fishing net, then you’re going to find rubber grips. Rubber grips do the job quite well. Regardless of how wet or slippery your hand is, the net is going to stay secure. You can drop it in a fast-moving current and not have to worry about it getting taken downstream.
If you’re using a wood net, you’ll find that most only have wood grips. Wood grips usually work fine. However, if you’re handling a lot of trout, you’ll find that your hand gets quite slippery unless you continually rinse it in the water. Make sure you keep a tight grip on a wooden grip in those quicker currents.
Fly anglers all have different preferences when it comes to fly fishing nets. Most anglers prefer to use a net that’s able to travel with them at all times. Whether that means the net is able to tuck in their wading belt or attach to your pack, make sure it travels well. Most companies offer anglers a 24 or 30-inch net. These are the ideal lengths. They aren’t going to get hung up as you’re trekking through the backcountry, and they’ll do all you need when scooping your fish.
Whatever net you choose, make sure it’s able to land the largest fish you may find.
Companies offer nets at a wide range of prices. Some can be found as cheap as $20 and as expensive as $150 or $200. Most wood, aluminum, or fiberglass nets you purchase are going to do the job. If you’re able to spend anywhere between $30 to $60 on a net, you’re going to get one that should last you your entire lifetime. They’re a heavily used tool but shouldn’t get too battered. Don’t feel the need to break the bank on a fly fishing net.
Some companies are known to embed scales into their nets. Depending on the type of fishing you’re doing, this can be a useful feature. The nets that come with a scale also generally have a measuring stick that can also come in handy. If you do choose to purchase a net with a scale, make sure you’re aware of how to weigh your fish properly. It can be a harmful process if it’s not done correctly.
Fly Fishing Net FAQs
Why Do You Need a Net?
Anglers need a net for the following reasons: to protect fish and to land fish more easily. The process of landing fish can cause quite a bit of damage, and a net prevents that. Instead of pulling the fish up and out of the water, a net allows anglers to scoop up the fish.
Unless you’re targeting extremely small fish, landing fish without a net is a challenge. They can snap the leader, fall out of your hands or shake the hook. A net gives you a chance to land the fish and then deal with unhooking it in a calm and safe way. Nets make a massive difference when landing fish.
What Kind of Net Material Is Best for Catch and Release?
Rubber is the best net material for catch and release. Rubber isn’t going to remove the protective slime, and fish can safely sit in these nets for longer than they could in a mesh net. Rubber material makes life easier for a variety of reasons.
What Is the Best Way to Carry Your Net?
If you’re wearing waders, sliding the handle of the net in between the waders and the wading belt is a great method. The net won’t slide all over the place, and you can easily grab it when it comes time to land a fish. If you aren’t wearing waders, feel free to attach them to your pack or vest. You don’t want to have to pick up and set down your net every time you want to fish. Keeping attached to your body at all times allows for a more efficient fishing experience.
How Do You Net a Fish?
To net a fish, you want to scoop it up from under it. You’ll pull the fish towards you and place your net in the water. As soon as the fish gets over the net, lift up, and you’ll have your fish.
If this method is proving to be challenging, you can hold your net at a 45 or so-degree angle in the water. Pull the fish towards you, and as soon as the head and most of the body get into the net, scoop the fish. This method is great if you’re using one of the shorter nets.