Best Fly Fishing Nets – Buying Guide & Reviews

A good wading rod is just as important as a good fly rod.

Fly fishing nets make it much easier to catch struggling fish. The best fly fishing nets provide gentle protection for delicate fish and preserve their precious scales and slime.

Many of the nets recommended for fly anglers have been reviewed by people who clearly have never fished in their lives. You’ll rarely find what you need, from long-handled nets for large boats with high gunnels to nylon nets capable of removing trout from the water as quickly as a butter knife.

We’re here to help you with the real deal. Each of the nets that we’ve reviewed below has a winning combination of features that make them perfect for you.

Here’s a quick look at the top fly fishing vests.

  • Sunshine Fishing Fly Fishing Landing net Best budget fly fishing net
  • Fishpond Nomad Hand Net– The Best Fly Net for Steelhead, Salmon, and Other Large Species
  • Fishpond Nomad Emerger The Best Long-Handled Wading net for Fly Fishing
  • Fishpond Nomad tailwater Best Kayak and Canoe Fly Fishing net

The Best Fly Fishing Nets – Reviewed

Sunshine Fishing Fly Fishing Landing netBest budget fly fishing net

SF Fly Fishing Landing Soft Rubber Mesh Trout Catch and Release Net with Silver Magnetic Net Release Combo Kit

Handle material: Laminate bamboo and hardwood

Size9.5″x16″x10″

Mesh material rubber

The hoop shape Squared teardrop, rounded teardrop, and long oval

Fly anglers know this well. Sunshine Fishing’s landing net proves that not all fly gear has to be expensive.

Many nets are identical or nearly identical and can be found on the market by companies such as Freestone Outfitters, Isafish, etc. They could be made in the same factory. In any case, they are the same basic net, rebranded to make a distinction, but they don’t have to be different.

Because it offers more net depths and hoop styles than other similar/identical options, I have chosen the Sunshine Fishing option.

It is made of hardwood and laminated bamboo. It has approximately 9 inches of the handle. There are three hoop shapes available: a squared teardrop, a round teardrop, and a longer oval. Each of these three sizes offers approximately 10 inches in width and 16 inches in length, which is plenty of room for trout.

For the roundest hoop style, there are two mesh sizes. If you love micro-mesh, then this is the right choice. The nets are deeper in the rounder hoops.

All Sunshine Fishing landing nets are made of rubber mesh. The fish you release will be grateful!

This net has a magnetic lanyard system that allows you to keep your important gear in place and ready to go. It will float if it does happen to be dropped.

It would be better if the mesh was slightly wider for larger species such as steelhead.

If you are a fly angler and care about your budget, this is the best choice.

Pros

  • Strong handle
  • For smaller trout, we have a great rubber mesh in micro-size
  • A wide range of hoop shapes are available
  • Fantastic lanyard system

Cons

  • For really large trout, the mesh could be a little deeper.

Fishpond Nomad Hand Net– The Best Fly Net for Steelhead, Salmon, and Other Large Species

Fishpond: Nomad Hand Net - Tailwater

Handle material: Carbon fiber and fiberglass

Size: Overall length 26″, 13″ width, 18″ hoop length

Mesh material rubber; 12″ deep

The hoop shape Squared teardrop

FishPond is my favorite fly net manufacturer. Their nets come with a 1-year warranty and are designed by anglers for anglers. They offer features and sizes that reflect real-world experience.

One example is the Nomad Hand Net.

Fly nets that are designed for small- and medium-sized trout are the majority. This is a disappointing realization for anglers who want to chase steelhead or salmon. As they will tell you, it is not easy to get a large fish to fit into a small net.

However, the Nomad is made for larger prey and is perfect for salmon or steelhead lovers.

This net measures 26 inches in length and is easy to use. The cord and connecting hardware are excellent.

This net is large and not recommended for trout fishing. Although it is more likely to be hung up than nets of smaller size, it is still a good choice if you have a big net.

An 18″ x13″ hoop is big enough for large fish and has a full foot depth. The net is made of rubber and protects delicate scales while preserving slime.

This net is made from fiberglass and carbon fiber by FishPond. It weighs less than one pound. This is a significant advantage over worrying about breakage after a long day of fishing on slippery streambeds.

It also floats like a buoy.

Overall, the wading net is better for larger species than any other, although you might be choking at the price.

Pros

  • Uncompromising quality
  • Super lightweight
  • Amazing rubber mesh
  • For larger species such as salmon and steelhead, a large hoop is required and a deep net is needed.
  • Fantastic lanyard system

Cons

  • It’s expensive!

Fishpond Nomad EmergerThe Best Long-Handled Wading net for Fly Fishing

Fishpond Nomad Emerger Net- Brown Trout

Handle material: Carbon fiber and fiberglass

Size32″ overall length, 9.8″ width; 18.8″ hoops length

Mesh material rubber, 12″ deep

The hoop shape square, long-lasting teardrop

The Fishpond Nomad emerger is the ideal choice for trout anglers looking to extend their reach with their wading nets. The Fishpond Nomad Emerger has the same uncompromising quality as the standard Nomad. A few extra inches can make the difference between landing or losing a fish.

The Emerger measures 32 inches total length and has a handle that extends a little more than afoot. This gives you a comfortable reach for the big moments.

To make it less noticeable when not needed, the hoop is kept small. However, you will find the net to be quite deep at 12 inches. Even large trout won’t crowd it.

The Emerger, made from fiberglass and carbon fiber, is strong enough to withstand all Mother Nature has to offer while weighing less than a pound. It also floats like a dry fly with fresh wax.

This is an extremely difficult job as a trout-wading fisherman, but you can expect to pay a lot.

Pros

  • Uncompromising quality
  • Super lightweight
  • Amazing rubber mesh
  • Deep net for big trout
  • Fantastic lanyard system

Cons

  • It’s expensive!

Fishpond Nomad tailwater – Best Kayak and Canoe Fly Fishing net

FishPond Nomad Mid-Length Net - Tailwater

Handle material: Carbon fiber and fiberglass

Size Overall length: 37″, 13″ wide, 18″ hoop.

Mesh material rubber, 12″ deep

The hoop shape Teardrop

A standard wading net is not enough for fly anglers who fish from kayaks and canoes. They require a net that is longer and has more handles than standard nets.

This is a problem.

Tailwater is your solution.

This 37-inch net has 19 inches of the handle, giving it plenty of reach for small boats. It also features the same high-quality FishPond nets.

The large teardrop hoop measures approximately 13″ x 18, providing plenty of room for big trout. The rubber net is as soft on fish as it gets, and measures a foot in-depth, giving plenty of space.

The Tailwater, like all FishPond fly nettings, is made of fiberglass and carbon fiber. This makes it strong as well as light.

However, the net’s overall length makes it unsuitable for wading.

Pros

  • Long handling
  • Uncompromising quality
  • Super lightweight
  • Amazing rubber mesh
  • Deep net for big trout

Cons

  • It’s expensive!

How to Find the Best Fly Fishing News

Size and shape of the hoop

There are many sizes and shapes of landing and wading nets.

Some anglers prefer squared-off hoops while others prefer round teardrops. It all comes down to personal preference.

A larger hoop will catch more debris and be in the way. It’s an essential tool for larger species such as salmon and steelhead, and a great addition to trout.

It is not easy to coax a fish that is struggling into a small net.

Consider what you really need versus the hassle and expense of a large hoop.

Handle length

A longer handle means more reach. If you have a fish on your line that is threatening to run away, a few extra inches can make a difference.

However, a heavier net will have longer handles and a longer overall length. Remember that your net will be trailed from your vest hook. If your net is too long it can get in your way.

32 inches is the longest I can use for wading. Your mileage may vary.

Mesh material

There are three types of mesh, but the only one protects the fish. There are two types of nylon: coated nylon and knotless nylon. Only rubber mesh reduces handling time, scale/mucous damage, and minimizes handling time.

Nylon

Nylon is a tough material and can take a beating. However, it can also be rough on fish. This is a poor choice for delicate species, especially if you are using catch and release.

The only problem with nylon for tough, big bruisers is the ease with which sharp hooks can get embedded in it. This is also why some nylon-coated meshes are sometimes used to protect delicate scales.

Nylon landing nets, coated or uncoated, increase handling time according to a recent study on catch and release fishing.

Due to hook entanglement within the netting material, some mesh types had longer handling times than others (e.g., knotless nylon micromesh or rubber-coated nylon mesh). However, Brook Trout caught with bare hands are more likely to be dropped into the bottom of the boat than if they were landed using wet hands. The large, knotless rubber mesh proved to be the most beneficial for Brook Trout.

Rubber Mesh

For fly anglers who catch and release, rubber mesh is becoming more common.

It is gentle on the scales, gill plates, and helps keep trout in top shape. It is also excellent at protecting the mucous coating of fish and keeping them happy as they return to the water.

It is also difficult–I won’t say impossible!-–to grab a hook in a rubber net, making them easier to use and reducing handling times.

Knotless Mesh

To save more fish, knotless mesh designs are intended to be extremely smooth. They are advertised as being good for fish, but unfortunately, that is not the truth.

As the Chinook Observer reports, “Knotless nylon mesh had the highest frequency of scale loss. Scale loss occurred in similar proportions with rubber-coated nylon mesh and bare hands.

Most commonly, the knotless nylon mesh caused mucous loss about 1.5 times as often as bare hands.

Knotless mesh attracts hooks like magnets, which increases handling time.

To preserve the sport we love, we will only recommend rubber mesh landing netting.

Last Thoughts

We cannot tell you which net will work best for you. Only you can decide. Any of these nets will allow you to make fly fishing memories that you want.

We hope this article helped you choose your next fly fishing net.

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Lewis
Lewis Mark is a vastly experienced fly fisher. His encyclopedic knowledge of fly tying has led to start blog on fishing. He also review Fishing equipment based on his knowledge and experience.