How to Pick the Best Fly Fishing Net

Fly fishing is a much gentler form of angling than traditional fishing. The lures are tiny, the cast is slow and methodical, and even the fish need to be handled with more care. If you’re fly fishing for delicate species like trout, you need a proper fly-fishing net to land and release your trophy fish without any harm done.

There are dozens of different fly-fishing nets to choose from, but not all will suit your needs and budget. Let’s learn how to pick the best fly-fishing net including different types of nets, what they’re used for, and ten of our top picks for fly fishing nets.

Fly Fishing Net Basics

Types of Fishing Net Handles

  • Wood – Traditional material for making fishing nets. Wood’s benefits are more aesthetic as it’s heavier than carbon fiber but won’t last any longer. Wood nets are good for casual fly fishers who like the beauty of traditional wood over other materials.

  • Carbon Fiber – The modern material for fly fishing nets. Carbon fiber is ultra-light, ultra-strong, and not as expensive as you might think. Carbon fiber is an excellent choice for fly fishing nets.

  • Aluminum / Plastic – Not recommended for fly fishing nets.

Types of Fishing Net Baskets

  • Rubber – The most popular material for fishing nets. Rubber is transparent and gentle on fish.

  • Coated Nylon – Nylon coated in rubber. Also gentle on fish but less transparent in the water.

  • Non-Coated Nylon – Abrasive and not recommended for fly fishing species like trout.

Fishing Net Handle and Basket Size

Fishing net size is critical for comfort and the ability to wrangle in your catch. You never want to haul in a large fish only to find it won’t fit it in your net but you don’t want to unnecessarily haul a big net everywhere when you’re targeting smaller species. Choose a net that matches the size of fish you’re targeting and aim for larger over smaller if you must choose.

Handle size is also important. You’ll need a handle long enough to reach over brush or the side of a boat, but you don’t want something too awkward to carry around. A telescoping net handle allows for different size handles but isn’t as robust as solid handles.

Like net size, determine your handle size with target species. Are you aiming for 10 to 12-inch trout or 2- foot salmon? You want your net to match the target species and where you’re fishing in terms of net depth, net opening, and handle length. Most fly fishers have multiple nets depending on what they’re fishing for and where.

Other Basics

Releases – Ideally your fishing net will come with a ‘quick release’ which allows you to connect and disconnect the net from your apparel with one hand easily and instantly.

Mesh – Mesh size needs to match what you’re fishing more. More delicate species like trout require fine mesh while sunfish like bass need a bigger mesh.

Warranty – Consider the warranty when purchasing a net. You might be willing to pay more for a high-end net if it comes with a superior warranty.