For decades, outdoor brands gave little attention to women’s products. That’s changing fast. We asked a field of expert female athletes to nominate the best new performance tools in a range of sports. Here, we present our favorite fly-fishing gear.
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Orvis Women’s Silver Sonic Convertible-Top Waders ($279)
The crowning achievement of these waterproof-breathable waders is fit. Orvis figured out how to flatter a range of women’s body types. Which is important when you’re posing for all those trophy photos.
Maven Fly Mock C Pullover ($139)
Fly-fisher Lise Lozelle launched Maven Fly in 2012 to make the functional but feminine apparel she had searched for in vain. The loose turtleneck on her cotton-Lycra pullover turns sun and wind protection into a style statement.
Abel Larko Brown Trout Hand-Painted Reel ($1,255)
Even unadorned, Abel’s impeccably machined reels are masterpieces that feel as good as they look. This one adds some extra flair with a kaleidoscopic brown trout hand-painted by Andrea Larko, a Pennsylvania artist and angler.
SaraBella Custom Fly Rod ($500 and up)
Founded by fly-fisher April Archer, SaraBella makes custom rods for women—and yes, options do include colors like lavender and sparkly teal. But the real value is in personalizing the build and grip—there’s even a narrow option for smaller hands.
Filson Summer Packer Hat ($60)
Though it looks like my grandpa’s favorite fishing cap, this modernized version of the sportsman’s fedora features lighter-weight fabric and grommets for ventilation.
Flyvines Bracelet ($12)
Made from recycled fly lines, this bangle adjusts to fit any wrist size.
Costa Tippet Sunglasses ($229)
Costa scaled down its full-coverage frames for smaller faces. Glare defeating Silver Mirror glass lenses help reveal camouflaged fish.
Fisknat Stream Hand Net ($110)
Rubber mesh minimizes damage to fish’s protective slime coat, and the hand-built frame makes this net a beautiful tool. The laminated handle layers strong, richly colored walnut, ash, and bubinga woods.
Umpqua Bandolier ZS Sling ($70)
The Bandolier’s configurations adapt to women’s curves, and streamlined tool garages keep nippers and other essentials from snagging my line.
Patagonia Women’s Ultralight Wading Boots ($189)
With soft baffles at the Achilles to accommodate women’s calves (which extend lower on the leg than men’s) and a low-volume footbox that hugs narrower heels, this boot offers unrivaled support and stability.
The Expert: Kelly Bastone makes her home beside the Yampa River in northern Colorado, where she spends her waking hours stalking arm-length trout.