women

   Photo: Inga Hendrickson

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. 

The XX Factor Issue
Our special issue highlights the athletes, activists, and icons who have shaped the outside world.
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Orvis Women’s Silver Sonic Convertible-Top Waders ($279)

womens gear
  Photo: Courtesy of Orvis

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.

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Maven Fly Mock C Pullover ($139)

womens gear
  Photo: Courtesy of Maven

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. 

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Abel Larko Brown Trout Hand-Painted Reel ($1,255)

womens gear
  Photo: Courtesy of Abel Larko

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. 

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SaraBella ­Custom Fly Rod ($500 and up)

womens gear
  Photo: Courtesy of SaraBella

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.

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Filson Summer Packer Hat ($60)

womens gear
  Photo: Courtesy of Filson

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.

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Flyvines Bracelet ($12)

womens gear
  Photo: Courtesy of Flyvines

Made from upcycled fly lines, this bangle adjusts to fit any wrist size. 

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Costa Tippet Sunglasses $229

womens gear
  Photo: Courtesy of Costa

Costa scaled down its full-coverage frames for smaller faces. Glare defeating Silver Mirror glass lenses help reveal camouflaged fish.

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Fisknat Stream Hand Net ($110)

womens gear
  Photo: Courtesy of Fisknat

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.

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Umpqua Bandolier ZS Sling ($70)

womens gear
  Photo: Courtesy of Umpqua

The Bandolier’s configurations adapt to women’s curves, and streamlined tool garages keep nippers and other essentials from snagging my line.

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Patagonia Women’s Ultralight Wading Boots ($189)

womens gear
  Photo: Courtesy of Patagonia

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.

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The Expert: Kelly Bastone makes her home beside the Yampa River in northern Colorado, where she spends her waking hours stalking arm-length trout.

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