Best 5 Fly Fishing Nets to Land a Trophy Fish

Fly fishing is an extremely popular form of angling in North America and this article will showcase the best fly fishing nets that are currently available on the market.

Fly fishing requires specialist equipment from the weighted fly fishing line to the fly fishing rod and reel, and the net is no exception. This is all about catch and release - to make sure that you don't hurt your catch and allow it to return to the wild safely. This means that you net shouldn't have sharp edges that will cut the scales or damage the gills.

If you aren't carrying a net, then you are gambling on losing that trophy fish as it spits the hook just as you reach down to land it.

I have put together a list of the best 5 fly fishing nets that are around at the moment and what type of fishing they are suitable for - make sure you pick that one that best suits your own individual needs.

But before that I have put together a comprehensive buyer's guide so that you can understand all the important specifications for fly fishing netsso that you can make an educated choice when making your purchase.

Let's go!

Fly Fishing Net Buyer's Guide

Before you make a purchase please read through our buyer's guide to learn some more information about the key metrics or specifications to make sure you can select the ideal net for your personal needs.

Types of Net

First things first, there are two general types of nets - a fixed frame and a foldable. Let's explain these two designs to begin.

Fixed Frame

A fixed frame is as simple as it sounds - a piece of wood, aluminum, or plastic shapes in a circle or teardrop shape with a net hanging down. This is the most common and affordable option. They are strong and sturdy and should be your first choice unless there is an important reason that they don't make sense for your circumstances.

Foldable

The second design is the foldable frame. These take up less space and can be stored on your person or tackle bag with ease. They can also have telescopic handles. 

The foldable frames are also rarely available in wood, which is my personal preference for materials of construction.

Material of Construction

Nets are made up of two main components - the handle and the net. And both of these can be manufactured from a variety of materials. Understanding the differences between these materials is important to understand the quality and performance of the tool.

Handle

There are a few different materials that the handle can be made from but they can generally be narrowed down into wood and plastic.

Personally, I love the look and feel of a hard wood fly fishing net handle. They bring up the nostalgia of the sport and the quality is second to none. The wood will last for a lifetime and can be repaired easily.

On the downside the wooden handles can be much heavier than a plastic alternative. The wooden nets are also generally more expensive.

There are also some carbon fiber composites which give the best of both worlds.

Net

There are also a few different materials for the net including rubber and polyester.

Rubber is my preference. It is thicker and provides less damage to the fish when handling. It also doesn't get damaged from hooks and wear and tear. Polyester nets can also be difficult to remove a tangled hook from.

Rubberized net material is the gold standard for fly fishing nets.

Size

How big a fish are you targeting? The answer is always the State Record right? Make sure the size of the net you pick is appropriate for the fish you are targeting.

You don't want to carry a large, heavy net that keeps getting caught in the vegetation when a smaller net would do fine. Even worse would be hooking a trophy fish that won't fit in your tiny net. Give this some thought.

Net opening length:

  • Small - 10 inches
  • Medium - 13 inches
  • Large - 18 inches

Net opening width:

  • Small - 6 inches
  • Medium - 10 inches
  • Large - 13 inches

Net depth:

  • Small - 8 inches
  • Medium - 10 inches
  • Large - 12 inches

Pick the size that suits your needs.

Release Mechanism

The release mechanism is how you keep hold of your net on your fly fishing vest while your hands are busy fishing. The most common form is a strap that you can tie off to your belt or vest.

More modern designs also have a magnetic release. The magnetic release comes with an attachment you can put high up on your back to store your net away from water and vegetation. But the release means you can grab it easily whenever you need it at a moment's notice.

I would certainly recommend a magnetic release - the last thing you want to do while waiting with a trophy fish on the line is to untie the strap you have to your belt loops.

Weight

Remember - if you intend to spend a full day in the water carrying your net, then it is another thing to carry. If you are already wearing your vest and waders, along with your tackle bag, multitool, or lure boxes, then you need to start thinking about the weight.

Particularly for nets with a heavy wooden frame they can get pretty heavy.

This is certainly not a deal breaker, particularly if you aren't going to be fishing for extended lengths of time.

I would suggest going from a net that is under 1-2 pounds in weight.

Best Fly Fishing Nets

1. Best for Trout - Mounchain Fly Fishing Landing Net

Mounchain Fishing Net, Wooden Frame Fish Net with Clear Soft Rubber Mesh for Trout Fishing Catch and...
  • A Catch and Release Net - Won't Spook or Harm Fish. The pure clear rubber net won't spook fish, because it looks like disappeared in the water. High quality rubberized net material won't tangle or...
  • Comfortable Wooden Handle - Solid and sturdy wooden handle is smooth coating of solid wood laminate, comfortable and easy to grip, durable frame is made of wood for long time use.
  • Compact & Portable - The perfect size flying fishing net attached with a safety cord, portable to hang on your back. Lightweight and easy to carry by the pouch included.

I love the wooden design of this Mounchain net. It is sturdy and durable but also small enough that you can keep it on your body without feeling awkward. It also has a rubber mesh net which is our preference as well. The winning combination of a rubber net and wooden handle.

It has a safety tether that you can attach to your waders so you don't lose it - but it does float so you won't lose it.

At 11 ounces, you will hardly feel the weight of this net and it won't weigh you down.

It also comes in its own protective case to store it for the long term. Along with its 1 year replacement warranty, this is our number 1 recommendation.

Net opening length - 15"

Net opening width - 10"

Net depth - 10"

Pros

  • Ideal combination of wooden handle and rubber mesh net
  • Compact and portable
  • Floating design and safety tether
  • 1 year manufacturers warranty

Cons

  • Can be on the small side depending on the species you are targeting
  • Small fish can slip through the wide webbing

2. Magnetic Release - Freestone Outfitters Landing Net

ON SALE $4.00 OFF
Southern Fox Outfitters Hardwood Fly Fishing Set: Rubber Mesh Net, Magnetic Release
  • Won't Spook or Harm Fish: Made with clear rubber mesh, our tangle-free net virtually disappears in the water. Won't frighten fish or damage their delicate natural slime. Perfect for catch-&-release!...
  • No Rot, Mold, or Mildew: From its strong hardwood frame to its soft, sturdy mesh, this net resists wear & decay. Classic teardrop design measures 25"; hoop is 16.75" x 10.75" x 8" deep.
  • Release Keeps Net Handy: With our sturdy carabiner (included), you can easily clip our magnetic release to your vest or pack. That way, you'll keep your net close by yet conveniently out of your way.

This Freestone Outfitters net comes with a magnetic release and carabiner. This allows you to store your net out of the way, high on your back - but also allows you to reach it and access it without needing to undo knots or straps. It is the best method for attaching the net to your person.

This also comes with my favorite combination of a gorgeous wooden handle and the soft rubber net that is ideal for trout. The hardwood frame will protect from rot and mildew and won't get damaged from a feisty fish. This is the kind of fly fishing net that will last for years to come.

It also comes with a great 1 year manufacturer's warranty so you don't have to worry about damage in transit or during use.

Net opening length - 16"

Net opening width - 10"

Net depth - 8"

Pros

  • Magnetic release for easy access
  • Wooden handle and rubber mesh net to protect your catch
  • 1 year manufacturer's warranty

Cons

  • Very small trout can fall through the holes in the rubber net
  • The frame is not large enough for very large fish at only 8 inches deep

3. Best Foldable - ODDSPRO Fly Fishing Landing Net

ON SALE $4.00 OFF
ODDSPRO Fly Fishing Landing Net, Bass Trout Net, Catch and Release Ruber Coating Net - Foldable...
  • 【Top Quality Material】- the handle and hoop are made of High-density carbon fiber mixed with fiberglass material, making it very lightweight, impact resistant, and strong. The handle is finished...
  • 【Waterproof Ruber Coating Nylon Mesh】- there is a ruber coating on the net, which is waterproof and helps to protect the net from water logging, bad odours. Knotless nylon mesh prevents fishhooks...
  • 【Easy to Carry and Use】-ODDSPRO collapsible fly fishing net, designed with foldable collapsible handle, which can be clipped to the waist or back, and a simple flick will get them into a usable...

The next net on our list is the Oddspro foldable net. If you want something that takes up the least amount of space possible, then check out this option. The handle telescopes in and can be folded 180 degrees to really minimize the area that it takes up during storage or transport. It is easy to carry and can be turned into a useful net at a push of a button.

Just realize, that you will need to spend a few seconds extended this net while you have a fish on your line if you haven't prepared it beforehand.

The frame is made from carbon fiber which is both strong and light and has a modern black design.

The net is a rubber coated nylon net, and it only weighs 11 ounces.

Net opening length - 15"

Net opening width - 11"

Net depth - 10"

Pros

  • Extremely small mesh holes so you won't lose small fish through the gaps
  • Foldable handle to take up the smallest amount of space possible

Cons

  • The frame does not float so attach the strap
  • Personally I prefer the wooden frames than this carbon fiber frame

4. Best Value for Money - Crystal River Live Release Net

Crystal River Live Release Net
  • Fishing Equipment Nets & Traps
  • Fishing Equipment Nets & Traps
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This Crystal River release net has a laminated hardwood design with a removable elastic strap to connect to your vest.

The main feature of this net is the affordable price for a wooden net. It is very difficult to get hardwood nets at a low price, so if you are after an entry level net that is not plastic then have a look at this option.

It weighs less than 1 pound which is great for a hardwood design.

The net is not made from rubber which is our preference.

This is good value for money, but it is certainly not the highest quality net available. If you are just getting started in fly fishing and don't know if you will continue then maybe this will suit your requirements.

Net opening length - 13"

Net opening width - 6"

Net depth - 9"

Pros

  • Very affordable design
  • Removable elastic strap
  • Laminated hardwood handle

Cons

  • Doesn't have a rubber net which can damage the fish more than neccessary
  • Very small size that is not suitable for large fish - only a 6" net opening width

5. Best Carbon Fiber - FishPond Nomad Net

Fishpond: Nomad Hand Net - Tailwater
  • FISHPOND NOMAD HAND NET - Tailwater

The last net on our list is the FishPond Nomad. 

Carbon fiber is a good option as it is both strong and light. Personally I prefer the aesthetics of the old fashioned wooden nets but carbon fiber is becoming more and more popular.

At 12 ounces it is lightweight and you will hardly feel it when travelling or fishing - that is the beauty of carbon fiber designs. It is UV protected, durable, lightweight, and buoyant.

It is surprisingly large for its weight and you will be able to catch trophy trout or bass in this net. It comes with a rubber bag to store it so it will last for the long term.

Net opening length - 18"

Net opening width - 13"

Net depth - 12"

Pros

  • Floats like a cork so you won't lose it to the bottom of the river
  • Clear rubber net that won't scare the fish away
  • Large net for big trophy fish

Cons

  • The large size can get in the way depending on how you attach it

Conclusion

That brings us to the end of our list. I hope that you have enjoyed this article and found out something new about fly fishing nets. If you want more information then there are some more guides available online.

A high quality fly fishing net will help you land more fish and protect them from getting hurt or damaged. They are useful for you and for the fish.

If you have a fly fishing net that you have used for years and would recommend to your friends then please let us know in a comment below. We love to learn from our readers and share your wisdom with our audience.

Happy fishing.

Russ Egan
 

Russ is an avid angler. He has fished all over the world, primarily for Saltwater game fish but also for local prize fish. Russ writes reviews for all of his fishing gear to help others achieve their own fishing goals. His favorite reel is a Shimano Tyrnos for an overhead reel or a Shimano Curado for a baitcaster. His dream is to catch a Black Marlin.

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