Ross Evolution R Fly Fishing Reel

Ross Evolution R Review – My Take on the Ross Revealed!

Ross Evolution R is an amazing reel that loves both saltwater and freshwater. The reel is designed to handle anything the rivers/lakes/sea has to offer. Built by the same folks that make Abel Reels and Airflo Fly Line by a company that has been producing high-quality reels for almost five decades, and the Evolution R is no exception.

Its unique drag design delivers smooth power in its compact, lightweight package when fishing. Its wide range of braking adjustments produces the highest drag pressure of all fly reels.

The Evolution R features some of the latest technologies in the industry designed to make fly fishing fun. But overall, it’s a reliable, high-quality reel that can help you fight your trophy catch. In this Ross Evolution R review, we’ll analyze the different features of this product and how it compares to some of the industry’s top reels.

Recommended Ross Evolution R Reel
Recommended Ross Evolution R Reel

Why I Love the Ross Evolution R

  • Built with weight reduction in mind from the start
  • Fully sealed carbon drag system (smooth startup inertia)
  • Spool shape lays the line down smooth without piling up

If your ready to setup to a reel that will last a lifetime – Pick up the Evolution R

The Evolution R Overview

The Evolution series has revolutionized the modern trout reel, especially with the introduction of Evolution R. Evolution R is as powerful as its cousins, the Evolution R salt. This reel is the first of its line, but it has helped develop the Evolution LTX.

When Ross Reels thought of producing this reel, they wanted to combine lightweight, durability, and substantial drag. Therefore, they created the Evo R; after all, machining reliable gear is both an art and a skill.

Just as a loop diving over a river is a beautiful thing, this reel is a culmination of Ross Reels’ machinists and engineers’ technical and artistic prowess. The Ross Evolution series has helped revolutionize the industry and placed Ross Reels on the map.

The Ross Evolution series includes the following exceptional reels:

  • The Ross Evolution R
  • The Ross Evolution R salt
  • The Ross Evolution LT
  • The Ross Evolution LT

Therefore, we decided to do a detailed review of the Ross Evolution R fly reel. This fly reel has everything you’ll ever need to tackle a fight from some giant trophy fish in the water.

Some reels are a downsized option of some huge saltwater models. In contrast, others like the evolution R are designed from the ground up as trout reels. Therefore, if you’re looking for a super lightweight reel, you should go for Bauer MacKenzie, Orvis Battenkill, or the Ross Evolution. (source)

You get more than enough capacity for your fly line and backing line when you purchase this product. So you get to pick the right option matching your fly rod and line. You can either go for an option that supports the 5-6wt, 4-5wt and 3-4wt options.

Why Does the Evolution R Stand Out?

Ross Evolution R Fly Reel Spool
Ross Evolution R Fly Reel Spool

One of the critical things that I love about this fly reel is its ultra-light. As mentioned earlier, this reel was designed with lightweight in mind; therefore, it is one of the lightest reels on the market, weighing about 0.54 pounds. (source)

So, if your current reel makes your rod feel bottom-heavy which affects your casting techniques, you should go for this fly reel.

Who Makes the Evolution R?

Ross Reels brand is owned by Mayfly Group LLC.  Mayfly Group is headquartered in Montrose Colorado.  The Evolution reel is made in the U.S.A. at the Montrose facility.

If it seems like the name Mayfly Group is a mystery, it might be better to understand that Abel Reels and Airflo fly line are both under the Mayfly umbrella.  Ross Reel builds all their parts in the US. For over three decades, based in Montrose, Colorado, this firm has received more excellence awards than most firms in the industry, thanks to their exceptional tools.

And to show you that they believe in their ingenuity, all their products come with a lifetime warranty against defects in quality and materials. But the warranty only applies to the original purchaser of the fly reel. (source)


  • The Ross Evolution R is incredibly light
  • It comes with a sealed drag system; therefore, you’ll never have to worry about gunk getting inside the drag system.
  • It comes with a vast arbor drag system that can help you reel in a trophy catch quickly with the palm of your hand.
  • It’s durable
  • It comes with a lifetime warranty


  • Quality like this isn’t cheap
  • Limited color choices

Things To Consider About Fly Reels

There is nothing more relaxing and fun than fly fishing, but your gear usually determines the success of your trip. Having a reel you can trust is as important as selecting the right fly. For tiny fish, a fly reel can just be to “hold your line” but bigger fish require smooth initial startup inertia (this when big fish break fine tippet).

The Evolution R will help you handle the those explosive runs and tire those trophies down before reeling in.

With the right fly reel, your fly rod will feel balanced, which will make it easy for you to cast your line and present your fly to the fish. This product is ideal for all fly anglers, especially those planning on doing freshwater fishing.

Things To Consider Before Purchasing a Fly Reel

  • Capacity: the first thing to consider is the reel’s capacity. The right reel should be able to hold your line and have enough backing. Remember, most folks prefer a light line between 5 and 10-wt, so it should be able to support over 200yards of 20pounds of test backing. (source)
  • Proportions of the reel: after getting the right option, you should consider the shape and proportion of the reel. After all, the relationship between the diameter and width plays a significant role in the reel’s performance.
  • Simplicity: the best reel should be as simple as possible, which is always the case. Great engineering is always a combination of simple designs, with outstanding quality.
  • Weight: if a vast arbor reel can provide you with a fast retrieve and the retrieval pace is crucial, you should go for it. A heavy reel on an 8-wt rod can make it feel like a 10-wt option; therefore, your reel should be lighter.
  • Drag: there is a wide range of mechanical drags that you can try, with the most common ones being clicker, compression disk, caliper, and cork-to-spool. Learn more about setting the drag on a fly reel in this article -> Understanding the Drag on a Fly Reel

Guide Tip: Highly recommend sealed drag systems like the Evolution R. Even if you toss reels in freshwater knowing your reel is protected from water and sand is a sign of durability and quality. If you’re ready to step up to one of the best reels on the market here’s a link to Amazon for prices and more reviews. -> Ross Evolution R Fly Reel

Features And Benefits

Drag System

Like most Ross reels, the Evo R comes with a fully sealed drag system composed of carbon fluoropolymer and stainless steel. Therefore, you will never worry about corrosion or dirt getting into its drag system. (source) The size and shape of the drag knob make it possible for you to rotate it using your palm and fingertips.

The Shape of the Spool

The reel’s inner arbor is asymmetrical with a tiny diameter on its frame side, increasing size towards the handle. Its unique design allows the fly line to stack up neatly and naturally without putting too much pressure on you.


Many fly reels in the market can give the Evo R a run for its money. So when I was looking for a new reel, I did a lot of research on the internet and browsed through lots of reviews that weren’t generic. I found most anglers talking positively about the Evolution R.

The selling point for this reel was that it was the lightest reel in the market that can make your fishing experience fun and easy. This reel will leave your rod balanced while fishing.

What Others Say About the Ross Evolution R

Ross Evolution R Fly Fishing Reel Reviews
Ross Evolution R Fly Fishing Reel Reviews
Review of Ross Evolution Fly Reel
Reviews of Ross Evolution Fly Reel

My Experience with the Evolution R

I have worked with several reels for the last couple of years, but no reel has ever intrigued me like the evolution R. Besides its exceptional design, I love that it’s very light. With this reel, my rod always remains the same weight and balanced while casting all day long; therefore, I have never worried about fatigue.

One More Cast with the Evolution

Produced by one of the world’s leading fly fishing brands, the Ross Evolution R is an excellent reel designed to make life easier for fly anglers. It consists of aluminum and stainless steel.

This reel is designed to serve you for a long time; its sealed drag system guarantees that you’ll never have to worry about corrosion. Therefore, it is worth its price and can outperform some of the high-end options in the market.

Want To Learn More about Fly Fishing Reels?

Hi David Humphries Owner of Guide Recommended. I love everything to do with fly fishing. Casting, Tying, YouTube, writing about it and even teaching. I’ve got a FREE video workshop teaching how to dry fly fish at this link How to Fly Fish


  1. Huge Credit to Ross Fly Reels for Picture Credit. – ROSS REELS ROCK!! Check out more over at Ross Reels and Outstanding Company
  2. John Merwin, Why We Needed the Large-Arbor Revolution, Accessed April 24, 2022
  3. Amazon Contributor, Ross Evolution R Fly Fishing Reel, Accessed April 24, 2022
  4. Ross Reels USA staff, About Ross Reels, Accessed April 24, 2022
  5. Chico Fernandez, Fly Fishing for Bonefish, Accessed April 24, 2022
  6. Tom Rosenbauer, Orvis Fly-Fishing Guide, Accessed April 24, 2022
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