Orvis Fly Fisherman with rod and reel.

Orvis Clearwater Reel (LA II) – Full Review

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The Jumping Rise crew loves the Orvis Clearwater Reel! In this review, we will offer our opinion on why Clearwater is a great choice but don’t take our word for it (we mean, you can if you want); customer reviews speak for themselves. In the price-to-value race, the Clearwater II is a top competitor for the best fly reels in 2022. At a $100 price point, Clearwater offers an attractive price-to-value ratio over similar reels from competitors.

As a result, some of the cost-saving design choices show up in high-quality plastic components, but in our experience, these components still perform well when stacked up against the competition. For this review, we also considered Abel, Cheeky fly reels, Danielsson, Lamson Liquid, Hatch, Hardy, Orvis Battenkill, Redington Behemoth, and Sage Spectrum C Fly Fishing Reels.

Recently redesigned in 2019, the Orvis Clearwater Reel is a beautiful die-cast fly fishing reel with a stealthy matte-gray powder-coat finish. The action is smooth as silk with a carbon-to-stainless positive disc drag. It is easily converted from righty to lefty retrieve with an ambidextrous design.

If you want to learn more about the best fly fishing reels for all skill levels, browse our Top Fly Fishing Reel Review, or our Top 10 Fly Fishing Rod & Reel Combos, where we cover everything you need to know about Fly fishing reels.

The Orvis Clearwater can most definitely compete with other more expensive machined reels. It is an excellent choice if you are in the market for your first large arbor or need a spare reel or two in the bag.

Orvis Clearwater Reel Key Features

  • Aluminum / Plastic.
  • 5.4 oz.
  • 3.5-inch Diameter.
  • Stainless Steel Bearings
  • 4-6 Line Weights

Orvis Clearwater Reel Customer Reviews

In every respect, this is a classic large arbor reel. It has an excellent, smooth drag clutch, perfect for different line weights. Beautiful finish and surprisingly crisp bodywork for a cast rather than machined aluminum reel. I have two spare spools each, and they are a joy.

June 18, 2021

This is perfect. I have used other expensive reels at the fly shop I worked in, and this reel is just as good. Although I’ve only used 2-3 times, my friend has the same reel and is fishing regularly with it.

July 10, 2021

I purchased this reel to replace an older 5 wt standard arbor reel, loaded on some backing and new fly line and checked the retrieve and drag and balance, and it worked beautifully. I think it’s a great budget-friendly reel.

March 2, 2021

Doesn’t have a sealed drag system, but still an excellent reel. The reel drag is smooth, and the clicker lets you know when a big one is taking line without being too loud. I have a Clearwater II mated to a 7’6″ 4wt Clearwater rod for small water and Clearwater IV mated to 9′ 6wt Clearwater rod for bigger water. I love them both. A great combo that comes with a 25-year warranty on rod and lifetime warranty on reel(against manufacturer defects)

August 24, 2020

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