I’ve never been a purist and will do just about anything to get a fish to eat, but there is definitely something special about dry fly fishing. When the conditions are good on a river like the Delaware, I would rather go for hours without throwing, waiting for a climb, than hammering the bottom where I might have more luck.
And so, with a summer job on the West Branch of the Delaware River, I found myself hunting for a dry fly rod. I decided to try my luck with the ECHO Dry in weight 5. Luckily I caught a fish on my punch with the new stick. I went down to a public access after work and watched the water for about 45 minutes before making a short, precise cast followed by a delicate sip and a suspended trout. As my luck ran out soon after, the cane did what I asked it to do that day and many more.
The ECHO Dry is, you guessed it, the offer dedicated to the dry fly from Tim Rajeff. Ranging from 2wt to 6wt, the 9 ‘ECHO Dry is designed for precise and delicate casts at “real fishing distances”. All weights come in a four piece medium-fast acting green blank, with low friction, stainless ceramic guides and carbon fiber reel seat. The rod is paired with a hard plastic tube with a fabric exterior.
If you’re looking for an affordable rod to create that perfect drag-free drift, check out the ECHO Dry.
The Dry is considerably more delicate than other ECHO trout offerings like the ECHO Carbon XL or ECHO 3. ECHO describes the Dry as moderately fast acting and overall it is, but while sporting a relatively sharp edge. gentle, which serves its purpose of being a well dry fly specialist. For those who have thrown custom rods, expect the action of the Dry to be somewhere between the G. Loomis NRX LP and the Orvis Recon.
The rods work true to the weight of the line and are designed for optimum load for casting from 25 to 50 feet. I could pull quite comfortably 50 or 60 feet or more on the casting pond, and sometimes even the entire line. Although this is a difficult rod to aerate a lot of line, you can still put in a few dashes and send it off.
The ECHO Dry is a great option for shallow wading, but really excels on a drift boat where you’re usually above the action and have plenty of room to cast. As with the other 9ft soft-tip rods, I struggled to do those same 50ft throws delicately as I waded a lot deeper than my hips. A better or bigger fisherman might have better luck.
Photo: Cosmo Genoa
Flex and feel
The flex of the rod is great for fighting fish on light spikes, and the action is suitable for the different types of casts, false casts, and repairs you will need to perform in surface water situations. The soft tip allows for delicate landings, and the high-medium flex of the rod is ideal for shedding slack in your daggerboards and making quick repairs.
The ECHO Dry has excellent control in its optimal range of 25 to 50 feet. It’s responsive and allows for presentations that are a bit more nuanced than those made with a stiffer, faster-acting rod. A slower, smoother casting stroke will help you get the most out of this rod’s purpose.
Overhead mending, range throws, choppy throws and more are a snap in the dry. The transition from dry platforms to small indicator nymph platforms was comfortable, and with the Rio Trout LT, roller casting and feeding / repairing an indicator drift was perfectly smooth.
Price and warranty
The ECHO Dry is a damn good rod for its modest MSRP of $ 229. There aren’t many specific dry fly rods out there at this price point. Affordability has always been one of ECHO’s selling points and they continue to deliver the goods. The ECHO Lifetime Warranty is also hard to beat. I broke a different ECHO rod in an unfortunate drone crash (yes, really) and ECHO had a replacement rod in my hands in about a week for $ 35 plus shipping.
While the Dry is capable of casting a variety of lines well, for my casting style the ECHO Dry favored lines like the Rio Gold and Orvis Hydros HD, while over-lined options like the Scientific Angler MPX and the Rio Grand were overkill for the action. For the fishing I did, the delicate combination of ECHO Dry lines and long, tapered lines like the RIO Trout LT or the Scientific Angler Versatile Presentation Taper (VPT) was the way to go.
Not a lot of tricks on this pony
As the name suggests, the ECHO Dry does one thing better than any other and that is to gently place a dry fly in the right spot to set up the perfect fin. But the ECHO Dry is a specialist, and if you want to fish this rod beyond dry fly fishing, it’s important to understand its limitations. For the nymph, the Dry is somewhat limited to small indicators and relatively light nymph rigs. It’s a bit soft for adjusting hooks on long indicator drifts or for making long casts or mending, but it works well enough when nymphing in a tight line or swinging wet flies. A weight of 5 or 6 might be able to fish a few streamers, but that wouldn’t be my first choice beyond little woolly, deceptive buggers etc on a dead daggerboard. And expect the Dry to be a bit too delicate on large rivers like the Delaware when the wind picks up.
It’s also a bit of a shame that the Dry is only available in 9 ‘white, as I would have liked to try a 10’ setup.
Overall, the ECHO Dry is an extremely castable rod – with the smoothness and finesse required for delicate dry fly fishing – well worth the price of entry. I have come to appreciate the feel of this rod despite my fast and aggressive casting tendencies. Overall he was excellent during the wading and drifting fishing I entrusted to him. Through much of the white it provides that rapid-ish action that many of us prefer while providing, via its soft tip, enough sensation to excel at the game of the dry fly. Paired with the right line, this rod is very precise and controllable in its effective range, that sweet spot of 25 to 50 feet. If you’re not looking to drop the dough on what can often be specialist dry fly rods, the ECHO Dry is a compromise that isn’t much of a compromise at all.
LEARN MORE ABOUT ECHO DRY (via ECHO)