Orvis Hydros SL Fly Reel

We’ve read the reviews across the web for the Orvis Hydros SL Fly Reel and summarize the results below:

Universal Ranking

PeakScore: 96 (out of 100)
User Rating: 4.8 stars 
Expert Rating: 4.8 stars

Number of Ratings Reviewed: 357

Pros & Cons

Reasons to buy:

User Reviews

  • The drag is smooth and provides ease to use.
  • Balance rods very well for easy functionality.
  • Very lightweight when compared to other options.
  • Durable and prevents scratches during use.
  • Easy to make quick adjustments on the fly.
  • Uses high-quality materials and construction for a long-lasting product.

Expert Reviews

  • Provides great quality for the price.
  • The handle is comfortable and ergonomic to hold during use.
  • The reel is lighter overall than the previous models for ease of use.
  • The drag is very consistent for ease of use.
  • Provides a really good value for spending just under $200.
  • Waterproof to protect against inclement weather.
  • The startup inertia and drag is powerful for performance on the water.
  • The drag system is fully sealed for complete compatibility and functionality.
  • The minimal sounds produced during the reel clicks is not too loud during use.
  • The build is sturdy and durable for long lasting use.

Reasons NOT to buy:

User Reviews

  • The bearings are prone to rusting after a prolonged period of time.
  • The reel covers are a bit awkward and tedious to get on and off.
  • The drag knob can be a bit difficult to grip and reduces the efficiency.

Expert Reviews

  • There is a tiny bit of play in the handle, which can be annoying to some users.
  • The drag knob could use some extra grip and a thumb indent for easy turning.
  • There is some resistance to the spool spinning in the reverse direction which limits the functionality.


The Orvis Hydros SL Fly Reel is a high-quality, functional, and durable option that works well for multiple fishing seasons. With a great value for the money, this fly reel makes up for a small drag knob by providing fast line retrieval, a sturdy build, and zero startup inertia.


Note: User and expert rankings were reviewed across the web. Some expert reviews include these: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.