ECHO Lago 6 Weight Fly Rod Review
Updated: Nov 4, 2021
Back when I was a teenager and living in California, I had a trusty 10-foot 7-weight rod that I used for trout, steelhead, american shad, and even striped bass. That was a stick that saw quite a bit of use, but after selling it over 20 years ago I have stuck with rods measuring 9 feet and less. My move to Florida surely had something to do with that, but long rods can certainly be used anywhere a little extra reach is desired.
The Lago rod series is one of ECHO Fly Fishing's more recent releases. Comprised of just three models, there's a 5, 6, and 7 weight which all measure 10 feet in length. As a less-expensive option to their similar Stillwater series, the Lago offers eye-catching cosmetics and a friendlier price tag for those not looking to drop too much coin on a quality stick. Though these rods will likely see the most usage among folks chasing fish like trout or summer steelhead, I was looking forward to giving one a whirl on my local largemouth and peacock bass populations...let's go!
Line Weight: 6
Measured Weight: approx 4.16 ounces
Stripping Guide: Stainless Frame / Ceramic Insert
Snake Guides: Chrome Snakes
Reel Seat: Aluminum / Graphite Inserts
Rod Tube/Sock: Yes/Yes
My test rod was crafted very well with straight guides and no epoxy or paint accidents to be found. In addition, there is zero knocking or clicking when the rod is fully assembled and flexed on its own. If they are all built like this, I can't see anyone being upset with the looks or workmanship of the Lago.
The full-wells handle has a distinct shape that is very comfortable to hold. While the appearance is clean, up-close inspection does reveal a fair amount of filler visible. I always treat my personal rods with U-40 cork sealant before ever fishing or casting which seems to really helps boost the condition and longevity of cork. Read a past post about that here.
Below the handle, the black aluminum reel seat features cutouts revealing matching cobalt blue inserts inside. Sometimes, I find reel seats don't tighten down with that nice, progressive tension that assures you the reel is locked-in and will stay that way. Thankfully, the rings on this seat hit the mark and tighten down with a very nice feel that holds well. Below the seat is a basic fighting butt.
I was really happy with the definitely-not-boring color scheme of my 6 weight tester. The glossy cobalt blue blank pops intensely in sunlight and is accented with bits of silver trim. It's quite a beautiful rod with a fresh vibrant look about it. There's also small alignment dots found at each ferrule.
I'm not sure of the guide brand, but there's two stainless-framed stripping guides and of course the standard chrome snakes. The only thing I wasn't too fond of here was the tip top...it's small!
I cast and fished the Lago with two 6-weight floating lines; one with a 30-foot head weight of 185 grains which puts it squarely one line weight heavier per AFFTA standards, and another with a 30-foot weight of 168 grains which is at the upper weight limit of a WF6F line. Both performed well but I'd give the nod to the lighter of the two lines.
The Lago sports a medium-fast action that is very user-friendly at all distances. In close, I found the rod to be forgiving enough to eliminate any numb or dead feeling that some faster rods can sometimes display. The action performed very well at mid-range and I could create some nice, tight loops with minimal effort and just a modest casting tempo. Being a 10-foot rod really helps in the distance department, and the Lago will throw a long line when pushed. I snuck out to an open grassy area one day and was able to shoot the entire fly line out of the guides, but a faster and crisper action of course is more appropriate here. If blindfolded I wouldn't mistaken this rod for a high-end one, but it does offer very smooth well-rounded performance appropriate of its price range.
Registering approximately 4.16 ounces on my scale, this long rod doesn't feel especially lightweight in hand. The higher swing weight of the rod while casting is certainly noticeable to someone like me who generally fishes pricier 9-footers, but it's at a level I can live with. However, if you're really looking for the lightest possible feel you might try stepping up to ECHO's Stillwater series. Without having thrown one, the same 10-foot 6-weight in that series is advertised at almost a full ounce lighter.
I had to watch it a bit when casting around some of the trees that line parts of my local lakes, but otherwise I found the extra length of the Lago to be very helpful. Not only does it make distance casting easier, but it was great for general line control duties, reaching over nearshore weedlines, and keeping my backcast high enough to clear hazards. If you float tube or fish big rivers where you need to cover a lot of water and reach distant holding water, the Lago is a nice affordable option.
Overall, the Lago 6-weight is a fun rod to fish and I believe it to be a good value at just $269. I'm looking forward to fishing it a bunch more over the years and can't wait to take it out to my beloved Pyramid Lake, Nevada where it should perform well for long sinking line presentations and elevating my backcasts over the wind-swept sand banks. The 9-foot fly rod certainly rules the industry, but a 10-footer might offer you a healthy advantage. Give the Lago a look!
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