The NEW Ross Colorado 4/5 Fly Reel Review
Updated: Jun 29
Along with fiberglass rods, click-pawl reels have grown in popularity over the last several years. Out of the various offerings on the market, the Colorado LT undoubtedly was and still is a favorite among trout chasers everywhere. Those reels are lightweight, high-quality, and offer a ton of visual appeal. While the Colorado LT has enjoyed a highly-successful run, production of those reels has ceased, but the brand-new Colorado now takes over!
Reel Size: 4/5
Measured Weight: Approx 3.55 ounces
Diameter: 3.57 inches
Spool Width: .850 inches
Backing Capacity: WF4F / 90 yards, WF5F / 75 yards
Tested Max Drag: N/A
Spool Release: Pull apart
Reel Pouch Included: Yes (neoprene)
R/L Interchangeable: N/A
Spare Spool: $251.25
Available Colors: Matte black and matte platinum
Reel Price: $335.00
Like its predecessor, the Colorado LT, the new Colorado remains a striking reel. Featuring fully machined aluminum construction, the reel has a much more open, airy design throughout.
Despite that, this new version comes in slightly heavier at approximately 3.55 ounces versus the old 4/5 LT model, which was just 2.98 ounces. However, the new reel does boast a slightly larger diameter of 3.57 inches compared to 3.45 inches for the LT, along with some design additions.
The clicker system sports a stainless pawl, spring, and gear. Cosmetically, the clicker's large housing now has a shiny decorative backside, including an engraving of the San Juan Mountains in Colorado.
Mechanically, an interesting feature is that the pawl now comes straight down against the gear teeth. This design gives the reel a "unidirectional" drag, which means the reel can be used either right or left-handed without any type of conversion needed first.
A semi-caged frame design is one of the most significant changes in the new reel. On top of giving the reel a stronger, more robust structure, this also helps prevent the line from sneaking in between the spool and frame. Additionally, with the reel's various edges and interesting angles, this design feature adds more intrigue to an already appealing overall look.
My brand-new Colorado sample reel is refined inside and out. The machining is crisp, with no unsightly marks or other cosmetic flaws. Ross typically produces a quality product, and this reel lives up to my expectations of them.
Click-pawl reels can be a lot of fun. In my mind, they are kind of like the manual transmission for fly reels because they require much more angler input. These drag systems offer only light pressure and typically have little to no adjustment capabilities, so the angler's hands must manually apply any extra drag torque. However, they are truly the ultimate in simplicity and shave off a lot of weight because there are just a few small parts.
I could only find small fish (and very few of them) during a challenging few local testing trips, so a fish never actually made it onto my reel. However, just from manually pulling the drag, I can tell you that it exhibits a very crisp, loud tone. It has a high-quality sound without being too high-pitched or tinny sounding, which can come off as somewhat annoying and cheap. Of course, the standard drag pressure is relatively light, so you must be careful when stripping off line. Pull the fly line off moderately quick or faster, and the spool will overrun a little, causing some loose line to pile up.
As mentioned, the reel's diameter has slightly increased in this new model, which means a faster retrieve. While cranking, the canvas micarta handle material feels great and is a perfect size/shape. It has a dry, grippy texture that provides a sure hold, even with wet fingers. The Colorado also has a very solid overall feel, thanks to precise, tight tolerances.
Another upgrade worth mentioning here is that Ross now uses a material for their bushings called Vesconite. I had absolutely no idea what this was, but a quick Google search told me the material is a very durable thermopolymer that is internally lubricated (requiring no external lubrication) and delivers a low friction coefficient. It is currently used in many automotive, rail, and mining industries.
Like the Colorado LT, the spool simply pulls apart from the frame. A modest pull and a slight twisting motion back and forth separate them every time. Then, to rejoin them again, push them together with the same little twisting action, and there's a nice pop when they're fully seated and ready to go.
Ross didn't drop the ball in this latest version of the Colorado reel. While I still love the discontinued LT reel, this new one turns the refinement up a few notches in terms of looks and design. I have no doubt the Colorado will remain one of the favorite choices among click-pawl enthusiasts everywhere!
Each reel includes a protective pouch that can protect the reel when mounted on a rod. Besides our 4/5 test reel, a 2/3 size is also available. Color choices include matte black and matte platinum, with the price set at a reasonable $335 for all sizes and colors.
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