May 3, 2012

St. Croix Imperial Fly Rod

When I was out on the river casting one of these rods and it was feeling pretty darn nice, I got to thinking about how I had never heard anyone speak badly about a St. Croix rod. Granted, it surely happens somewhere, sometime but, much like my success at spotting a furry-chested three ringed toad in the wild, I have yet to notice this particular event.

My memory brings me back up to Alaska to a time when I, and another guide were out one night laying into some Chum Salmon. Now Chum aren’t the tastiest salmon, nor are they the most acrobatic; but, pound per pound, they are the strongest of all the salmon. Down and dirty- tuff. Anyways, my buddy Nick had this St. Croix stick (I forget which model) in a 8 weight and with every Chum hooked, the rod would buck and get way bent over. And Nick, who had his drag pinned real tight, would just yard them in. I had never seen someone tame such savagery so quickly – all the while with this rod bent like no rod’s business.

“Whoa buddy, you’re gonna bust that rod,” I offered.

He just grinned and shook his head and replied, “I’ve been doing this for over ten years with this stick and haven’t busted it yet.”

You see, Nick is a Wisconsin boy. He likes to drink cheap beer and chase big Browns, Muskie and Pike. He’s not an overly large guy but hiding within his subtle, ragged edges is this raw power. And at times this strength looks like grace, especially when ensnared in combat with Alaskan River Monsters. Under ordinary circumstances, he is not a flashy guy nor is he the boastful type. But his inherent skill as an angler becomes ever apparent while on the water. And often with a St. Croix in hand.

St. Croix is based in the heart of America – a place that holds the east and west securely together - a spine if you will. While not being the most expensive rods, or the most “elitist” sticks on the rack, these rods echo the virtues of the hardworking class of people that hold this country together.

These were my thoughts as I played around with the St Croix Imperial

St. Croix Imperial Fly Rod
 St Croix manufactures many different fly rods each with their own distinct technologies and price points. Where does the Imperial fit in? Well this is a value – priced rod with a retail sticker between $190 - $200. Although it is listed as a fast-action rod, I think it is better described as a medium – medium fast action which makes this a fine rod for beginners. However, although medium flex rods are more forgiving and therefore easier to cast, this rod can also make a fine companion for more experienced anglers as well. Anglers who prefer an easier stroke and a softer presentation on the water will enjoy this rod. Also, getting a smooth roll-cast out over the water, especially when back casting room is limited, is an easy task with the friendly, progressive taper on the Imperial. However, I wouldn’t call this rod a wind cutter. For long range casting in the wind, I would rather have a faster rod, but for all other applications the Imperial is a great performing stick – one that displays great feel and castability.

I have also spent some time with the Imperial Switch rods. Priced at only $250 these could be the best value on the market! Like the single hand series, these rods have a progressive, forgiving taper which really makes roll-casting a breeze. Again, the cork seems a little large in hand, but this doesn’t really seem to have an effect on the rod’s over all sensitivity.

Oh yeah… Although my pal Nick seems to think it’s a nonissue, St Croix does have a great warranty program.

St. Croix Imperial Fly Rod

Have a good time,


  1. Duffy....That rod wad a 9' 8wt St. Croix Avid. Still in use to this day!


  2. That is hard to beleive my friend! How are things On The Creek?


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