Orvis Ratings and Reviews

Top Rated Product

Hydros Large Arbor Fly Reels

There is not another true large arbor, big-game fly-fishing reel out there that carries this drag system performance at a price starting at just $225. It's unheard of until now. The new Hydros® Reel Series features a sealed drag surface that increases total drag surface by model: The larger the reel, the larger the drag surface and the more resistance available to handle larger fish. Using stacked carbon washers, controlled by a positive click adjustment system, the Hydros can be fine-tuned to handle any fish from a trout to a tuna with sustained and infinitely durable drag pressure.
Average Customer Rating:
4.516 out of 5
4.5
 out of 
5
Open Ratings Snapshot
Rating Snapshot (95 reviews)
5 stars
77
4 stars
5
3 stars
4
2 stars
3
1 star
6
83 of 95(87%)reviewers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Stories:
Customer Reviews for Hydros Large Arbor Fly Reels
Review 1 for Hydros Large Arbor Fly Reels
Overall Rating: 
5 / 5
5 / 5
The best flyreel i ever had,
April 4, 2014
By: flyfischermanfromnorway
from Dilling, Norway
"This is the best flyreel buying i have doing ever, a dream too togheter with my Helios 2 class 4.
Thank you Orvis....
"
Review 2 for Hydros Large Arbor Fly Reels
Overall Rating: 
2 / 5
2 / 5
An upgrade, not really,
April 1, 2014
By: Garioch
from Aberdeenshire, Scotland
"I have various Mach and Battenkill Large Arbour reels from a size III upto size VI's. I bought the Hydros in size V for use with my 12' 9" shooting head salmon rod as it was a nice weight and size for the rod. I also bought 2 spare spools. I have 2 issues, one is the gap as already mentioned. The second is the amount of play the spool/bearings have. Grabbing the cage and the spool, it is easy to deflect the spool. This is, I am sure, the reason for the large gap because if you have the drag set strong, the spool deflects in the cage. My Battenkills and Machs, despite being a good few years old not, do not have this problem. I think there is a real problem with manufacture on these reels/spools that is unacceptable in a reel of this price. A real shame as I have always recommended Battenkill and Machs to others over the years."
Review 3 for Hydros Large Arbor Fly Reels
Overall Rating: 
4 / 5
4 / 5
Buy it!,
March 24, 2014
By: OntarioFlyOutfitters
from Rochester, NY
"A great reel for the price. The weight of the reel is perfect for balance on most fly rods and light enough to cast all day long. Great looking and well designed. The large arbor picks up line quickly and can compete in diameter with most in it's class. As a professional guide, I have recommended and this reel to many of my customers."
Review 4 for Hydros Large Arbor Fly Reels
Overall Rating: 
5 / 5
5 / 5
hydro fly reel,
March 18, 2014
By: JKCinTN
from Tennessee
"On a quest to catch a musky on the fly I've had difficulty finding a reasonable priced great reel to throw large flies. The hydro arbor reel has done amazingly well throwing large flies far for me."
Review 5 for Hydros Large Arbor Fly Reels
Overall Rating: 
5 / 5
5 / 5
Excellent,
February 18, 2014
By: GuernseyFlyfisher
from Guernsey, Channel Islands
"Reel arrived within a few days by courier - great service! Really impressed with my first Orvis reel - wonderfully balanced, well machined and perfect for the job of targeting saltwater sea bass on the fly! One very happy customer!"
Review 6 for Hydros Large Arbor Fly Reels
Overall Rating: 
5 / 5
5 / 5
homerun by orvis on this reel,
February 13, 2014
By: bezer
from Matlacha Fl.
"I bought this reel after a lot of research on it's drag.I fish for snook a lot along mangrove lines and you need a reel that can really put the heat on a big snook since you have about 5 seconds to keep them out of the cover or it's game over and this reel delivers and then some.I love my #4 hydros.Other than I wish it had a bigger handle.You can buy more expensive reels that don't have the drag the hydros has but why?Great reel.Well done orvis!"
Review 7 for Hydros Large Arbor Fly Reels
Overall Rating: 
5 / 5
5 / 5
What more do you need?,
February 7, 2014
By: Aficionado
"I own several Orvis reels, but this is my first Hydros - it did not disappoint - beautifully machined with smooth and consistent drag ratchet, and made to last a lifetime. Well done!"
Review 8 for Hydros Large Arbor Fly Reels
Overall Rating: 
5 / 5
5 / 5
Hydros LR III reel,
February 3, 2014
By: dwbauer
"Ordering new equipment online without having the opportunity to test it can be a guessing game. But the Hydros LR reel is everything that it is described to be.
I have been searching for a replacement reel for my 5wt rod and the Hydros is a great addition. Well built and has all the (smooth) drag I will ever need. All I need now are some extra spools and I'll be set.
"
Review 9 for Hydros Large Arbor Fly Reels
Overall Rating: 
1 / 5
1 / 5
THE GAP!,
December 13, 2013
By: kingfisher44
from Aberlour, Scotland
"So you buy the Hydros. It seems like the perfect reel. You can't wait to go fishing ... and then, when you do, you discover THE GAP!! How? Because your running line has already discovered it, and has slid through.
Seriously, especially if you Spey cast, save yourself a lot of time and hassle and buy another reel."
Response from Orvis:By Orvis Customer ServiceJanuary 30, 2014
Thank you for your feedback regarding the Hydros Large Arbor Reel. This reel has undergone a running change; we modified the design in 2013 to minimize the issue of running line slipping through the line guard / spool interface. A reel with exceptionally tight tolerance is prone to rubbing under pressure. A slightly larger tolerance, as intended in the Hydros Large Arbor, allows for more operational clearance, but does allow running lines smaller than 0.029" to potentially slip through. For those using running lines less than 0.029" in diameter, please take this into consideration.
Again, we appreciate your feedback. As always, we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all our products.
Review 10 for Hydros Large Arbor Fly Reels
Overall Rating: 
1 / 5
1 / 5
why?,
December 2, 2013
By: thelongboot
from Dublin, Ireland
"As other reviewers have said, the running line escapes through the gap between spool and reel – causing a reel jam and a lost fish. Result: an unusable reel that has to be returned for a refund.
I've used Battenkill LA reels for years now, without any problems; the Hydros is an upgraded version of the Battenkills, and were in not for the gap problem they would be excellent reels for the money.
Given that it would be such a small and easy thing to fix, I'm curious to know why Orvis don't seem to be addressing this issue."
Review 11 for Hydros Large Arbor Fly Reels
Overall Rating: 
5 / 5
5 / 5
Great reel,
November 14, 2013
By: Rockstar8282
from Las vegas
"Amazing reel and great customer service from Orvis as always. I used the reel the day after delivery and was impressed with it in action. I would highly recommend this product to anyone in the market."
Review 12 for Hydros Large Arbor Fly Reels
Overall Rating: 
5 / 5
5 / 5
Smooth, powerful Drag,
November 6, 2013
By: Jekyll
from Salmon River, NY
"I've now used a Hydros V for 2 seasons and caught over 2000 Chinook salmon and steelhead. I've found the drag to be impressively smooth and powerful. I think the Hydros drag beats that of my Mirage V. The spool handle is the weak spot on this reel. Mine loosened several times and ultimately stripped but, an Orvis dealer swapped out my spool for free. I've learned how to avoid future problems with the handle. This is a superb reel for strong salmon and steelhead. It has the power and capacity to subdue and tame hard fighting, large fish."
Review 13 for Hydros Large Arbor Fly Reels
Overall Rating: 
3 / 5
3 / 5
Good reel,
November 2, 2013
By: Zumpafust
from Twinsburg, OH
"This is a good reel that I use steelhead fishing with my ClearWater 10', 8w rod. The drag is very smooth, easy to adjust and very gradual. Too bad that the click pin is made of some sort of plastic and after a while it wears out and it doesn't provide very audible feedback. Orvis should really fix this design flaw. FIshermen love to hear that sound when they have a nice fish at the end of the line!"
Review 14 for Hydros Large Arbor Fly Reels
Overall Rating: 
5 / 5
5 / 5
My second one,
October 31, 2013
By: drflytier
from Baltimore, MD
Reviewer Images
(click to see full-size image)
User submitted photo
"So I lost my first Orvis Hydros III reel in Alaska this summer. I had a massive Sockeye on the line, he ran the line, the pole and everything attached to it (except me)! I nearly cried.
Now I'm planning a trip to Lake Casitas, CA for some big, big bass and naturally I cannot be without my favorite reel. So I bought another Hydros III. Wish me luck...
"
Review 15 for Hydros Large Arbor Fly Reels
Overall Rating: 
5 / 5
5 / 5
Great Reel,
October 10, 2013
By: Castaway
from North Ga
"I got this reel and I couldn't be happier. I really like the drag system and the feel of the balance it has on my rod is outstanding. Well done Orvis, well done."
Review 16 for Hydros Large Arbor Fly Reels
Overall Rating: 
5 / 5
5 / 5
Great value!,
September 3, 2013
By: drojas11
from Washington, D.C.
"I have this reel in II, III and IV and can honestly say that they are a great value. They have a very smooth sealed drag. Can't beat these reels for the money."
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Review 17 for Hydros Large Arbor Fly Reels
Overall Rating: 
5 / 5
5 / 5
Go-to saltwater reel,
August 17, 2013
By: DaveMCL
from North Carolina
"If you are looking for a dedicated 'big-game' or saltwater reel then this is it.
I have a titanium-finished LA IV mated to an eight-weight Hydros rod. I bought the setup in 2010 and have used it extensively in salt and freshwater. I currently have a spool with the Hydros Redfish line and a second spool with the Hydros Intermediate line.
My favorite quality of this reel is the durability. I've had this reel in all conditions and it always performs flawlessly. After salt-water I remove the spool and spray down with a low-pressure mist and clean the line/backing as well. Once it is dry, I re-assemble and enjoy again later. I've seen no issues with corrosion. The spool design allows the backing and line to dry quickly! With basic care I have seen no molding/mildew of the backing.
The Drag system is as-described. It is consistent and gives you the ability to wrench down and stop a fish dead in its tracks... just make sure you have the right leader on!
6 months ago the small screw that holds on the drag wheel broke during normal operation. This screw had some corrosion which weakened it. I sent the reel to Orvis and they replaced the entire reel! I felt that the corrosion of the screw was not a design flaw. Additionally, the customer service was incredibly helpful. This is why I still rate this reel a 5/5 despite the issue.
Some have commented on the gap between the spool and reel where line can sometimes escape. I have seen this only twice. I do not consider it a major design flaw and it would not prevent me from buying another Hydros Reel. Maintain situational awareness and check your reel occassionally and you'll be fine. All of us have to occassionally check that our line hasn't wrapped around the fighting-butt while casting... I consider this potential problem to be no different.
Highly recommend."
Review 18 for Hydros Large Arbor Fly Reels
Overall Rating: 
5 / 5
5 / 5
Great paired with Access Switch Rod,
July 19, 2013
By: MrBill
from Anchorage, AK
Reviewer Images
(click to see full-size image)
User submitted photo
"I have a Hydros V paired with my Access Switch 8-weight rod and Airflo Skagit Switch line. Balances and casts great. Smooth drag that handles the big fish without a whimper. I also have a second spool with Orvis Easy Mend Switch line. Both work well, but I prefer the Skagit type line for most of our rivers up here in Alaska."
Review 19 for Hydros Large Arbor Fly Reels
Overall Rating: 
5 / 5
5 / 5
amazing quality/value,
July 14, 2013
By: perk
"can't imagine a better product for the money. This outperforms reels I have that cost twice as much. Perfectly smooth drag and great retireve ratio at very low weight, very handsome on my rod."
Review 20 for Hydros Large Arbor Fly Reels
Overall Rating: 
5 / 5
5 / 5
Hydros III,
June 24, 2013
By: michaelht1
from Northwest Montana
"absolutely perfect in every way, drag is easy to adjust to any desired resistance, overall construction is extremely good with finish as one would expect from Orvis. Large arbor allows for easy retrieval, very solid and very good looking. Once again, well done Orvis"