St. Croix Legend Elite   9’ 5-weight      $460

St. Croix Legend Elite

St. Croix Legend Elite

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George's Notes:

The Legend Elite has done very well in our prior Shootouts, mainly due to its excellent performance and fine craftsmanship at a very fair price.  Even more surprising is that they offer this rod at $460 when it is made here in the USA.

The swing weight is a little heavier than the best rods but the medium fast action is spot on, and matched our top rods.  This rod has decent butt and mid-section power and a softer tip that makes it better for short to mid-distance fishing. 

This is a tough rod, using St. Croix’s version of nano-resin that they call FRS.  The Craftsmanship is excellent throughout.  The blank is a pleasing dark olive/green, with slightly lighter gray/green wraps.  A very high quality half wells cork grip is used with a comfortable swell in the middle and a flare at the back end.  The attractive gold aluminum uplock skeleton seat utilizes a birdseye maple insert.  The guide set up is a single SiC stripping guide followed up with hard chrome one-foot guides.  These seem to work fine but we’d prefer the more flexible nickel/titanium version.


The perfect line: S.A. Amplitude MPX in WF-5-F.

Performance at 25 feet:  19.0 points out of 20

Accuracy is excellent - better than the Recon, and equal to the Opti Stream here.  But it’s a long way from the best rods.

Performance at 45 feet:  19.1 points out of 20

I got a nice solid feel and this rod tracked nicely with good accuracy.  Mid range is this rod’s sweet spot.  Both the Recon and the DXF were better though.

Performance at 70 feet: 8.5 points out of 10

In the wind I couldn’t get the same tight loops as I got with the Opti Stream.  The Recon was better also.



St. Croix Legend Elite

  St. Croix Legend Elite

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James' Notes:

Although the St. Croix tied with the Wraith in my performance only scores, the Legend Elite is a far better all around 5-weight rod.  It’s also made in the USA, in Park Falls, WI.

We’ve always felt the action of the Legend Elite is nearly perfect.  On our deflection board the Legend Elite has strong butt and mid sections, with a softer and more flexible tip.  This is what makes the Legend Elite feel nice and smooth in close but also allows it to throw the whole fly line with ease.   

The only thing holding the Legend Elite back from a top finish is the heavy swing weight.  Its overall weight is fine but it’s one of the heavier rods in swing weight.  And this hurts, especially when I’m casting in close. 


Performance at 25 feet:  18.8 points out of 20

Nice smooth action, and very accurate.  The only thing I didn’t like was the heavier feel in hand than with the best rods.

Performance at 45 feet: 19 points out of 20

Feels good at mid-range and my loops are tight and well controlled.  But I was a bit more accurate with most of the other top rods, I think in part due to the heavy swing weight of the Legend Elite.  

Performance at 70 feet:  9.8 points out of 10

Although it’s a little heavy, once you get the St. Croix Legend Elite in motion, the train has left the station!  Great “punch able” power without getting many tailing loops.



St. Croix Legend Elite

St. Croix Legend Elite

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Logan's Notes:

After all these years the St. Croix Legend Elite still continues to impress me.  It is an incredible trout rod for the money.   It reminds me a lot of the NRX-LP, but with slightly more power.  This rod is one that has stood the test of time, and has remained one of the premier rods in St. Croix’s lineup; other rod companies can’t seem to keep good rods in their line for more than a year or two.  This rod is built in at St. Croix’s plant in Park Falls, Wisconsin. 


Logan’s Casting Notes:

Performance at 25 feet:  17.5 out of 20

The stiffness of the St. Croix hurt its performance scores in close.  It still had decent accuracy at the closer distances. 

Performance at 45 feet:  18.5 out of 20

At 45 feet and longer, the St. Croix Legend Elite felt much like the NRX-LP, but its accuracy was somewhat more inconsistent.

Performance at 70 feet:  7.5 out of 10

The Legend Elite has good power, giving it the ability to make casts up to 70 feet.



St. Croix Legend Elite

St. Croix Legend Elite

 Buy Now

 JG's Notes:

If you are looking for a top of the line, American made rod the Legend Elite, at only $460.00, is a great choice.  This has been one of our more popular 5-weights for the past several years. 

25 Feet – 18 points out of 20

A little heavier than some premium rods and stiffer too. Its performance at short range reflected that.  The Accuracy was good but delicacy was a little off.

45 Feet – 19.1 points out of 20

Mid-range performance is pretty good. Still feels a little heavy, but the rod loads well and I’m getting better feedback than I did at short distance.

70 Feet - 19 points out of 20

The Legend Elite wasn't super accurate for me out long, but it had the muscle to make these long casts easily.