#9 (tie)  
St. Croix Legend Elite  9 foot #5  $460.00

St. Croix Legend Elite

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St. Croix Legend Elite


 George's Comments

The Legend Elite has always impressed us with great performance and wonderful craftsmanship at a very fair price.   For outright value, it is hard to beat this rod.   The Legend Elite has very good butt and mid-section power, as you’ll see on the deflection charts.   Yet is has a softer tip and this is why it casts so well at short range.   In scoring, it got hurt a bit in swing weight, and in our 2015 Shootout, it finished 5th, which is maybe more realistic.  

This is a strong rod, using a new version of their FRS resin system.   The craftsmanship is excellent.  The color is a pleasing dark green with slightly lighter gray/green wraps.  St. Croix uses a Western style cork grip with very high quality cork.  The reel seat is attractive too, with a gold anodized uplock seat and a pretty Birdseye maple insert. 

Guides are one SiC stripper with the rest single foot hard chrome guides.


George’s Casting Notes:   The perfect line: S. A.  MPX in WF-5-F.

Performance at 25 feet:  19 points out of 20

Feels a little heavy in my hand but the accuracy is excellent.  But the Helios 2 and others are better. 

Performance at 45 feet:  19 points out of 20

Again, I’m seeing very good accuracy and a totally solid feel.  Tracks beautifully.  A good performance at mid-range.

Performance at 70 feet:  19 points out of 20

I cannot get the same tight loops in the wind like I can with the NRX LP, Radian or the Wraith but overall very good. 


#2 (tie) - St. Croix Legend Elite  9’#5   $460    -58/60

St. Croix Legend Elite

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James' Comments

One of my all time favorite rods, the St. Croix reminds me a lot of Sage’s late Z-Axis (the best 5-weight Sage has ever made in my book).  The rod has plenty of power to throw streamers, yet also has a soft tip that can handle small dries in close with grace.  AND it is made in Park Falls, WI.

St. Croix used to use 3M’s nano resin but they found a way to cut out the cost and make their own nano-resin, making the Legend Elite extremely durable to split shot or conehead nicks.  I can’t remember the last time we sent back a Legend Elite for a repair and we sell quite a few.

Take a close look at this rod’s deflection and you’ll find exactly what we like in a fly rod.  A powerful and strong butt section with relatively strong mid-sections and a soft (fast) tip.  St. Croix, please keep this rod in your line up forever!

This rod has achieved legendary status in my book, at a very reasonable price.  If you simply can’t afford $460 at the moment try to save up for it, otherwise my next favorite rod in terms of all-around performance is the Fenwick Aetos at $189.95.


Jamie’s Casting Notes with a Scientific Angler MPX WF-5-F line.

Performance at 25 feet:  19.5 points out of 20

Smooth, easy to cast effortless loops every time.  Only the G. Loomis NRX LP threw tighter loops into the wind for me.

Performance at 45 feet:  20 points out of 20

Deserving of a 20 this is what a well rounded trout rod is all about.  If I were designing fly rods right now, I’d be buying this rod and reverse engineering it. 

Performance at 70 feet:  18.5 points out of 20

This rod is good at 70 feet but it just can’t hang with the best long distance rods, especially the amazing new Wraith. Still, it’s a very well balanced rod and decent enough for nearly all anglers at 70 feet.

Cast the whole line? 

You betcha…

10.  St. Croix Legend Elite

St. Croix Legend Elite

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Logan's Comments

The St. Croix Legend Elite is a classic trout rod.  You certainly don’t hear bad things about this rod.  Everyone who fishes it swears by it.  I know this rod is an amazing 8-weight in the saltwater version.  I really like the look of the Legend Elite, it has a nice green color, beautiful reel seat and the cork is exceptional.  

Logan's casting notes: 53.5 out of 60

Performance at 25 feet: 18.5 points out of 20

For me, the Legend Elite was not great at 25 feet.  It was slightly inconsistent but had a good feel in the hand. 

Performance at 45 feet: 18.5 points out of 20

I was still noticing the Legend Elites inconsistencies at 45 feet.  I just could not get an accurate reading on the St. Croix Legend Elite compared to the very best rods.

Performance at 70 feet: 16.5 points out of 20

This rod had good power to make these casts.  I was not accurate, but I am never really accurate at 70 feet. 



9.  (tie)  St. Croix Legend Elite  -  55

st. croix legend élite

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Josh's Comments

The Legend Elite remains a great rod at a great price.  It’s not the best rod but its pretty darn good, made here in the USA by the great folks at St. Croix.  I’ve sold a lot of these rods over the years because it’s a rod I continue trust and know will preform well for all anglers.


Performance at 25 feet: 18 points out of 20 

A softer, more flexible tip a lot like the older Loomis StreamDance GLX rods gives the Legend Elite great feel and accuracy. This light, responsive rod made putting the fly where I wanted it fun and easy.

Performance at 45 feet: 18.5 points out of 20 

Silk smooth with a nice light feel at this distance. Very well balanced with good loop control and impressive accuracy. Not very different in performance than most of the top rods in the shootout it’s just not nearly as light in hand. 

Performance at 70 feet: 18.5 points out of 20 

This rod just doesn’t have the guts and power needed to perform with the Radian, Wraith and NRX LP but it’s still nice and smooth with decent accuracy at 50 to 60’.