Gear Review: St. Croix Evos

April 26, 2024 By: Spencer Durrant


I grew up fishing my dad’s St. Croix fly rods, until someone left them in a hot truck all summer (sans rod sock or tube) and they eventually succumbed to the heat and careless handling. So, when I heard St. Croix was re-entering the fly rod space a few years ago—this time with an emphasis on creating a premium, top-tier rod—I was hit with a wave of nostalgia.

And guilt over my dad’s old rods that someone ruined.

On the bright side, after fishing with the new St. Croix Evos for a few months, I now have a great Father’s Day gift idea for my dad.

The Evos is a fast-action rod that, like all other St. Croix fly rods, is built right here in the U.S. of A. My review model was a 9′ 5-weight, and when it showed up on a snowy winter afternoon, I couldn’t resist taking it out for a lawn casting session. My immediate reaction was one of surprise and excitement—surprise at the power the Evos packed, and excitement at the idea of getting it out on the water.

After putting the Evos through its paces, I’m pleased with how it performed. I won’t say this rod blew me away in the fashion other new releases have, but the Evos’ power makes it an effective, fun rod. It certainly has more personality than some recent flagship rods from other manufacturers.

What I Liked

Attention to Detail

The Evos is St. Croix’ re-entry into the fly fishing world, so this rod absolutely had to deliver on basic expectations anglers have from a $975 fly rod. To succeed, the Evos needed good torsional stability, to track straight, to feel light in hand, and it was absolutely vital that the rod did all this while maintaining enough backbone to cast a wide variety of rigs.

On those fronts the Evos absolutely delivers. Of those features, I’d say it’s best at mustering power to throw streamers and heavy nymph rigs, which it does with ease. I don’t have an infrared camera to plot how the Evos tracks, but based on how accurate my casts were, I feel confident in saying the Evos displays acceptable levels of torsional stability and tracking.

While we’re here, I’ll address the build quality. Overall, the Evos feels like an expensive rod, with an attractive matte finish on the blank and a flor-grade Full Wels cork grip. I’m not a fan of the burled rings near the bottom of the grip, but that’s purely a personal choice, and it doesn’t impact the rod’s performance.

The reel seat on the 9′ 5-weight is uplocking anodized aluminum over a walnut insert. You get a hook keeper (thank heavens for that!) and Recoil single-foot guides, with a Cerecoil stripping guide. Other models modify the grip, guides, and reel seat based on their intended application. 6-8-weight rods get an aluminum reel seat, for example.

Lastly, it’s worth noting in this section that St. Croix has utilized a new carbon fiber that’s infused with graphene to build the Evos. Graphene is a super-strong, incredibly light and thin material that, when mixed with carbon fiber, allows for lighter and stronger blanks. According to Fly Fisherman Magazinethe use of graphene in this manner is unique to St. Croix in the fly fishing world.

Smooth Action

The Evos is a fast rod, but the action feels smooth and intuitive. I’m often drawn to medium-fast rods myself, but casting the Evos felt easy. I didn’t have to work hard to throw 80 feet of line, which is quite a feat for an average caster like myself. Even with a heavy nymph rig and a bobber, the Evos felt smooth and more than up to the task. That speaks to both this rod’s power, and, I suspect, its construction with graphene.

Works Well With Multiple Lines

I loaded up the Evos with a few different lines (I do this for every rod I review) to see what it performed best with. I used an Amplitude Infinity, Trout Standard, and Trout Double Taper, all from Scientific Anglers. The Evos responded well to all of those lines, which was surprising because the Evos is a fast, stiff rod. I didn’t know how it would react to a true-to-weight line like the Trout Standard, but it handled the line wonderfully.

I felt the Evos fished best with the Amplitude Infinity, which is a half-size heavy. That extra weight loads the faster action of the Evos better at closer distances than the true-to-weight lines did.

What I Didn’t Like

Not Enough “Feel”

The only knock I have against the Evos’ performance is its relative lack of feel. The Evos is, by no means, a stiff, broomstick-like rod. I could feel the rod load and unload, and it handled smaller dry fly rigs just fine. But the “feel” wasn’t quite on par with other rods at this price point, which left me wanting more sensitivity and feedback from the tip section. That feedback is critical for more technical fishing applications, and is the one place I think the Evos could stand to improve.

Final Word

The Evos is an excellent rod, and it’s a fantastic re-entry into the fly fishing world from St. Croix. It has plenty of power for handling big rigs and big fish, and I appreciate the attention to detail that went into this rod. The Evos is a smooth-casting, light-in-hand stick that’s an effective fishing tool, even if it doesn’t provide the same feedback other rods do at this price point. While I’d change a few of the design elements if I were in charge, there’s nothing wrong with how this rod performs on the water. If you want a fast-action, made-in-America fly rod that’ll handle all your trout fishing needs, the Evos should be under consideration.