Duke Hust Award
TU Award

Dear Dave!

It was nice talking with you and your wife. I'm thrilled that you have relatives in Söderhamn. A very nice area in Sweden, and close to my favorite trout waters. I'm looking forward guiding you around in Sweden if you decide to come over for vacation. Finally I got the possibility to go out to the water and try out the rod you made for me. First of all, being the first Swede having a Norling made rod is really something, and it became an experience using it, far away from what I´m used to. I usually use the CTS mad i New Zealand. Light weight and top action speed. Using your rod was going from fishing with "intensity" to fish with "intimacy". The weight and the deeper action was giving me a feeling of being much more precise in casting and fishing. I used a Scientific angler ED weight 5 and the rod responded beautifully. It doesn't require much power with your arm, just using the underarm and let the rod work. Wow..... I really looking forward to meet you either in Minneapolis or in Sweden.

Calle Fjellman


Your rod exceeded every bit of (the high) expectation I had towards it. It's beautifully made, absolute classic appearance, perfectly aesthetic.

The 5 wt. 8´7" fits my fishing needs just like a glove - so glad I followed your knowledgeable recommendations. And the rod is light as a feather. Unbelievable how light a rod that long can get.

It is also a pure pleasure to cast. Smooth, powerful and precise. Always a straight line, no shock-waves whatsoever.

And you built one hell of a fish catching tool here. The 4 1/2 lbs. Rainbow trout I recently caught in the rapid waters of the Goiserer Traun in Austria did not have a bit of a chance, no matter how the fish and the current bent your rod. What about "confidence" as the ultimate benefit a hand-built rod can possibly deliver?

Thanks so much for this rod Dave. It will stay with me as long as I will be able to fish.

Andy Schumacher

Berlin, Germany

Yesterday with the heat and wind was a perfect day and with the general lack of hatches to focus the fish, I knew that they would be susceptible to the beetle. I fished the rod you built me yesterday with the 4wt. tip and it is REALLY a fine spring creek rod. I struggled a little with the wind but under normal conditions it will be an exquisite fishing tool.

Jay Johnson

Hunter Recruitment and Retention Coordinator for MN DNR



All the rods I fish with have been made by men I respect. When I take one to a stream or river, I take the maker along. It keeps me from getting lonely, teaches me respect for craftsmanship and leads me to be joyful and to honor the depth of each person's love of fly fishing, including my own. Dave Norling has been making bamboo fly rods for less than a decade, but in important ways he has been preparing for the building of each one of them for his entire lifetime. I own three Norling rods, a four-, five- and six-weight. I have another on order and will probably own as many of them as Dave will build for me. They have grace, subtle power and a wonderful sense of humor, just like their builder.

Tom Helgeson
Midwest Fly Fishing magazine

YES! I got the rod. I really love it. The taper is heaven. That is the kind of action I love. It is a very light weight rod, with a soft touch. But I think has still some authority left. The look of the rod is beautiful. The components work great together. I'm sure, that this rod will be one of my favorite 4 wt. rods. And I think one off the reason is that it has a lot of soul.

Thanks Dave.

Dennis Werner

Berlin, Germany

When I first got one of Dave's bamboo rods, I was afraid to use it.
Just kept it on my office wall as a special piece of art. But when Dave promised me that if I broke it (while fishing, of course) he would make another for me. And so when I tried it on the stream, it was so lovely to handle it's my regular now. It's light, snappy, feels good (especially when there's a trout on), and it's beautiful. Throws a line out with precision. I regret I lost two years without it. And now when I'm not fishing, it's hanging in its special place on my office wall. But only when I'm not fishing.

Tom Waters

Dr. Tom Waters is professor emeritus of the department of fisheries and entomology at the University Of Minnesota. In addition to a number of books for the layman about rivers and streams he is perhaps best known for the discovery of "behavioral drift".

  Tom Waters


Your rods are among the best I have ever used. Not only are they great to look at and great to cast. they are among the best I've ever fished with. Thanks for making them.

Wayne Bartz

Field Editor for Midwest Fly Fishing magazine

Re: what is it about 7' 9"?

Far be it from me to even think I know THE answer to your question but if you're looking for a lightweight 7'9" HOLLOW-BUILT 4wt that's not noodly and has a very nice, smooth (smoooth) action you may wish to consider giving Dave Norling of Mpls a ring.

He's made a bunch of rods in that length and mine is very nice indeed. And his workmanship/cosmetics/wraps (especially those wraps) and finish is wonderful.I like a 7'9" more than a 7'6" for some things. Then I like an 8 footer for some other occassions too. Depends, doesn't it. I could go on but I wont! It's like many of our rods, you can't appreciate them until you play with them. Translates into angst.

And that into the wants..... Jeremy.....lovin' it!

Jeremy Gubins

I believe that any bamboo rod maker who is careful in his selection of cane, understands tapers, and is meticulous in his attention to the details of construction, will produce a serviceable fly rod. But, this
is mere craftsmanship.

The true value of any piece of artwork is found in the heart and soul of the artist that creates it, and I can think of no other medium, where this is more true, than bamboo. I've fished a few bamboo rods... and in the hands of a competent angler... they all get the job done.

Precious few have spoken to me in the process.

Dave Norling is an artist who breaths life into each of his creations. Each rod that he offers, comes to us from not only his hands and experience... but from his heart and soul. When I pull one of Dave's rods from it's tube, and string it up... it whispers a promise. When I roll out the first buttery loop... it speaks to me. When I fish... it sings.

Perhaps, Saint Francis of Assisi said it best... "He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands, and his head, and his heart is an artist.

My days on the water are too few to fish with any thing less.

~ Bob White

Hello Dave, we are 2 weeks back from our fishing trip in SLOVENIA.

I have fishing 7 days with the rod that you have made for me, Dave and I can talk 2 days about that rod because she is  BETTER THAN I EVER COULD HAVE DREAMED  because I have fished on several rivers from large to small rivers, I have fished with several flies;dryflies,nymphs,spiders,streamers and what is the result  SHE CAST EVERYTHING AND THIS WAY SMOOTH   

Dave, absolutely no fish were too large and absolutely no fish were too fast for that beautiful made rod, I can know it.

When someone has fished with a rod made by you Dave, there is now way back and it is a special feeling .

Dave, I going to tell you something that you must tell against nobody, because they will think that I am crazy; there were moments that I was fishing and that I had the feeling that you stood beside me

Best Graets from your friend in Belgium,
Janot Castermans

"Your rods are among the best I have felt and seen in the realm of the individual rodmaker around the country. Keep it going!"

Jerry Kustich
Former bamboo rodmaker for H.L. Winston Rod Company

"When you talk about quality, you talk about those products that are made not only from the best materials, but also from the hearth. Dave Norling was teaching me how to make my own rod and I saw first hand the passion that he puts into making them. He takes care of every single detail with such devotion that the result cannot be anything else but perfection. Lack of time did not let me finish my rod. But I bought a 5wt rod from Dave that looks like a piece of art with my name on it. Where else do you get that treat? I told Dave that the rod was such a beauty I was afraid to use it, and he said, do not buy it then, the rod needs to be used!

The rod is here with me in Chile, where I plan to use it as soon as the season starts. Regardless of the cold July Winter here, I have taken the rod out to the park for practice. The powerful yet smooth action of this rod blows me away. I own several graphite rods, of which some I made my self trying to find that special taper and balance that eliminates some of the vibration on the forward cast. I did not succeed. But this rod eliminates the vibration and adds precision to the cast. So now I have beauty, quality, and precision. Fishing has another meaning"

Juan Carlos Castro Rehbein
Bechtel Chile Ltda.
Xstrata Project
Santiago - CHILE


This weekend was Troutfest in Townsend, TN.  Townsend is the small  town on the northwestern edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National  Park.  I fished your rod in the Park both Friday and Saturday.   Troutfest is a three-day festival about trout and trout fishing.   Lefty Kreh, Joe Humphries, and Bob Clouser were here tying flies,  giving presentations, and signing books.  There were artists,  netmakers, charity groups, and rodmakers.  Friday and Saturday a small  group of people get together in the classroom above the town's fly  shop for the "Boo Bash".  There were a number of guys there from  Clark's Classic Fly Rod Forum.  One of the guys remembered my username  and asked me if I wasn't the guy who just got a Norling.  I said I was  and I was sent out to get it.  When I took it out of the case, a  couple of guys took it over to the light and went crazy.  One of them  started passing the butt section around the room.  He was telling  folks "If you want to see REAL rod wrapping, look at this!"

Dave, I looked at a bunch of very nice rods there, and I am still so  honored that you agreed to build me one.  Both days after leaving the  festival, I headed into the park to try to fool some fish.  Saturday  was my best day on a stretch of water that is typically fishless for  me.  Four trout came to one of those Pheasant Tails like I gave you.  The  trout in the park are tough - they probably see as many flies in a year as the trout on the Henry's Fork out west.  But there's something  about a wild trout for sure.  Even if they're smaller they sure are  pretty.

Hope everything is going well for you and your family.

Abe Mathews

Enjoy watching Dave on "Minnesota Bound" with Ron Schara

Click here to read a letter from Dave Lock about fishing Roderick Haig-Brown's beloved Campell River.

Dave Sr 612.618.1248  davidrobertnorling@gmail.com
Dave Jr 612.839.3947  fish.norling@gmail.com
Dave and Dave's Blogspot