Picking the Right Fly Line – Fins and Feathers Bozeman
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Picking the Right Fly Line

With the now huge selection of fly lines picking the right one these days can feel like a daunting task. Even walking into our shop, you notice a wall completely filled with fly lines behind our front counter, right around 80 different styles. Disclosure: we will only be addressing freshwater lines today. The first step to picking the right fly for your needs is going to be assessing the primary purpose of the rod on which it will be used. Are you going to be using the rod as an all-a-rounder? Maybe a streamer rod? Strictly small dry flies or solely a nymph rod? Once you have determined your intentions for the rod you can start making moves.

For all-a-rounder trout rods we suggest a weight forward floating line. This line will provide the weight in the head of the line needed to cast a heavier streamer or large nymph rig but can also delicately present a dry fly at close to medium range. Beyond just the intended use you will also want to look at the action of your rod. Some of today’s fast action rods don’t load deep enough with a true line weight, but there are solutions for that as well. For a very fast action rod Rio Grand InTouch or Scientific Angler Amplitude MPX are the way to go. They have weight distributed more to the front of the head for easier loading of fast rods. Another good option for fast rods is using one of the next two lines named in a line size heavy. Along with this, MPX is a half line size heavy to get the most out of a fast action rod. For slow to medium/fast action rods the best lines are going to Rio Gold Intouch and Scientific Angler Amplitude Trout taper. Lines get more specific when you get into more specialized rods. These lines are great for both fishing from the bank and on a boat.

When you are intending to throw streamers a sink tip line is our go to. We like the Rio InTouch Sink Tip line to get streamers down and to have them to stay down. This works well both from a boat and wade fishing. When fishing for predators, pike, walleye, & muskies, a full sink line like the Scientific Angler Sonar Titan. Both of these lines come in different sink rates and slightly different tapers.

Nymph lines are actually very impressive when that is your go to style of fishing. The Rio InTouch Xtreme Indicator line has 9’ of bright orange to your indicator that is great for detecting the slightest takes. Along with this, the line has a short head for easy casting of all indicator rigs. This is great for fishing out of a boat. Even a more specific line is the Euro Nymph line from Rio. This is competition legal European style nymphing line for those who are competitive nymphers also has a 6’ brightly colored tip.

Lastly, lines for very slow rods and delicate presentations of dries. SA Mastery double taper, Rio LightLine and Rio Trout LT are the go to lines. If you are fishing a 4, 5, or 6 weight the best option for slow/medium to medium action rods is again the SA Amplitude Trout or Rio Gold.

Wow. Information overload. Odds are high that I missed a few important lines or considerations while choosing but this will be a good start when choosing your next fly line. Check out all of our lines.

Pro Tip: Clean your line weekly or after every four uses to extend the life of the line and to avoid difficult mending, casting, and feeding line.