Choosing the Right Fly Line for Trout

Matching Fly Lines to Fly Rods can often be a frustrating experience. With so many choices in Fly Lines, making a decision can be overwhelming. 

Now not intending to add salt to the would, but correctly matching fly lines to fly rods is crucial. Rio has created a Fly Line Selector Tool, which can be very helpful if your fly rod is on their list of choices, this is a great place to start. However, there are so many rod manufactures out there these days it'd be impossible to list them all. 

To set off on the right foot, answer yourself these two questions:

What is your Intended Use?
The main factor to consider when selecting a fly line is Intended Use. Once you have a clear idea of what technique you're going to be using to catch your targeted fish you'll be able to select a fly line much easier. So let this be your first consideration; are you intending to cast large streamers from a boat? Accurately cast small dries against the bank? Or are you looking for a well rounded line that will do it all fairly well?

What is your Fly Rod's Action?
The next factor to consider is what action does your fly rod have? Slow, Medium, Medium-Fast or Fast. Action is pertinent because each rod action will react differently to different fly lines. A fast action rod is going to load much better with a denser, heavier head as opposed to a slow action rod which doesn't need the same grain weight to fully load the rod before a cast.

Once you have determined your Intended Use and your Fly Rod's Action, we can now make an educated decision on what fly line to select.

Rio's Gold Fly Line has been Rio's best selling fly line for years, and for good reason; it is an extremely versatile line that will cast flies from size #2 thru #22 with ease. It has a longer head (47') but with a taper design that gives great loop stability at long distance and allows for full loading at close range; this in turn makes for a great performer as an all-around fly line.


Rio Perception Fly Line is a line built on the ConnectCore platform yielding much less stretch than Rio's standard lines. Less stretch is going to give quicker line pick-ups, intuitively better cast timing, and sharp, precise mends. This line also boasts a tri-coloring system which aids immensely in gauging distances while casting. The head is relatively short at 36 feet which is going to aid in accuracy and presentation. 


This line is built with Fast Action rods in mind, it is build a full line size heavier than the industry standard. The taper design distributes more weight towards the front of the fly line giving it the front weight necessary to adequately load fast  action rods. This is also an excellent choice for the novice fly caster as the heavier line will aid the feeling of rod loading and help casters "feel" the loading and rhythm necessary to cast accurately and with distance.


This line is designed for delicate presentations of smaller flies and for rods with slower actions. The line profile is very long, with a fine front taper that has a lot of weight distributed towards the back of the head. This gives great soft line presentations of smaller flies with softer and slower rod actions. The single handed roll cast and single handed spey cast work exceptionally well with this line profile.


This line, as the name implies is designed for the angler who prefers to fish indicators. With a short front taper, weighted heavily at the front this line is built for pulling major duty in turning indicator rigs over in mending. The long 50' head length makes it ideal for mending at long distances. The front of the line features a thick diameter, high floating max visibility tip which is a great way to detect the take without using an indicator if that is preferred. 


Cortland's 444 lines have been an industry favorite for many years, boasted as one of the easiest handling fly lines due to it's relatively short 32 foot head length. The coating used in this fly line makes it remain very supple in cold conditions withstanding the rigid effect that cold weather can often cause.

Being one of the most cost effective fly lines, the SA Frequency line is worth a look for those on a budget. These lines are roughly a half size up; meaning a 5wt line is really more of a 5.5wt; this is a great mid point as many people prefer a slightly heavier line but some do not want to go an entire line size over. The 38' head length makes this line one that can turn over heavy flies with ease.





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