The right fly fishing setup requires a matched rod and reel, but also the appropriate line for the fly combo and the conditions. When you're selecting your freshwater fly line, these factors come into play: Weight, cast distance, speed, freshwater fly size and technique.
What line weight do I need for my freshwater fly fishing gear?
Always match your line weight to your rod and reel with your freshwater fly fishing gear. Smaller weights are best when fishing smaller waters and more sensitive species. The largest weight numbers land steelhead, salmon, and other high-energy big gamefish. Likewise, lighter-weighted combos help you finesse the most delicate flies under optimal conditions, while weights upward of 15 let you handle wind and fast water.
What makes a fly line go the distance?
Fly lines aren't uniform in length. The bulk of its weight is placed closer to the backing, in the center, or closest to the leader. For most anglers, the latter—a weight-forward line—is the best all-around freshwater choice, generating the energy and speed to send both wet and dry flies across broader streams, while maintaining enough control for accuracy in smaller creeks and precise fly presentation.
Understanding floating, sinking, or sinking-tip freshwater fly lines
Floating lines aren't reserved exclusively for dry flies. Combined with the right leader, tippet, and technique, floating fly fishing lines creating the least disturbance on the water surface. Floating lines are the best choice for clear, slow-moving streams and rivers when fish are surface-feeding.
Sinking lines are ideal for heavier wet flies in fast-moving water. They're the go-to choice for streamers during spring and fall steelie and salmon runs, but they're also useful in deeper, quieter water such as lakes, ponds, and eddies.
Sink tip lines straddle both conditions, allowing for optimal line drift and accurate depth to get your fly in front of your target.
Your leader and tippet contribute to your line's behavior on or under the water surface. If your passion is bringing fish up for a perfectly-placed dry fly, select a floating line but keep a couple sinking leaders in your vest for those special occasions when they're feeding in the middle or at the bottom of the water column.
Why does AvidMax give me the advantage over freshwater species?
We carry the most reliable brands at the best value, including a wide selection from RIO, Scientific Anglers, Cortland, Orvis, and TFO. Have questions? Our in-house fly fishing experts are happy to guide you to the right selection of freshwater fly line based on your target species, environmental conditions, and your favorite fly fishing water. Call us at 720-836-3619 or chat with us online.