Which Is The Right Type Of Fly Line To Use

As fly anglers, we face a wide variety of waters to fish. From deep reservoirs and lochs to small rivers and stillwaters. The question is, when should you use different fly lines like floaters, intermediates and sinkers, and how do you find out which line works best?

Ultimately, there is no 'best' line, only the line that's most suitable for the method on any given day. This will be based on your style of fishing and the depth the fish are holding at.

Generally speaking, a standard floating line is the most versatile in your box. With a floating line, you can fish on top of the water or in the surface film. You can also fish depths of 20 feet by using a long leader, and a weighted fly provided you employ a slow retrieve and wait for the fly to get down.

Airflo Superflo
When deciding on which line to use, try and gauge how deep the water is that you will be fishing, and what method you will be using. For example, when fishing from the bank at any water (large or small) an excellent first choice would always be a floating line. This is because your fly will very rarely be in water deeper than 20 feet. By changing your speed of retrieve and the weight of the fly, you can control the depth you are fishing. A floater allows you to explore the depths.

Cortland Competition Medium Sinking Line
The exception would be when fishing Boobies early season when you would need a fast sinking line such as a Di-5 or Di-7 to pull the fly down and hold it there.
Airflo 2019 Di5 - Di7
If you can imagine that fish are holding at approximately eight feet deep, but want a lure pulled quite quickly, then you should opt for an intermediate or a medium sinking line. A moderate to fast retrieve on a floating line would pull your fly up on the retrieve. It will also pull the fly up and out of the 'holding zone'. By fishing an intermediate or medium sinking line, you would retrieve on a level plane, keeping your fly at the correct depth for the length of the retrieve. This gives you more opportunities to induce the take.
Cortland Competition Fo-Tech Intermediate
When boat fishing, the 'go-to' line for many anglers is a Di-3 or a Di-5 Sweep because the water you are fishing is generally deeper - between 15 and 35 feet. These medium sinking lines allow you to fish the greatest range of waters and methods without continually changing lines. If you were to chose just three fly lines in a session, a great choice would be a floater, a fast intermediate and a Di-5 Sweep.

Equipped with a range of weighted, unweighted and buoyant flies, you could then cover just about every scenario on every water with these lines, allowing you always to catch a few fish.

This article was brought to you in association with Trout Fisherman Magazine.