A quality fly line is like a nice pair of socks; it’s easy to know when the one you’re using is cheap. As fly anglers, we love to invest in a nice fly rod and fly reel. However, we may blow our budget and neglect the fly line. As many fly anglers know, the fly line you use makes a massive difference. It’s important to understand the type of fly line you need and some of the brands that are going to set you up for success.
Best Fly Line For Trout: Quick Picks
The Anadro model from Scientific Anglers is a floating fly line, but it’s great for streamers. The short taper and heavier rear allows you to launch your streamers all over the river or lake. It’s wonderful to cast!
The Airflo SuperDRI Elite Weight Forward line is great for dries. The 8′ front taper makes it easy to lay down your flies on spooky fish! Plus, it’s less than $100!
The Rio Perception Elite fly line is extremely versatile. Its medium length taper allows you to throw both nymphs and dries and perfectly control them. Yes, it’s $130, but the investment is worth it.
A Quick Guide to Fly Lines for Trout Fishing
The weight of your fly fishing line must match with the weight of your fly rod and reel. For example, many anglers will use a 5-weight fly rod and reel for trout. As a result, you’re going to need to use a 5 or 6-weight line. If you’re fishing on smaller streams, you can use somewhere between a 2 and 3-weight line on your finesse rods. For those heavy trout, a 6-weight rod with 6-weight line should do the trick.
An easy method is to directly match up the line with the weight of your rod and reel! However, if you want a little more power, then you can “overline” your setup by using a line that’s one weight heavier than your rod and reel.
For trout, most anglers are going to use weight forward or double taper fly line. Each of these lines have their benefits for trout fishing.
Weight forward line is great if you’re looking for a more all-around fly line. These can throw dries, nymphs and streamers. They’ll excel if you’re making longer casts and if you’re fishing on a particularly windy day. Usually, their “head” is somewhere around 40′ long. As a result, you’ll find the the weight forward design doesn’t allow for the most delicate presentations. You’re going to have to practice and get used to the design to lay down the flies as accurately as you would like. This line works well with fast action rods!
Double taper fly lines are tapered on both ends giving anglers confidence that they can holds their loops. Double taper designs are usually the best fly lines for small and medium streams. You can confidently use roll casts and present those small dries exactly where you would like. You won’t be able to make 50 foot casts with them, but casts around 30 feet are manageable. You can easily control the mends and everything you need. Double taper lines pair well with medium action rods.
Debates amongst fly anglers regarding fly line color are common. Most guides are going to swear by olive or other earth tone colored fly lines. These aren’t going to be as quick to spook trout. As technology has progressed, many anglers are moving towards clear fly line. It’s the least intrusive color you can find.
Floating fly line, Sinking or Intermediate
If you’re looking for versatility, your best bet is floating fly line. Floating line allows you to cast dries, nymphs and streamers without having to change anything! As long as you’re fishing no more than 15 feet or so, you can use every type of fly!
Sinking line is great if you’re fishing lakes or reservoirs and you’ know the fish are sitting low in the water column. Use streamers or nymph rigs with sinking line, and you’ll have a great chance at landing fish.
Intermediate fly lines are another option for trout. Full intermediate fly lines sink around 1 inch per second. If you’re fishing lakes, this is a good option for you. Intermediate sink tip fly line is where the front portion of the fly line sinks. This line is great for both rivers and lakes!
Top 11 Fly Lines for Trout: Full Reviews
Best Dry Fly Lines for Trout Fishing
Airflo has found its niche in the world of fly line. With their environmental efforts and quality materials, they’re a top choice for anglers of all skill levels. The SuperDri Elite is a perfect floating line option for anglers. The total length is 90′ with 50′ of it being running line and 40′ of it being the head. The front taper is 8′ long, so you’re able to present those dry flies with exact precision. You’re also able to throw nymphs and streamers if the depth is correct! For around $75, you’re getting a great floating line for trout.
- The SuperDri technology is a friction reducing coating to allow for smoother casts.
- The Zone Technology minimizes friction and extends the life of your floating line.
- You can get it anywhere from 3 weight to 7 weight!
If you’re the type of angler who makes their living on small creeks, the Rio Creek floating fly line is a wonderful option for you. The entire design is created with small creeks in mind! The overall length in only 75′, so it’s going to fit on the smaller reels you use in small water. The front taper is only 6′, the body is 5′, the body taper is 5′ and the back taper is 14′. These dimensions set up anglers for extremely precise casts with dries, nymphs and smaller streamers! Often, small stream anglers have to fend for themselves, so it’s nice to have a fly line specifically made for us. For around $100, you’re getting a great deal.
- Welded loops on the both ends make life easier
- The Coldwater core allows for you to fish spring-fed streams with no tangles
- The SlickCast coating allows you to not have to worry about getting anything hung up in the guides.
The Cortland Spring Creek fly line is a hidden gem in the world of floating fly lines. It’s an affordable option that performs very well on small water. For nearly half the price of the Rio Creek line, you’re getting one that can perform at a similar level. It’s a 90′ weight forward fly line created for delicate presentations. The long front taper allows you to lay down your flies softly for those exceptionally spooky trout. At $64, you can’t go wrong with the Cortland line. They’ve been in the business for awhile, and their products are generally high quality.
- The front welded loop makes attaching leader easy.
- The dark olive color doesn’t spook fish regardless of the water clarity.
- The core of braided nylon multifliament performs well in extremely cold water!
All Round Fly Lines For Trout
Most fly anglers pride themselves in being able to use a variety of methods of land trout. In terms of weight forward floating lines, the Airflo Superflo Universal Taper is one of the most versatile lines on the market. It’s a total of 90′ with the front taper being 8′, the belly is 15′, the rear belly is 4′ and the rear taper is 12′. Also, the haul zone is 12′ long! You’re getting a fly line that’s up for whatever challenge you’re facing! Throw dries, nymphs and streamers. At $100, you’ll get a a great fly line that’s going to last you years.
- The temperature rating is 23 degrees to 80 degrees, so it’s perfect for trout.
- You can get it for 3-weight all the way to 9-weight setups.
- The welded loops add to the ease of your fishing experience.
If you need a fly line for all of the freshwater species you’re targeting, look no further. Scientific Anglers has created nearly a perfect floating fly line with this design. It’s technology allows it to shoot further, but still present everything in a delicate fashion. Rest assured that your nymphs, dries and streamers are all going to feel right at home at the end of this line. The front taper is 10′ and the belly is 20′. It shoots however long you need it! At 90′ you’re getting a lot of line that’s going to put in the work. You’re going to pay $130 for it, but the quality is hard to beat.
- The extended head length is great for long casts and easy mends.
- The line is a half size heavy, so it’s great for fast action rods.
- The welded loops are perfect!
Now, if the Infinity model from Scientific Anglers is a bit too powerful, feel free to try the MPX model. This fly line was designed with some more finesse fly fishing in mind. Many dry fly anglers absolutely love this floating trout fly line. Keep in mind that this fly line is at its best when it’s shooting your flies. Yes, it can roll cast, but the most productive times are when it’s shooting. The front taper is 10′ and it has two bellies. Both are 10′, but the rear belly is a bit thinner. It’s a perfect fly line for trout if you’re fishing bigger water and need to cover ground. You’ll pay the same $130 that Scientific Anglers charges for the Infinity version.
- This line is a half size heavy for fast action rods.
- The slickness additive helps the line cast itself.
- This fly fishing line is extremely durable!
The Rio Perception Elite fly line is another versatile line that is focused more insensitivity and control. For a floating fly line, you’re going to find that it is able to hold its own in most situations. You can fish it in small streams and large rivers. If you fish rods between a 3-weight and an 8-weight, there is a size of this line for you. It’s truly a perfect fly line for trout. The weight forward design gives you a chance to launch streamers, but still make mends when you’re fishing small dries and nymphs. At $130, you’re going to pay the price for the quality, but RIO is well worth the investment.
- It’s built to be used in cold and moderate climate.
- The line is a half size heavy, so you’ll feel the power you need to throw all your flies.
- The welded loops help with the ease of use!
Best Streamer Lines for Trout
Fly fishing with streamers for trout is my personal favorite method. Now, it’s not always easy to find streamer trout fly line. The Anadro model from Scientific Anglers is perfect for it. Yes, it’s a floating fly line, so you’re likely going to be using it on rivers! The best aspect of the line is the extended rear taper that helps the fly line fly off of your reel. Use your 0x or 1x leader and let your streamer drift through the pools! You’ll find that your streamers don’t pull this fly line completely under the surface. The line stays on the surface and allows you to detect strikes. Yes, it’s $130, but the durability is hard to argue with.
- The line is overweighted by 1.5 sizes
- The slickness additive allows you to launch your flies
- It’s perfect for moderate and cold rivers.
Airflo’s Streamer Floating line is another quality designed fly fishing line. It’s 90′ long, but the 4.5′ taper is perfect for streamers. They’re easy to cast, but you’re also able to turn the flies over when you need to make a mend. The belly is 24′ feet long, so you’re able to manage that line however you might need. With streamer lines, you want to make sure it truly is a weight forward fly line. The weight of your streamers is going to pull line the line out of your reel, but that added weight will help you launch them. At $90, you’re getting a great deal on wonderful floating streamer line.
- It’s designed for 5-weight through 7-weight rods
- The temperature rating is 23 degrees to 78 degrees
- The low stretch power core provides a great hook set
There are times when you’re fly fishing streamers and a floating fly line doesn’t getting you deep enough. That’s when a sink tip line enters! It’s not a full sink that’s going to get hung up, but the sink tip is great for deep, holding fish. Depending on how deep you need your line, you can get it in 1.25 its, 2.5 its or 5.5 ips. Most anglers like to use 1.25 or 2.5 ips models! Combine this with the weight of your fly and you won’t have to wait long for your fly to get into the strike zone. These lines are designed with a short front taper that allows you to turn flies over easily. For $100, you can’t go wrong.
The line is designed two sizes heavier, so you’re able to shoot your fly easily
The sink tip is somewhere between 8 and 16 feet
This line has welded loops and is designed for moderate to cold climates
The Airflo Streamer Max Short is an interesting fly line. The 26′ head is made up of 22′ of sinking line. The intermediate transition zone allows the line to sink in a natural way. There’s no hinge to it. With a 17′ front taper, the line is easier to cast and you can launch your flies with them. It’s designed for rods between 5-weight and 9-weight. The Airflo Streamer Max fly line is going to cost you $100.
- The welded loops are easy to help you connect leader and backing
- It’s rated for 23 degree to 78 degree water
- The low stretch core makes for easy hook sets
Fly Line FAQs
What color fly line is best for trout?
Many fly fishing guides swear by earth tone colors for fly line. Yes, orange and yellow fly lines are easier to see, but they have the ability to spook the fish. When in doubt, stick with earth tones like olive, brown and tan!
What is the best fly line weight for trout?
For trout, a 5-weight fly line is a great weight. It’s versatile, not too heavy and is able to throw every type of fly you would want to throw.
Are expensive fly lines worth it?
Yes, the expensive fly lines are worth it. You can absolutely get away with using inexpensive line, but the added benefits of expensive fly lines make the investment more worth your time. It’s more durable, easier to cast and easier to mend.
Take your time when you’re choosing your fly line for trout. They’re a finicky fish that test your fly fishing abilities. Understand the type of water you’re fishing and the flies you’re going to use before you make your decision.