Idaho Fly Fishers Blog

Beautiful North Idaho Home in Hope

Beautiful North Idaho Home in Hope
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Discussing fishing flies, trout flies, salmon flies, fly fishing gear and equipment, Idaho and Montana fishing rivers, NW rivers, fly tying and fly fishing trips. Over 50 years experience in fly fishing, best flies, fly tying, fly fishing techniques, fish stories, directions to rivers and lakes and great fly fishing tall tales with special communications from area guides.

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fly Line Basics

Braided Silk Line on old Hardy Reel
"Fly Line Basics" written by YellowStoneFly for the Idaho Fly Fishers Blog to enhance one’s knowledge of the numerous fly lines that are available today. Idaho fly fishing requires a vast knowledge of conditions and techniques and lines in order to ensure fly fishing success. I assume that most of you reading this blog have a basic knowledge of available lines so, after a brief intro opening paragraph, we will discuss the tricks I find to be the most successful.

When you freshwater fly fish Idaho or any lower 48 rivers you will generally be using fairly light tackle. Many manufacturers and retailers sell all sorts of lines. Courtland, Scientific Angler, Orvis, Rio, Cabelas, Airflo, Sage and more all offer many varieties of line and backing. Historically fly lines have evloved from braided horse hair to braided silk (shown above) to the coated lines of today. Needless to say the coating, composition, size and even the shape can make a huge difference. But personally, I like the functional and inexpensive. I cannot tell a huge difference between the lesser and more expensive lines. Below is a comparison of lines ing the 7-weight category. The cross sections are proportionally similar (up or down) for lighter and heavier line weights.

Core diameter
Coating diameter
Sinking line
Standard floating line

Super low density line
Saltwater floating line
Chart from Modern Fly Lines by Bruce Richards

As a general rule, line weight is based on rod weight, but can be adjusted up or down by a factor of one (1). In other words, a 5-weight rod can accommodate a 4, 5, or 6 weight line. A 6-weight rod accommodates a 5, 6 or 7 weight line and so on; this rule does NOT apply for sinking line. Realize, you may have to adjust casting techniques for line weights and rod stiffness, but it is really not that hard to do. It is purely a matter of “feel”. So I suggest you consider buying different reel spools and fill with different weight lines rather than different rods for different conditions. It’s a lot cheaper to do it this way.

Payne Fly Line in original Box
I connect my line to my inexpensive 20-25# backing with a simple “nail” knot. It will stay forever and I have never had one slip off. On the leader end, I like a loop again secured with a “nail” knot. There are many ways to secure a leader to your fly line, but I like a loop-to-loop so I can change leaders quickly on the water. One other thing, “weight forward-WF” is a little easier to cast with a forward cast or “haul”, but it is not as easy to “roll” cast. I prefer the “double taper-DT” line for this reason and because when it begins to wear, you can simply reverse it on the spool and you don’t have to throw it away and replace; again this can get expensive.

Have a wonderful time fly fishing Idaho and come back soon.
           Fly Rod Basics
          Rod Weights - 101 

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