At a Glance: Fly Lines

FishUSA offers RIO, Scientific Anglers, Cortland, and Orvis lines for your fly reel. We stock an extensive array of fly line weights and configurations for trout, steelhead, salmon, warm water, and saltwater applications.

Most modern trout lines are either floating fly lines, sinking tip lines or full sinking lines with a weight forward (WF) design. They range from 1 weight to 12 wt., with 4, 5, and 6 wts. the most popular for trout, while 7 through 9 wts. find favor for steelhead, salmon, and bass, along with some saltwater species. The primary use for fly lines designed in 10 to 12 wts. is for muskie, permit, striped bass, and tarpon. A weight forward taper is a short (25 to 40 foot) front “head” tapering to the front tip where the leader attaches; the fly line transitions at the back end to a small diameter running line section that attaches to the backing. The weight forward head concentrates the weight in the front 30 feet, helping load the rod easier and with less line out of the rod tip. WF lines also come in sink tip options (a floating line with a sinking front taper design) and full sinking lines conceived for sub-surface fishing with streamers, nymphs, and lake fishing. WF lines are also better with today's modern, faster action rods for long distance casts compared to double taper lines.

Double taper (DT) floating line configurations tend to find their primary usage for trout fishing. DT lines are symmetrical, with fly line tapers on both ends – one obvious advantage is you can reverse this line and use the other end when one wears out. DT lines don't cast for distances as well as WF lines with today's fast-action fly rods. Double taper fly lines have been pushed to the back, with weight forward lines accounting for over 90% of total line sales. Yet, many experienced trout anglers still prefer a DT line for its roll casting and dry fly fishing at distances of 35 feet. Here, the DT line shines, allowing for a softer presentation. However, a weight forward line is a better choice for the beginner.