Fly Fishing for Salmon and Steelhead with Amnesia

Amnesia for Fly Fishing – Sighter and Running Line for Salmon and Steelhead

Sighter lines are game-changers in the fly fishing industry; in fact, with the right sighters, you will never have to guess where your dry fly or nymph is at any given point when fishing. Instead, you will monitor your dry fly and track the movement of your leader while fishing salmons and steelhead. Therefore, you need a reliable sighter line like the Amnesia sighter line, which is the best for salmon and steelhead fishing.

Amnesia sighter line is a unique low-memory monofilament fly line that adds visibility to your fishing line thanks to its bright colors. Amnesia sighter lines are perfect for nymphing and can also be used as an integral long leader in Euro-Style nymphing.

With a reliable sighter, you can track the leader’s movement in relation to the water current and have an excellent idea of what the flies are doing in the water. This article will show you the importance of the amnesia sighter line and why it’s the best option for fishing steelhead and salmon.

What is a Sighter Line?

A sighter is a section of line in your leader area that provides a visual reference to detect any pause, dip or directions change indicating a fish striking your fly.  Sighters are similar to indicators providing fly feedback, but without floating the fly.

Fly fishing is a unique fishing technique that uses lightweight lures like dry flies or nymphs. (source) But for you to catch something, you need the right strategy, fly fishing gear, and casting technique, especially when fishing for bigger, deeper dwelling fish like steelhead and salmon. And when fishing in lakes or water sources with strong currents the chances of losing sight of your line or and fly can be pretty high.

Guide Tip: Amnesia line is a great all around product. Abrasion resistant, smooth, thin and strong. For the price (usually less than $10) having a spool around can solve a bunch of rigging problems.

Therefore, you need a reliable indicator that can help you spot your fishing line without adding any weight to your fishing gear. You need a sighter line that can help you quickly spot your leader even when it’s dark, in poor weather conditions, and even when fishing in less clear water.

Fly Fishing Sighter with Amnesia
Fly Fishing Sighter with Amnesia

You need an indicator that can help you monitor the behavior of the submerged lure, and this way, you can avoid surprises from the fish.

It is why monofilament sighter lines like the Amnesia sighter line are pretty popular among fly anglers. Monofilament lines are abrasion-resistant, and a 20lb line with bright or fluorescent colors can make your fishing line visible.

You can add it to the leader right before your tippet section. And if you want to see the line without straining, then your sighter line can be around 20 inches long. (source)

After all, the whole idea behind a sighter is to see your line without scaring away the fishes or straining to locate the exact position of your fly line.

Remember, in shallow water, a long-colored sighter can spook some fishes and make it hard for you to catch something. Therefore, the length and color of the sighter really do matter.

Amnesia Sighter Line Review

Since its inception in 1981, Kraft Tool Company has produced some of the best products in the fishing industry, and their sighter lines are no exception. Kraft Tool Company has created one of the most popular brands of fishing line in the United States, loved by most anglers. Amnesia Sighter line or sighter leader is an exceptional memory-free line constructed from nylon. In fact, when they transitioned from standard stiff lines to sighter materials, their popularity increased exponentially.

Amnesia for Fly Fishing
Amnesia for Fly Fishing

Amnesia lines have been quite popular in the fly fishing industry for decades, as they are durable, and you can use them as shooting or running lines. And while its memory-free nature after being stretched is exceptional, its fluorescent glow is what has helped it stand out over the years.

Other than popping out like neon signs in the water and helping you track your line, the Amnesia lines knot perfectly with other stiffer monofilaments. Plus, the fact that it’s abrasion-resistant is a bonus for any angler fishing in shallow lakes with lots of underwater plants.

Other than building leaders, this line makes an exceptional butt part of fly lines.

Amnesia sighter lines also can work perfectly as a running line on two-handed gears. It means that you can use it to connect the backing and rear taper.

After all, if you use a lighter Amnesia line, it will float and make it easier for you to spot it, especially when fishing at dawn.

Guide Tip: I’ve been buying Amnesia for years. Yes those pictures are me holding my spool. As a sighter or a running line prefer to use the 20 lbs. Dark Red. You can check the current prices and reviews over on Amazon with this link – Amnesia Memory Free Monofilament

As a running line, it can help you cast further. (source)

Amnesia Sighter lines can also function as indicators for nymphing. (source) The weight of this Amnesia product varies between 6lb and 25lb; therefore, you can pick an option that matches your fishing gear without worrying about tapering when using it as a shooting line. Plus, it is available in a wide range of fluorescent colors so that you can place your fly in the right spot, thanks to the visibility of the line.

Comparing the Breaking Strength vs Diameter of Amnesia and Others

Amnesia is great for a sighter line or even a running line. But what is the ratio of breaking strength vs diameter? Heck, how does Amnesia stack up compared to other fly lines and leaders. Below is a chart comparing Amnesia, Maxima, fly line and Cortland Competition Fly Line.

Line Comparison Chart

Brand and Breaking StrengthLine Diameter
Amnesia 10 lbs 0.012 inch diameter
Amnesia 20 lbs 0.017 inch diameter
Amnesia 30 lbs 0.0.22 inch diameter
Amnesia 40 lbs 0.024 inch diameter
Maxima 20 lbs 0.017 inch diameter
Typically Running Fly Line ~ 25 lbs 0.040 inch diameter
Cortland Euro Nymph Line ~ 25 lbs 0.022 inch diameter
Line breaking vs diameter


  • Brand: Amnesia
  • Color: fluorescent green and dark red
  • Material: nylon
  • Line weight: 6 to 40 pounds
  • Line type: Monofilament

Why Is the Amnesia Sighter Line the Best for Steelhead and Salmon Fishing?

1)    It Can Prevent Fish from Running the Line Off Its Reel

Steelhead and salmon are massive, robust fish that are known for running the line off the reel. They are also speedy swimmers and require a strong backing line that can’t easily break. (source)

Therefore, you need to know the exact position of your line every time you cast it and what is happening to the fly. After all, you don’t want a trophy fish surprising you and running your line off the fly reel.

2)    Improved Visibility

Remember, the best time to catch huge fish like steelhead and salmon is at dawn and dusk. This is when having a highly visible line like Amnesia really helps.  A bright contrasting color “shines” in these low light conditions.

Highly Visible Amnesia Line
Highly Visible Amnesia Line

A colorful sighter can also act as an indicator at night and show you where your fly lands when you cast it.

Anglers love amnesia sighter lines for their fluorescent colors. Therefore, spotting your line at any time of the day or night and even in harsh weather conditions can be pretty easy with Amnesia sighter lines.

Both salmon and steelhead spend a portion of their lives in the oceans or large lakes.  Fly fishers usually target these open water fish in a river during the spawning season.  That moving water can make it difficult to see a standard leader, but the contrasting color increases strike detection.

As a fly fisher you have two ways of detecting a strike.  Feeling it, which many times is later in the “take”.  If you’re feeling the fish on the line, it has already grabbed and moved. Adding the element of seeing the line pause, move or change direction allows the fisherman to set the hook before the fish has a chance to spit it out. – HENCE the need for a sighter.

1)    It Can Help with Nymphing

Another reason why you need a sighter line is that it can come in handy when nymphing. Nymphing refers to fishing using nymphs instead of dry flies. Nymphs tend to sink a bit instead of floating when cast, so you need a sighter line to know where the bait is situated and what is happening to it. It is the main reason nymphing works perfectly; after all, fishes feed below the water’s surface. (source)

2)    Affordable

Kraft Tool Company made sure that this sighter line was affordable for all anglers, even with its numerous fishing benefits. It is inexpensive and robust enough to catch trophy fishes like steelheads and salmon is a bonus.

So you can purchase more than one color or size and try and find out which one is more efficient in terms of visibility when fishing. You don’t have to break the bank to own a sighter line has helped make this brand quite popular among anglers.  


  • Unfortunately, some anglers have complained that they didn’t get what they ordered. This complaint was quite common among anglers who purchased fluorescent red. (source)
  • It would be best to have a leather glove when stretching its memory coils before casting your line.


What Is the Amnesia Sighter Line Used For?

Thanks to its high visibility characteristic, this line is perfect for salmon and steelhead leaders and nymphing. This line is commonly used for the mid and butt section of the salmon and steelhead leaders. Plus, it can be pretty helpful as a shooting/running line.

What Is The Diameter Of The Amnesia Sighter Lines?

The diameter of Amnesia lines varies with the strength of the line, with a 15 pounds line having a diameter of about 0.35mm. A 20-pound Amnesia sighter line has a diameter of approximately 0.45mm, while the most robust line (40 lb.) has a diameter of 0.70mm.

Who Makes The Amnesia Sighter Lines?

The Kraft Tool Company manufactures the Amnesia fly fishing brand of monofilament lines. The American company has been in business since 1981, and they produce fluorescent green or red lines that can improve your fishing experience.


Fly fishing sighters are the best invention in the fly fishing industry, making it possible for anglers to spot their lines from a distance, thanks to their fluorescent colors. And with Amnesia lines production using sighter materials, they are the most famous lines in the market that can also function as running or shooting lines.

These lines can help you monitor your dry fly or nymph even when fishing at dawn or dusk and ensure that the fish doesn’t surprise you.  

Hi David Humphries Owner of Guide Recommended. I love everything to do with fly fishing. Casting, Tying, YouTube, writing about it and even teaching. I’ve got a FREE video workshop teaching how to dry fly fish at this link How to Fly Fish


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  2. H. G. Tapply, The Sportsman’s Notebook, Accessed October 31, 2021
  3. Gary A. Borger, Nymphing, Accessed October 31, 2021
  4. Wikipedia contributors, Fly fishing, Accessed October 31, 2021
  5. Twig ‘N’ Timber Fishing & Outdoors, How to Use & Make an Easy Sight Leader or Sighter- Beginner Fly Fishing 101, Accessed October 31, 2021
  6. Amazon Staff, Amnesia Memory Free Monofilament Line, Accessed October 31, 2021
  7. Creative Publishing Editors, Fly Fishing for Trout in Streams, Accessed October 31, 2021
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