What makes a great fly line Every angler may have a different answer to this question based on their casting proficiency, target species, and the conditions in which they fish. Setting differences in opinion aside, we feel that for a fly line to be the “best of the best” ? especially for catching trout it needs to be:
- Easy to load, cast, and shoot
- Easy to mend and manage on the water to achieve a drag-free drift
- Designed to perform its intended duty better than competing lines on the market
There are simply too many fly lines on the market, so we’ve done the hard work for you by rounding up three great fly lines that check all the boxes for being the best.
Best All-Purpose Fly Line for Trout: Rio InTouch Gold
If you like to switch between lots of different fly styles and techniques throughout the course of a day, you need a fly line that performs all tasks equally well. This is a lot to expect from a fly line but somehow the Rio Intouch Trout Gold seems to have all the bases covered.
Rio books the Intouch Gold as the “ultimate all-around fly line,” and it’s hard to argue with that sentiment. You may be familiar with the standard Rio Gold, which is perhaps one of the most widely fished trout lines in existence still a great line, but you can think of the Intouch Gold as an upgraded version.
The Intouch Gold has a very similar taper as the standard Rio Gold which is a good thing it loads the rod easily, maintains superb loop stability throughout the casting stroke, and the slightly aggressive head shoots line with minimal effort. The head section of the line is 47-feet long, which is longer than many other trout lines, making it easier to mend the fly line at long distances to keep your fly floating drift free.
A key difference between the Intouch Gold and the standard Rio Gold is that the former is built using ConnectCore Rio’s proprietary core material that is ultra-low stretch. Lower stretch equates to a fly line that is more sensitive in the hand, giving you a better feel of the fly in the water and detection of the subtlest bites. Less line stretch also gives you more direct power when setting the hook those fish won’t know what’s coming until it’s too late.
Want more information, check out AMAZON for the latest pricing for InTouch Gold Fly Line
As one of Rio’s top-tier fly lines, all of the company’s latest technologies are used to make it awesome. AgentX is used in the fly line coating to bond two separate layers together to fine-tune the line’s performance. Rio’s MaxCast hydrophobic line coating is used to repel water resulting in a higher-floating, farther-shooting line that’s a dream to pick up and recast. To keep the tip from sinking a seemingly unavoidable problem with floating lines the Intouch Gold incorporates a Maxfloat tip that helps the line tip float twice as high as normal tips without increasing the diameter.
Guide Tip: A good floating line is super versatile I love using it for streamer fishing even when I need to get the line down 6 feet. Check out this article -> How to Fly Fish Streamers with Floating Line
If a typical day of fishing has you casting emergers in the morning, dredging indicator nymph rigs in the afternoon, and chucking streamers along cut banks for browns at sunset, load your reel with the Rio Intouch Gold. Sure, it won’t be completely perfect for each discipline as a dedicated specialty line would, but it comes darn close.
Once you’ve got your fly line,YOU NEED TO TAKE CARE OF IT. Find out how to clean and dress your fly line in this article. How to Clean and Care For your Fly Line.
Runner Up and a Great Value Fly Line
Scientific Anglers Frequency Trout
Check current prices at Amazon for Scientific Anglers Frequency Fly Line
If you’re looking for a slightly less expensive all-purpose fly line for trout, I recommend checking out the SA Frequency Trout. It has a similar easy-loading, easy-shooting taper as the Rio InTouch Gold, but lacks a few of the premium features. Still, the Frequency Trout is a great performing line and you won’t be disappointed for the price.
Best Fly Line for Dry Fly Trout Fishing: Rio Lightline
As a fly angler, it’s inevitable that you’ll end up with multiple rods one for every occasion. Let’s hope that you end up with at least one dry-fly rod because let’s be real fishing dry flies to rising trout is hard to beat. Check out the prices and reviews with this link to Amazon -> Rio Lightline
While you can fish dry flies with modern fast-action rods, making the accurate casts and delicate presentations are a lot easier and more fun with a slightly slower fly rod with a more classic, progressive taper.
We’re talking old-school favorites like bamboo, fiberglass, and slower graphite rods in the style of R.L. Winston.
And if you’re going to cast dry flies with a slower rod, the Rio LightLine is the line for the job. With a taper designed specifically for use with the aforementioned rod types, the LightLine is a true-to-weight fly line that won’t overload a slow-to-medium action rod. This helps increase casting accuracy while making feathery float-down fly landings not only possible but repeatable.
Aside from casting performance, the Rio LightLine has the same premium enhancements as the Rio Intouch Gold AgentX, MaxCast, and a MaxFloat Tip giving you the old-school feel with every new-school advantage possible. A small but important detail is the beige and brown color scheme of the LightLine, perfectly complementing that prized bamboo four-weight.
Best Fly Line for Nymph Fishing: Airflo Nymph Indicator Fly Line
It’s hard to deny that if you want to catch fish consistently, you better be fishing nymphs. Lobbing heavy multi-fly indicator rigs with split-shot or tungsten bead flies isn’t the most glamorous technique, but man is it effective. And if you want to throw some serious metal, you need a fly line that can handle all that weight.
You need the Airflo Nymph Indicator fly line.
This aggressively nymph-friendly fly line was designed by hardcore fly rodder Kelly Galloup. Mr. Galloup is probably best known for his extreme approach to streamer fishing for massive brown trout, along with his edgy fly pattern inventions with names best left unmentioned. But as a longtime fishing guide, he’s well-versed in the art of nymph fishing. Not satisfied with any fly lines available for serious nymph fishing, Mr. Galloup set out to create his own, teaming up with Airflo to make it happen.
The result is a fly line with a massive front head that turns over even the heaviest indicator rigs with ease. This is the line you want for getting down deep in fast rivers. The heavy, condensed head forms loops very efficiently for quick, accurate casts, and features an extended rear taper for easy mending when you have lots of line out.
Similar to the Rio Intouch Gold, the Airflo Nymph Indicator line is built with a low-stretch power core to detect tiny nibbles and make efficient hook sets. And to help you seal the deal on those hook sets, the line features a ridged textured surface so it won’t slip out of your hands.
An interesting distinction of Airflo lines is that unlike most fly lines which are made of PVC, Airflo uses polyurethane material that is very durable, UV resistant, and heat resistant. So not only is the Airflo Nymph Indicator a great line for doing the dirty work, it’s a thoroughly well-made line that will hold up to trip after trip.
Learn more and check pricing at Amazon -> Airflo Fly Line
Choosing a Fly Line Doesn’t Have to be Difficult
With so many different fly lines on the market, each with a special purpose and use case, choosing the right fly line is almost always harder than it needs to be. But don’t get overwhelmed. If you’re primarily after trout, make your life easier by going with what we feel is the all-around best fly line for trout the Rio Intouch Gold.
Then, if you feel like expanding into more specialty lines, check out the Rio LightLine for dry flies and the Airflo Nymph Indicator line for nymph fishing.
Are you looking for some great How To Fly Fish Articles? Checkout this list:
- How to Fly Fish for Bluegills – These amazing fish are all over the USA. I like to call them the “Gateway Drug to Fly Fishing”
- How to Fly Fish for Brook Trout – Find the cleanest, coldest, most beautiful streams and I’ll bet Brookes are present.
- How to Nymph Fish – Step by Step details for setting up, presenting and catching trout with nymphs.
- How to Fly Fish for Salmon – Image hooking into a +25 pound King Salmon in a river and your Fly Rod breaks! Seriously this happened to me on my first trip.