Cortland Fly Line Review

The Cortland Fly Line Review You’ve Been Waiting For

All the top fly line brands, like SA, Rio, and Orvis, have specialized fly lines for a wide range of fishing scenarios.  Nymphing requires a line that will sink quickly and roll cast well, while delicate dry fly fishing needs a high-floating line that turns over tiny flies with ease.

Cortland has developed fly lines like the big brands but at a fraction of the cost. Introducing fly lines that fish extremely well for those specialized styles and waters.

Holding a rainbow trout
Holding a rainbow trout

Product Description

Several fly line brands are in the market, but very few can compete with Cortland fly lines. After all, they’re considered some of the most manageable lines to handle on the market. (source)

For years the fly line standard was the Cortland 333 DT (double taper) with a nice taper and the fantastic ability to “switch-the-line-around” to increase the line life. Like most top fly fishing manufacturers, Cortland has designed unique lines for certain species, environments, and rods. If you’re ready to specialize appropriately, you will likely increase you’re success rate.

Sections of Fly Line
Learn all about fly line care in this article How to Clean and Care For Fly Line

Some of the durable fly lines under this brand include:

Therefore, you can pick the right fly line under the lines mentioned above for a specific purpose, but ensure you get the right size and match it correctly with your fly rod. Remember, all these fly fishing lines are not all designed for saltwater/freshwater and long/short distances. Therefore, in this Cortland fly line review, I have focused more on the Cortland Trout Boss fly line. It is one of the best options in my arsenal that I always use when fishing trout.

For instance, their Cortland trout boss HTx WF Floating Line is an exceptional fly fishing gear perfectly designed to help you catch a trout or any other small-sized fish every time you cast your line. It can accurately deliver a wide range of trout fly lines to the fish. Cortland designed this trout line for faster rods; therefore, it can perfectly cast long distances. (source) Their unique colors make them visible under different conditions without spooking the trout.

Like other Cortland lines, the Boss floating lines come with a unique HTx coating that gives it a low friction coefficient while sealing out oils and dirt. (source below) Besides playing a pivotal role in its durability, the HTx guarantees smooth delivery of your dry fly over short and long distances while ensuring that it floats.

Cortland Fly Line Review: How the Cortland Trout Boss Fly Line Compares to Others

best fly line for trout
Shopping for fly line check out what I think is best for trout 👉HERE

Several lines can rival the Trout Boss in trout fishing, but its closest competitor is the Cortland 444 classic double taper floating line. Fortunately, they have many similarities, the main one being that they’re both sealed for durability.

From my experience with both lines, I noticed that they both have a heavy body that, when paired with a matching fly rod, can improve casting distance and accuracy. Their heavy bodies can also help them lower the number of false casts when making long casts.

Generally, the trout don’t care about the line’s color; some experienced anglers believe that the color cannot spook the fish. But its color does matter regarding visibility, especially when fishing when it’s dark or in a murky lake. Therefore, Cortland ensures its lines come in bright colors, like some high-end brands.

But one key thing that makes it stand out is the brand’s new HTx (high-tempered surface treatment). This coating does more than keep the dirt and oil out; it guarantees smooth delivery and floatation. Therefore, this fly line will float on the upper water levels of the lake, irrespective of how strong the current may be.

Guide Pro Tip: Folks will ask what line they should get. My answer is typically something like this. If your putting together your first outfit, buy a fly rod combo kit with rod, reel and line. The line is usually matched to the fly rod, later once you start experimenting and understanding your style of casting upgrade to an expensive fly line. Read more about selecting a fly line in this article. 👉 Fly Line for Trout

Who Makes Cortland Fly Line?

Cortland fly line is made by an all-American company, Cortland Line Co., based in Cortland, New York. Cortland Line Company has been manufacturing and designing some of the most innovative fly fishing lines for over a century, specifically in the United States. It is one of the few firms that have tried to keep all its production plants in the United States. Therefore, it’s no surprise they are one of the industry’s leaders and are loved by American fly anglers.

Thanks to their experience and passion for fishing, Cortland Fly Company has focused on making life easier and more fun for anglers over the last century. Their passion for fishing has forced them to develop some of the best lines in the market with the latest technology; some anglers consider this company one of the industry’s pioneers. (source)

Cortland registered its first patent for braided cotton fishing lines back in October 1922, and since then, they have registered several patents. (source) Their latest technology HTx has helped rank them highly in the industry.


  • Ideal for fast-action fly rods
  • It comes with an HTx coating that helps keep the line floating the line.
  • It’s straightforward to handle
  • Durable
  • It’s visible even in murky waters
  • It has a very low friction coefficient


  • Some anglers have complained that it is costly, but considering the research that goes into fly line….it’s a great value.

Things to Consider When Purchasing a Fly Line

When it comes to fly lines, there is no one size fits all option; therefore, you need the right line for your fly rod. Remember, most leading brands have fly lines for different challenges and fish species. So if you plan to fish trout, you should go for a line specifically designed for trout. Unfortunately, picking the right fly line can be quite challenging, so in this Cortland fly line review, we’ll show you a few things that you have to consider when buying a fly line:

Fly Lines and Definitions
Fly Lines and Definitions for my class 👉 How2FlyFish

Type of Line

Generally, you have to consider three different lines: floating, sinking, or combo (a perfect combination of sinking and floating lines). As its name suggests, a floating line floats on the surface of the water; therefore, it is ideal for fishing in shallow lakes or when targeting fish that come to the surface. On the other hand, a sinking line can deliver your fly to the lower water columns; fortunately, these lines have different sinking rates.

With a combo line, a part of the line sinks while the other part floats. With this type of line, the length of the floating portion varies between 5 and 30 feet. At the same time, the sinking line comes with a sinking rate ranging from 1.5 inches sinking rate per second to 10 inches per second.

Knowing the line’s sinking rate and the floating line’s length can help you pick the right gear for your next fishing trip. But if you plan to fish in different water sources, you should go for the floating line. (source)


When you visit the fly fishing store, the first thing you may notice is that the body of the fly lines differs, or they are either labeled double tapered (DT) or weight forwards (WF). The DT fly line is heavier and tapered, while the WT is partially tapered. The front part of the WF line is thicker than the rest, making it the best option for distance casting and casting in windy places.

Some anglers prefer WF while others love DT fly lines, but when fishing within a distance of 30,’ there is very little difference between these two types of lines.

Fortunately, the DT has several advantages over the WF line; for instance, the DT is the best option for making a delicate presentation of the fly. It is also the best option to cast in places with obstruction behind you. (source) Plus, since it’s tapered on both ends, you can switch the old end with the other one and continue casting.

The WF is the best option for casting against the wind and also when doing long-distance casting. It is ideal for casting large flies or heavy ones; plus, thanks to the fact that the weight is on the front part of the line casting it can be quite easy, which makes it the best option for beginners. (source)

Guide Pro Tip: It’s pretty ease to save hundreds of dollars by making a sinking tip for your fly line. I’ve got an article that explains everything it even includes videos. 👉 How to Make a Sinking Leader for Your Fly Line

Match the Line to the Rods

Make sure you match the line weight with the fly rod weight for better results when fly fishing. Therefore, you should look for a box number that matches your rod. (source) Remember, pairing your line with the wrong rod can affect your casting capabilities.


Another critical factor you must consider is the line’s color. Generally, the line has to be visible to you; plus, the color doesn’t affect or spook the fish. Remember, the color rarely scares the fish; instead, it’s the splashing of the water when casting that does spook the fish. (source)

Cortland Fly Line Review: Features and Benefits

Good Fly Line is important for fly fishing
Good Fly Line is important for fly fishing

Weight Forward (WF)

Generally, the Cortland trout boss Floating Line is available in either DT or WF, but in our case, we are dealing with a WF fly line. The new Cortland Trout Boss HTx line comes with a thinner core and a thicker level line that helps with casting. It has a highly durable and thinner core that can help you fight some of the most aggressive freshwater fish species available.

It merges 45 feet 6 inches head with a 10 feet level line which is a tad thicker than the running line. (3) The WF fly line makes this line an excellent option for casting on windy days and long-distance casting. Its unique design makes it the easiest fly line to cast and an ideal option for newbies; after all, its thicker and heavier lead line makes it easier for anyone to cast their lines accurately.

These lines tend to load up perfectly on some of the newer fly rods; therefore, they have more than enough power to turn any long leader easily. Its thin core gives it a small mass-to-diameter ratio without affecting its energy transfer or gravity. (3) Its unique core makes it the best option for beginners, and it can work in a wide range of scenarios while helping you cast lightweight dry flies.

Heat-Tempered-Surface Treatment Coat

Unlike most fly lines, the Trout boss fly line features its trademarked heat-tempered surface treatment that plays a crucial role in their durability. This technology is an exceptional surface treatment using heat to guarantee maximum protection while making the line more durable.

The HTx technology gives this fly line a unique cleaning capability that guarantees it will always be clean. It can repel all the scum, dirt, and particles found in the lake that can easily interfere with its floating capability. Therefore, this technology will allow any heavy line to float by reducing its density.

Besides keeping your line clean and highly durable, this technology also helps reduce friction. Therefore, casting your line can reach an exceptionally long distance, making it easy for you to attract your target fish species.   

Two Loops

Like most fly lines, the Cortland Trout Boss fly line comes with two durable and folded welded loops on both ends. The welded loops can come in handy when attaching your leader and make life easier; plus, it means that you can use either end of the line when fishing.

Its unique welded loops create an exceptional turnover by guaranteeing a proper transfer of energy from the fly line to your leader. Plus, if one side of the fly line wears down, which can happen with time, you can switch and start using the other end to catch your trophy fish.


Generally, there are several top fly line brands in the market, but very few can compete with the Cortland line. Unfortunately, several false reviews are written by some reviewers worldwide, and differentiating between the real and fake ones can be pretty challenging for a newbie. Therefore, after doing thorough research, I spotted a few reviews that didn’t look fake; some were quite positive and written by experienced fly anglers.

Besides its beautiful designs, most anglers agree that this is one of the few durable fly lines that can give you value for your cash. Some have even commended it for how it feels on your hand and how easy it is to cast. Others claim that it matches perfectly with most fly rods, and these highly durable fly lines have very low memory is a bonus.

Another thing that stood out among some anglers is its unique HTx coating that ensured the line stayed clean all day and couldn’t be affected by anything on the water surface, including oil. Therefore, you will never have to worry about cleaning it; plus, the fact that it’s WF means it is the best option for most beginners.

My Experience with the Cortland Fly Line

I fell in love with fly fishing at a very young age, and with my dad always busy at work, the fishing trips were the only time we could spend quality time as a family. But during that time, finding the right fly line that could have helped me improve my skills was quite challenging.

And that is because we were focusing more on the newest fly line manufacturing companies, but little did we know that the answer to our problem was Cortland fly lines, one of the oldest brands in the United States. Cortland has produced some of the best fly fishing gear over the years; therefore, when my father-in-law introduced me to the Cortland trout boss HTx floating line, I was surprised.

This fly line ticked all the boxes on my list, but most importantly, the fact that it self-cleans meant that I would never have to worry about it getting dirty. The HTx seal kept it friction-free while improving its durability. Plus, the fact that it is a WF fly line made it the best option for training my son; in fact, it made life easier for him to cast his line while he perfected his skills. And being a highly durable product, I expect him to use it for some years under several fishing scenarios.

Alternative Products to Consider

As aforementioned, Cortland Line Company has some of the best fly fishing lines in the market, and some of the few lines that can rival the Trout Boss HTx WT floating line comes from the same company. Some of the best alternatives that can compete with the Cortland trout boss HTx WF Floating Line include:

Cortland Line Flats

Like the Boss HTx Floating Line, the Cortland flat taper is a highly durable line that comes with flats. An additional coating ensures that tropical climates will never affect it. Its unique coat guarantees it will serve you for a very long time.

Its WF flats taper fly line has a heavy and long body; therefore, you can deliver your fly to the correct destination without worrying about your line getting damaged. It also loads fast action fly rods with reliable loop stability, so you can easily cast huge dry flies. Thanks to its low friction coefficient, you can cast further than most PVC fly lines on the market. (source below)

Cortland 444 Classic Double Taper Fly Line

Specifically designed for bamboo fly rods, the 444 is a modern take on a slk fly lines of the past without all the maintenance that silk requires. Does anyone remeber putting your fly line on a drying rack?

The Cortland 444 comes with a single welded loops. The double taper (DT) 444 line is straightforward allowing the fly fisher to snip the line around to increase the casting life. Double taper lines are great for casting in the 20 to 30 foot range with a delicate presentation. The braided core remains supple even when fishing in cold water.

Even though it doesn’t have the HTx coating, it does come with a sealed outer shell that can keep it safe while casting. Plus, its perch color is unique, so you shouldn’t expect it to spook the fish whenever you fish in clear waters. (source below)

Cortland Precision Specialty Compact Line

Like most of their fly fishing lines, the specialty compact line comes with a compact, short, and fully floating head design. Thanks to its unique design, it can load deep and cast a massive line with little to no false cast.

Like the Cortland trout, the boss fly line has a nylon multifilament core with its unique HTx coat that helps it float. Therefore, it will remain supple and slick in warmer and cold conditions. It’s ideal for casting huge streamers, heavy Clouser’s, and bass poppers; its unique taper design will allow you to sink your long and short leaders. Therefore, it can easily rival the Cortland trout boss fly line even when dealing with small-sized species. (source below)

One More Cast With Cortland

A fly line should be able to cast huge flies with little to no false casts accurately. It should be durable and be able to float or sink at a fast rate, when necessary, but most importantly, it should stay oil and dirt free. Well, the Cortland fly lines do all these and more, and thanks to their proprietary HTx technology, you will never have to worry about dirt and oil. Its unique design also helps it float while ensuring that it will serve you for a very long time.

Another reason this fly line stands out is that it’s a WF type of line that can be easily cast even by newbies. Therefore, if you plan on chasing trout all day long, you should match this line with the right rod and have fun.

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


  1. Amazon contributors, Cortland 444 Classic Double floating, accessed September 9, 2022.
  2. YouTube contributor, Cortland precision trout boss HTX trout fly line, accessed September 9, 2022.
  3. Amazon contributors, Cortland Trout Boss HTx WF Floating Line, accessed September 9, 2022.
  4. Cortland staff, About Cortland, accessed September 9, 2022.
  5. The patent office staff, Official gazette of the united states patent office, accessed September 9, 2022.
  6. YouTube contributor, Fly Fishing – choosing the right fly line for you, accessed September 9, 2022.
  7. Amazon contributor, Cortland flats taper, accessed September 9, 2022.
  8. Amazon contributor, Cortland precision specialty compact float fly line, accessed September 9, 2022.
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