Picking a new fly line can be tricky business – All the mumbo-jumbo talk about tapers, coatings, cores, and technologies in new fly lines can get to be dizzying and confusing when it comes time to get a new line for your favorite fly rod! All of these things are very important, but to the average flyfisher, they don’t mean much. Everyone just wants a line that’s going to fish well on their rod, and last a long time, right? Here at the shop, we’re really partial to RIO fly lines, leaders, and tippet – in our opinion it’s great stuff. Here’s a short breakdown of the RIO trout lines that we use most, and the advantages and disadvantages of each, so you can pick the right line for your rod!
RIO Gold – This is the best all around trout line in my opinion – It will fish streamers, indicator rigs, and will lay down a dry delicately at 45 feet. It’s a great mid-weight line, and its a “true” line size fly line – meaning that it weighs in at an actual 5 weight for example, rather than a 5 1/2 weight like many lines. The taper of this line enables it to load at close distances, but also to be able to carry more line in the air and punch out a cast to that far pod of risers. For the trout fly fisherman, this is the best all-around line for doing a little bit of everything with. I have one on my Scott 3 weight, and it’s awesome.
RIO Grand – This line is designed for the modern fast-action fly rods, and will load up the fastest of the fast. It weighs in a line size heavier than comparable lines – meaning that a 5 weight line will weigh in at the industry standard for a 6. What does this do for you? The Grand enables you to load up your rod much at much closer distances than some other lines, so throwing heavy nymph rigs and streamers becomes much easier than a traditional line would allow. A lot of people that fish bigger rivers like the Bighorn or the North Platte with large indicators and lots of weight really like this line, as well as streamer fishermen that throw a sink tip and sizable flies. If you have a fast rod and have trouble loading it up with a traditional taper line, this is the line for you.
RIO Trout LT - For all of you dry fly, small creek aficionados, this is the line for you! LT stands for Light Touch, and that’s exactly what this line has. The ultimate line for subtle presentations, emergers, and selective fish. This is a great line for fiberglass, bamboo, and slower action graphite rods. It fishes equally well for selective fish on big rivers or spooky fish in gin-clear streams. The go-to line for subtlety with nymphs, dry flies, and emergers.
RIO Perception – New for 2014, this is a fly line that’s totally reworked with all of the new bells and whistles. The big benefit with the Perception is in RIO’s ConnectCore technology – a conventional fly line core stretches up to 25%, meaning that if you pulled your line out 100 feet, you could stretch it 25 more feet until it was fully stretched out. That’s a lot of the “rubber band” feeling that you get when you hook a fish at a long distance away from you, or the spongy feeling that sometimes occurs when you’re casting long distances. ConnectCore technology gives the line a 6% stretch core. What does this mean for you? Better detection of subtle takes, better hooksets, better feel and timing during your cast, and sharp, precise mends. I have this line on my Sage ONE 5 weight, and I absolutely love it. Other features include a tri-color SureFire line coloring which enables deadly accuracy, and a line ID printed right on the front of the line for quick and easy line identification. This line was the winner of the 2014 Best New Fly Line award at the International Fly Tackle Dealer show, and in my opinion is the best line currently on the market. If you want the best, get a RIO Perception.
RIO Power Fly – Though technically not classified as a trout line, the Power Fly is my favorite line for throwing giant streamers, and for lobbing fat indicator rigs on big rivers. It has a short, powerful front taper that turns over the biggest streamers with ease. It roll casts the gnarliest of nymph rigs, and throws split shot out like they owe it money. I’m a big fan of this line. It’s heavier than the industry standard, which helps it load modern fast-action, super powerful rods. The Power Fly also throws giant terrestrials with laser-like loops. If you’re chucking anything nasty, or having trouble on big rivers throwing indicators, this is the line for you. I have one on my Sage VT2 6 weight and it’s awesome.
That’s a wrap! All the fancy talk about tapers, coatings, cores, and technologies can get to be pretty mystifying, but hopefully this took out some of the mystery surrounding different fly lines and their uses for you. As always, thanks for reading! We’re happy to be your go-to resource for Black Hills fly fishing advice, equipment, and flies. We appreciate it! Feel free to call, email, or stop by and drink some coffee and talk fishing with us! Thanks again,