Stillwater Anglers Fly Fishing Line

How to Choose The Right Fly Fishing Line

Selecting the right fly fishing line can be a little confusing, and we get a lot of questions about it. There are numerous varieties and different sizes, so we understand if you’re not quite sure where to start.

We get a lot of anglers and fishing enthusiasts in our Fly Shop, and we love to share our tips on how to get the best equipment. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a beginner, let us help you narrow down and understand the choices, so you pick the fly fishing line that is right for you.

Tips That Will Help You Choose The Right Fly Fishing Line

Choosing the right fly line starts when you understand all of the different options. Let’s break down those categories, so that you can be an informed decision about the fly line you need.

Weight and Density

There are 15 different weights when it comes to fly fishing line. Some of the most popular are between weights 4-8 because they are ideal for most fishing conditions for our area. First, check your fly rod. It will tell you the weight of the rod, and it’s usually best to sync up the line weight with the rod weight. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use a lighter or heavier line, it is just what the rod manufacturers recommend. Depending on the action of the rod and casting idiosyncracies, some anglers prefer to overline their rod by a weight.

There are different density options as well – floating lines, intermediate lines, sinking lines, and floating/sink tip lines. Floating lines are easier to handle, and they are a must for dry flies. Sinking lines are designed for deep lakes or deep and fast rivers and are ideal for streamers.


First of all, let’s talk about what taper means. Basically, the taper determines how energy is dispersed during the cast so that your cast is more efficient. There are several types of taper options, with the most popular being weight-forward taper. You’ll usually see manufacturers use abbreviations.

Weight-forward (WF) Taper: Most popular for beginners, the first 30 ft or so of this line is heavier because of its tapered front end. This heavier weight at the front of the line helps with casting and better precision.

Double Taper (DT): This is a popular option for seasoned anglers. This is good for delicate casts on small to medium rivers. It is thicker in the middle and tapers toward both ends. Though it doesn’t cast as far out, it is economical in the sense that once one end wears out, you can turn it around and use the other end.

Sinking (S): These lines are heavier and come in a variety of weight sizes. The weight will determine how rapidly the line sinks. This is an ideal line for a dedicated streamer fishing setup, particularly for fishing larger and faster rivers.


You’ve seen all the bright neon colors when looking at fly fishing line. This is so that it is easy to see the line on the water. Often lines have different colors to differentiate the forward section from the rest of the line. This is particularly common with a sink tip or full sinking lines. Many anglers prefer a line that is a dull or earth color. This is recommended and common when fishing calm, clear water with small dry flies where fish can be much more spooky.

When you understand the basic ins and outs of fly line, you’ll soon be a master at selecting the right fly for all fishing conditions. We suggest not skimping on your fly fishing line. Higher quality lines are better designed and are usually much more durable than inexpensive lines.

If you’re still not sure though, come into Stillwater Anglers Fly Shop! We have great equipment on hand and can give you the advice you need to choose the right fly lines and get out on the water.