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Lines For Stillwaters (4 of 12)

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Video Transcript:

When it comes to fly line selection, there are lots of choices. The floating line most river and stream fishers have is an ideal lake line. Floating lines can be used with long leaders 15 feet or greater, a technique often used for slow nymphing presentations, and of course suspending flies beneath strike indicators.

A floating line in lakes is a valuable tool. It needs to be in your kit bag. Whether you use the floating line with long leaders, 15 feet or greater, or with strike indicators. Strike indicators allow you to control two key presentation elements, speed of retrieve and depth. Originally used to suspend chironomids or midge patterns, now we suspend leeches, minnows, scuds, you name it, you can hang it under an indicator, and have success fly fishing still waters. So, bring the floating line along.

Sinking lines are also an important component of your still water kit bag. There are a wide range of sinking line densities available today from slow sinking intermediates to super-fast type six and seven lines. A sinking line sink rate is measured in inches per second.

Lines that sink very slowly like an intermediate, right down to very fast such as a type five, six, or even seven. The numbers correspond to the sink rate of the line. So a type two line would sink at approximately two inches per second. A type three, three inches per second, and so on. The sink rate is important for a technique we call the countdown method.

The countdown method involves knowing a line's sink rate and counting the line and fly down so it works typically just above the bottom. For example, if you're using a fly line that's sunken three inches per second, and you wanted to get a fly down ten feet, you would need to let your line sink 40 seconds, as it would take the line four seconds to sink one foot.

Sinking line choice is based in part upon water depth, retrieve speed, and fish activity. Active fish are more likely to chase a faster moving fly. It is important to choose a line that does not sink faster than the fly moves through the water. In many instances, slower sinking lines work best.

My recommended fly line choices for someone starting to fly fish for stillwater trout would be a floating line, a clear intermediate, and a fast sinking type three full sink line.