How to choose the next streamer fly line? You know you need to move to the next level of streamer angling so you drive over to your local fly shop and take glance at the fly line wall of doom. It looks like it is 12 stories high, a couple blocks wide, and colored boxes with fish plastered all over them…and you have no idea which line to choose.
Which one is right for me? I don’t know how long a tip I want? How deep? Oh boy, so many choices. Let’s learn about a few of the common streamer lines that may apply to your resource, to your individual game, to your liking.
Finding Your Zone
Searching The Surface
The first decision you will have to make is how deep you want to put your streamer fly. Some like to keep it near the surface. If this appeals to you then an RIO Outbound Short or one of my favorites the RIO Predator. Both have longer heads and plenty of power to turn over anything but a bowling ball that you may require of these popular dry line streamer tools.
Both have short yet powerful front tapers to roll that fly right on out there. Fun to cast, full of energy, and perfect for those who are fishing streams and rivers that are not all that deep. A great line for fall fishing about anywhere. Also a dual purpose fly line if you like to toss those larger than life salmon flies in the spring or giant grasshoppers crafted of foam!
How about in the One Foot to Two Foot Range?
The second zone that you may be interested in runs below the surface but not diving to the depths. The Streamer Tip is designed for those of us who like to get that fly down below the surface and keep it swimming in that 12”-24” zone. Intermediate fly lines are fun to throw as well. Incredibly easy to load and throw. You wonder why the fly line manufacturers don’t make all fly lines cast like the intermediate line?
If you love to fish small to medium sized flies in less than 4’ of water this is the line for you. Generally muted or clear colored tips these stealthy fly lines are the most common on my local resource the Missouri River. We have lots of water that is 12” -36”. Intermediate lines fishing from the boat are the key to streamer success. You don’t have to wait for them to penetrate and cast swell.
I have fallen in love with the Intermediate Streamer Tip. Eliminating the floating portion of the line allows for immediate and consistent penetration of the line. The F/I, float/intermediate combo is quite a line as well and certainly the most common of the sink tip type fly lines. The sinking portion leads the line with differing lengths of sink tip. The RIO Streamer Tip has a 10” Intermediate Sink Tip. The 15’ InTouch Sink Tip, and the InTouch 24’ Sink Tip round out the options here.
So choose the depth first. Then the length of the tip second. All good for several differing water types and depths.
I want to Go Deep!Now you have a couple fly lines for the thinnest of waters and a couple for fishing on or near the secondary shelf arena. But you want to fish the deepest of the depths. Dredge for those big boys that do not see the light of day often. You want to fish those dark waters that big brown trout inhabit. You wanna go deep! There is a fly line designed for just that type of fish, for that purpose, for that type of angler.
You need to look for the same fly lines outlined above but with the Type 3 and Type 6 tips. They are offered with the intermediate tips, Type 3 and Type 6 tips as well. The StreamerTip along with the 15ft Sink Tip and the OutBound Short all have a variety of floating bodies with advanced sinking capabilities. The RIO OutBound Short offers an intermediate body with a Type 3 sink tip which sinks 3 inches/second. The Type 6 sinks, yep, 6 inches/second. These lines get deep. The sinking portions find the deeper runs with ease. Count them down to find new depths with the trial and error method.
The Type 3 and Type 6 lines will get you to the depths you desire. Like I mentioned above you can let these lines sink, count them down, for a number of seconds to achieve the zone you are shooting for. If you are the type of angler who fishes the center of the river in areas yo cannot see the bottom, the Type 6 may be for you!
The superior design of these sinking tip fly lines allows for ease of cast. Gone is that “kick” that you may have felt or witnessed with other or older sink tip lines. RIO has integrated a fatter body section that eliminates that proverbial sink tip kick! Thankfully those days are beyond us. Some anglers were turned off by the danger feeling of those lines. Like water under the bridge, those days are beyond us with todays modern sink tip tapers.
Non-stretching ConnectCore Technology is included on all of the InTouch Fly Lines with cold, supple coatings that do not tangle coming off the reel. ConnectCore allows for positive hook sets and more landed fish!
Now Go out there and fish!
Mark Raisler is RIO Ambassador and is based out of Craig, MT at Headhunters Fly Shop. He has been fly fishing since 20 years of age. Grew up in a fly fishing family on the Skagit River but did not find the sport attractive until then. Introduced to the Missouri River May ‘92 and have never looked back. Full time resident from ’97 til today. Commercial tier and casting instructor for the first few years. Began guiding in 2000. Montana Outfitter in ‘05. Opened Headhunters Fly Shop ‘08. Love dry fly fishing this vast resource. A resource that you can continue to learn and grow within the confines of the Missouri River. And I’m still learning.