May 6, 2014

Rio Trout Lines - Defined!

Choices, Choices

The Weight Forward Floating Trout line defined!

You decide it's time for a new fly line for your trout rod. You go to your local store or online and BAM! You're hit with more choices than a fast food restaurant menu. Only difference is these aren't dollar items. Make a wrong choice and it's a spendy mistake.

But how do you know what line is right for you and your rod? There is no master list of what line is right and to complicate matters even more is some of the options are personal preference or technique specific.

My attempt here will be to break down this process into a step by step flow that can help you determine good fly line choices for your needs.

Question One -What brand, model and line weight is your fly rod?

Over the years I have been shocked as to how many anglers walk into the shop to purchase a new fly line and cannot answer any of these questions. One size fits most does not exist in fly lines.

Question Two - What is the primary use of the fly rod you are purchasing a line for? 

Example: dry fly, nymph indicator, streamer, bass bug or all around general purpose. If general purpose is your answer then we can revert back to step one and choose the line based on what's best for your rod. If your primary purpose is one of the other choices listed than it might worth looking at other options that would suit your rod and your purpose.

Question Three - What is your casting skill level? 

I've listed these questions in order of importance and while skill level may fine tune the best line match it's still going to be dictated by question one and two.

At this point if your only desire is to purchase a new fly line then call or email us with the answers to these questions and our experts will provide you with the best line possible. If you're interested in learning how we come to these conclusions then please read on.

Brand, Model and Line weight of your rod.

Why is the number one question the most important? First let's get line weight out of the way. Fly Rods are designed to load under a predetermined weight of the fly line. The fly line weight is measured in grains and consists of the first 30 feet of a fly line. In most cases it is in your best interest to match the line weight to the fly rod line weight. Brand and model help us determine the action of your rod. Fast action rods generally like a more aggressive line than a slow or moderate action rod. Quite often we hear anglers tell us that they don't like their very expensive fly rod and most often after we ask a couple questions we find that the line match is totally inappropriate for the rod. A quick parking lot demonstration with a well matched line can quickly change your opinion of a rod.

Primary use of your fly rod

If you answered general purpose to this question then most likely we just revert back to what line is a best match for your rod. If your rod is used for some very specific purposes then you might want to consider a specialty line that better suits your needs. For example a line that would be ideal for casting small dry's to trout probably won't cast a big wind resistant bass bug very well. Or an indicator line will handle the hardware and mend easily but won't win any distance or presentation awards. If your rod is used for a very specific purpose there might be a line choice that can really improve your fish-ability. Examples of some technique specific lines are provided below.

Your casting skill level?

Regardless of casting skill level, question one must still be answered first. Really well experienced casters might prefer line speed cast over a load cast. I know! I know I just threw more technical jargon at you. I'll attempt to explain that later but in general, beginner and/or intermediate casters will normally prefer the deeper loading more aggressive shorter head fly lines and experienced casters generally prefer longer and lighter lines that develop more line speed.

Load Cast vs. Line Speed Cast

While I understand this I'm not sure I'm qualified to explain it. Let's turn to the fly rod for the answers. Why do we have fast action rods? Fast action rods are capable of longer casts because they can create faster line speed. We can slow down a fast rod with a heavier line and the result will be a greater feel (load cast) of load in the rod. Most beginner and/or intermediate casters will prefer a load casting line because of the increased feel (feedback) from their rod. Really well experienced casters can detect the load feel with lighter (faster) lines thus giving them even more line speed for an even longer cast.

I turned to George Cook (Northwest Sage, Rio, Redington Representative) for a more detailed description of Load vs Speed.


“Load VS Speed” The “Casting Personality”

Every angler indeed has what I like to call a “Casting Personality”. In this, folks can and will show a preference to either the LOAD or SPEED aspect of the integration of the Fly Rod and Fly Line as a working tandem. This is not a good vs. bad perspective but rather an identifiable preference that once found will play into maximum effectiveness and enjoyment for the angler.

LOAD Caster: 

 The angler in this camp has likely been around a spell and has seen and/or fished a host of Rods throughout his career (Graphite/Glass even Bamboo). The preference for load can be identified based on a caster’s history (with rods), his expectation to/for Rod load or even in the case of a beginning angler a need for increased weight placed in the load cycle (RIO Grand Line providing a prime example here) to provide increased thrust in the cast as the caster works his way through the challenges of fly casting. Sometimes even a line speed caster will want increased load based on the fishing task at hand. A great example that I can attest to is indicator fishing with egg patterns, beads or steelhead nymphs in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. In this I will often “Bump One Up” on an Indicator line on a given rod (Say a WF-8-F on a 7100-4 / 10’ 7 weight Rod) as this often proves to be the ticket to really functioning with the tool set. Roll cast, modified spey cast are greatly assisted with this bumped up format and often the mending required is enhanced as well.

SPEED Caster: 

“The Children of the Graphite Age” often fall into this, Circa late 1980’s onward when the arms race in graphite rod development went full bore in the United States. Nothing beats line speed and in this many casters want/desire maximum speed without reliance even recognition of traditional or parabolic load aspect. Often referred to as “Point and Shoot” casters that relish the high line speed produced by today’s modern rod designs.

Bottom Line is this: 

No matter which shoe fits you best “Load vs. Speed” is what matters and what makes you both confident and effective afield. The savvy often develop given parameters based on specific fishing scenarios and play Load where needed and Speed where desired, I for one fall into this . As a Fly Fishing rep of 25 years I can tell you that what I feel is important is for the caster to function well and with confidence. It is super helpful and important for the angler to seek out help and guidance in his local shop as just a couple minutes of casting generally will identify your “Casting personality” and that can and will lead to better line selection and success on the water.

George Cook
April 21st, 2014

Rio Trout Line Choices


Rio Gold


All around trout line
The Rio Gold is our number one selling general purpose all around weight forward floating line. I call this line moderately aggressive and is well suited for mod-fast to fast action rods and a variety of general purpose for anything from indicator/nymph rigs to gentle presentation dry flies. Its longer head length can carry a cast well and allows for good mending/line control.

George Notes: Geo’s favorite line as it does a host of things really well both close, mid and long range . The Gold tends to simply light up most rods and allows the caster to maximize his rods potential in a smooth yet power under control manner.


Rio Grand


Ideal for fast action rods
The Rio Grand is your fast action rod line. If you own a fast action rod that you are having a hard time casting, try a Rio Grand fly line on it. I'm willing to bet you'll find the love in your fast action rod. The Rio Grand is a front loaded short head line that will help fast rods load deep with less line out providing more load feel. We would call this a load casting line. Because of this short powerful head this line can carry some big flies so it makes a good big bug line.

George Notes: The workhorse that comes ready to play every outing. Guaranteed “Load effect” ensures that the angler is hitting his pitches both close and far. To be sure, is the fast Rod line of choice that will perform well at all ranges.


Rio Perception


My undisputed favorite
The Rio Perception is my undisputed favorite weight forward floating line. A couple of reasons have won me over. The head length is both shorter and lighter than the Grand or the Gold making it a line speed casting line, but wait, the ultra-low stretch ConnectCore actually helps to provide a sense of load feel which helps improve cast timing. ConnectCore technology also helps improve strike detection and hook sets. This line can fit a wide window of fly rod actions and seems to be most excellent with mod-fast to fast rods.

George Notes: The first of the Connect Core Trout offerings is relatively new to the scene but catching on rapidly with hard core trout anglers throughout the west. The Multi Color Coded format offers distinct strategical advantages in that the first color change at 20’ represents what I like to call the “Trouty Range” as within this 20’ of line you will likely engage 75%+ of your Trout opportunities particularly from a well rowed boat. The second color break point represents what I like to call “Load point for mid to long range”. In this the 35’ mark represents upon aerialization as easy load mark for a 50’-70’ cast. This is not only an effective built in guidance system but a wonderful teaching-reference tool for angler/instructor alike.

Rio Trout LT (light touch)


A trout fisherman's trout line
The Rio Trout LT is what I consider the true trout line. It is a rear loaded long front taper fly line perfect for subtle dry fly and emerger presentations. The taper of the head makes it easy to roll cast and can even perform single hand spey cast. The Rio Trout LT is best for moderate action trout rods.

George Notes: Aa Ha, the Trout Fisherman’s Trout Line. When presentation/accuracy and delicacy meet on the curve this is the call as the “Go To” line in both Weight Forward and New /Old School Double Taper in line weights 2 thru 5. Spring creeks, focused dry fly game, spinner falls, ...anywhere when the "1st shot is your shot at success" this is your line.



Rio Indicator II


Handles the hardware
The Rio Indicator II is your special purpose nymph line. If your primary purpose is fishing nymph/indicator this is the line you want. The long head length has an aggressive front taper which allows easy turnover of indicators and heavy flies. The long back taper allows for excellent mending control. The orange high-vis tip provides easy strike detection. These lines generally work well with most moderate to fast rod actions.
George Notes: No better line for the job at hand of getting all the “Junk In The Trunk” moving and turned over into the intended target area. Today’s nymph-indicator rigs pose challenges to today’s angler and this is THE LINE to maximize success when fishing such setups be it Trout or Steelhead.


Rio Power Fly


Heavy metal
If the Rio Grand is Rock and Roll then the Rio Power Fly is Heavy Metal. Many anglers today have embraced the modern ultra-fast action rods and are pushing the fly size to monstrous proportions. The Power Fly's short aggressive front taper easily casts large streamers and terrestrials. The Rio Power Fly is best for fast to ultra-fast action rods.
George Notes: This is a fantastic choice for the Angler visiting Alaska or British Columbia for Silver and Chum Salmon in that it will excel at hucking the “Big Nasties” like Wogs/Lead Eye Leeches and similar concoctions that get it done in the North Country. Can double as a pretty nice west coast Bass line as well.


I recently heard someone say "There are no bad fly rods today, just bad line choices." I believe there is a lot of truth to that statement. I hope this article helps you find the right line for you, your rod and your fishing.

For information about lake lines read; Get InTouch with Rio Lake Lines

Gorge Fly Shop Internet Sales Manager | Product Specialist


"Fly Fish the World with Us"


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