Oct 6, 2017

Gear Review: RIO InTouch Scandi 3D - Floating/ Hover/ Intermediate

Swinging Flies
Every year it seems fly line companies attempt to release the new “latest and greatest.” Nowadays fly lines are so tailored for rod action, purpose, and user preference that options abound. Indeed, RIO Products is certainly an industry leader and always attempts to bring you the best products possible. When it comes to two-handed casting, RIO has been right there with each evolutionary step. Certainly Skagit and Scandi style Spey lines developed autonomously from one another and employ slightly different characteristics among Spey rods. Skagit lines were born here in the Pacific Northwest, where casting traditional mid or long belly lines under a canopy of trees and in cover simply weren’t possible. Meanwhile during this evolution, Scandi lines were being developed independently in you guessed it- Scandinavia. These lines more closely resembled traditional mid and long belly lines with their taper only in a shorter package, but like the Skagit lines are an interchangeable system. Both lines are highly versatile with the ability to swap heads and tips rather than whole lines, although Scandi lines generally require a tad more casting room and really excel at throwing smaller flies to ride at or near the surface. Therefore, I like to think of them as more of a summer line when low and clear water allows us to fish smaller flies up top, as opposed to Skagit lines that effectively throw heavy sink tips and big flies. The two lines are characteristically different by one thing- sustained anchor vs. touch-and-go anchor casting. Scandi being the latter with an up-tempo casting stroke due to the longer/lighter line, while skagit is slow and more compact. Scandi appears to have more finesse and quieter presentations while Skagit looks more machine-like and is a workhorse for getting big flies deep.

I could go on about their similarities and differences, but I think you get the point. Personally, I dream all winter of being able to cast floating lines again. While I guess I could for winter-run fish, the right conditions seem far and few between. I simply prefer the casting stroke of a Snake Roll or Single Spey cast over a Snap T or Double Spey. Furthermore, Scandi casting keeps my flies swimming longer. For example, the longer Scandi head has me stripping in less running line than a Skagit while casting the same distance, and downstream roll casts are often not required as flies are up top already. Plus, the casting stroke is quicker and often with fewer steps, thus keeping my fly swimming longer throughout the day. Although, those reasons might not be enough for you to justify using them, but just seeing a fish rise to a fly on a floating line is purely addicting. But, what do you do when water conditions don’t warrant full confidence on floating lines, such as this summer over on the Klickitat River with all the turbidity its had, or for those seasons when cold water temps don’t warrant floating presentations? Well, fortunately RIO had been developing their InTouch Scandi 3D line overseas and just recently brought it to the States. After our rep, George Cook showed us some of the new products, I knew this line was one I wanted to get my hands on and try!
RIO Scandi 3D Profile

My test setup was the new Sage X 7130-4, coupled with the RIO InTouch 3D 480gr 7/8- Floating/Hover/Intermediate line and a 6’ tapered mono leader attached, as instructed by George Cook (the other 3D lines accommodate standard 10’ sink tips better). The rear body section is 15’ of Floating, while the front tapered section is 9’ Hover and 9’ Intermediate that sink at 1” per second and 2” per second respectively. Floating down the Klick in the upper canyon, water had a bit of color but still had that fishy feel. Now the wind was just picking up (as is tradition) and the first run I pulled up on to test this line had a little more depth and surface speed, but has produced before. It’s the type of water you feel a little more confident in with a sink tip on rather than full floater. Initially, I tried a smaller fly and the first thing I noticed was that it required just slightly more pull to get out of the water on the hang down, which was kinda expected. Not quite like a Skagit tip but it did take a little more lifting force. While the upstream wind would generally collapse my other Scandi lines, this multi-density line seemed to slice right through. I also have to attribute some to the new Sage X as it provided ample power and a little extra bottom hand sent nice loops off with ease. I appreciated how much control I felt on the fly, fishing it deeper if desired by adjusting my casting angle and stepping downstream before my fly came under tension rather than after the swing. All of a sudden I felt I was fishing in a water column I could only previously reach with a Skagit line but it certainly didn’t cast like a clunky Skagit.

Later on the wind had subdued some and I was able to try all the casts I knew for river-left and river-right. The quick answer was that it casted just like a Scandi should, only requiring the occasional downstream roll cast to bring the fly up as I was my fly was probably down about 3 feet in the water column. Nonetheless, like a Skagit, I felt I was probing the water deeper and fishing the zones I wanted to while still not dredging the bottom or hanging up on rocks. Next, I tried a few different fly sizes. A 3/0 Blue Heron hook dressed with a traditional feather wing pattern. These hooks/flies provide the profile of a 3” fly but aren’t quite as heavy as dumbbell eyed intruders, but they sink exceptionally well. The Scandi 3D had no issues until I got past the 10 strip mark of running line and I began to lose the consistency that I had before at shorter lengths (note- this could purely be pilot error). The same was noticed fishing un-weighted tube and shank flies. I even tried a dumbbell eyed intruder-like fly in a medium size and was still able to cast, though with much less finesse and more force.  

Overall, I appreciated the fact that I could do Scandi-style touch n’ go casts while also being able to select a wide variety of flies from small to medium/large-ish. I also appreciated the fact that I could get my flies down approximately 3 feet under the surface. Basically it’s a happy medium when full floating line situations aren’t available, but you don’t want to dredge the bottom with MOW tips on a Skagit line. For the most part the Floating/Hover/Intermediate line is a solid addition to the quiver of tools we bring out to the river. I am however a little unsure of the other multiple density 3D lines with faster sink rates, but shouldn’t knock it till I try it I guess. Shoot, maybe I’ll have to try those lines in the winter under the right water conditions!  

Scandi 3D Specs -

Floating/Hover/Intermediate: The ideal head for swinging flies in the top three feet of the water column. The floating back portion makes mending and pickups easy, while the hover mid-section and intermediate tip keeps the fly fishing below the surface.
Hover/Intermediate/Sink 3: This head is built for deeper presentations or heavier currents, swinging the fly, on average, two to five feet below the surface. The Hover back section allows for easy casting and line control, while the intermediate mid-section and Sink 3 tip hold the fly at fish level.
Intermediate/Sink 3/Sink 5: When you really have to get down to the fish, this is the fastest-sinking, deepest-fishing head we make. It swings the fly, on average, between four and 10 feet deep, and yet the graduated density still allows for outstanding line control and easy casting.

SizeRod SizeHead LengthColorSink Rate
390gr 5/6 32ft / 9.8m Clear Camo Glacial/Salmon/Orange Float/1ips/2ips
440gr6/732ft / 9.8mClear Camo Glacial/Salmon/OrangeFloat/1ips/2ips
480gr7/834ft / 10.4mClear Camo Glacial/Salmon/OrangeFloat/1ips/2ips
520gr8/938ft / 11.6mClear Camo Glacial/Salmon/OrangeFloat/1ips/2ips
580gr9/1039ft / 11.9mClear Camo Glacial/Salmon/OrangeFloat/1ips/2ips
640gr 10/11 40ft / 12.2m Clear Camo Glacial/Salmon/OrangeFloat/1ips/2ips
700gr 11 40ft / 12.2m Clear Camo Glacial/Salmon/OrangeFloat/1ips/2ips

390gr 5/6 32ft / 9.8m Glacial/Gray/Brown/Orange 1ips/2ips/3ips
440gr 6/7 32ft / 9.8m Glacial/Gray/Brown/Orange 1ips/2ips/3ips
480gr 7/8 34ft / 10.4m Glacial/Gray/Brown/Orange 1ips/2ips/3ips
520gr 8/9 38ft / 11.6m Glacial/Gray/Brown/Orange 1ips/2ips/3ips
580gr 9/10 39ft / 11.9m Glacial/Gray/Brown/Orange 1ips/2ips/3ips
640gr 10/11 40ft / 12.2m Glacial/Gray/Brown/Orange 1ips/2ips/3ips
700gr 11 40ft / 12.2m Glacial/Gray/Brown/Orange1ips/2ips/3ips

440gr 6/7 32ft / 9.8m Tan/Brown/Black/Orange 2ips/3ips/5ips
480gr 7/8 34ft / 10.4m Tan/Brown/Black/Orange2ips/3ips/5ips
520gr 8/9 38ft / 11.6m Tan/Brown/Black/Orange2ips/3ips/5ips
580gr 9/10 39ft / 11.9m Tan/Brown/Black/Orange2ips/3ips/5ips
640gr 10/11 40ft / 12.2m Tan/Brown/Black/Orange2ips/3ips/5ips
700gr 11 40ft / 12.2m Tan/Brown/Black/Orange2ips/3ips/5ips

Cody Booth
Gorge Fly Shop | Product Specialist

"Fly Fish the World with Us"


  1. "I like to think of them as more of a summer line when low and clear water allows us to fish smaller flies up top, as opposed to Skagit lines that effectively throw heavy sink tips and big flies"... No mean to be disrespectful, but... fast sinking shooting heads of all kinds (including triple density like Guideline 3D S3/5/7) have been used consistently in Norway and Sweden for a long time, where it's not at all unusual to need to get a large fly quite deep in fast, high water early season salmon rivers.

  2. I was going to add the exact same comment as FM, so I guess I don´t need to!
    Only tht I concur, this is nothing new in Scandinavia, been around for ages!


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