Fly Fishing Gear Review | Scientific Anglers and Rio Fly Lines

What Makes a Quality Fly Line?

Last month I had a Full Day Float on the upper Colorado river with a client who wanted to use his own equipment. He had just bought a new setup and was eager to put it to the test for the first time in the front of a drift boat. I was excited when I saw the brand new Scott Radian rod and Hatch 4 Plus reel.

With so much invested in the beautiful rod and reel combo, I assumed the fly line on the reel would also be top of the line. Unfortunately I was mistaken. After watching the more than competent fisherman struggle with presentation, I asked what kind of line he had chosen for the new rig. “Oh I just threw on an old line that I already had. I’m not sure what kind it is but it’s definitely a 5 weight line.” This was a disappointing answer to say the least. It was dirty, twisted, and did not float.

It may have started out as a high end fly line, but time had taken its toll, and it just was not doing its job anymore. Mending was almost impossible even at short distances and dry fly fishing was out of the question. Luckily we were equipped with plenty of extra rods for the day, but it was not easy to see the new rod and reel go back into storage on its maiden trip. The lesson here is that a fresh quality fly line is just as important as any other piece of gear, and should not be an oversight.

Here at Vail Valley Anglers we take fly line seriously. We sell just about every size, taper, and weight to meet the needs of local and destination anglers. A quality weight forward floating trout line is necessary for almost every location we fish here in the Vail Valley. These are a few of my favorites.

Scientific Anglers Fly Lines

Scientific Anglers makes my two favorites. Both Sharkskin and their mastery series GPX textured lines have a few features that I really like. Scientific Anglers textured lines are designed to reduce friction between the line and the rod’s guides for higher line speed and longer shooting. The texture also traps small air bubbles which keep the line riding high even in a heavy current. These lines come with Advanced Shooting Technology (AST) which sheds microscopic dirt particles and provides continual line slickness. This all adds up to a higher floating, longer lasting, and virtually frictionless fly line. I have noticed this to be a big advantage when a long cast to weary, surface feeding trout is needed. Mastery series lines are oversized one half size to more easily load fast action fly rods.

Rio Fly Lines

Rio also makes a wide variety of fly lines but the best two for trout are the Gold and Grand lines. Each one has a specific purpose to accommodate anglers according to how and where they most often fish.

Rio Gold is the best choice for beginner anglers or for those who fish in all conditions. It features a unique profile that allows a rod to load at close range and a front taper that delivers perfect presentation of flies of all sizes. Rio Gold is their best all-around offering. The Rio Grand lines are designed to perform with today’s stiff, fast action fly rods. They are weighted a full line size heavier than the industry standard weights for better loading and feel with a fast action rod. Grand lines are coated with Rio’s “Max Cast” coating that repels water for higher floating line.

Talk to the fly shop staff at Vail Valley Anglers to select the correct size and taper of your new line and be sure to read “Cleaning Your Fly Line Is An Important Task” by Brody Henderson for tips on how to get the most life out of it.

*Please note some of these fly lines may no longer be available to purchase*

Andy “Otter” Smith, Guide and Content Writer