Choosing a Warmwater Fly Line

The world of warm water fly fishing is a completely different animal. Fly fishing for trout is pretty standardized stuff for most people, especially in terms of flies, leaders, and fly lines. However, when the White Bass run or the great Pike fishing comes around every year and people are looking at getting a heavier rod for warmwater duty, they get a little glossy eyed when we start talking about the different line options. The main difference between a standard trout line and a good warmwater line is the ability to be able to cast big, wind-resistant flies with ease at a good distance. Many people try to throw flies that are just too large for the equipment they have, even if it is a heavy enough rod. RIO lines are a shop favorite, and we have a few favorite line choices for warmwater use - here's a short run-down of our go to lines. RIO Powerfly This is one of my favorite all around lines for warmwater use, as well as a great line for big river trout fishing. The Powerfly features a short, powerful head that enables you to throw pretty darn big streamers with exceptional ease, but it can also be carried at a distance unlike a shooting head style line. This line works great for throwing Clouser Minnow sized flies, and can also be used with a sinking leader easily. For an all-around heavy rod line that can be used for Smallies, Pike, Trout, or Carp, this is my first choice. RIO Outbound Short image4 This is the ultimate warmwater fly line, period. It features an ultra short front taper and head, which lets you throw insanely big flies ridiculous distances easily. With the extremely powerful head weighted flies and wind-resistant poppers are no problem at all! The Outbound Short comes in several different styles, including floating, sink tip, and full sink. The different options make it easy to fish any depth of water, from the surface to dragging bottom in 15 feet. My personal favorite is the floating/intermediate tip. These are a shooting head style line, so they won't be able to be carried in the air at long distances. They're made to be picked up with a single false cast and send them on their way - you can shoot from 30 feet to 60 feet in a single false cast. If you're fishing strictly warmwater with large flies, this is the line for you. RIO Pike/Musky image3 At the risk of sounding redundant, the RIO Pike/Musky features a short, powerful front taper that designed to meet the needs of casting ginormous flies all day. It's considerably heavier than the AFTMA line standard, so it will load fast, powerful rods at close distances with ease. They'll slingshot the biggest of flies, even the giant articulated variety that has become popular. They come in intermediate as well as floating. I'm a big fan of the intermediate flavor. RIO Smallmouth image2 This is a more delicate version of a warmwater fly line, but can still chuck some sizable flies without any issues. It features a more delicate taper than a line like an Outbound Short, and is designed to cast flies that are more traditional sized - stuff like poppers and Clouser Minnows. It also features a handling section at the back of the head that allows you to mend and control the line as you would a traditional trout line. This is a great line for fishing current, and also makes a great Carp line! Just like in trout fishing, it's very important to match your line to the conditions, flies, and fish you're encountering. Many flyfishermen that are having difficulties casting large flies, especially in the wind, are simply using the wrong equipment. You can often solve many casting problems simply by changing to a more appropriate line for the conditions. The warmwater fishing is hot right now, especially at Pierre, and will continue to get better over the next month! If you have any questions about where to go, what line to use, flies, or anything else concerning South Dakota fly fishing, feel free to give us a call at the shop or shoot us an email. Thanks! Ryan