Those would be the two easiest routes when you are just starting out. In the end, the cut throat leader option would probably be cheaper as they last a long time and you only need to replace the tippet section instead of the whole leader like you would need to do with the first option
In terms of what tippet to get, I'd stay in the 3-6x range. Fluorocarbon would be the better material
Just some info: use it as a starting point, nothing is written in stone for a fly fisherman or fisherwomen.
Leader Length Best suited for…
6 foot Sinking fly lines of all types, panfish, bass, trout in tiny, brushy streams
7.5 foot Trout in streams from 10-20 feet wide, intermediate and sinking tip lines in lakes and saltwater conditions where the fish are not terribly spooky. Also streamer fishing for trout with big flies or with heavy nymphs and big indicators
9 foot Trout streams larger than 20 feet wide where the water is mostly riffled, or else the fish are not spooky. In salt water, fish in shallow water under bright, clear conditions.
12 foot Trout in most lakes with floating lines. Trout in streams with flies smaller than size 16 when the water is flat, low, or very clear
15 foot Spooky trout in extremely clear water in both lakes and rivers.
Just starting out, I'd get a 3-pack of 9' Rio Powerflex leaders...3x or 4x and fish one size smaller (bigger number) tippet. That's the simple way to get started.
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A furled leader is a great way to go. Contact Mike at Cutthroat and he will help you get the right leader for the way you are fishing.
The tapered leaders may be a good place to start. I use furled leaders and if you are interested in going that route contacting Mike would probably get you some great information and help.
Either way, for Colorado trout I'd also pick up spools of 4x, 5x, and 6x tippet. This is what you tie onto the end of the furled leader when you fish. Or if you go the taper leader route then, if you got a 4x leader for example, you could tie some 5x onto the end of it to get a more subtle presentation.
I was starting out about a year ago . I taught myself that if I am having a difficulty inserting my tippet through the hook eye, that means the tippet size that I am using is too big for that fly.
As a beginner I also staying away from 7x tippet, and learned to furled my own leader to cut the cost, since I would have wind knots in my expensive tapered leaders and the trees and bushes tend to purposely moved around to snag my backcasts.
Here's the thing...
It does not matter one iota if you use furled, hand knotted, or extruded leaders
It does not matter.... pick one and be happy
What makes a difference is the tippet length.
Unfortunately the extruded leaders do not have enough tippet length built in..... they're just not made that way.
You might want to ignore that fact until you become a better caster, but if you do decide to use the store bought mono leaders, you will need to add extra tippet right from the start. Not just when you've cut the length back due to constantly changing flies
Most people buy pre-made tapered leaders at the 4x, 5x and 6x size for most trout under "normal" conditions. 5x is probably the one I see used the most. length is usually 9f under "normal" conditions, but you might want longer or shorter depending on the water you'll fish. Ask your buddies what they use and carry.
I'm atypical in that I use nothing but a spool of 8 pound mono, 4 pound maxima, and 2 pound maxima mono for my leaders. Sometimes I'll just use a straight 7-12' strip of 4 pound maxima for a leader, and that's it. It works fine....particularly if I'm fishing soft hackles or nymphs, or streamers (which is about 98% of the time). I never have problems catching trout --
I'm on the fringe, but I feel that using a tapered leader is not needed and is not nearly as important as leader length and how you cast.
Heck, using bite tippet in SW is basically a reverse tapered leader, right? It's not important unless you're fishing dries and need the extra delicacy.
Oh, and some people are confused about "leader" and "tippet" being different things. Tippet is just a small spool of expensive mono or fluoro line. Your leader and tippet don't need to be "married" as such. My leader some days might just be 6 feet of 8 pound mono knotted to 3 feet of 4 pound mono as "tippet". The tippet is just the end piece, it's nothing mystical.