Can I use wf line with streamers for trout

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turbineblade

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I fish everything (including streamers) almost 100% of the time with a WF floating line.

So yes -- that's perfectly fine. You might look into getting a sink tip line if you need to fish deeper sections of stream than you can reasonably reach with a WF floating line, but it isn't mandatory to use one.

Actually, the only time I don't use a floating line is when I need s super fast-sink (full sink) fly line. I rarely need or want to fish a sink tip.
 

oldnewguy

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Ditto

Adjusting the length of your leader (10 - 14') should get you as deep as you would need on most rivers and streams.

Tight lines,

Joe
 

ts47

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Here's another thought as I've played around with this as well.

A WF line is fine for streamer depending on the depth of the water. In shallow water (2'), you may want an unweighted streamer. In deeper water (up to 6' deep) a weighted streamer would work better.

If you get into even deeper water or faster currents, you can buy (sinking) Polyleaders from Airflo or Versileaders from Rio that can be attached to the front loop on your WF fly line. Ard (Hardyreels) also has a "lead head" leader that you can make yourself that would likely be a step better somewhere on this site.

The advantage of a sinking line is the head is longer than typical leaders, usually 30' or more. A head of this length will help keep the streamer down in the feeding lane when striping the streamer back in. You need to be careful though. A 30' sinking head could land on the bottom if you give it enough time. A sinking line can also help you reach greater depths (20'+) in deeper water.

The sinking leader solution above is probably the next best step for typical trout fishing. I would look to the longer lengths of 10-15' or possibly even better would be to make the lead head leader.

Hope this helps.

Todd
 
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turbineblade

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This is just purely personal preference --

I enjoy using fly tackle the most when I'm using a floating line and am fishing water of depth no greater than 6-8 feet, but ideally 1-4 feet -- just flat out. It's the truth, there's no getting around it. That's what is "fun" to me, and that's why I use fly tackle.

For really deep stuff.....I use a depth charge line, but this is once per year during the shad run on the Potomac. It's from a boat, and it's very specialized kind of fishing -- not "normal" in any way. And even then a spinning rod does the job more easily.

The heavy sink lines and sink tips take away the fun and avdantage of fishing with fly tackle....to me.
 

silver creek

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Do I have to have a dedicated sink tip line or can I use a wf line.
Like most things in fly fishing, the answer is "it depends." There are 4 main factors.

1. It depends on how deep you want the streamer to "fish".

2. It depends on how fast the water is or if it is still water (lake).

3. It depends on how often you are going to fish a streamer.

4. It depends on how effective you want to be vs how much money you want to spend for extra spools and other fly lines. Remember that sinking lines come in various sink rates depending on how fast and deep you want the line and fly to be.

There is no question in my mind that the proper sinking line is always as or more effective than a floating line. The reason is that when you pull or strip in floating line, it will pull the streamer up out of the depth zone it is in.

So if you are fishing a deep pool or in still water that you want to fish at depth, you cannot do it with a floating line. In a lake, you may never reach the level the fish are at if you are limited to a floating line. So lake fly fishers that use streamers or streamer like swimming damsel fly nymphs will use a sinking line.

In a river, the faster the water, the higher the streamer will be with a floating line because the drag on the line will lift the streamer.

With a sinking line, the same water velocity cannot lift the heavier and thinner sinking line as much, so the steamer will be deeper in the water column. A full sinking line allows the fly fisher to target a specific water depth by counting down sink rate before beginning the retrieve. Plus when the fly is retrieved, it swims level and not up at an angle.

When then should you use a floating line? Use a floating line if you are fishing water that is no deeper than waist high and moderate flow, or knee deep and fast flow; AND you only fish streamers occasionally OR you cannot afford a separate flies system.

You can also use a hybrid weighted poly leader or loop to loop sink tip system to convert a floating line into a hybrid sink tip system. You can also use casting techniques and line mends to get your streamer deeper.

Cast up stream and stack mend loose line into the drift to allow the streamer to sink deeper before beginning your retrieve.

There are situations where you will need a full sinking line. If you are going to use a floating line with a weighted poly leader, you will limit your streamer fishing to those situations where this type of set up is effective.
 

alt1001

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I fish everything on WF line with no issues, and I usually don't have to adjust my leader on most of the freestone streams here in NC. There are some exceptions like the Tuck but otherwise I am fine.
 

ts47

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Whether you use a sinking leader or line depends on how deep the water is, how deep the fish are and how fast the water is moving.

A sinking leader, or even better one of Hardyreel's "lead head leaders", only cost $10-15. If you think you may have the conditions to use them, you should try one on for size. The worst thing that could happen is you catch more fish! :)


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ja501

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Like most things in fly fishing, the answer is "it depends." There are 4 main factors.

1. It depends on how deep you want the streamer to "fish".

2. It depends on how fast the water is or if it is still water (lake).

3. It depends on how often you are going to fish a streamer.

4. It depends on how effective you want to be vs how much money you want to spend for extra spools and other fly lines. Remember that sinking lines come in various sink rates depending on how fast and deep you want the line and fly to be.

There is no question in my mind that the proper sinking line is always as or more effective than a floating line. The reason is that when you pull or strip in floating line, it will pull the streamer up out of the depth zone it is in.

So if you are fishing a deep pool or in still water that you want to fish at depth, you cannot do it with a floating line. In a lake, you may never reach the level the fish are at if you are limited to a floating line. So lake fly fishers that use streamers or streamer like swimming damsel fly nymphs will use a sinking line.

In a river, the faster the water, the higher the streamer will be with a floating line because the drag on the line will lift the streamer.

With a sinking line, the same water velocity cannot lift the heavier and thinner sinking line as much, so the steamer will be deeper in the water column. A full sinking line allows the fly fisher to target a specific water depth by counting down sink rate before beginning the retrieve. Plus when the fly is retrieved, it swims level and not up at an angle.

When then should you use a floating line? Use a floating line if you are fishing water that is no deeper than waist high and moderate flow, or knee deep and fast flow; AND you only fish streamers occasionally OR you cannot afford a separate flies system.

You can also use a hybrid weighted poly leader or loop to loop sink tip system to convert a floating line into a hybrid sink tip system. You can also use casting techniques and line mends to get your streamer deeper.

Cast up stream and stack mend loose line into the drift to allow the streamer to sink deeper before beginning your retrieve.

There are situations where you will need a full sinking line. If you are going to use a floating line with a weighted poly leader, you will limit your streamer fishing to those situations where this type of set up is effective.

So I plan on fishing for nymphs and streamers in trout streams with this setup. I already have a 4 and 5 with both floating lines that I can fish dries with. I'm also going out to Montana this fall and will use my 6 a lot. For where I fish now I usually don't fish in water deeper than 10ft but it would be nice having my nymphs staying where they need to be. My only concern is throwing hopper patterns or terrestrials on a 5 wt.
 

ts47

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I think the set ups we've been discussing are for streamer fishing only. With nymphs, you can simply add split shot to your regular leader. With nymphs, typically a floating line is fine.


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tsubeta04

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I'm very appreciative of this convo.

Last week I got a 5wt with a sink tip line specifically for streamer fishing. It has taken some getting used to while casting but it gets the streamer down and keeps it there even in fast current.

The guy at Orvis sold me on that rather than the sinking leaders
I think I might get an extra spool with a floating line for this five wt


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cpowell

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Where are the fish holding and are they willing to move to hit a streamer?

This is my deciding factor.

Typically when I fish the bugger I want to see it. This is why I usually fish a bugger with a WF line. Still water and very large rivers fishing on the swing is when I use a shooting head or sink tip.
 

ts47

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I'm very appreciative of this convo.

Last week I got a 5wt with a sink tip line specifically for streamer fishing. It has taken some getting used to while casting but it gets the streamer down and keeps it there even in fast current.

The guy at Orvis sold me on that rather than the sinking leaders
I think I might get an extra spool with a floating line for this five wt


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Many streamers these days can be rather large. I'm not sure what your skill level is. For a sinking line, you may find a 6 or 7 weight a "little" easier to cast. The biggest difference is those rods (7 wt preferred) will be able to handle a wider range of streamers. If you get a second rod, your 5 weight will likely get converted to a floating line rod for drys and nymphs. So yes! A floating weight forward line would be a very good choice for your 5 wt rod.


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silver creek

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So I plan on fishing for nymphs and streamers in trout streams with this setup. I already have a 4 and 5 with both floating lines that I can fish dries with. I'm also going out to Montana this fall and will use my 6 a lot. For where I fish now I usually don't fish in water deeper than 10ft but it would be nice having my nymphs staying where they need to be. My only concern is throwing hopper patterns or terrestrials on a 5 wt.
I think the set ups we've been discussing are for streamer fishing only. With nymphs, you can simply add split shot to your regular leader. With nymphs, typically a floating line is fine.
I agree with TS47 that my reply was only for streamers and that a floating line with or without a strike indicator will be fine for nymphing.

I fish the Madison every year with a 5 wt rod, but it is a 10 ft GLX which is a fast action fly rod. I have no problem casting salmon fly and hopper patterns even in the wind.

Depending on the length and action of your 5 and 6 wt rods, one of them should be adequate for nymphing and casting large terrestrials.

If you are going to be floating the rivers and casting streamers to the river banks, or hitting pocket water in front or behind large boulders, there is no need for a sinking line. From the forward casting position, you can angle cast downstream to target the river bank or pocket water and the streamer will sink deep enough without the need for a sinking line.

The fish next to the river bank are in an ambush position in the soft water and will come out to hit a streamer. The fish behind or in front of boulders are in a hydraulic cushion of soft water and do not need the slow water next to the bottom to maintain their position. So they can hold at any level and the streamer does not have to be near the bottom for them to attack it.
 

labradorguy

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Whether you use a sinking leader or line depends on how deep the water is, how deep the fish are and how fast the water is moving.

A sinking leader, or even better one of Hardyreel's "lead head leaders", only cost $10-15. If you think you may have the conditions to use them, you should try one on for size. The worst thing that could happen is you catch more fish! :)


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I can vouch for Ard's "leadhead system". It's simple, it gets it down just like a sinktip, and most importantly it cuts down on carrying extra junk that you don't need. I am aspiring to live by the KISS principle and simplify my fishing this year. So far, so good.
 
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blackbugger

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I fish a 24' 300 grain sink tip on an 8wt virtually all the time these days. The only time I don't is on small streams or really shallow slower water like the lower Madison.
Even in smaller but deep waters like the Beaverhead I'd rather fish the 8wt
There are a lot of people in Southwest Montana who fish a similar rig for streamers.

There are all kinds of places you'll fish over the course of the day in a boat where getting down as far and as fast as you can comes into play. This is why I think the sink tip is the better overall rig by a wide margin for the rivers around here than the floating line. And actually I don't see much benefit at all to fishing a floating line for streamers in the medium to large rivers of the northern and mid Rockies.
I'm not saying it can't or shouldn't be done but if you are going to have a dedicated streamer rod or spend a day fishing streamers you are far better off with a somewhat aggressive sink tip

Most of us don't fish a leader any longer than 3-4 feet. The sinking portion of the line starts acting almost immediately.
If the bank is, say, four feet deep and the fish is hanging near the bottom with some degree of undercut and you want to fish it with a 4" fly it's helpful to put the fly an inch from the bank and let it drop, pulling it out just enough to keep from snagging structure.
While it's true that fish that are in ambush mode will often attack the fly when it hits the water there are other fish that aren't going to be that aggressive or may not even see the fly if you don't get it down to their level.
Depending on the water, I often don't start stripping, if I strip at all, until after the fly has dropped for awhile. This allows the fly to slide along the bank, depending on the water, getting ever deeper and showing the fly to a lot more bank than casting and immediately stripping.

Big flies are usually tied with schlappen, marabou, flashabou, bunny strips etc. that all undulate and make a big articulated fly look like it's alive and moving regardless of whether or not it's being stripped.

I think many people hit the water and automatically start stripping thinking that fast fly action is the key to drawing a strike. While that's certainly true at times it also is often NOT true.
I usually (depending...) wait a bit before I start stripping. I've witnessed many times where the difference between catching fish on streamers and not catching fish was moving the fly as little as possible and getting down.

There are definitely types of water where floating versus sinking wouldn't make any difference. But there are all kinds of water where the sinking line/tip makes all the difference in the world.

Slower outside bends where the bank is good but the water drops off fast to maximum depth and then slowly starts to climb towards the inside are just one place the sink tip rules.
With the boat or wader positioned to the inside you can hit the bank and basically work the fly down to the bottom following the contour of the bottom back into the shallower water.
The fish could be on the bank but it might be 6-8' down hugging the bottom out from the bank by 10-20 feet. That's big brown country every bit as much as the bank, sometimes more so. Or they'll be hanging in the perfect combination of current speed and depth zone on the rising bottom of the inside of the bend.
The floating line with a 10' leader and split shot just isn't as effective. The long heavy sink tip rules.
This is also where a skagit and 10-12 feet of T whatever really shines.

Sink tips are fun. They add a whole other level of depth manipulation and fly control to the streamer equation and they really out produce a floating line when handled well which takes some skill, thinking and work to achieve.
They certainly aren't for every river and stream but they excel in the waters around these parts.
I know I'm more accurate with a short leader on a sink tip on my streamer rig than I am with a long leader on a floating line.

I think anyone who comes to Montana and plans on fishing streamers a good deal would do well to look into a fairly aggressive sink tip that their rod would be able to handle.
 

runningfish

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Just add a flurocarbon leader, or an intermediate leader. You can also use weighted streamer to get it down.
 
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