Dry fly leaders

Fishplease

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I plan on doing some dry fly fishing sometime in the next few weeks. And I'm out of leaders, so while still planning the trip, might as well ask:
What kind of leader is best for dry fly fishing, knotless tapered from a store, or homemade?
And if knotless tapered from a store, suggest a leader?

Oh and I will be using 5wt line with my 8'6, casting flies size 14-18.
 

jayraider

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I will be doing the same thing in a week, where are you going to go? I am using 7.5 ft. 4X leaders. They seem to work fine for my 5wt. 9ft. rod.
 

dshort

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I like 9' leaders. I don't have much of a preference for brand....just whatever the store sells. I use the Cortland Precision tippet spools and they have worked fine for me over the years. Tippet size totally depends on the water conditions you'll be fishing. In heavy or stained water you can get away with 3 or 4x. In low, clear conditions you might have to go down to 6 or 7x. I usually start with a 9' leader tapered to 4 or 5x and tie on extra tippet as needed. Hope that helps.
 

Fishplease

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I'm gonna be going to the gunpowder tailwater area. And perhaps some of the smaller parts if the river.
 

dshort

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I would say you'd be safe with a 9' leader tapered to 5x. I would also bring some extra 5,6 and 7x tippet. Start with 5x and go down if you're getting refusals. We haven't had much rain here in VA and the streams are getting low, so the trout are pretty spooky. I imagine the conditions in MD are similar although I've never fished the Gunpowder. The flows might be pretty stable since it's a tailwater and you might not have the same low water condition, but it's better to be safe than sorry.
 

Frank Whiton

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Hi Fishplease,

When dry fly fishing I prefer 9' leaders. There are times you may have to go to 12' leaders. If you are fishing water that is heavily fished you may catch fewer fish using a 7.5' leader. During the fifties I use to tie all my own leaders. The leaders you could buy were all hand tied. Today the knotless tapered leaders are of high quality and that is all I use. Tieing your own leaders are time consuming and unless you need a very specialized leader it is just not worth the effort. I like Frog Hair, Umpqua and Climax. The only leader I ever had a problem with were some Scientific Anglers. I was on the Norfork in Arkansas and I think I got some old leaders. For what ever reason they broke way too easy. In some cases you need leader sink on the last 6 or so inches so that part of the leader will not suspend in the surface film. It is according how small your tippet is and what size fly you are using.
 

xjguy07

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you might want to use a 9 or 10 foot leader, mabe even more. i was out fishing the streams and rivers in green ridge state park(western MD) two weekends ago and they were pretty low, a combination of me not being sneeky and my frinds throwing rock in the only pool i found fish in led me to not catch any fish. the gunpowder might have a little more water in it from the dam and the recent rain we've had but i wouldnt count on it
 

ZGreenlee

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I've always wondered, if you're in real fast moving water, are the more aggressive bites worth using a slightly larger tippet size? And how big of a difference does using a larger size tippet make in fast water? Does the water play any part in deciding tippet size at all?

Thanks.
 

Frank Whiton

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Hi Z,

The swiftness of the water may not make a difference but with broken or excited water you can usually use a larger tippet. In fast, broken water the fish are laying in a brake of something like a rock, log or some such thing. They watch for food and dart out to take the morsel and quickly return to their resting place. In these cases the fish have very little time to look over your fly and leader. So a slightly larger leader will work. A larger leader may also be needed in fast water as the fish use the currant to fight against you.
 

ZGreenlee

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So it's not that the fish are more agressive in faster moving water, it's just that they have the help of current. Thanks!
 

sandfly

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I use hand tied from 5`' (small stream) to 18' for spooky spring creeks..average leader to use there would be a 9' 5x. If the water levels are still low and clear, I would go to a 12' 6x or 7x one..Some small streams in eastern Pa. I have had to use tippet all the down to 9,10 and12x, hard to get and very delicate..
 

RAVC

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sandfly,

Are you able to elaborate on your hand tied leaders? This is something I am quite interested in doing and I have gathered several references from Internet searches but I have never seen anyone reference such long leaders. Your comments have sparked my interest. Among other tasks I must become a better trout hunter!
 
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