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Thread: Dry fly leaders

  1. Default Dry fly leaders

    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.

  2. Default Re: Dry fly leaders

    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.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Dry fly leaders

    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.

  4. Default Re: Dry fly leaders

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

  5. #5

    Default Re: Dry fly leaders

    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.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Central Florida

    Default Re: Dry fly leaders

    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.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    So Cal - 33.7645 N, 117.7939 W

    Default Re: Dry fly leaders

    Have been more than satisfied with Cabela's "Climax" tapered leaders for years. Usually get spools of the tippet material too, same results.
    Good luck !

  8. Default Re: Dry fly leaders

    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

  9. Default Re: Dry fly leaders

    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?

    "The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” - George Bernard Shaw

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Central Florida

    Default Re: Dry fly leaders

    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.

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