How to Choose the Best Fly Line for Pacific Salmon
We've already talked about choosing the best fly rod for Salmon and the best fly reel for Salmon. Those posts are important for the first time Salmon angler and provide valuable insight into which rods/reels are the best tools for the job. Plus, we've covered rods, reels, and lines for Steelhead.
While fishing for Steelhead and Salmon does have some gear overlap, to round out our species-centered blog posts on Salmon, this post will help you choose the right fly line for your Salmon rod/reel setup. If you're interested in Pacific Salmon flies, check out flies for those species here.
Of course, like Steelhead, Salmon can be targeted using either a two-handed rod or a single-handed rod. For the purpose of this post, we're going to focus on single-handed fly lines. Nymphing and streamer fishing are the two most productive ways of targeting Pacific Salmon on the fly, so we'll focus on those techniques.
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As you've probably seen in other posts, it's important to choose a fly line that matches your fly rod. If you're fishing a 10' 7wt for Salmon, choose a 7wt fly line.
Most Salmon fishing is done in cold water conditions so choose a fly line that's built for optimal performance in cold water. A tropical line is going to shrivel up and give you major problems when you're fishing for Salmon. If you're curious about which lines are made for cold water conditions vs tropical conditions, check out our blog post about water temps here.
Therefore, you should be considering a freshwater line that matches your rod weight. If you're considering a fly line with 'Salmon' in the name, you're on the right track. RIO InTouch Salmo/Steelhead and Cortland Salmon Steelhead are great line options.
But surely there are other lines that work well, too. Here are some other recommendations.
Choosing a fishing technique that maximizes your chances of success on the water is important. This depends a little on species. If you're targeting Silver Salmon, chances are you'll be swinging streamers. If you're targeting King Salmon, they can be targeting with streamers or nymphs. Choosing the technique you want to focus on is a key first step in determining which line to purchase.
Targeting Salmon with nymphs or beads can be incredibly productive. In the US West or Alaska, large Salmon are caught every year on egg patterns drifted under an indicator or nymphs fished near the river bottom. Some species don't really eat nymphs when they're in the river so if you're unsure about the specifics of each species, contact a local fly shop to see which method is most productive.
If you've decided you want to target Salmon with nymphs, here are a few good nymph line recommendations.
Scientific Anglers Amplitude Anadro Fly Line - This is a line with an extra-long head that's built 1.5 line sizes heavy for turning over bulky rigs. SA Anadro is a line for the nymphing enthusiast that needs to cut through the wind.
RIO InTouch Trout/Steelhead Indicator Fly Line - Yes, it is labeled as a trout line but works well for Salmon, too. This is a similar line to SA Anadro and is designed for rivers and casting indicator rigs with control at long-range.
Cortland Salmon Steelhead Fly Line - This line features a long belly design for easy casting and superior mending capabilities. It also has a 65' head for turning over indicator rigs and streamers.
Streamers are another productive technique for targeting Pacific Salmon. Silver Salmon in the western US and across Alaska go crazy for the right streamer pattern. Anglers also swing streamers for King Salmon throughout the world. If you're considering targeting Pacific Salmon on the fly, streamer fishing is one of the most productive ways of doing so.
Here are a few fly lines worth considering.
RIO InTouch VersiTip II Fly Line - A unique line system, the VersiTip II features a streamer line with interchangeable tips. This is a great option for targeting Salmon in a variety of water depths and features superior versatility.
RIO Single-Hand Spey Elite - This is the perfect line for single-handed Spey casting and roll casting larger flies. If you need to load your rod with minimal backcasting room, this is a great line to do it with.
Scientific Anglers Amplitude Smooth Titan Long Fly Line - The Titan Long combines everything we love about the Titan with an extended rear taper. The extended taper improves control and versatility. A great option for streamers at longer distances.
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