Guide to Fly Lines 2022
The MPX design is offered in a couple of different "platforms", but we understand that most beginners do not want to drop $100 or more for their first fly line, or first upgraded line. The Mastery series is solid. Quality construction, nice color schemes, the price is good, and the MPX line is probably easiest line to cast anywhere.
Rio Premier Gold $99.95
The Rio Gold is neck and neck with the MPX for castability, quality and popularity. We put it under the Mastery MPX due to the higher price of the Gold.
Cortland 444 $64.95
It is that line that keeps on giving. This line has been pretty much the same for decades now. It is really easy to cast, and has a nice price tag, and makes the list of best lines every year. No frills, no color changes, just a nice line that casts like butter.
Best All Around
Scientific Anglers Amplitude Trout $129.95
This is our favorite all-around line. It has a nice and easy cast, smooth presentation and is really accurate. It has a longer taper and is lighter weight than the MPX and the Gold. This is not the best line for beginners, it does not load a rod deeply. Anglers must do more to rely on their timing, but the casts are effortless and gorgeous when you get this line dialed in. No line is going to do everything perfectly, but if we only had one line for trout fishing, this would be it. If you don't dig the texture, they also make a smooth version for $99.95
Dry Fly LinesThink spring creeks, spooky trout, crystal clear water
Cortland 444 Sylk Weight Forward $64.95
Our absolute favorite line to cast for delicacy, accuracy and presentation. It is as soft and gentle as a line can get. It was built for glass and bamboo rods, but it is fantastic on our favorite graphite moderate action rods like the Douglas Upstream or Big Y Natural. We have even thrown it on medium-fast rods like the Douglas DXF and Hardy Ultralight and found it to be just as joyous to cast. It wouldn't know what to do with a beadhead wooly bugger, but a size 18 Adams will land on a dime at 30'.
Rio LightLine $99.95
Another great line that can provide the most accurate, delicate presentations. This line has a little more kick to it than the 444 Sylk, especially if you need some longer casts. It might be a better choice for anglers that don't have specialty dry-fly rods or anglers that don't have top-level casting skills.
Scientific Anglers Mastery Double Taper $79.95
Double taper lines are underappreciated. I have both the 444 Sylk and the Rio LightLine, but both are double taper for my personal stash. I love the extra line control. Mending is a breeze. They will cast more accurately at distance due to the lack of rear taper, and you can be a frugal angler and turn that line around when you wear out the tip section. This Scientific Anglers Double Taper is built to original specifications, but with the latest and greatest technology. This is a great choice for someone with a faster rod, especially one under 9' in length.
Rio Elite Indicator $129.95
New and improved for 2022, this line will huck about anything you can tie onto it about as far you can roll cast it. Three split shot, two tungsten stonefly nymphs and one big indicator? No problem. It won't be pretty, but it will turn that rig over, even with way too much line out. Because of the long taper, this line is meant to be fished from shore and with some distance.
Rio Elite Xtreme Indicator $129.95
If you fish out of a boat, then you likely make more casts, but at much shorter distances. The Rio Extreme Indicator is built more for that purpose. Pick it up, slap it down, mend, mend, mend, repeat. If you are lucky enough to be slapping indicator rigs out of a drift boat on the regular, then this is the line for you,
Airflo Nymph Indicator $89.95
It does all the things you want your indicator line to do. It is slightly less clunky than the Rio lines, which is nice. This line will not produce "pretty" casts, but it will let you huck a big meaty nymph rig and let you mend it for days.
Scientific Anglers Mastery Anadro $79.95
This is a great choice for a nymph line. It does get boxed into a corner with the Anadro name. If you don't know, it is short for anadromous, as in ocean-bound, like salmon and steelhead. It is a fantastic nymphing line despite the name sounding like it would be exclusively for salmon fishing. Nice and easy with much less clunk than the other lines. Easier on the shoulders with the smoother, lighter casts. This line is also available in the Amplitude series.
Things get more expensive. Luckily, there are some good fly lines if you are on a budget.
Cortland 444 $64.95
Still love it. See the "all around" section above.
Scientific Anglers Frequency Boost $59.95
This line is a "budget" line, but it does cast just like the Mastery MPX. What you don't get is a rear welded loop, color changes or the fancy laser-printed line identification. An easy way to save $20.
Cortland 333 $43.95
Stretch the budget to the max. If you are searching couch cushions for change to get a line so that you can get back to the water, the 333 is the best line you are going to find at this price point. I mean at this point, the gas to get to the river and back is probably more expensive. This will go further though...
Rio FIPS $59.95
The hardest part about taking on Euro nymphing is that the line setup can be quite confusing and overly complicated. This line completely demystified the Euro game. Loops on both ends, color change, easy handling. You can hand this to anyone and they can be tight line nymphing right away. This is the best line for someone just getting their feet wet with Euro. It is also just fine for really anyone that is into Euro nymphing.
Cortland Braid Core Level .022". $54.95
Once that transition to Euro fishing is complete, then anglers tend to figure out what they like, what works and are willing to try something a little different. The Braid Core Competition line from Cortland is a step forward for intermediate to advanced Euro anglers. It doesn't have the fancy loops or color change, but it does offer the angler the chance to make their own connection to the leader. Some smarter anglers than I have figured out newer, better ways to make that connection less bulky with better tension to the leader than loops. This line allows anglers to do it the way they like, or the way they read about in a magazine. The braided core is better in the winter and has some incredible sensitivity.