The important fly line choice.
I choose a fly line before I choose a fly. Water level, temperature and the speed of the current are factors which I study before selecting a fly line. When I have found a fly line that will present the fly in the right position according to the previously mentioned conditions, then I pick the fly! I am a fly line freak, I am completely hooked on fly lines! For many years I have had a greater focus on the fly line than on the fly. After realising that where in the river I fished in terms of depth was at least as important, my catches improved significantly compared to the days when I just focused on the choice of flies. Additionally, I could log more large salmon in the fishing diary, exciting!
You can read my theories in the articles “Is it the fly line or the fly that catch salmon?” and “The fly line box”. Here you will find detailed information on my experiences with regards to fly lines.
In this article I will write about a shooting head that was introduced 2 seasons ago; the increasingly popular Streamdip line in the Guideline Power Taper range. This is a floating/sink line with a front part in sink rate 5. In my articles I often write about the Guideline floating/sink3 shooting head, this has been my favourite for many years. Now the floating/sink3 line has a “competitor” in the Streamdip line, but to call it a competitor is actually totally wrong, as both of these shooting heads are good to have as they complement each other very well. After two seasons on the market, also meaning two seasons of experience fishing with it on the river, it is now very enjoyable to be able to summarise this as an exceptional fishing line. The experience is purely positive, in Gaula this has been the best selling line over the past two seasons, and otherwise I hear from other shops on other places that this is a bestseller.
There are many reasons for the popularity of this shooting head; it will fish well in many different conditions on the river, and on many different rivers! And this line is also a joy to cast; never before have you been able to fish this deep in such an easy way.
On small salmon rivers you can fish this line in both spring flood and summer flood conditions, just remember to adjust the length of your leader according to the speed of the current and depth (see the article on leaders). In the deep pools you can also fish this line in normal water level conditions, even on the smaller rivers, remember once more to adjust the length of the leader carefully.
On medium-sized rivers you can fish this shooting head in normal flood conditions, but should there be a big spring flood it could be handy to use a S2/S3 line for this type of river. A summer flood carries with it warmer water compared to a spring flood, thus this line will fish very well during such conditions. In terms of normal water levels you can fish the Streamdip in many different places in the river, and as such this line is a good all-round sinking line on medium and large salmon rivers.
During spring flood fishing on the big rivers a full sinking shooting head will be the best choice, typical shooting heads include S2/S3, S3/S4 and S4/S5. When the spring flood dies down and turns into a normal water level, the Streamdip will be one of the fly lines I use the most. I fish this line even in low water conditions, especially in the deeper pools and in the fastest runs – this is often where you will find salmon when the river is low and warm, resulting in the salmon becoming spooky and hard to get. Thus, to summarise I can say that the Streamdip is one of the fly lines I use the most throughout the whole season.
This category of shooting heads works just like a sink tip line, which means that the fly lines are easy to lift out of the water when casting, as the back section is floating and only the front part sinks. This will enable you to fish fairly deep in an easy way, many fly fishers have taken a liking to both the floating/sink3 and the floating/sink5 lines in such a way that they love these fly lines because they make fishing simpler and also more effective.
I normally call these fly lines “summer sinking lines”, as you can fish quite deep when the river is flowing at normal or low flows, and therefore thy have become among my most used fly lines on the Gaula during normal water levels. When the river becomes low I will also fish the Streamdip in many places, it is no secret that it is the large salmon that are the most exciting “prey”. The biggest salmon are always positioned in the most difficult spots, but using either the floating/sink3 or the Streamdip I actually succeed more often with getting in touch with the big salmon, even in low water conditions. I am not exaggerating when I say that, throughout the season as a whole, I have the highest average weight on my salmon using these two fly lines. So these two shooting heads complement each other well, some pools are too deep for the floating/sink3 line, and some pools are too shallow for the floating/sink5 line. This is why it just feels fantastic to be able to just change the fly line according to the character of the river in terms of the speed of the current and depth.
Deep and fast.
This is a fishing strategy/theory I have, this way of fishing the fly in low water conditions when the salmon is just holding near the bottom is very effective. I catch larger salmon this way compared to when fishing floating lines and surface fishing, I would like to tell you that in the 2008 season, in low water conditions, I caught 2 salmon on the single handed rod weighing 12,3 and 12,5 kilos respectively. The fishing strategy was of course according to the “deep and fast” theory. This meant that I now could log 16 salmon weighing more than 10 kilos caught on a single hand fly rod in my catch log, and most of the credit for this I give to the floating/sink lines. And how many salmon between 7-10 kilos I have caught up though the years, I just don’t know.
Deep and slow.
This fishing technique I do not have much faith in for fishing in low water conditions, this works better when the river is high during a spring flood. I much prefer to fish the fly at some speed when the river is low, experience tells me that this will increase catches, and if one wish that this catch as often as possible should be made up of large salmon, one must also fish deep. If you choose a full sinking line in conditions such as this, you will often experience that the fly line snags on the bottom, due to the flow being too weak. This will easily spook the salmon. And if you are lucky with the choice of a full sinking line so that you do not snag, my experience still indicates that the salmon will mostly not strike at the fly, as the speed of the fly line and fly will be too slow. When the river is low, the visibility in the river becomes very good – meaning that the salmon will see the flies much more easily from their holding position, and this results in the salmon not regarding the fly as a threat when it finally swings past the fish. This is why a floating/sink line is better, as it can fish faster through the current due to the floating part of the line being positioned in the surface current, and this will then pull the sinking part of the fly line past the holding spots of the fish in a quicker manner.
New for 2009.
I simply love to fish for large salmon using a single handed fly rod, thus it is very exciting that the Streamdip line will be available in single hand specifications for the coming season, it will be possible to choose from classes 7-8 and 8-9 for single hand fly rods in the Power Taper range. For the first two years I had to adapt a double hand line in class 8-9 for my 10 foot 8 weight single hand rod, this was a somewhat time-consuming job, although it worked out pretty well. However, this will now become much easier, and this means that the Streamdip shooting head now will be available in following the weight classes: 7-8 single hand, 8-9 single hand, 8-9 double hand, 9-10 double hand, 10-11 double hand, and 11-12 double hand. I recommend to anyone fishing with single handed or light double handed fly rods to try this fly line, now you will be able to present the fly at the depth where the large salmon are, and in an easier way than you thought possible. And of course, regardless of what type of fly rod you’re fishing with, you will be able to experience the advantages offered by the floating/sink lines.
Have a great trip.
Best regards from a fly line freak from Trøndelag.