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How To Care for your Fly Lines ???

The article, titled “How To Care for your Fly Lines,” provides valuable tips and tricks for maintaining and cleaning fly lines. It is presented in a video format by the Orvis Guide to Fly Fishing, led by Tom. The article emphasizes the simplicity and minimal effort required to care for fly lines, highlighting that there is not much that can damage them other than stepping on them or getting solvents, like sunscreen or insect repellent, on them. It emphasizes that fly lines can be stored on reels for years without any special requirements and that heat or cold does not harm them. The article also provides clear instructions on cleaning fly lines, recommending stripping line off the reel and soaking it in warm water with a little dish soap, followed by rinsing and running the line through a paper towel to remove any residue. It cautions against using line dressing products, as they can attract dirt and algae. The article concludes by suggesting a frequency of cleaning every few months, although some individuals may choose to clean them after every trip for optimal performance. The maintenance-free nature of fly lines is underlined, reassuring readers that caring for them is straightforward and manageable.

How to Care for Your Fly Lines

Fly lines are an essential component of fly fishing gear, and proper care and maintenance are crucial to ensure their longevity and optimal performance. In this article, we will discuss the various steps and techniques to care for your fly lines effectively.

Avoid Damaging the Fly Line

One of the key aspects of fly line care is to avoid any damage that could potentially impair its performance. There are several ways in which a fly line can be damaged, including stepping on it, exposing it to solvents, and prolonged exposure to sunlight.

Stepping on the Fly Line

One common mistake that anglers make is stepping on their fly lines. The weight and pressure exerted on the line can cause it to deform and lose its shape. Additionally, stepping on the line may result in cuts or abrasions, which can compromise its integrity. To avoid damaging your fly line, always be mindful of where you step and take care to avoid putting unnecessary weight or pressure on it.

Exposing it to Solvents

Solvents, such as those found in sunscreen, fly spray, and insect repellent, can have a detrimental effect on fly lines. These products often contain chemicals that can degrade the coating and make the line more prone to cracking, tangling, and sinking. It is crucial to avoid direct contact between fly lines and solvents to prevent potential damage.

Impact of Sunlight

Prolonged exposure to sunlight can also lead to damage to fly lines. UV rays from the sun can cause the line’s coating to degrade over time, resulting in reduced buoyancy and casting performance. To protect your fly line from sunlight, store it in a cool, shaded area when not in use and avoid leaving it exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods.

Protecting from Solvents

To ensure the longevity of your fly lines, it is essential to protect them from solvents commonly found in sunscreen, fly spray, and insect repellent. These solvents can degrade the line’s coating and compromise its functionality. When using such products, take care to avoid direct contact with your fly lines.

Additionally, when selecting these products, opt for those that are fly line compatible. Some manufacturers produce sunscreens, fly sprays, and insect repellents specifically formulated to be safe for use around fly lines. These products are designed to minimize any potential harm to the line’s coating and keep your fly lines in excellent condition.

How To Care for your Fly Lines ???

Proper Storage

Proper storage is crucial to maintaining the performance and durability of your fly lines. Storing your fly lines correctly helps prevent damage from heat, cold, and prolonged exposure to sunlight.

Storing Fly Lines on Reels

When not in use, it is best to store your fly lines on a reel. This ensures that the lines are properly coiled and protected from tangling or kinking. When storing the fly line on the reel, make sure to clean it thoroughly and dry it before winding it onto the reel. This helps prevent any dirt or debris from accumulating on the line and potentially damaging it.

Effects of Heat and Cold

Extreme temperatures can have adverse effects on fly lines. Exposure to excessive heat can cause the line’s coating to soften or melt, leading to reduced buoyancy and casting performance. On the other hand, extreme cold can make the line more brittle and prone to cracking. To protect your fly lines, store them in a temperature-controlled environment, away from direct heat sources or cold drafts.

Avoiding Direct Sunlight

Direct sunlight can cause the line’s coating to degrade over time. To prevent this, store your fly lines in a cool, shaded area when not in use. Avoid leaving them exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods, as even a brief exposure can have a cumulative impact on the line’s performance.

Cleaning and Rejuvenating Fly Lines

Regular cleaning is an essential part of maintaining your fly lines. Cleaning the lines not only removes dirt and debris but also rejuvenates them, improving shooting through guides, floating ability, and casting performance.

Benefits of Cleaning a Fly Line

Cleaning a fly line offers several benefits. Firstly, it removes any accumulated dirt, debris, or algae that can impair its smooth movement through the guides. Secondly, cleaning removes any residue or build-up that may affect the line’s buoyancy, improving its floating ability. Lastly, cleaning rejuvenates the line’s coating, making it slicker and more supple, resulting in improved casting performance.

Straightforward Cleaning Process

Cleaning a fly line is a straightforward process. Begin by stripping the line off the reel, focusing on the section that is typically used, around 40 or 50 feet. Next, fill a bucket or sink with warm water and add a small amount of mild dish soap. Place the stripped fly line into the soapy water, ensuring it is fully submerged. Allow the line to soak for a few minutes to loosen any dirt or grime.

After soaking, remove the fly line from the soapy water and rinse it thoroughly with clean water. To dry the line, run it through a piece of paper towel, applying gentle pressure to remove excess water. You may notice residue on the paper towel, signaling that the line is getting thoroughly cleaned.

How To Care for your Fly Lines ???

Stripping Line off the Reel

Before starting the cleaning process, it is necessary to strip the fly line off the reel. The amount of line to strip depends on the typical casting distances you fish, usually around 40 or 50 feet. By removing excess line, you can focus on cleaning the sections that are most frequently used, maximizing the effectiveness of the cleaning process.

Stripping the line off the reel also allows you to inspect the entire length of the line for any signs of damage, such as cuts or abrasions. This way, you can address any issues before they worsen and affect the line’s performance.

Avoiding Line Dressing

It is essential to avoid applying any kind of line dressing or lubricants to your fly lines. While these products may initially enhance performance, they can quickly attract dirt, debris, and algae, leading to decreased casting and floating abilities.

Instead of using line dressings, focus on keeping your fly lines clean by following the proper cleaning process discussed earlier. Regular cleaning will maintain the line’s optimal performance without the need for additional treatments.

Frequency of Cleaning

The frequency of cleaning your fly lines may vary depending on your fishing conditions and personal preference. While some anglers clean their lines after every trip, others may clean them every couple of months. If you fish in particularly dirty water or notice a decrease in performance, it is advisable to clean your fly lines more often.

Ultimately, it is best to clean your fly lines regularly to ensure they are always in tip-top shape and performing optimally. Regular cleaning helps extend their lifespan and ensures a pleasant and hassle-free fly fishing experience.

Maintenance Tips

In addition to regular cleaning, there are a few maintenance tips that can help prolong the life and performance of your fly lines:

  1. Avoid dragging your fly lines across abrasive surfaces, as this can cause cuts or abrasions.
  2. Inspect your fly lines regularly for signs of damage, such as cuts, abrasions, or worn-out sections. Address any issues promptly to prevent further damage.
  3. Use line cleaning pads or specialized line cleaning products for quick touch-ups between thorough cleanings.
  4. When using your fly lines, avoid excessive force or sudden jerks that can cause the line to snap or tangle.
  5. Consider replacing your fly lines if they show significant signs of wear, damage, or decreased performance. Well-maintained and properly cared for fly lines can last for several seasons, but eventually, they may need to be replaced to ensure optimal performance.

By following these maintenance tips and regularly cleaning and caring for your fly lines, you can ensure they remain in excellent condition, offering exceptional performance on the water.


Caring for your fly lines is an essential aspect of fly fishing maintenance. By avoiding damage, protecting them from solvents, storing them correctly, and regularly cleaning and rejuvenating them, you can extend the life of your fly lines while optimizing their performance.

Remember to avoid stepping on the lines, protect them from solvents commonly found in sunscreen and insect repellent, and store them in a cool, shaded area. Regularly clean your fly lines using warm water and mild dish soap, avoiding the use of line dressing. Strip excess line off the reel before cleaning, and dry the lines thoroughly before storing. By following these simple steps and incorporating regular cleaning into your fly fishing routine, you can ensure that your fly lines last longer and provide a superior fishing experience.

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