Check Your FLY Line While There’s Still Time

Check Your FLY Line While There’s Still Time

By Guide James “Jimbob” Terry

Here at The Tackle Shop, we like our dry flies. A quick scan of our fly bins will show you where our hearts are. Luckily here In Southwest Montana, we have seemingly endless dry fly-fishing opportunities and hatches with the options getting vaster as we steam into summer. We’ve already had some great sessions down on the lower river fishing the Mother’s Day Caddis hatch, with a variety of mayflies and baetis present as well. Everybody’s favorite entomological happening, the stonefly hatch, is right around the corner and now is the time to make sure that dry fly line still floats and your bottle of floatant is full!

It’s easy to get caught off guard at the absolute worst time when it comes to busting out a fly line you haven’t fished since the previous season. Quite frankly, laying out your first cast of the day and realizing your floating line is suddenly more of a sinking line sounds worse than being the last kid chosen when picking basketball teams in gym class. It takes about 5 minutes, and in the worst case a trip to your local fly shop, to make sure you’re good to go….

  • Visual Check

First things first, strip the entire fly line off the reel and scan it top to bottom looking for cracks, cuts, or any other damage. Make sure to check the integrity of your welded loop too.

  • Feel Check

Once you’ve visually inspected your line, I suggest giving it the ‘ole feel check. Pull the entire line through your fingers to feel for any damage you missed during the visual inspection. Sometimes you can have small, hard to see knicks in your line that are repairable if you find them in time.

  • Clean It

Keeping your fly line clean is extremely helpful for any angler, especially a dry fly angler. Ironically, I’d say cleaning our lines is an area we all fall short. A fly line can offer its best cast-ability, mend-ability, and float-ability when nice and clean. There are some really great fly line cleaners you can find at the fly shop and they’re definitely the superior cleaning solution, but in this economy Dawn dish soap, room temperature water, and a rag can work fine too. Lately it’s pretty common to find single use fly line cleaning towelettes for sale at the fly shop and definitely doesn’t hurt to have a few in your pack.

(Pro tip: this is a great time to clean and grease your reel)


If after your fly line inspection, you decide a new line is worth splurging on, stop into The Tackle Shop if you’re nearby. We would love to help you pick the right line for you, spool up your reel, and talk dry fly fishing.

If you want to get into the front of one of our guides boats soon for the Mother’s Day Caddis hatch or the Salmonfly hatch, call The Tackle Shop at (406)682-4263. Book ASAP if you’re hoping to get out for the Salmonfly hatch, once the bugs show up an available fly fishing guide is a hard thing to come by.

Fishing Reports and Trips

  • Fishing Reports

  • Want to know the most up-to-date information to find where the fish are biting? The Tackle Shop Fishing Reports provide you with a comprehensive look at current water conditions, recent hatches and flow data from the U.S. Geological Survey.

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  • Float Trips

  • The Tackle Shop offers a range of full-day and half-day float trips in the Madison River Valley area. The trips are all-inclusive and cover files, rods, reels, waders and boots. Leave your worries behind and let us give you the fly fishing trip of a lifetime.

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  • Walk/Wade Trips

  • Enjoy one of our full-day or half-day walk and wade trips for a more immersive, slower-paced fly fishing experience. The Tackle Shop will cater to your individual needs so you are able to take in the sights and sounds of the best waters in Montana.

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