The Best 3 Weight Fly Line in 2023 – Buyers Guide

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A little delicacy and a light touch are what’s needed from the best 3 weight fly line, as on these kinds of trout waters, heavy landings and noisy casts will have you catching nothing.

best 3 wt fly line
Image Product Details  
flyfisherpro-table__imageBest All-rounderOrvis Hydros Trout Fly Line
  • AST Slick Coating
  • Mid-Length Taper
  • Great For Long And Short Casts
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest OverallScientific Anglers Amplitude Smooth Trout Taper Fly Line
  • Floating Textured Front Taper
  • Shooting Textured Belly
  • AST Slick Coating
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest For A Small StreamRio Trout Series Creek Fly Fishing Line
  • Ideal For Smaller Water
  • Supple Coldwater Core
  • Slick Coating
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Our Best 3wt Fly Lines

Orvis Hydros Trout Fly Line

Orvis Hydros Trout Fly Line

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Key Features

  • AST slick coating for smooth casting
  • Long 45 ft forward section for great line control and easy mending
  • Mid-length taper for turning over all trout flies
  • A dual-colored line changes at 30ft for distance control and better loading
  • Great for long and short casts on large and small streams

 Tech. Specs

  • Type: Floating
  • Taper: Weight Forward
  • Length: 90 feet
  • Color: Olive/Peach


The Orvis Hydros Trout Floating Line is one of the top all-around 3wt lines to catch trout with on the market.

The 3 weight fly fishing line comes with a long head of 45 feet with a mid-length light front taper of 4.5 feet. These two elements come together in a perfect way to load a 3 weight fly rod, even a fast-action one, while ensuring light and delicate fly presentation.

Controlling your line on a drift with this line couldn’t be easier and you can mend with authority all the way to the tip. It’s ideal for drifting dry flies or nymphs down the water on to unsuspecting fish.

This line will load your fly rod on a roll cast with ease. The long front section will help with the energy transfer through the line so you can always cast far enough to get your fly where it needs to be.

The core on the fly line is made for the cold and won’t coil. Plus the AST coating aids in shooting distance and protects the line from any dirt or drag particles for a longer life span.


Scientific Anglers Amplitude Smooth Trout Taper Fly Line

Scientific Anglers Amplitude Smooth Trout Taper Fly Line

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Key Features

  • Floating textured front taper so your line never sinks
  • Shooting textured belly for the highest casting efficiency
  • Long 55-foot forward section for ultimate line control and mending
  • Excellent over medium to long distances
  • Lengthy 10ft taper for delicate presentations
  • AST slick coating reduces friction and maintains durability

Tech. Specs

  • Type: Floating
  • Taper: Weight Forward
  • Length: 90 feet
  • Color: Green/Bamboo/Blue


The Scientific Anglers Amplitude Smooth Trout Taper Fly Line has all the features of an awesome 3wt fly fishing line.

The head of the fly line is long at 55 feet for excellent line control when mending. It also makes larger and medium length shots a little easier plus you’ll be able to cast far enough of big water like lakes too. But, it might be hard to make a light quiet cast to around 15ft due to the heavier front section.

The longer 10ft taper on the fly line is going to ensure your leader turns over, no matter what trout flies are on the end, even a larger streamer.

This is a textured fly line that stops it from sinking, ensures it floats high at the tip, and shoots well through the belly into the running line. It also features an AST coasting the repels dirt, increases durability, and makes for a smooth cast every time.


Rio Trout Series Creek Fly Fishing Line

Rio Trout Series Creek Fly Fishing Line

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Key Features

  • Loads fly rods at close range for short accurate casts
  • Ideal for smaller water like creeks and streams
  • Supple coldwater core for tangle-free performance
  • Great presentations of nymphs, dries, and smaller streamers
  • Slick coating for durability and smooth casts
  • MaxFloat tip and hydrophobic coating makes for better flotation and easier pickups

Tech. Specs

  • Type: Floating
  • Taper: Weight Forward
  • Length: 75 feet
  • Color: Green/Yellow


The Rio Trout Series Creek Fly Fishing Line is one of the first lines I think of when I hear the words ‘3wt line’. As you can guess by the name, the fly line has been specifically designed for catching trout on cold small spring creeks and rivers.

The fly line has a small length of 75 ft overall with a short weight forward front section of 30 feet. This makes the fly line perfect for casting those short 15-20 distances needed when going fly fishing on creeks. It’s also pretty good for casting long distances but you might struggle to try to cast over 50ft though.

The taper on this fly line is made for both light and heavier flies. You’ll be able to turn over your leader even with a double nymph rig or large dry on the end. Once you get the hang of casing this fly line, it’s a lot of fun, and you can drop your flies where ever you choose.

Being a Rio line it has more features going for it than any other fly lines around. The fly lines come with a max float tip and hydrophobic coating to stop them from sinking that also makes quieter line pick up easier.

It’s also super slick to aid with casting distance and is dual-layered for all-around floatation and durability.


What is a 3 weight fly rod good for

What is a 3 weight fly rod good for?

3 wt rods are a great piece of fly gear for fly fishing small creeks to medium-sized rivers. The rods are made for casting 20-40 feet with the utmost subtlety and anglers should think to choose one of the best 3 weight fly rod before any other rods when venturing out to fish on such small waters.

3 weights are less effective for casting longer distances though, and not ideal when fishing on a big river or lake. You could use them, but every guide in the world will suggest picking heavier weights such as a 5 weight for those bigger waters.

How big of a fish can a 3wt rod handle?

Catching a big fish doesn’t always come down to the rod you’re fishing with. Features like action don’t affect how you fight a fish but as a general rule, the lower the weights the smaller the fish the rods are designed for.

3 wt rod is ideally used on panfish or trout up to 2-3lbs. It’s not made for a species like bass as bass like to run for snags and you will not have enough power with a 3wt rod to stop them.

I landed a 14lb sea trout in Iceland on my 4 weight, but that had a lot to do with luck, as there was no way I could stop the fish and thankfully it behaved itself and didn’t try to run away too fast into a snag.

Don’t be scared of going for a bigger fish when you only have a 3wt to hand, hook the fish first and see what happens, it’ll be fun either way.

3 weight fly line limit

Do 3wt lines limit the size fly I can use?

Yes, without a doubt. 3 weights are light fly gear and made for fishing with more or less, lighter flies. You can, by all means, fish any sized nymph and dries on this line weight, but flies like a size 2 streamer will want a heavier line weight like 4 or 5.

What to look for in the best 3wt lines

Heads & Tapers

Good 3 wt lines will have a longish head of 40-50 ft and have and gentle forward tapers of about 4-10ft.

A 40-50ft head gives you better line control so you can mend the full line from the tip of your rod on the drift. It also assists with casting distances on lighter lines. But, shorter 30ft heads make casting on tiny creeks easier, as distances of 15-20 feet will be your go-to.

The lengthier the taper the better the fly presentation as the energy transfer from the rod to the tip of the fly line is more gradual and less punchy, causing no heavy splashes.


The last thing you need when drifting your size 22 dry to a nice 3lb brown is for the fly line to sink and pull the fly down with it. Good 3wt lines will come with some kind of floatation either in the coating or through a textured build. This will make it not sink in those critical moments.

Durability & Water-temperature

It’s key that you pick a line that matches the water temperature you’re fishing in, and it’ll most likely be cold. If you choose a medium temperature line, it’ll coil, cause tangles, and be impossible to cast with.

The durability of lines comes from the coating, and you should pick a line with an AST or slick coating. This sheds off dirty and drag particles while also making a smooth surface for frictionless casting.

If you are interested, check out our full Scientific Anglers fly lines review here for a full breakdown of the best fly lines by Scientific Anglers.

Drifting Out

Drifting Out

Which is the best 3wt line? Well, for all-around performance on creeks and rivers the Scientific Anglers Amplitude Smooth Fly Line is the one I’d go for. The head’s length is ideal for line control and medium shots and tapers of beautifully for presenting flies perfectly.

If you’re looking for a line exclusively for tiny rivers and creeks, the Rio Creek Line is where it’s at. Short shots at 15-20 ft are its bread and butter plus it has excellent floatation and durability.

Thanks for reading, I hope you got all the info you needed about 3wt lines. Please share the article around with any of your fly buddies who might be interested and have a great time on the river. Tight lines.

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