The 4 Best Sinking Fly Line in 2024 – Buyers Guide

best sinking fly lines

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All of us should own a sinking line for fishing in the seasons when the fish go down. In this post we gathered the best sinking fly lines currently available and where to purchase them.

When it’s summer or winter and the fish go deep to stay warm or cool and feed, you’re going to need the best sinking fly line to get your fly and leader into the strike zone.

Image Product Details  
flyfisherpro-table__imageBest For LakesRio In-Touch Deep Type 6 Sinking Fly Line
  • Fast Sinking
  • Powerful Shooting Head
  • Tight Rio Core
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest For River FishingScientific Anglers Type LLL Frequency Sink Tip Fly Line
  • Ideal For All Freshwater Species
  • Nice Shooting Head
  • Good Sink Rate
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest OverallCortland Line 444 Full Sinking Fly Line
  • Black Full Sinking Line
  • Medium Sink Rate
  • Durable And Long-Lasting
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest Back-Up Sinking LineScientific Anglers Freshwater/Saltwater Intermediate Sinking Fly Line
  • Easy Line To Cast
  • Great Line In All Weather Conditions
  • Good Slow Sinking Rate
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Our Best Sinking Fly Lines

Rio In-Touch Deep Type 6 Sinking Fly Line

Rio In-Touch Deep Type 6 Sinking Fly Line

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Key Features

  • Fast sinking to get your fly down quickly and to the bottom
  • Powerful shooting head that loads the rod quickly for casting
  • Rio hanger marker so you know when the line is ending
  • Tight Rio core for a direct connection to subtle bites
  • Made specifically for fishing on lakes

Tech. Specs

  • Type: Full Sink
  • Sink rate: 6-7 inches per second
  • Taper: Weight forward
  • Weight: 4-9wt
  • Length: 80 feet
  • Color: Dark olive

The Rio In-Touch Deep Type 6 Sinking Fly Line has been designed especially for trout fishing on a lake when the fish go deep and there is only one way to get your fly to them, with a fast full fly fishing sinking line.

These Rio full sinking lines are fast sinking and sink at a rate of 6-7 inches per second (IPS) in order to get your fly into the deep feeding zones near the bottom quickly.

Fishing a sinking line means you can’t see your line on the surface of the water and are relying on feel to set the hook properly. This Rio sinking fly line is made with a tight, low-stretch core that gives you a more direct connection so you can feel even the subtlest sipping bites from a trout.

The Rio In-Touch Deep 6 Sinking Fly Lines are weight-forward sinking lines that come with a thick head that loads your rod quickly and helps you cast large distances with ease. Rio has also put a hanger marker on the sinking line so you can see when you’ve reached the end of the line on your retrieve and it’s time to make a cast again.

Scientific Anglers Type LLL Frequency Sink Tip Fly Line

Scientific Anglers Type LLL Frequency Sink Tip Fly Line

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Key Features

  • The sink tip ensures your flies get to the mid-water column
  • Ideal for all freshwater species including salmon, bass, trout and steelhead.
  • Good sink rate that sinks your fly quickly but not too fast
  • Mid-length head for more casting control
  • Nice shooting head for a long cast
  • Turns over every type of fly

Tech. Specs

  • Type: Sink tip line
  • Sink rate: 2 – 4 inches per second
  • Taper: Weight forward
  • Weight: 4-9wt
  • Length: 85 feet
  • Color: Optic Yellow/Green Tip

The Scientific Anglers Type LLL Frequency Sink Tip Lines aren’t a full sinking line and instead come with a 10-foot sinking tip integrated into the first 30 feet of the fly line.

Sink tips are perfect for use on a river when swinging a streamer or when trout are sitting mid-water column on a lake.

This Scientific Anglers sink tip fly line sinks between 2 inches per second and 4 inches per second depending on the water quality. The fly line will get your fly down to the feeding zone quickly but not too quickly, and it’ll never go too deep either thanks to it only having a sink tip.

Another benefit of this sink tip fly fishing line is that you always know when your leader is coming in on the retrieve as the section before the tip is a floating line, so you always know where you’re at on the retrieve.

This Scientific Anglers fly fishing line is a weight forward line that’ll turn over and sized streamer or fly with ease. The thick front end makes it great for long casting distances and the mid-length of the head ensures you have more control over your cast too.

Cortland Line 444 Full Sinking Fly Line

Cortland Line 444 Full Sinking Fly Line

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Key Features

  • Black full sinking line for better camo underwater
  • Medium sink rate for a fishing mid-water column on lakes and rivers
  • Weight forward for long casts and turning large flies over
  • Super smooth for low friction through each rod guide
  • Durable and long-lasting fly line

Tech. Specs

  • Type: Full sink
  • Sink rate: 3.5 – 4 inches per second
  • Taper: Weight forward
  • Weight: 4-9wt
  • Length: 100 feet
  • Color: Black

The Cortland Line 444 Full Sinking Lines are one the most durable fly lines on the market thanks to the high-quality core and coating. You can use them for multiple seasons and they still work close the same way as the day you got them.

This full sink fly line comes in one color, black, which is ideal when fishing deep near the bottom as trout will find it hard to see in the darker depths.

The sink rates of the full sink fly line aren’t super fast or slow but sit nicely in the middle at 3.5-4 IPS. This means you can count the seconds as the full sink fly line goes down and mix it up to fish different depths to find where the trout are feeding.

The low friction outer coating of these sinking fly lines allows them to shoot through the guides on the rods with minimal resistance so when you shoot the fly fishing line, it goes a far as possible.

It’s also a weight-forward sinking line that will load fast action rods with ease and assist your casting distance no end. Plus, the fly line will turn over all types of fly too, from big streams to small buzzers.

You can take a look at our post here on Cortland fly line review for more information on Cortland fly lines.

Scientific Anglers Freshwater/Saltwater Intermediate Sinking Fly Line

Scientific Anglers Freshwater/Saltwater Intermediate Sinking Fly Line

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Key Features

  • The line transitions from salt to fresh water for use everywhere
  • An easy line to cast with a nice shooting head
  • Great line in all weather conditions
  • The line will keep your fly down at all times
  • Good slow sinking rate for under the surface presentation
  • Ideal for fishing into the wind

Tech. Specs

  • Type: Intermediate
  • Sink rate: 1.5-2 inches per second
  • Taper: Shooting Head
  • Weight: One Weight
  • Length: 100 feet
  • Color: Surf

The Scientific Anglers Freshwater/Saltwater Intermediate Fly Line is an all-rounder sinking fly line that is the one to own if you don’t choose to use a sinking fly line often.

These sinking fly lines are actually an intermediate line and have sink rates of 1.5-2 IPS. This means the fly line will keep you fly under the surface but not send it down to the bottom.

It’s the perfect sinking line to use when fish are feeding up to 20-30 feet under the surface. Plus, this fly line is made for both fresh and saltwater, so as a backup fly line you can use it for bass, stripers, permit, and trout.

These fly fishing lines come with a weight-forward taper, and the taper is heavy. This makes the line ideal for punching into a heavy wind when saltwater fly fishing and pushing a long cast on a trout lake to access the deeper water.

what is a sinking fly line

What Is A Sinking Line?

Sinking lines are fly lines and they look just like floating lines but they have a core and coating that helps them sink and stops them from floating.

Why Use A Sinking Line?

Sometimes fish go deeper into the water to feed, stay warm or cool down, depending on the season.

When fly fishing with a floating line, no amount of leader with split-shot on the end is going to allow your fly to get down to the depth of water where the fish are feeding.

Things To Consider When Buying A Sinking Fly Line

Sink Rates & The Water You Fish

There are quite a few different types of sinking fly fishing lines and picking the right one comes down to understanding the different sink rates.

Luckily all fly lines come with a handy guide that tells you how fast the lines sink and you should try to match the different sink rates with different fishing scenarios.

The sink rate is measured in inches per second (IPS) and can range from 1.5-7 IPS.

As an angler, you should think about the depth of the water you plan to fish as a guide to choosing the right line. If the maximum depth is 10ft then a low sink rate will work fine, if it’s 50 or 100ft, then you’ll want a faster sink rate..

types of fishing line

Types Of Sinking Lines

There are 3 main types of sinking lines in fly fishing; sink tip fly lines, full sink fly lines, and intermediate fly lines. Each type of line is useful in different fishing scenarios which I’ll explain below.

Sink Tip Line

Sink tip fly lines are floating lines with a fast sinking tip on the end of them. You would fish them the same way as a floating line but with the added benefit of the tip taking your fly deeper and fast.

They are the perfect line to use when fish are feeding at 10-15ft down in a lake or when swinging flies into deeper pools on rivers where salmon, steelhead, and big trout like to hang out.

Full Sink Line

A full sink line is the opposite of a floating line as the whole line will sink if you let it. This type of line is best used on a lake when searching for what depth the fish are feeding at.

You cast this line out, wait for 10 seconds and bring it back in. If you don’t get a bite count for a longer or shorter amount of time and repeat until you hook a fish.

Now using the IPS multiplied by the seconds counted you’ll know what depth they are feeding at and can continue to drop your fly down there all day and catch them all.

Intermediate Line

Intermediate lines are halfway between a full sink line and a floating line. They don’t float but they don’t sink quickly either and usually sit at a sink rate around 1.5-2 IPS. This makes them perfect for fishing depths that your leader can’t quite reach, usually around 20-30ft down.

Another advantage of them is that your fly won’t be changing depths so suddenly on the retrieve and will stay in the depth of water you want it to be in for longer.

What Type Of Sinking Line Should You Own

What Type Of Sinking Line Should You Own?

The simple answer, if you want to be prepared, it’s one of each. By owning all of them, you’ll be covered for every situation. But if this isn’t your style, here is how to choose.

If you spend your time in rivers, go for a sink tip. If you’re a lake fisherman, a full sink line is what you need. And, as a backup, always carry and intermediate.

Sinking Down

At the end of the day, every fly angler should own a sinking line for fishing in the seasons when the fish go down. All the sinking lines in the review are top of the line, but which one is the best?

If you fish on a river more than anywhere else, then the Scientific Anglers Type LLL Frequency Sink Tip Line is the one to go for. The tip sinks at a great rate for fly fishing streamers into deep pools for trout, salmon, and steelhead without snagging the bottom.

When it comes to buying one sinking fly line that does it all, the Cortland 444 Full Sinking Fly Line does the trick. These full sink fly lines sink at a medium rate that will allow you to tailor the depth of your fly more easily to find the depth the fish are feeding at.

Thanks for ready my article about sinking lines, I hope you enjoyed it. Please share it around with your buddies and check out some of our others. We covered everything you need to know about fly fishing from the gear to the species and the places you find them in.

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