Wet Fly Swing Fly Fishing Podcast
Wet Fly Swing Fly Fishing Podcast
Littoral Zone #6: Making Sense of Stillwater Fly Lines with Phil Rowley (Part 2) – Sinking Lines, Hover Lines

Today on the Littoral Zone with Phil Rowley, we cover part two of our in-depth discussion on making sense of stillwater fly lines.

In Part 1, Phil revealed seven of the twenty fly lines that make up his kit. And today, we unwrap the remaining lines, break it all down, and lock in on the crucial trio Phil swears by – the three primary lines you should never hit the water without.

Sponsors and Podcast Updates

Fly Lines

Making Sense of Stillwater Fly Lines Show Notes

04:33 – If you listened to Part 1, you heard Phil Rowley break down the goal of this dynamic two-part series on stillwater fly lines, which is to provide an understanding of why you need multiple lines to be consistently successful on lakes.

10:02 – By the end of the first part, Phil revealed seven out of twenty fly lines that make up his kit. Today, we complete the list and discover the three primary lines Phil recommends having in your arsenal whenever you hit the water.

Sinking Lines 

11:15 – For most people fishing lakes, sinking lines are often the go-to choice due to the deeper water depths where trout predominantly feed on subsurface prey.

12:17 – The horizontal retrieve path that sinking lines provide mimics the way many of the natural food sources trout feed upon move.

12:45 – Lakes can be windy, affecting both casting and presentation. Wind-induced surface chop can disrupt floating line presentations.

Longer leaders used in these conditions can lead to casting issues like tailing loops and knots, causing frustration and hindering successful angling.

14:59 – Grains are a unit of measure used to help determine line weight so you match the fly line to the correct weight of the rod. The American Fly Tackle Manufacturers Association set a standard that the grains measured over the first 30ft of a fly line are used to determine the line weight.

17:46 – Density compensation addresses the uneven tungsten powder distribution that caused U-shaped sinking profiles in early double taper lines. With density compensation, the line sinks tip first, eliminating the curved profile and enhancing bite detection.

Hover Lines

26:11 – A hover line generally sinks at approximately one inch per second, although exact rates may vary among manufacturers. These lines are commonly not density compensated.

Clear Intermediates

30:47 – Clear intermediate lines sink a little faster in the hover, anywhere from one and a half to two inches per second, depending on the manufacturer. Like the hover, this is ideal in windy conditions because it will get below that surface chop yet not sink fast enough.

Faster Sinking Lines 

33:50 – While line type usually corresponds to sink rate, factors like water density can subtly influence sinking speed. Faster sink rate lines are used for getting into much deeper water.

Sweep or Parabolic Lines

37:27 – Another type of line that’s come into the market recently and gaining popularity is the sweep or parabolic line. These are lines that have sections of different sink rates along their length, which encourages an exaggerated U-shape retrieve path.

Photo via https://farbank.com/products/rio-premier-clean-sweep

Hang Markers 

44:00 – A common feature on many sinking lines today is the hang marker, a physical marker on the line. Hang markers can be added manually using Dacron-based bobber stoppers, slid onto the line, and secured through a tug.

48:00 – Monofilament lines commonly exhibit memory issues, regardless of the manufacturer.

53:00 – Phil provides valuable insights into efficiently changing fly lines while on the water.

You can find Phil on Instagram @PhilRowleyFlyFishing.

Facebook at Phil Rowley Fly Fishing

YouTube @PhilRowleyFlyFishing

Visit his website at StillWaterFlyFishingStore.com and


new lakes
new lakes