Calender Icon Last updated: May 15, 2020
Dry fly fishing is easily the most popular type of fly fishing. Every angler loves to see their fly do a toilet-bowl style flush into the mouth of a big rising fish. But there are many more applications for floating fly line than just casting dry flies to rising trout. So which type of floating fly line will perform the best for your needs? Below are our top fly line picks for trout fishing.

Here's the Best Floating Fly Fishing Line, Backed by 27+ Hours of Research

sticker 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8)
RIO InTouch Gold Fly Line
Rio InTouch Gold
Why is it better?
  • Perfect presentation of flies
  • ConnectCore improves cast timing, hook set and mending
  • Front and back welded loops make line rigging easy
10
RESEARCHED SOURCES
470
REVIEWS CONSIDERED
27
HOURS RESEARCHING
15
PRODUCTS EVALUATED

Our Top Picks

Rank
Picture
Name
Score
Buy
#1
RIO InTouch Gold Fly Line

BEST OVERALL

Rio InTouch Gold Floating Line read review
#2
Airflo Fly Line Super-Dri River & Stream

Airflo Super-Dri Trout Floating Line read review
#3
Scientific Anglers Mastery MPX Taper Floating Weight Forward Fly Fishing Line

Scientific Anglers Mastery MPX Floating Line read review
#4
RIO Bonefish Fishing Line

BEST FOR SALTWATER​

RIO Bonefish Floating Line read review
#5
Scientific Anglers Air Cel Floating Lines

BEST SELLING ON AMAZON

Scientific Anglers Air Cel Floating Line read review
In Depth Reviews
  • Rio InTouch Gold
  • Airflo Super-Dri Trout
  • Scientific Anglers Mastery MPX
  • RIO Bonefish
  • Scientific Anglers Air Cel
Table of contents
  • Floating Fly Line Features To Consider

Best Overall: Rio InTouch Gold Floating Line

Pros:
  • Perfect presentation of flies
  • ConnectCore improves cast timing, hook set and mending
  • A great all around line for softer rods
  • Front and back welded loops make line rigging easy
  • Unique SureFire color system for improved accuracy and distance control
Cons:
  • Feels too light for faster rods

Rio In-Touch Gold floating fly line is the next iteration of the legendary Rio Gold Series.

This is one of the most popular floating fly lines in the world and it has every reason to be.

In-Touch Gold presents a huge range of fly sizes that you won’t see with bargain fly lines.

It also excels at short to medium-long range casting.

Rio’s low-stretch ConnectCore technology provides crazy sensitivity to detect those slight bumps and subtle takes.

We always recommend welded loops on both ends to allow easy rigging and line swaps when needed.

Rio In-Touch Gold comes through with welded loops in front and back.

To keep your floating line sitting high on the water Rio incorporates their MaxFloat technology.

Another super helpful feature is the Rio’s unique SureFire color system.

This provides a visual cue to make particular presentations more repeatable and not based on feel alone.

So when you need to do those big mends to keep your drift drag-free, In-Touch Gold provides a big advantage over lesser lines.

The front taper and body feature a moss green color while the rear half of the head features a gray color.

And the running line sports the classic bright gold color.  For distance casting it can be very helpful to know when you have the entire head in the air and the Surefire color System makes it easy.

If you’re in the market for a solid floating fly line that is time-tested to perform and last, we don’t hesitate to suggest Rio’s In-Touch Gold floating fly line.

FEATURED SPECS

  • Size: WT 3 – WT 5
  • Weight: 0.16 oz
  • Length: 105 ft

EXTRA FEATURES

  • MaxCast and MaxFloat technologies enhance float and water-repellency while reducing drag and noise

Airflo Super-Dri Trout Floating Line

Pros:
  • Great loop stability
  • Repels water better than any other material
  • Slides through the guides better, adding distance to every cast
  • Easily lifts off the waters surface, less disturbance adding stealth to every fishing situation
Cons:
  • Not powerful enough for larger nymph rigs

Airflo has consistently been on the technological cutting-edge of fly line innovation.

Their lines have insane performance, unmatched durability, and are wonderful to cast.

One of those innovations was producing a line that is 100% PVC free and solvent free.

Airflo Super-Dri Trout utilizes a crazy durable Polyurethane coating that floats high and doesn’t fall victim to degradation from DEET exposure like PVC lines can.

Super-Dri Trout continues the long line of robust and strong welded loops that are a hallmark of Airflo lines.

Today many fly lines feature welded loops but Airflo was the originator.

Another genius innovation featured in Airfo’s Super-Dri Trout line is RIDGE Technology.  Integral ridges run the length of the fly line and reduce the surface area in contact with the guides on your fly rod.

The result is a reduction in friction while casting as well as a very noticeable improvement in distance.

Increased surface area also translates into a fly line that sits very high on the surface of the water when compared to other floating fly lines.

And the low stretch core transfers energy extremely well which allows anglers to feel nearly undetectable takes, and also improves hook-ups.

We are huge Airflo fans and Airflo’s Super-Dri Trout is climbing to the top of our list for floating fly lines.  We fish them, and we love them.

If you need a floating fly line that will out last and out cast the rest, Airflo Super-Dri Trout gets our hearty endorsement.

FEATURED SPECS

  • Size: WF 3 – WF 8
  • Weight: 1.62 oz
  • Length: 105 ft

EXTRA FEATURES

  • Ultimate high floating PVC Free material
  • Looped at both ends for easy leader changes
  • Power Core for ultra low stretch, extreme feel, and solid hook set

Scientific Anglers Mastery MPX Floating Line

Pros:
  • Great loop stability
  • Repels water better than any other material
  • Slides through the guides better, adding distance to every cast
  • Easily lifts off the waters surface, less disturbance adding stealth to every fishing situation
Cons:
  • Not powerful enough for larger nymph rigs

Scientific Anglers designed the Mastery MPX taper to be a half weight heavy to push more power into your cast at short to medium distances.

Mastery MPX is a solid dry fly line, but it also provides an advantage if you need to turn over two-fly nymph rigs and toss heavy streamers.

For anglers that need one line to do it all, the MPX makes a general presentation line.

Fishing all phases of the hatch with one line requires some adjusting and this line can perform quite well in all the necessary roles.

We particularly like this line for loading today’s modern fast action fly rods.

Fast action rods combined with light lines can cause little to no feedback during short distance casts.

The MPX taper reverses that effect and provides the needed feedback to make accurate presentations.

Mastery MPX features welded loops in front and back which always makes the rigging easier.

Scientific anglers coats this PVC line with their proprietary ST+ slickness additive to make the line slide through the guides with very little resistance.

The ST+ additive also allows the line to slide on the water’s surface and mend extremely well for those long drifts with dries and nymphs.

There are very few lines that can present dries, nymphs, and streamers with this level of performance.  If you need one floating line that can master nearly every situation, we suggest you take a look at the Mastery MPX from Scientific Anglers.

FEATURED SPECS

  • Size: WF 3 – WF 8
  • Weight: 1.62 oz
  • Length: 105 ft

EXTRA FEATURES

  • Ultimate high floating PVC Free material
  • Looped at both ends for easy leader changes
  • Power Core for ultra low stretch, extreme feel, and solid hook set

Best For Saltwater: RIO Bonefish Floating Line

Pros:
  • Specifically designed for the bonefish fly fisher
  • Unique taper allows a rod to load at close range
  • Great turnover and a long back taper to smooth out the casting loop
  • Stable on long shots and running line will not sink and tangle while wading
  • Hard saltwater coating over a medium stiff core results in a fly line that will not wilt in tropical conditions
Cons:
  • Needs to be stretched before use

Powerful saltwater fish can really pack a punch and saltwater fly fishing lines need to be up to the challenge.

Besides strong-fighting fish, saltwater fishing also presents rugged conditions. Constant exposure to salt, sun, and sand can really take its toll on fishing gear.

Floating saltwater fly lines also need to be able to carry big streamer flies out to distance. Below we offer our top floating fly line choices for warm and cold saltwater fishing.

FEATURED SPECS

  • Size: WF 9
  • Weight: 3.20 oz
  • Length: 60 ft

EXTRA FEATURES

  • AgentX and XS technologies for the ultimate in performance
  • Tropical core with a hard, saltwater coating

Best Selling On Amazon: Scientific Anglers Air Cel Floating Line

Pros:
  • The original modern floating fly line
  • Dependable flotation and durability
  • Raised bump in handling Section to indicate the ideal place to begin the Cast
Cons:
  • Doesn’t have noticable cons

Anglers who are just getting started in the sport of fly fishing need entry level gear.

Even the most experienced fly anglers usually start with inexpensive fishing gear and upgrade as needed.

Scientific Anglers AirCel General Purpose floating fly line. Air Cel fly lines have performed well and provided a great value for decades.

Paying for quality has never been this easy or this affordable.

These lines feature all the properties needed in a fly line: good flotation, durability, and tapers that work well for trout, panfish, and bass species.

With that in mind we wanted to include some good entry level option. This is Amazon’s top selling floating fly line.

FEATURED SPECS

  • Size: WF 4 – WF 9
  • Weight: 0.16 oz
  • Length: 80 ft

EXTRA FEATURES

  • Braided multifilament core
  • Based on Mastery SBT

Floating Fly Line Features To Consider

Tenkara Fly Line

Which type of floating fly line will perform for your needs will depend on what type of water and which species of fish you are after.

MATCH YOUR FLY ROD

If you want the best performance from your fly fishing rig then it is super important that you match your rod weight to your fly line weight.

If your rod is marked with a 5/6 weight designation then you will have to choose between a 5 or 6 weight line.

Mismatched rods and lines will cause a variety of problems, and will usually lead to frustration.

APPLICATION

Before you select a floating fly line you need to know what application you are going for.  Floating fly lines are made for freshwater, or saltwater.

Beyond that important detail, you also should be selecting line for warm water or cold water fishing.

You don’t want to fish with a conventional 8 weight striped bass line in very tropical water for bonefish.

You’ll quickly find that your fly line becomes very limp and overly flexible.  The coating can even become damaged due to the softening effects of the warm water.

CASTING DISTANCE

Green Double Taper Fly Line

We recommend weight forward lines for a good all-around floating line.

Manufacturers design their lines differently, and some make their weight forward lines a little heavier for longer distance casts.

Selecting among the various tapers comes down to your preference.  Heavy weight forward lines will generally cast greater distances, but the presentation will not be as gentle as a lighter weight forward line.

DURABILITY

If you use DEET to fend-off biting bugs like mosquitoes and ticks, beware that DEET destroys PVC.

That is important because most fly lines are coated with PVC.

Even a little residual DEET on your hands can drastically reduce the lifespan of your fly line.  To avoid damage from DEET, Airflo makes 100% PVC free fly lines.

Or you can use DEET free insect repellents.

For top performance and the best chance of success, it is super important that you use floating fly line for the correct application.