5431-rio-streamer tip-lineDuring winter months when it’s harder to get out on the water, I take the time to check over my gear to make sure I’m ready for the next fly fishing season. I must admit it’s also an excuse to dream about catching that next big one. During a recent visit to my favorite fly fishing shop in Denver Colorado, Minturn Anglers, I picked up some fly line dressing recommended by the friendly shop staff.

When a Fly Line Should be Cleaned

Cleaning a fly line is the best way to ensure another season’s use before it has to be replaced. Some experts suggest that a line should be cleaned after every 3-5 uses, depending on the murkiness of the water being fished. Clues that a line might benefit from cleaning include:

  • Feeling micro-grit on the line as it is stripped in
  • Seeing coil memory in the line
  • Small cracks in the line
  • A brittle feeling to the line
  • Floating line starts to sink or is difficult to cast

Steps for Fly Line Cleaning

Fly lines are expensive, so coaxing another season out of them is always a treat. Cleaning a fly line takes less than an hour, time well spent for upcoming fishing sessions. I start with a sink half full of hot water and a half spoon of mild dish soap to help loosen any gunk. Then I strip out the line into the water in loose coils and let it soak for 15 to 30 minutes. I stretch the line a few times to prevent coil memory.

Next, I draw the line in arm’s length sections through a moist, clean rag, applying mild pressure to remove debris from the line. Once I can hear the line squeak, I let it coil loosely on the floor and dry for a few minutes.

Then, I can apply the fly line dressing I picked up from Minturn Anglers fly shop. I soak another rag with the conditioner and pull the line through the rag, applying a generous amount to protect the line when I’m out fishing next.

Staff at the shop reminded me to avoid exposing fly line to the sun’s heat and UV rays, and to keep it from any contact with solvent based chemicals, mosquito repellent and sun screen.

These are simple steps I follow every year to get my fly line in optimum condition for the coming season.


It’s time to nail down your 2024 fly fishing trip with Minturn Anglers.

About the Author

Justin Nolan

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