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How to Clean and Maintain Your Fly Line

Learn how to take care of one of the most important pieces of your outfit. Extend the life and longevity of your fly line by following these tips.

by Kyle Brown • October 05, 2021

Knowledge Center

This is part of a series on cleaning and maintaining your equipment when the offseason comes around, be sure to read out other blog posts to make the most out of your gear and to protect it for years to come. If there are any pieces of your equipment that you would like to know how to clean and maintain, please reach out to us with any questions.

  1. How to Clean and Maintain Your Fly Lines
  2. Fly Rod Maintenance
  3. How to Clean and Maintain Your Fly Reels - Upcoming
  4. Cleaning, Maintaining, and Storing Waders - Upcoming
  5. Cleaning and Lubricating Your Fly Reels - Upcoming

Some seasons are just beginning, some seasons are also ending. No matter what time of year it is for you, the need to properly maintain and clean your fly lines is always important. A correctly maintained fly line will prolong the longevity of your outfit which will keep you out on the water for longer. It is also no secret that fly fishing can be an expensive hobby, cleaning and maintaining your fly line will also prevent your wallet from getting a bit lighter. 

Loon, Scientific Angelers and Rio products for cleaning and maintaining fly lines

Why Should You Clean Your Fly Line?

During regular use, fly lines will pick up small particulates and just get plain dirty in some places. The accumulation of dirt and algae will eventually impact the performance of your fly line and you may not notice it because these things build up slowly over time. The build-up of things will be especially prevalent on textured fly lines. A clean fly line will prevent kinks in your line and will help the line to retain less memory, so you will have less coils to deal with when making casts. You will notice a world of difference in the performance of a clean fly line which will shoot out much quicker from your rod. 

How Often Should I Clean My Fly Line? 

If you are a bass angler and fishing algae covered lakes and ponds it is a good idea to clean your fly every three or four outings. Fishing in clean, cold water will let you go longer between cleaning sessions. If you are a salt water angler you are probably familiar with cleaning (or at least wiping clean) your line multiple times per trip because of how quickly salt can build up on the line. 

How to Clean Your Fly Line

  1. In a bucket,  pump a few squirts of hand soap into warm water
  2. After removing the line from your spool, leave your line in the water and allow to soak for ~25 minutes
  3. Run the fly line between a wet cloth a few times
  4. Replace the the bucket non-soapy water and repeat running the fly line between a clean cloth, just like shampoo keep going until there is no dirt or soap left
  5. Rinse the line thoroughly, soap remaining on your line can be just as damaging as leaving it dirty
  6. Remove the line and dry with a chamois cloth thoroughly, any moisture on the line can affect performance
  7. Reattach your fly line to the backing on your spool with the appropriate knot

RIO Products has put together a great video on cleaning your lines which you can view here.

Aftercare of Your Fly Line

Products exist that will extend the longevity of your fly line after cleaning. Utilizing these products will keep your line more scratch-resistant, strong, crack-free, and shooting straight.

AgentX Fly Line Dressing
  -  The AgentX Line Dressing is specifically formulated to enhance the performance of modern fly lines. Treated lines will cast farther, remain clean longer and float higher than untreated lines. RIO’s proprietary formulation features lubricants used in AgentX lines that keep the line slick and clean.

Loon Outdoors Line Cleaning Tool
 - The Line Cleaning Tool features a sheepskin pad and two hardwood blocks hinged together to create the perfect tool for applying a line cleaner like Line Speed, Streamline or Scandinavian Line Cleaner.

Loon Outdoors Line Speed  -  
Positively the best line cleaner, conditioner, and UV block for fly lines. By cleaning, adding a slickness, filling in imperfections and protecting lines from the sun, Line Speed allows lines to cast farther and last longer.

Loon Outdoors Line Up Kit
 -  A bundled kit of the Loon Cleaning Tool and the Loon Line Speed. Everything you need to keep your line strong and clean!

Scientific Anglers Fly Line Dressing with Cleaning Pad  -  Imagine how dirty your car is right now. Multiply that by 10 and that’s how dirty your fly line probably is. Grab a bottle of our Fly Line Dressing and give that nice line who works so hard for you the bath it deserves. Comes with a cleaning pad.

If you have questions about cleaning your lines or are in the need of a new line for your outfit, please reach out to our Pro Staff to get their expert opinion. You can reach the shop at 1-855-434-8472 or by email at [email protected] 


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