The sinking fly line differs from the floating lines by the rate at which is sinks.  The tapers on these will typically be of the weight forward variety.  You can get a sinking line with specific types assigned to them.  They range from intermediate all the way through a Type 7.  These different types associated with them pertain to a specific rate at which the line will sink.  This is useful for when you determine the fish are feeding at a specific depth and need to target them in just the right area.  Lake fishing is your most common area in which you’ll use a sinking fly line.  The typical sink rates are as follows but will vary depending on the fly line manufacturer (NOTE: ips = inches per second):

  • Intermediate = 1.5-2.0 ips (2-4′)
  • Type I = 1.5-2.5 ips (2-4′)
  • Type II = 1.75-2.75 ips (3-6′)
  • Type III = 2.5-3.5 ips (5-10′)
  • Type IV = 4.0-5.0 ips (10-20′)
  • Type V = 4.5-6.0 ips (10-20′)
  • Type VI =6.0-7.0 ips (15-25′)
  • Type 7 = 7.0-8.0 ips (20-30′)

Sink-Tip Fly Lines

The sink-tip line is a combination of the floating fly line and sinking fly line.  What you get is the tip section of the fly line, usually the first 8′ to 16′ feet (approximately), is the sinking portion and the remainder is the floating line.  These types of fly lines are useful when fishing streamers in rivers or also when fishing lakes with the same patterns.  The benefit they add is in casting.

When fishing a full sinking fly line, the entire line sinks under the water…even the extra line at your feet.  As you retrieve the line and go to make a cast, you have considerable surface tension as you try to pull that line that is sunk in the water out and into the air.