Spring Lake Line Game Plan

Sean Visintainer - 02/12/15

Lake Fly Fishing Lines by Rio. Photo by Michael Visintainer

An Interview with Rio Line Representative
George Cook

With the March 1st lake opener just around the corner in Eastern Washington, it has many anglers chomping at the bit to get out on some open water for their first trip of the year. Recently Rio Line representative, George Cook, was in the shop for our annual Spring Meeting and we thought it would be a good time to pick ol' Georgie's brain on his thoughts about lake lines in Eastern Washington.

George has been in the fly fishing industry since 1982 and in began a rep position with the Rio Line company in 1993. To say that Mr. Cook knows his stuff about fly lines is an understatement. He has been an integral part of relaying how and what consumers are fishing into fly line development. Along with representing Rio Lines, Sage Rods, Redington and numerous other industry giants, George has guided Isaak's Ranch, a private lake fishery near Grande Coulee, for the past 28 years.

I asked George 5 questions to help lake anglers understand fly lines and how the correct line can improve their success during the spring...

Rio Line Representative George Cook.

Q: George, more recently Rio has introduce "ConnectCore" technology to a number of their lines, in particular their lake sinking lines. Can you describe what "ConnectCore" is and how that benefits an angler fishing in stillwater conditions?

Yes Sir…Connect Core/ In Touch Lines are a truly "Low Stretch" format, roughly 4% which is damn little. In this, today’s lake angler is simply better connected to the realm of his lake fishing environment, be it a floating line using “Old School” Slow Hand (Figure 8) Twist Retrieve with a Chironomid or any one of the various sinking line options the transmission to detect strikes is greatly enhanced. Even deep water Chironomid "Nips" are detected here and the bigger streamer "Grabs" are both immediately and solidly hooked up. Even the Indicator Chironomid enthusiast is quicker to the strike trigger with an In Touch format floating line. All in all, "The Telephone Rings, You Answer QUICKER" with these In Touch Connect Core Lines from RIO.

Q: Eastern Washington has an early season lake opener (March 1st), from your experience, what do you feel is your "Go-To" line when first fishing lakes after ice-out?

For me, this question is that if I could have "But One Line, One Choice" is all I get I’d go with the Ol' In Touch (Connect Core) Camolux line. These typically sink at 1.75 IPS (IPS= Inches Per Second) and play equally well in the spring from boat or beach (Beach being the wading "Bank Rats" like myself). This speed (Sink Rate) plays extremely well in March and well into April particularly when our E-WA Lake Rainbows are largely probing the near shorelines and 1st drop off weed lines. If you give me 2-3 choices I will load up 3 rods total, one with the Camolux, one with a RIO Gold In Touch WF Floater (Chironomid Floating line game) and then that 3rd Rod with one of the faster sinking line choices in Type 3, 5 or 7 (IPS) and this would strictly depend on just where I was going. I’m a big believer in multiple "Rigged & Ready" sticks at ones hand VS changing out spools. My favorite go to lake weapons are 9½ to 10' Five and 6 Weight rods. 9½ 5 weight like a 596-4 Sage ONE for a floating line set up and a 696-4 along with a 6100-4 ONE for the various full sinking lines.

Q: Lots of lake anglers fish Chironomids under an indicator. For anglers not wanting to fish "bobbers" what would be your stillwater line of choice when spring Chironomid fishing?

I’m old school, simply can’t bobber watch on lakes (only where two flies are allowed and then a little "Double Trouble" goes on occasionally with a size #10 or #12 Royal Wulff as "My Live Bobber" with a B.H. Chironomid down below (Ol' Gene Armstrong Secret Society Trick from the 1980's). Most the time I'll run a RIO GOLD now days in the New In Touch Connect Core Version to maximize both a long and smooth controlled cast that can really cover some water coupled with that strike detection advantage brought forth by these lines. I’ll typically run a 10' to 12' leader here Tipped out with 4x RIO Fluoroflex + Fluorocarbon Tippet to maximize my sinking stealth approach with fantastic strength to diameter ratio that this particular tippet provides.

Q: Density Compensation lines vs Standard Sinking lines?

First off, THEY BOTH WORK. Having said such, the idea behind DC or Density Compensated is to have the sinking line "rop Out" fully. Here the tip will be the deepest and upon retrieving the line will come back to the angler in a "Straight Edge" retrieve format VS the standard sinking line dropping as an "Elbow" and missing a chunk of the targeted water column. With a DC Lake Line you will get the highest level of water column pull thru as it is without a doubt a tactical advantage.

Q: What's your thoughts on when to use a sink-tip line over a slow sinking or intermediate line?

The sink tip as a strategic lake weapon lost its popularity in the late 1990’s as better and better full sinking lines came to market. But I will tell you they can be masterful use tools where the game is made up largely of drop off/weed bed probing opportunities. We have a line at RIO that is for the most part off the radar, it’s called a Mainstream Sink Tip and it is a lovely 12' Type 3 (3.0 IPS Sink Rate) fly line that is a smooth casting, nifty fishing line that can be a real sleeper to go afield with be it as a boat or wade angler.

Rio Line Representative George Cook.

We hope you find this information informative and useful. Swing by the shop, call, or email if you have any other questions.

Thanks for reading.