Life is complicated... which leader to use shouldn't be.
When fishing our local fisheries like the Spokane, St. Joe, or NF Coeur d'Alene I think you can be covered for a good 75% of the situations you encounter with 3 leader sizes. Now this does not mean these are the ONLY leaders / tippet you should have in your arsenal, I'm just saying these will get you in the game most often.
Like in my last blog post about fishing larger diameter leaders on certain flies, properly matching your leader size up will do 3 things things to improve your fly fishing.
- Better turnover - Bigger, heavier, more wind resistant flies need a leader stout enough to turn them over and lay out straight. The opposite can be said for small flies... to get the finesse required to land that fly naturally in the current you need finer diameter tippets.
- Break off less flies - When the leader tippet diameter matches the hook wire more closely your knots hold better and the odds of breaking the fly off go down.
- Better presentation - Your flies will drift more naturally in the current when the tippet matches up with the hooks size. You obviously don't want to use "rope" to attach to a size 22 midge... the fly would never drift naturally in the current and the fish may see the tippet attached to the fly.
In addition to talking about which leader sizes to use when, this video will cover some basic concepts of which length leader to select and why.
To learn more about keeping leader selection simple... check out this short video...