Presentation using an intermediate line

Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by jwg, Jan 15, 2014.

  1. jwg Active Member

    Posts: 547
    West Richland, WA
    Ratings: +110 / 0
    Other threads describe superlative results using an intermediate line, even calling it a game changer.

    What and how are people presenting that this makes such a difference for them, and perhaps, what weren't you doing before?

    I'm perplexed because I catch most of my fish in Stillwater as follows:
    Full sink line stripping or trolling leeches or buggers
    Floating line and indicator fishing chironomids and mini leeches
    Floating line with midge or callibaetis emerger.
    Floating line, long leader, and six pack. Veeery slow retrieve

    What am I missing about fishing with an intermediate line, which I have and have used, and occasionally caught a fish but never to a memorable extent.?

  2. troutpocket Active Member

    Posts: 1,784
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +335 / 0
    Intermediate line = just another tool in the toolbox.

    Ever had a day when you know fish are working around the weedy shallows but they aren't concentrated enough to really fish effectively with an indicator? Ever had a day when the wind was making it really tough to effectively cast/strip your floater? Ever found a situation where the fish are eating emerging bugs in the upper water column over deep water?

    I have found that an intermediate can be the solution to several common situations that otherwise would be harder to crack without one. On some days, it is THE line that catches fish. I've had enough success that it's one of three lines I always have strung up and ready to fish.
  3. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,140
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,663 / 0
    There's many factors as to why an intermediate sinking line may work better than others in specific situations. To cut to the chase, I can tell you this, many, many times I've fished with other fly anglers in stillwaters and those using a clear, intermediate sinking line were catching trout while those using a different style of line were not.

    Now, why is this? The feeding zone of course is a huge factor. At many of the Stillwater fisheries I fish, the trout hold somewhere close to the middle of the water column. Evidently, the sink rate of the intermediate sinking line presents the pattern well in that zone.

    Plus, as mentioned above, sometimes the intermediate sinking line works better in the shallows and drop-offs from shore than does a dry line. Not always, but sometimes.

    It is possible that me and the guys I fish with just happen to fish lakes where the intermediate line works best and it wouldn't work as well at other lakes.

    One of the coastal lakes we fish requires the use of a very fast, full sinking line because the lake is deep and the trout prefer to hug the bottom. At this lake, it is only when the hatches start that the intermediate and dry lines are worth a hoot.

    As troupocket said, the line is just another tool in your tool box and when it comes to Stillwater fly fishing, you need many tools.

    There's no real reason not have a few extra tools in your box just in case you end up at a fishery where that tool (intermediate sinking line) is required to catch fish. I hardly ever use a dry line for fishing lakes but I sure as the devil always have one with me just the same.
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  4. Kcahill Active Member

    Posts: 894
    Renton, WA
    Ratings: +262 / 2
    There is a magical time on a couple of the lakes that I fish where in the early spring the damselfly nymphs seem to make a mass migration to the shallows and on those days a clear intermediate will prove its worth for the entire year.
  5. Nick Clayton Active Member

    Posts: 2,936
    Ratings: +1,213 / 4
    Troutpocket summed it up better than I could. I'll just add that I see people often make a distinction between full sink lines and intermediate lines, but really they are one and the same. An intermediate line is a full sink line, it just sinks slower than most. You'd very likely catch just as many fish trolling your buggers and leeches using an intermediate as you would using whatever line you would usually troll with. It mostly comes down to what part of the water column the fish are feeding in. I've got plenty of fish trolling leeches behind my intermediate. I also use it to fish deeper water by letting it sink longer, and can fish the deeper water vvveeerrryyy slowly while still staying off the bottom. If I fish my type III line in 8-10' of water I'm limited to a fairly quick retrieve else I'm losing flies. If I fish the same water with my intermediate I can let it sink and then slowly work my fly wwhile staying off the bottom. Lots of uses for an intermediate, and other than a floater is the one line I never fish a lake without
  6. Starman77 Active Member

    Posts: 179
    Kent, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +74 / 0
    I used to think the same way about thinking that a clear intermediate line doesn't really make that much difference, but I've changed my opinion over the years. I now use my RIO Aqualux line for fishing shallow water much more than I use a floating line. The others make very good points, but one other thing I would add is that a clear intermediate line acts as an extra long leader in a way. If you had a floating line with a 24' leader, then it would accomplish the same thing, but most people don't cast a 24' leader. But, if you have a floating line with a 9' leader, skittish fish in shallow water are likely to be scared off by that bright-colored floating line, whereas if you have a clear intermediate line with a 7' leader, you'll have better chances of not scaring off that fish because that clear line helps make the line less visible. The clear intermediate line is not invisible, but then again, a leader is not invisible either. Also, because the clear intermediate line sinks below the surface, it creates less surface disturbance when you are retrieving than if you used a floating line. When retrieving using a floating line, the line creates chevrons in the water surface which scare away fish or put them on guard. You definitely want to keep your floating lines and full sinking lines, but I'd recommend also adding a clear intermediate sinking line like the RIO Aqualux line.

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  7. sroffe Member

    Posts: 443
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +16 / 0
    I like using intermediate line when fishing shallower waters. There were a few years that All I fished. I really like a clear intermediate when fishing up into the weeds, and on shelves. It's a real hoot when sighting trout in the shallows. This is where I like the intermediate. I don't have a problem fishing a intermediate in up to 10 feet of water.

    On the other hand if you're fishing deeper lakes, a line with a quicker sink rate might be a better option. I like a type 5 for that, especially when the fish are just hugging the bottom.

    That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
  8. jwg Active Member

    Posts: 547
    West Richland, WA
    Ratings: +110 / 0
    Thanks for the great replies!

    I get it about fishing shallows, fishing slower retrieves, fishing when the fish are higher in the water column, fishing when the fish are not concentrated enough to have fast indicator fishing .

    Now, what about the food types?

    Are we talking damsels, callibaetis nymphs, chironomid pupa, general bead head nymphs, or soft hackles, leeches, and buggers?

  9. Scott Salzer previously micro brew

    Posts: 2,892
    Ratings: +206 / 0
    All that you describe will work, also scuds / boatman.
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