The Best Way to Store Fly Line During the Off-Season

Before you put your rod and reel away for the winter, you need to get the line off of it

fresh fly line
The author’s canvasback drake gets put to work over winter. Dan Saelinger

The problem: a rat’s nest of floating, sinking, and intermediate fly lines in various weights. Wind them on reels for storage and line memory sets in, setting you up for coil-snared casts in spring. Dump them in a shoebox and they end up as tangled as Medusa’s tresses on a bad hair day.

The solution: A permanent marker and an old duck mount. Trust me.

How to Keep Your Fly Line Fresh Until Spring

1. Clean The Line

fresh fly line
Scrub the fly line gently with a cloth after soaking in mild dish soap. Chris Philpot

Clean each line by soaking in warm water with a few drops of mild detergent dish soap. Pull the line through a clean cloth, then apply fly-line dressing. Let the lines dry.

2. Mark The Line

fresh fly line
Label your lines with a marker so they don’t get mixed up. Chris Philpot

Mark each butt end. Using Lefty Kreh’s smart system, make one long dash to represent a 5-weight, with dots in front or behind that are added or subtracted to delineate line weight. (So, a dot in front of the long dash would be subtracted from 5, branding the line as a 4-weight.) Use different colors for various tapers and sink rates.

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3. Coil And Store

fresh fly line
Make loose loops so the fly lines don’t for a memory. Chris Philpot

Coil each line in long loops and hang them from your duck (or a board studded with nails). My ancient canvasback holds eight lines. Hang the duck in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.