Fly Fishing Leaders

Fly Fishing Leaders for Fall | Missouri River Fly Fishing Gear

An essay today of fly fishing leaders we like for the fall. Have bundle of leaders at your disposal for all day, all wee success. Ever wonder what we use? Well, here it is folks. We have also been known to tie a few at home for the Missouri River. But, that is another blog subject, hand tied leaders. Coming soon, or sometime this fall. Read on, or just come into the store for additional information.

RIO Powerflex Trout 9′ 4x | The #1 selling leader at Headhunters Fly Shop. The go to fry fly leader for most anglers. Or, if you are confused int he morning about what to get, this is the leader for you. Just add 20″-30″ of 5x and you are fishing. Our fish need a longer leader for the finicky rising trout. The RIO Powerflex 9′ 4x is the leader you cannot leave home without…if you did, you would not arrive prepared.

RIO Powerflex Trout 7 1/2′ 3x | The best nymphing all around leader. Also the Guides choice for nearly every condition. Chop it and it is a streamer leader. Lengthen it with 4x and 5x and it is a dry fly leader. The most common guide leader for sure! Ease of use is something we look for in a leader. the 7 1/2′ RIO Powerflex Trout is the answer.

RIO states…RIO’s Powerflex Trout leaders feature a powerful butt section that provides unsurpassed turn over for effective wind penetration and to easily cast streamers and indicator rigs. Each leader is made with an advanced copolymer material that ensures the highest knot and tensile strength to allow confident hook sets and greater landing percentages. Each Powerflex Trout leader is designed to help you cast better and fish more effectively. The advantages? Aggressive high-performance taper, long, powerful butt section with soft, flexible tippet & a perfection loop in the butt for easy rigging.

Umpqua Power Taper 9′ 3x | Just an awesome dry fly leader fro all occasions. Supple butt section and re-designed with turnover in mind. A non traditional 60% butt, 20% taper, and 20% tippet. Comes in a 2 pack for when you foul up the first one casting into a bush. For a time this was the hot leader. Still is really good, but the shine has worn off. Need a slam dunk dry fly leader? This is the one.

RIO Indicator 10′ 3x | For when you want to stay on the bottom and have no complications with tapers. Those damn tapers. The beauty of the RIO Indicator Leader is the ease of reconstruction. A 2′ taper to a straight level leader. So, sat the 8′ point, it goes straight. Break it off half way through the leader? No problem. Just tie on more 3x. Then add you 4x and so on. Easy Peasy! An additional advantage is the that this leader sinks very rapidly. Level line. Sinks faster. An important feature for a Nymph Leader! RIO’s indicator leaders have a unique design that is ideal for the indicator fly fisher. A powerful orange butt section is visible enough to be used as an indicator in its own right. We love this leader!

Umpqua Freshwater Shorty 5′ 12# | Keep them short and stout if you like to toss the streamer. This is short and stout. Comes in4 different pound tests for all conditions. Popular with those who scoff at nymphers and those looney dry fly dudes. A great leader for the streamer game.

RIO Powerflex Trout 12′ 4x | This leader is the antithesis of the one above. For those who like to sneak, hands and knees, to those damn finicky bank feeders in low water. This is the one that you can stretch out the length of your rig and not spook those trout. Long, longer, longest. The 12′ Powerflex is the way. Comes in smaller diameters as well for those who like to go tiny. Tie this one on if you are looking for dry fly success!

RIO Classic Hand Tied 9′ 5x | Techy hand tied for ultimate performance. The only time fellers do not like this leader, with several taper knots, is when we here on the Missouri River get weedy. Then, the knots are perfect for catching all of those floating weeds. Other than that period, techy dry fly fanatics use this leader. If you break off, just re-build. Want to lengthen it? No problem there either. For those who like hand tied leaders, but left the newly tied batch on the bench at home!

Orvis Super Strong 9′ 3x | Orvis claims less memory than others. Maybe. For general 9′ use for nymphing, for dry fly, and if you chop it, for streamer angling. A longstanding product for east coasters and we have them for use here on the Missouri River.

TroutHunter 10′ 4X | Gaining strength in the leader and tippet world and for those who also wear Patagonia clothing. Nice parallel huh. The 10′ length is nice for that additional foot. Start with this 4x leader and build from there. For going out long, there is also a 14′ Harrop leader in the shop. It does turn over. But, you need some practice too. It is not magic. Disclaimer: You do not turn into Rene Harrop when you tie this on...if you do, you will be wearing Patagonia. Just sayin’.

RIO VersiLeader 10′ 1.5ips | For those who like to be versatile, comes this sinking VersiLeader from RIO. This is clutch for situations that you need a little extra depth. This is like an intermediate leader, for your fly line. Lash, or just loop, it onto your dry fly line and away you go. Versatile for dynamic individuals!

RIO VersiLeader 10″ 7ips | Just like the 1.5ips version above, this is the next level for sink rates. It will sink rapidly when it touches the water. No unnecessary hinging from those who add split shot to the leader, in front of the fly to achieve additional depth.

Just a short roundup of leaders that you may carry for fall angling. For anytime really. Having the Versileaders in your leader arsenal is smart. Just have  few with you for changing the depth. And, a bag full of leaders can help you when the tangle becomes unmanageable. A total disaster. A super tangle.

You know anybody like that?


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  • “You do not turn into Rene Harrop when you tie this on…if you do, you will be wearing Patagonia. Just sayin’.”

    Wearing Patagonia and probably casting better than you are used to. Oh, and suddenly a wizard at tying with CDC and writing very sincere and earnest (no jokes allowed) blog posts for your fly shop. If those things all happen, then you did turn into Harrop.

    • Qdog, I’m still trying to fool those damn greasy feathers into doing what I want them to do…still trying. As for the Patagonia gear…yep, I got some. The cast and the earnest writing, I think we both know I got some work ahead of me…

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