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Artistic view of a Male Pteronarcys californica (Pteronarcyidae) (Giant Salmonfly) Stonefly Adult from the Gallatin River in Montana
Pteronarcys californica

The giant Salmonflies of the Western mountains are legendary for their proclivity to elicit consistent dry-fly action and ferocious strikes.

27" brown trout, my largest ever. It was the sub-dominant fish in its pool. After this, I hooked the bigger one, but I couldn't land it.
Troutnut is a project started in 2003 by salmonid ecologist Jason "Troutnut" Neuswanger to help anglers and fly tyers unabashedly embrace the entomological side of the sport. Learn more about Troutnut or support the project for an enhanced experience here.

Lancaster, PA

Posts: 81
Lam on Nov 3, 2007November 3rd, 2007, 2:54 am EDT
I have read numerous times that regular old Armorall is a good like cleaner/slickening agent.

Are there any reasons why I shouldn't use armorall and that I should pay about $5 for a tiny bottle of line cleaner?
Vanderbilt, Michigan

Posts: 101
Dano on Nov 3, 2007November 3rd, 2007, 3:06 am EDT

Personally, I've never heard of using Armor All to clean lines with and would think that it would leave a film on the water. The waters I fish are "clean" (read "gin clear") so I simply "wash" my lines in the kitchen sink with a squirt of dish soap, rinse, then dry with a soft cloth. FWIW.


Edit in: Dunno if Armour All is petroleum based, if it is it wouldn't be wise to use it....

Eventually, all things merge into one...and a river runs through it.
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on Nov 3, 2007November 3rd, 2007, 3:14 am EDT
I wash my lines with dish detergent as well, then use the little felt pad that Cortland packs with all their lines. I think they're great, but I'm too undisciplined to use them as much as I should. They're free if you buy Cortland line, and I've seen the pads sold by themselves at the flyshop as well for a buck or two. They last through quite a few cleanings.

Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
Lancaster, PA

Posts: 81
Lam on Nov 3, 2007November 3rd, 2007, 3:29 am EDT
I have used line cleaners and conditioners purschased from fly shops before. They clean well and the conditioner does a good job of making the line very slick, you can really tell the difference when you first cast after a "conditioning" - the line slickly slides through the guides. The commercial cleaners/conditioners have a armorall like consistency to them and I haven't left any "slicks" on the water that I have noticed. Maybe it's something I'll try and let you guys know how it works. I'll keep a keen eye out for the oil-slick-on-the-water effect.
Falsifly's profile picture
Hayward, WI.

Posts: 660
Falsifly on Nov 3, 2007November 3rd, 2007, 4:59 am EDT
It is my understanding that detergents should not be used to clean fly lines. They may remove the lubricants imbedded in the outer coating. I like the results of Scientific Anglers fly line dressing. It is a two part process. First the line is drawn through a foam like pad to mechanically remove the accumulated scum then the liquid dressing is applied with a soft cloth. You can really tell the difference in casting performance after the application. I believe Armor All contains silicone which should work as a lubricant but applying it over a dirty line will only embed impurities.
When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
CaseyP's profile picture
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
CaseyP on Nov 3, 2007November 3rd, 2007, 5:26 am EDT
second the motion on SA line cleaning kits. the pad gets pond scum off very nicely, and every third or 4th time i put two drops of the Line Dressing on a small piece of paper towel and run the line through 3 or 4 times to distribute it. like any cleaning process, you don't want to overdo this. a lot of times, pulling the line through a paper towel at the end of the day is plenty. if i've been practicing with my bluegill buddies in the local pond, i sure clean up before i go to a river, but after a day on a sparkling stream, it's not so necessary. one indicator: if the tip of the line sinks, it might need cleaning and dressing.

Armorall? since plastics and lubricants all work differently, and are constantly being reformulated, i'd be really cautious. some folk swear by Rain-X as a wonderful permanent fly-floatant, too.
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
Posts: 107
Gene on Nov 3, 2007November 3rd, 2007, 6:14 am EDT

I have a free article on www.flyfisher.com about how to clean a line. You can download or copy whatever. It's the best method I have found especially if you are trying to get another season or two out of a line. It's about 80 to 90% effective and almost everyone who has tried it says it has worked. I've use it for around 20 years and it's still the easiest and quickest. In fact, as one guy said "if this doesn't work..throw it out."

good luck

and clean flylines


Vanderbilt, Michigan

Posts: 101
Dano on Nov 3, 2007November 3rd, 2007, 1:16 pm EDT

FWIW, I've been fishing SA lines since the 70s. When they introduced the Ultra they "recommeded" their dressing. I noticed that by the end of the season I had "build up" on my lines from using their dressings. Having a sub-office in Bridgeport, Mi, I popped up the road one day to their Midland facility and talked to a support "tech". To make a long story short he indicated that their "disclaimer" on detergents was mainly out of a concern for "liability" issues; some yahoo using Ajax cleanser for example. He said that dish soap such as Dawn or Palmolov would be just fine, I haven't "looked back" since....


Eventually, all things merge into one...and a river runs through it.
Martinlf's profile picture
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Nov 3, 2007November 3rd, 2007, 5:31 pm EDT
Like Dano, I have discussed this with a SA support tech who said cleaners are OK. I specifically asked him about the Cortland cleaner pad, which I like, and he said fine, just clean the excess off. I've also found that a square of an old cotton bed sheet is as effective as the SA pad to scour off the dirt. Try applying Cortland cleaner, then pulling line line through a folded piece of sheet until it no longer leaves a mark on the fabric. I'll be checking Gene's site for his method also.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Oregon Coast

Posts: 60
Flybinder on Nov 5, 2007November 5th, 2007, 2:02 am EST
"Armorall" is water based, not petroleum, so doesn't leave a slick on the water. I've used it for years, on all brands of fly lines.once, dried, it stays put.
However, BEING water based, it obviously doesn't last long on a fly line!
If anyone is in the market for a new fly line, anytime soon and doesn't like to always be cleaning them............... I've been using several, different, weights and designs of AirFlo's new "Ridge Line", fly lines.
Not sure what it "is" about this new design, when it comes to staying clean, but after a long and algae filled season of lake fishing, (as well as moving water, but lakes always gummed up my lines far worse), I went to clean a couple of my Ridge Lines and could hardly make a mark on the white cotton cloth I always use!? This was after about 60 plus days on the water.
I'm not only amazed with the shooting ability of these lines, but now, I'm equally impressed by their hard finish and "non-debris attracting" design!
"You should'a been here, NEXT week,the fishing's great!"
Martinlf's profile picture
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Nov 5, 2007November 5th, 2007, 11:24 am EST
That's very interesting. When I first saw these lines I thought the ridges would collect dirt and be impossible to clean. If that's not so, the concept is a compelling one--less friction and a better shoot.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell

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