Header image
Enter a name
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.

Broken Arrow, Ok

Posts: 25
Gt2003 on Mar 28, 2019March 28th, 2019, 8:18 am EDT
As mentioned in my previous post I'm headed to Bennett Springs in a few weeks. I'll be doing some spin fishing but will be dedicating at least a day to fly fishing. I've got 4X and 6X leaders. Planning to buy 2X for the buggers. Also planning to buy various sizes of tippet. I have no idea what "sizes" these are so recommendations for leaders would be appreciated.

Usual jigs/buggers for spinning gear
< />

Small Buggers I have

< />

More buggers
< />

Bigger Bugger

< />

Nymphs (maybe)

< />
Partsman's profile picture
bancroft michigan

Posts: 321
Partsman on Mar 28, 2019March 28th, 2019, 11:55 am EDT
Well your already getting some 2x,4x and 6x. Skip the 6x for buggers, better get some 3x and 5x, use the thinner stuff or 6x for your little nymphs you got there or some small dries. Tippet size kind of goes by hook size, trying to turn over a 8 or 10 bugger on 6x tippet is a exercise in frustration, for the stuff keep your leaders shorter. A whole lot to learn but not difficult, just keep on making the effort'

Broken Arrow, Ok

Posts: 25
Gt2003 on Mar 28, 2019March 28th, 2019, 10:50 pm EDT
Thanks Mike. I got "brain washed" into thinking I had to use 2lb line for the trout no matter what. Works just fine for spinning gear but not this! So, it's an entire reprogramming going on in my head right now.

To help my small, square brain, which ones are you thinking would require the 3x and 5x? I don't mind buying them, just trying to make sense of it all. Right or wrong, I was leaning toward 2x for the buggers and, as you said, the 6x for the nymphs.

The little yellow streamer and the larger black streamer are just in there because I have them. They likely won't be used on the trip.

Posts: 75
Afishinado on Mar 29, 2019March 29th, 2019, 12:12 am EDT
A good general guideline to determine which size tippet to use is to choose it by fly size.

A formula to do this is: fly size / 4 + 1.


Size 8 fly = 8 / 4 = 2 + 1 = 3x tippet

Size 10 fly = 10/4 = 2.5 +1 = 4x tippet (or 3x)

Size 12 fly = 12 / 4 = 3 +1 = 4x tippet

Size 14 fly = 14/4 = 3.5 +1 = 5x tippet (or 4x)

Size 16 fly = 16 / 4 = 4 +1 = 5x tippet

Size 18 fly = 18/4 = 4.5 +1 = 5x tippet (or 6x)

Size 20 fly = 20 / 4 =5 +1 = 6x tippet

For odd number fly sizes you can round up or down. In clear water /fussy trout and most dry fly fishing round up to use lighter tippet and round down and use heavier tippet in cloudy water or when nymph fishing as a general rule.

For streamers or very large flies use 3X, but your 2X should work too.

Always be sure the end of your leader is a heavier diameter than your tippet.
Broken Arrow, Ok

Posts: 25
Gt2003 on Mar 29, 2019March 29th, 2019, 2:16 am EDT
Thanks SE PA,

My problem is I have no idea what size any of these are...SORRY! I obviously will need to pay attention to this in the future.

From the ones seen in the pics, could I use 2X for the buggers, 5X for the bigger nymphs and 6X for the little bitty nymphs? I don't have to be textbook perfect but do want to be in the ballpark!

When I use the nymphs I will likely have on an indicator. Will that affect tippet size?

Sorry folks, If I'm going to give this a real shot, I'd like to do it right! Thanks so much for your input already. VERY HELPFUL!
Broken Arrow, Ok

Posts: 25
Gt2003 on Apr 29, 2019April 29th, 2019, 5:11 am EDT
I used a 3x leader for most everything I threw. When I went with lighter flies (glo-ball and megaworm) I went down to 4x with no problems. I didn't fish with any of my nymphs/midges so I never went smaller than 4x.

Sometimes my leader extended really nicely in a straight line, sometimes it didn't. I feel this is likely "user error". I'll keep working on this as I use the fly rod more often!

Quick Reply

Related Discussions

Last Reply
Oct 3, 2016
by PaulRoberts
May 25, 2010
by Ericd
Aug 14, 2009
by Flytyer0423
Troutnut.com is copyright © 2004-2023 (email Jason). privacy policy