Smooth Move! RIO’s Elite Technical Trout Fly Line Review

Rio Elite Technical Trout
RIO Elite Technical Trout. Photo by RIO Products.

A new rod is often the first thing an angler turns to when thinking about what they need to up their casting game. While I love a new rod just as much as the next guy (and am always trying to justify another purchase), the truth is, bigger gains can often be achieved by simply spooling up a new fly line for around $100. Rather than buying the latest and greatest fly rod with hyper-nano dry-streamer flex technology, you can save some $$$ with a new line – and put those extra Benjys into a plane ticket somewhere to catch a new species. And if you already have a good rod, a new line can really help dial it in and make it great. Read on as I review RIO’s new Elite Technical Trout fly line with SlickCast and see how it can help you softly present a dry fly to picky trout.

I was recently gifted a Peter McVey 7” 7’ cane rod from my parents for my birthday – a rod that I imagined would be an heirloom that family members would fight and disown each other for. The sort of rod that, just by sliding it out of its tube, transports your thoughts to Montana, casting to trout sipping callibaetis during the evening rise.

Knowing the importance of a quality line for the new bamboo rod, I narrowed my choices down to either the RIO LightLine or Elite Technical Trout and reached out to Simon Gawesworth, RIO’s brand manager, for a recommendation.

“Those are the only two I would choose. Both are built exactly to the AFTM standard, and not overlined, so won’t crush an easy action rod, and both would work well. Of the two, I certainly prefer the Tech Trout, both for the casting taper, which is really versatile, and the fact that the Tech Trout has SlickCast. There is no way I can go back to a line without SlickCast these days!”

With Simon’s recommendation, the Elite Technical Trout was on the way. Having RIO’s Perception and Gold on other reels (which RIO bills as being all-purpose floating lines), I was anxious to see for myself how much of a difference there REALLY is between a general purpose floating line and one designed specifically for dry flies. According to RIO’s marketing team, “the line was specifically designed for delicate presentations of small flies to technical feeders at range.”

Bamboo fly rod with Rio Technical Trout fly line

To put the Elite Technical Trout through the paces, I cast it on both my new Peter McVey bamboo rod, as well as a Sage X 5wt. As you might imagine, the actions of these two rods are drastically different, so it was interesting to see how slow and fast actions responded with the line.

First off, RIO did an excellent job naming the line – because everything about it is for technical anglers and picky fish. Every detail, from the taper to the color of the line, was intentional. I have often been curious about bright colored floating lines. With this line, a sky blue head makes complete sense. When a fish looks up to the blue sky, a bright line can be a bit jarring – a blue line is camouflage.

With a long front taper, the line did an outstanding job of turning over flies with delicacy and precision – exactly what I would expect from a specialty line – much more so than the Perception and Gold. To top it off, the Elite Technical Trout has RIO’s new SlickCast proprietary coating, which lab tests show has the least amount of friction ever measured in a fly line. Believe it or not, SlickCast was substantially noticeable. There are few things as soothing as hearing fly line shooting through my guides.

RIO Elite Technical Trout taper. Graph by RIO Products.

As expected, the line presents a dry fly softly (with both slow and fast action rods), turning over long leaders when fishing for technical trout at a distance. One thing to note, with the long taper, you do need to have a bit more line out to carry the line. While not ideal for smaller water, on bigger rivers and lakes it is easy to pick up and re-cast the line without having to strip in. The difference between the Elite Technical Trout and Perception/Gold is very noticeable in this situation.

For anglers who are trying to dial in their technical game without splurging on a new rod or who want to make a good rod great, this is a line to get. The benefits are clear when casting dry flies, nymphs, soft hackles and emergers to tricky eaters at distance. I’m already looking forward to the next hatch.

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