Tuesday Tip: How Long Should Your Leader Be?

Written by: Tom Rosenbauer

Yesterday, someone posted this question to the Orvis Fly Fishing Facebook page: “Hey guys, do I really need 8 feet of combined leader and tippet line?” Newer anglers are often not sure how long their leader should be for a specific situation, so we made this video for the Orvis Fly Fishing Learning Center.

This is part of the new section on the Orvis Fly Fishing Learning Center about how to choose the right equipment. I hope you find it useful.

4 thoughts on “Tuesday Tip: How Long Should Your Leader Be?

  1. Thomas Züllich


    been through all this and found out that the good old selv notted leader works best for me.

    My go to recipe is a modified Charles Ritz Rafale taper. 100cm 0,45 than 90cm 0,40er than 0,35 0,30, 0,25 and 0,20 each 16cm. These segments are connected via a blood knot. Mae sure you keep the measures. A blood knot tool is a of good use. At the last of the tapering segments I use a small leader ring to which I connect the tippet material, about 70 cm to 90cm. The tippet ring is handy as I do not have to use a new leader every time I have used up the tippet material. Tippet material varies from 0,12mm to 0,18mm depending on fly and the type of presentation I am looking for. Maxima Chameleon works best in my experience for the leader and Stroft, Orvis or Rio Powerflex for tippet.

    Give it a try and see what works best for you. Sorry for hyjacking his advertisement, but I know that Orvis a extremely good company and maybe and interested in input and thoughts.

    Tight line (and leader)

  2. Pingback: Tuesday Tip: How Long Should Your Leader Be? - The Fly Fishing Daily

  3. Fred Rickson

    The shorter, the better. Really, you are trying to hit a given spot, and the fish can see, maybe, 1.5 ft of tippet from the fly. My leader on the Madison and Firehole inside Yellowstone is usually about 6′ with 2′ of that tippet. But, I can put the fly on a dime about every time. Think about it. Even on Hebgen my leader is about 7′ and that includes tippet. Of course you do have to know how to cast a gentle presentation.

  4. Pete

    Sorry for being picky but in the diagram both tags enter the loop from the same side albeit one from the bottom and one from the top.


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