When I first heard about the Rio Trout LT, I immediately presumed Rio foresaw a trend towards lighter rods and slower actions. Whether that’s the global case or not, it has happened, to some degree, around these parts. Hence, begging and pleading for some test product came naturally. Then, even before arrival, I started asking myself “what’s wrong with the Rio Gold I’ve been casting?” The answer turned out to be nothing, and everything, as this premium addition to the RIO lineup is every bit a special breed.
Rio bills the Trout LT as…you guessed it…the best thing since sliced bread for tight spaces and ultra-delicate presentations. The Gold is offered in WF3 through WF8, while the Trout LT can be had in WF1 through WF7 and double-tapered line weights 1 through 6. Yes, one-weight – it doesn’t get more dainty than that.
My personal quiver now ends at #4, but no matter. I’ve had this line out a half-dozen times, strung on a Scott G2 884/4 – that’s 8’8” of bona fide noodle, perfect for casting #20 dries in streams I could almost reach across with my stubby arms. The fact my aging eyes can barely see those flies on the surface is of no consequence – touchy-feely was secure for testing.
The specifications* are what the scientist in you would expect from a light line – more progressive taper down to the tip, and redistributed weight to maintain AFTMA standards…
Running line length: 45.5 ft.
Rear taper length: 5 ft.
Body length: 5 ft.
Body 2 length: 17 ft.
Front taper length: 10.5 ft.
Front taper 2 length: 6.5 ft.
Tip length: 0.5 ft.
*Data for WF4
The total head length – rear taper to tip – is 44.5 feet, and its weight is 220 grains. The 30 foot weight is 120 grains. By comparison, the Rio Gold WF4 has a rear taper of 19 feet, a body at 22 feet, a front taper of 5 feet, and a 5 foot tip. Its 30 foot weight is 126 grains. The Trout LT is only slightly lighter – its real performance differential comes in the thoughtfulness of its design.
As the folks at RIO explained it…
The first 30 ft weight of the LT is a little lighter than the Gold, whereas the overall head weight is slightly heavier. This is typical of a line with a rear weight bias as opposed to the Gold with a front weight bias. It is not so much the overall weight to look at, as much as it is the weight distribution. The lighter front end of the LT is what was important for the presentation aspects of the line, and the extra weight at the back was vital as I wanted to make it the finest roll/single handed spey casting line possible – and that needs weight at the back.
This made sense to me, as I’d already had the line out on the water a few times. Meanwhile, I also asked myself if another average joe, without the line in hand, would care. I decided probably not much.
What really matters
Some may ponder the fine details, but who the heck really understands that stuff anyway? We want a line that casts smoothly, lands gently, floats high, can be lifted off the water with little effort, and doesn’t get all slinky-like after a few days on the reel.
When I talk about casting, I’m not suggesting the Trout LT is prime for shooting across big water, as I can hardly “air it out” anyway that’s not what the line is for. I didn’t make any attempts either – most of the overhead time was spent with little more than 20 feet off the tip, using 5X leaders up to 10 feet. I was, however, able to consistently turn over all but the largest hoppers against strong breezes. Further, the line is incredibly non-splashy on landing, really showing off all that taper. Most of the roll casting I did was with nymphs, where initial presentation (i.e. what happens the moment the fly hits terra aqua) is not the main concern. Still, the line does what RIO says it’s supposed to: leverage the rear weight for effortless loading off the water.
Mending was similarly cake – the line (with one correctable exception) rode high, and combined with the soft-tipped rod I was using turned challenge into fun while navigating funky, rock-strewn currents. Lastly, I wound this line tight on a reel – purposefully tight – and didn’t even think about wiping it down for weeks. Not once did I experience a coiled-up first cast. Right before publication I pulled it off the reel and inspected it thoroughly – with little coaxing it still lays out straight on a tabletop, even if I now have peanut butter and jelly remnants to clean off it.
What could RIO do to improve upon the Trout LT? Not much. What might you do to improve it yourself? Play the same game RIO has with the DT version and ace the tip-side welded loop.
Some folks love those welded loops, which have become standard fare on many fly lines. They circumvent the need for tying the ever-treacherous nail knot, and are very convenient for loop-to-loop connections to leader. If you’re delving subsurface with heavy nymphs or streamers, they are great. I don’t have a problem with how those tips land on the water either, but what I do dislike about them is the hydraulic resistance they create during the drift.
Scenario: I was standing on a rock, facing upstream. I had current directly in front of me running right-to-left, and another section fifteen feet to the left running moving straight down. In between the lopsided “V” was a pool churning straight to the left, fish feeding voraciously on the top. With a well-greased leader I could keep the fly from dragging, but the moment I’d lay that tip down all hell broke loose – I just couldn’t stack mends fast enough. I wound up high sticking a #18 dark brown elk hair caddis, spooking plenty of feeders while standing tall, and cutting the loop off the moment I got home. There’s just too much bulk there, particularly when you’ve got the leader-side loop, butt-section thick, attached to it, and are working swirling currents. Nail knots are the only way to go here.
Conclude if you must
RIO is the first to admit their latest isn’t suitable for today’s fast actions, and I’ll second the motion – I’m not sure this line would make my S4, or your GLX, Z-Axis, TCX, or NRX, very happy. If, however, you are into tight pockets, convoluted currents, light weights, and slowing it down (like those of us with aching joints), the RIO Trout LT is a serious contender.
MG signing off (to scrounge up some bamboo fiberglass?)