Trout are selective to the depth at which they are searching for food.  If trout are chasing shad at the surface and you are trolling 20 feet down you will not catch many fish.  The correct depth is more important than boat speed or fly color.  Below are a couple of line options for fishing the top 25’ of the water column.

TOP Line MID Line Illustraton (1).png


The “Mid-Line” is used as a complimentary line to the “Top-Line”. The Jay Fair trolling method involves constant course changes and occasional “U” turns. This can cause tangles if both lines are identical. By fishing the “Top-Line” and “Mid-Line” as a team you can present two flies at the same depth but different distances behind the boat [see illustration]. The “Mid-Line offers the option of variable depth control. By putting only 1/2 color in the water it will match the “Top-Line” for depth. You can increase the depth by letting out more lead-core. For those who do not want to build their own Mid-Line I offer them on my site, assembled by Val Aubrey at Eagle Lake CA.

The Redesigned "TOP-LINE" trolling line.

Based on the fly trolling lines developed in the 1980's at Eagle Lake CA by Jay Fair, my lines have been upgraded, replacing fly line backing with thinner braided line to increase backing length without needing a larger reel.   The bulk of the line is a “Jim Teeny” 100 foot long "Floating - Shooting" line (diameter .029”).  The sinking portion of the line is 1/2 color (approximately 15') of 18# lead-core between the floating line and the leader. I have also changed to a two step leader, 20' of 10# connected to 5' of 8# leader with a mini #14 stainless steel swivel.  The 8# mono terminates with a small hook clip to quickly change through fly colors. Note: The half color of lead-core can be cut down for a shallower presentation.

Jay Fair Top-Line


100 yards 20# Braid

100 feet .029" Floating Running Line

1/2 Color 18# Lead-Core Line

20 Feet 10# Mono Leader

5 Feet 8# Mono Leader

"Top-Line" Trolling line: $54.50 each [free shipping in USA]


MID-LINE, Trolling Line


100 Yards 20# Mono Backing

2 Colors 18# Lead-Core

65 Feet 12# Mono Leader

5 Feet 8# Mono Leader

Mid-Line, $37.50 each free shipping in USA