Need to Know: Dry Fly Leaders
Here are a few things to remember about your leader when fishing dries.
A dry fly leader should generally be longer and finer than a nymph or streamer leader.
I like 9 to 15 feet total, tapering to 4x, 5x, or 6x depending on where and what I'm fishing. The idea in dry fly fishing is to get as dead a drift as possible and the more loose leader you have between your line and your fly the longer you can make your drifts.
Not only should your leader be longer but the tippet section of the leader should be longer as well.
Tippet is lighter and more supple than the butt and middle of the leader so it takes longer to straighten and to put drag on the fly and doesn't catch the current that causes drag as easily.
Many fine fishermen even use what may be referred to as a collapsible leader. A collapsed leader that has such a long fine tippet section that it often doesn't transmit enough energy to turn the fly over entirely on the cast. A collapsed leader, however, provides a benefit on the drift since there is slack between the dragging fly line and the fly giving the fly a longer dead drift.
Keep Tying On
Don't be lazy and keep tying on to the tapered leader as you work your way up it. A short thick leader will turn the fly over too hard and drown it and won't allow the presentation nor the drift you need. Simply add tippet to the end to keep your leader long and you'll be happy at the result it has on your dry fly fishing.