Which dry fly floatant works the best? A comparison test.

Dry Fly Floatant Comparison Test - Murray's Fly Shop

Dry Fly Floatant: Which one works the best on the stream?
Below are the results of our “semi-scientific” test.  Decide for yourself after you look at our results.
The test consisted of six popular dry fly floatants found on the market today.  All six of these dry fly float ants are are designed to be applied stream side.
No desiccant style floatants were used.  No products designed to “pre-treat” flies were used.
* The brands we selected: Umpqua Bug Float, Gherke’s Gink, Murray’s Liquid Dry Fly Floatant, Loon Lochsa, Loon Aquel and Scientific Anglers Fly Floatant.
* We chose seven Mr. Rapidan Parachute Flies and seven Royal Coachman Trudes all size #16 and of similar tie to each other as far as the naked eye can discern.

Dry Fly Floatant application

Preparing to apply dry fly floatant to the flies in our test.

An equal amount (a drop about the size of 1/4 of a #2 pencil eraser) of each respective gel style dry fly floatant was applied to our fingers and worked into an untreated dry fly (with hand washing between brands).  The flies which used Murray’s Liquid Dry Fly Floatant was dipped into the liquid floatant per Harry’s recommendation and allowed to dry for 30 seconds to simulate the time to put the floatant away and cast the dry fly onto the water in a real fishing situation.
One Mr. Rapidan Parachute and one Coachman Trude were left untreated.
We filled a dish with tap water.
The treated and untreated dry flies were placed on the water and the timer was started.

Mr. Rapidan Dry Fly Floating on Water during dry fly floatant test


On undisturbed water (no surface disturbance – still water):
The Coachman Trude which was untreated began to sink at nine minutes and the untreated Mr. Rapidan Parachute began to sink at 16 minutes.  All of the treated flies floated on the undisturbed water for 30 minutes.
*After 30 minutes we used a plastic spoon to push each fly underwater for two seconds.
The untreated flies along with the flies treated with Umpqua Bug Float and the Coachman Trude treated with Gherke’s Gink sank.  The remaining nine flies rose back to the surface within three seconds.
*Next, we applied turbulence to the water (wire whisk) for 15 seconds.
The Mr. Rapidan Parachute treated with Gherke’s Gink sank with the turbulence.  The Mr. Rapidan Parachute and Coachman Trude treated with Loon Lochsa both sank with the turbulence.
* Another round of 15 seconds of turbulence was applied.
The Mr. Rapidan Parachutes and Coachman Trudes treated with Loon Aquel sank.  The Coachman Trude and Mr. Rapidan Parachute treated with Murray’s Liquid Dry Fly Floatant sank.
* Another round of 15 seconds of turbulence was applied.
The Coachman Trude treated with Scientific Angler Fly Floatant sank.

Mr. Rapidan Parachute Dry Fly during floatant test

Mr. Rapidan Parachute treated with Scientific Anglers Dry Fly Floatant after the test.

*This concluded our test.  The Mr. Rapidan Parachute treated with Scientific Anglers Fly Floatant emerged as the most effective fly floatant in our short and simple test.
A few things come to mind that happen on the stream we did not test are the effects of fish slobber on the various floatants, the effects of water temperature on the various floatants and the application method/ amount used by various anglers.
The obvious result is some type of floatant is much better than no floatant at all.  Have you conducted a similar experiment? Send us the results, we would love to see them and maybe we will even put them here on the blog.