Expert Review: Orvis Pro Depth Charge 3D Smooth Fly Line

This review is my honest opinion of the fly line, which I purchased with my own money in June of 2021.

Top down view of a fly fishing rod and reel with the Orvis Pro Depth Charge 3D Smooth Fly Line.

All photos courtesy of Jacob Jesionek

Published on

About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the fly line, which I purchased with my own money in June of 2021.

My take

The Orvis Pro Depth Charge 3D Smooth Fly Line is one of the best options for a line that will sink fast and be easy to cast. It’s weighted in segments, allowing the entire line to sink in an order that makes sense for fishing streamers in fast or deep water.

The Orvis Pro Depth Charge 3D Smooth Fly Line on a fly fishing rod and reel with a river in the background.

About the line

  • Model: Orvis Pro Depth Charge 3D Fly Line - Smooth
  • Weight: 200
  • Fly line taper: Weight forward
  • Core: Unspecified
  • Ideal Temp Range (ºF): Cold water
  • Loops: Welded loop
  • Sink rate (ips): The front section is a 30' full sink tip (6” per second average sink rate based on grain weight. The mid-section is a 20' type 3 (3” per second sink rate. The running line is an Intermediate with a 1.5” per second sink rate.
  • Total Length (ft): 90ft
  • Line Profile:
The fly line profile on the Orvis Pro Depth Charge 3D Smooth Fly Line.

About me

  • Preferred fishing style(s): Nymphing, Dry Fly, Streamers
  • Experience (# of years fly fishing): 15+ years of fly fishing

Test conditions

  • When I bought this: June 2021
  • Rod and Reel Paired with Line: Orvis Mirage LT + Orvis Helios 3D 6wt
  • Days tested: 25+
  • Waters I’ve used it on: Fast riffle sections of the river, deep eddies, tailwaters, and lakes.
  • Species targeted with rod: Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, Steelhead
  • Fly Size: Typically, larger streamers

How it performs

Casting Ease
4/5
Durability
5/5
Performance
5/5
Quality
5/5
Versatility
3/5

What I was looking for

When I purchased my 6wt rod, I knew that I wanted to be able to fish the sinking line on the rod for the larger aggressive brown and rainbow trout that Colorado is known for. The line had to sink quickly and be easy to cast while also not being too expensive.

Why I chose this gear

I chose the Orvis Depth Charge line because of its excellent reviews, wide choices of weights, and its price of less than $100. The best tell for a line is reading the reviews and experiences with the line, and people were very pleased with the depth charge line performance. I looked at the Rio Fathom line, as well, but ended up going with Orvis because it paired with the reel I had.

A fly reel with the Orvis Pro Depth Charge 3D Smooth Fly Line.

What I love about it

  • Performance: This line does exactly what I need. It sinks fast, getting my fly in the strike zone, so I have the best chance of catching fish.
  • Quality: The line feels heavy in hand and is built to last. It has a smooth texture and arrived with no blemishes.
  • Versatility: Versatility is not the strong suit of a sinking line. One pretty much fishes streamers or some sort of very deep fly pattern, and that’s it. I can switch between river and lake, which is nice, but with a sinking line, I’m targeting the bottom section of the water.
  • Durability: This line has held up really well for me. It hasn’t kinked or cracked, and the welded loop still looks good as new.
  • Use Case: The intended use of this line is swinging streamers in fast current or deep water where I need to get it below the surface and fast. It does a great job at allowing me to fish the depth that I want to fish in the water column and is effective for swinging streamers..
  • Casting: With the line being so heavy, it is not always the easiest to cast. However, after a couple of hours, one will learn how to deal with the additional weight, and then it casts great, allowing them to shoot a lot of line with the extra weight.
  • Weight: It is tough to say with a weighted line because it all feels so heavy, but I think the 200 is the right weight for my purposes. I don't fish in super deep water. I normally fish tailouts in rivers, and the 200 weight gets it into the strike zone fast but doesn't overdo it.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Versatility: Versatility is not the strong suit of a sinking line. One pretty much fishes streamers or some sort of very deep fly pattern, and that’s it. I can switch between river and lake, which is nice, but with a sinking line, I’m targeting the bottom section of the water.
Top down view of the fly rod and reel with the Orvis Pro Depth Charge 3D Smooth Fly Line on it.

Favorite moment with this gear

When I first got the line, I went out to the Gunnison River here in Colorado to chase some big brown trout. As I rigged my rod up and put a big streamer on the end of the line, I wasn't necessarily hopeful I would catch anything because of my lack of experience with a sinking line. However, a few swings in at the tailout of the river, I saw a huge brown make a beeline for my fly. He took a swipe and missed as I continued stripping line in. Nevertheless, the fish followed my fly almost to the bank, and even though I never caught it, I won't forget that first epic streamer chase on the famous Gunnison river.

Value for the money vs. other options

This line comes in at a very reasonable $98, which is about what others charge until one gets into the heavier-weighted lines. Another line would be the RIO Fathom which is a good option if someone is looking for a quality line but slightly cheaper. Then there's something much more inexpensive, like the Scientific Anglers sinking line, that will wear on one much quicker than the more expensive options. I would say that the Orvis Depth Charge is right in line with the value one pays for, and I wouldn’t want to go cheaper or more expensive as this is the value-for-the-money sweet spot.

Final verdict

I feel as though I was really able to understand streamer fishing once I started using the Orvis Depth Charge fly line. It helps me fish a streamer where it is supposed to be and keeps me in the strike zone for as long as possible.

Selling Orvis on Curated.com
Orvis Pro Depth Charge 3D Smooth Fly Line
$98.00
Fly Fishing Expert Jacob Jesionek
5.0
Jacob Jesionek
Fly Fishing Expert
Jacob here! How can I help?
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Written By
Throughout my life, I have been driven by my love for nature and exploration. At the center of all of my adventures is fishing, the biggest constant in my life. I have been fortunate enough to travel all over the country chasing countless species and learning from every trip. Hit me up and let me he...

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