While there are certainly bigger problems in the world than a dirty fly line, fly fishing is definitely more fun and productive with clean dry line.
And with the price of quality fly lines approaching $80, there is incentive to take care of the lines on our reels.
Any fly fisher who casts from shore, a boat, or into saltwater needs to clean their line at least once a day.
Off-color water, muddy shoreline and water in the bottom of a boat can lay down a layer of dirt, algae and other No cleaning can repair the permanent damage done by sunscreens, insect repellents, and aerosols.
Also be sure to check the line carefully for cuts and cracks. If damage is near the end of the line, cut off that section.
If much of the line is cracked, replace it.
Scientific Anglers and Rio are producers of high quality fly lines and both companies recommend cleaning lines with mild dishwashing soap in warm water.
Strip as much line as you actually use fishing from the reel into a pail or sink. Let the line soak in soap and warm water for at least 5 minutes, longer for dirtier lines.
Then pull the line through a soft cloth, preferably a microfiber cloth.
To refurbish the line coating, both companies recommend pulling the line through a cloth soaked with their fly line dressing. Rio makes handy towelettes.
Some YouTube vids show anglers treating lines with Armor-All and 303 but be advised those chemicals may not be compatible with the proprietary coatings applied by the manufacturers.
Jerry Smalley’s Fishful Thinking column appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.