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For over 100 years Cortland Line has been designing and manufacturing the world’s most innovative fly line and braided fishing line.

With passion and experience, we remain focused on one thing: fishing. Fishing has been and always will be what drives us to develop the most advanced lines offered today. Located in Cortland, NY – all of our lines are made in the USA. All of our lines share the latest in line technology – many technologies that Cortland itself pioneered for the industry. We hope to see you on the water. Or, better yet, stop by and see us – we’d love to talk fishing.


1915 - Cortland Line Company was founded in 1915 by Business Man and Avid Angler Ray Smith. An expert in braiding technology, he Patented a series of braided silk fly lines that lasted longer than other options on the market. The Cortland Line Company became one of the biggest names in the fishing industry shortly after. 

1941 - In 1941, a fellow named Leon Chandler arrives in Cortland, NY all the way from a family farm in Missouri. He came to visit the family of a cousin and never left, finding work at Cortland Line through a newspaper ad on December 12, 1941 – five days following Pearl Harbor. After serving in the Signal Corps in the Philippines and New Guinea during World War II, Chandler returned to Cortland Line and worked his way up to the sales department. He started getting a lot of recognition at trade shows and industry meetings as a master presenter and teacher. Chandler eventually became internationally famous as a figurehead of the angling industry and a proponent of fisheries conservation.

 Mickey Mantle and Leon Chandler representing Cortland Line at a trade show

He traveled from Poland to Chile and all around the world, bringing the fishing experience to the most remote places. While his travels earned him the moniker of “fly fishing ambassador to the world” Chandler made key contributions to the fly fishing community at home as well. He became Vice President of the Cortland Line Company, ushering in some of the most important and lasting innovations of the 20th century. 

1953 - Cortland Line introduces the first fly line with a PVC coating over a braided nylon core. This pioneered the industry to move towards this style of fly line which is the same style used today.

Leon unfurls a tight loop in Poland, 1963 

The coming decades brought even more innovation to the fly lines and fly fishing in general and Chandler kept Cortland at the forefront of the forever-changing technological landscape of core materials, weights, and temperature ratings. His business acumen and marketing expertise led to his involvement with the American Fishing Tackle Manufacturers Association (AFTMA), serving as its president for two years. Leon Chandler was also active in the conservation community as well, serving as President of Trout Unlimited for two years and another 22 on its Board of Directors. 

1988 - In 1988 Leon Chandler was elected to the Freshwater Hall of Fame and received the Dolphin Award, one of the highest honors in sport fishing.

1992 - After over fifty years with Cortland, Chandler retired from Cortland Line. 

Today - Today we are still carrying on Leon Chandlers legacy by manufacturing and producing the highest quality fishing line in the world. All made in our Cortland, NY facility. 

We Are Cortland

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