Published by: Harlan Kimball
As we near the end of peak fishing season I’m sure we can all relate to having a plethora of flies without a home. Whether it’s bait balls of flies sitting in your truck's cup holder or the flies you bought but never used. For me, it can be a Sunday afternoon task done with a beer by my side and football playing on the television. On other days, I might be scrambling to dial in my fly boxes before a destination trip hoping that I have everything I need. Either way it’s a necessary activity that must be done a few times a year. In this blog I’ll go over easy and effective ways to organize your flies as well as some specific examples of how our guides organize their boxes.
FLY ORGANIZATION TOOLS
With an abundance of fly organization tools on the market, it can be overwhelming to figure out what's best for you. For most people, it is based on personal preference depending on what type of fishing you do most.
Umpqua Magnetic Boxes – The Umpqua LT Magneto box is one of my go-to winter fly boxes. Ideal for smaller flies in sizes 16 - 26. The magnet allows you to swap out flies without having to intricately place each on into a silicon slot.
MFC and Umpqua Boat Boxes – Boat boxes are self-explainable. They are a little large to be carrying around while wade fishing, but when you need to be prepared for any situation, they can be a great box to have in the arsenal. Typically used while floating down one of your favorite western rivers, these boxes have a huge carrying capacity. Since I'm not a boat owner, I typically use mine to backstock my favorite flies as well as flies I do not use as often.
JamPac Pro (Puck Storage) – If you enjoy larger boxes that can hold everything you would need for a day of wade fishing or float fishing this box might be the best for you. The JamPac Pro’s design allows anglers to easily separate different flies, split shot, indicators, floatants, etc. and then easily resupply each individual cup when needed.
Yakoda Fly Tin – If you like to keep things simple, our friends at Yakoda have a great box for you! The Yakoda Fly Tin is perfect for getting out after the work day or fishing small alpine creeks where all that's really required is a few dry flies and a few nymphs.
Fly Patches – Patches don’t have all the room and functionality to be a year around fly box but they are a great option when you only need 2 or three different fly patterns for a short day of fishing. The Tacky Fly Dock is a great tool to attach to your pack, your car’s dashboard or any place you need a little extra fly storage.
Tacky Silicone Boxes – If you are in the market for a silicone fly box, look no further than Tacky's lineup of patented 100% recycled fly boxes. Great for your flies and even better for the environment.
METHOD TO THE MADNESS
Everyone is different. That’s especially true when it comes to how people decide to organize their fly boxes. Whether it is by fly type, by season, type of rig or by region, there’s no right answer. I’ll give you some ideas as to how our guides and shop staff organize their flies but do whatever makes a day on the water easier for you.
Fly Type – Organizing by fly type is one of the most common methods among anglers. It makes finding the right fly easy and it ensures a visually appealing fly box. Most of our guides have designated boxes or spaces for stoneflies, hoppers, baetis etc.
Season – Some people, like myself, organize boxes by the season they are fishing. I try to keep it somewhat simple by organizing these boxes into summer and winter months. Summer boxes will typically consist of larger terrestrials, stoneflies, and small to medium sized beadhead attractors, dry flies, as well as streamers. My colder weather boxes will have a lot of small midges, baetis, egg patterns, small dries, and stoneflies.
Type of Rig – Another effective way to organize your box is by the type of rig you are using. For example, hopper dropper box, indicator/bobber box, streamer boxes and dry fly boxes.
Geographic Region – If you are an avid destination angler organizing your flies by location can be helpful when packing for saltwater and freshwater trips. Having a fly box for Cape Cod striped bass versus Pacific Northwest steelhead will look very different.
(Not naming names but... this is what not to do)