As our lives get busier and free time harder to find, the last thing you want to do when you do get away fly fishing is to forget something.
And you also want to be able to pack in a hurry to maximise time spent fly fishing on the river or lake and minimise time spent worrying about whether you’ve packed everything.
To simplify the task of packing for a fly fishing list, we’ve published below our fly fishing day trip packing checklist. Keep in mind this is a fly fishing checklist list centred around a day trip in trout fishing country and will differ if you fish in salt water or for larger fish.
It is not a complete checklist for every fly fishing situation and not everyone will agree with these choices. You can adapt this to your needs.
Fly Fishing Gear Checklist: What to Bring on a Day Trip
- fly rods (my trusty Sage, and usually a back up rod)
- reel with a floating weight-forward fly line attached (I use a Lamson Velocity fly reel and the AirFlo SuperDri Elite fly line for rivers and the Scientific Anglers Amplitude Anadro line for lakes and streamer fishing)
- vest (Simms of course) containing leaders, indicators, the fly boxes and various other odds and ends)
- fly boxes (this C & F box is my choice) with dry flies and wet flies and streamers
- buff or face mask (here’s one I use)
- lanyard (carries nippers, tippet, fly floatant, fly patch and forceps)
- lip balm
- hay fever medicine
- waders (my Simms G4Zs)
- fly fishing net (hung off the vest with a magnetic quick release)
- wading boots (Simms Flyweight wading boots or G3 Guide wading boots depending on the terrain)
- neoprene socks (if wet wading)
- snake bandage
- Camel Bak or water bottle of some sort
- broad brimmed hat for on the water and a baseball cap for driving/apres fishing use
- polarized sunglasses
- my fishing license
- Clothes – I always wear a Simms or Sage lightweight quick dry collared fishing shirt for UV protection. I take a Gore-Tex rain jacket (Arcteryx) if the weather looks bad. For extra warmth in cold weather, I use thermals/layering.
- Camera (in dry bag)
- Day pack – either a fishing pack from Simms or a conventional backpack or sling pack
- Insect repellent
- Personal Locator Beacon or PLB if fishing in a remote or hazardous area
Adapting this fly fishing gear checklist
This is a generalized fly fishing equipment list for dry fly fishing and nymphing for trout. For more specialized fishing techniques such as swinging and stripping streamers, you might want to add a sinking and/or sink tip fly lines on spare spools to complete your floating line.
For those who like to fly fish in winter, obviously you would pay more attention to packing cold weather clothing including an insulated rain jacket instead of a shell as part of your fishing equipment.
If you are unsteady on your feet and are crossing swift freestone rivers or a tailwater by wading, consider a wading staff (although if you are with another angler you can cross most rivers by putting your arms around each others’ shoulders and wading across together).
And for multiple day trips you need to consider your needs for food, cooking and potentially camping along with your fly fishing gear.