Winter is a great time for restocking and organizing your fly boxes. How many fly boxes do you carry? How do you organize them?
It’s been too long and my fly boxes have seen some serious neglect the last few months. I fish over 100 days a year. How many over 100? I used to count them.
Every day I went fishing, I’d come home and make a note on a Trout Unlimited calendar about where I fished and how many each of us caught. OK, I tried to do that. It was my attempt at a fly fishing journal I guess and it failed miserably. A week or so later, I’d ask my wife “did we go to the river last Tuesday?” Sometimes I could look at one of my photographs to confirm my suspicion.
So trust me…over 100 days. Just don’t ask for proof!
I carry several fly boxes with my in my Williams and Joseph fanny pack, along with a few more flies in plastic containers in my wader pocket.
You saw the picture of the fly boxes in my pack. I’ll go over each one.
Nymph Box -This is a C & F Design box I’ve had for years and is probably worn out. It has foam with slots for each fly. After using large, heavy weighted nymphs, several slots are stretched and the heavy flies fall out. I need to replace this box! Flies include large RiverKeeper Stonefly Nymphs, McPhail’s Golden Stone, Pat’s Rubberlegs, Copper John Nymphs, Prince Nymphs, Hare’s Ear Nymphs, Pheasant Tails, $3 Dips, Lightning Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Silvey’s Caddis Pupa, and a few more odds and ends. There sure are a lot of holes in this box.
Dry Fly Box – This is another C & F Design box I purchased at the same time as the Nymph Box. Flies in this box include Beetle Bailey, Harrop’s CDC Ant, Sparkle Duns for March Browns, Caudatellas and Flavs, Black Gold Stimulator, Chernobyl Ant, Fat Albert, Chubby Chernobyl, a few secret flies, and a few more odds and ends.
Soft Hackle & Sparkle Dun Box – This small fly box holds a lot of flies for it’s size. I received this from my local fly club for 30 volunteer hours. Lots of club members have this box. One side is Sparkle Dun and Improved Sparkle Dun flies from #20 to 14 for Blue Wing Olives (BWO), Pale Morning Duns (PMD), and March Brown. The other side is full of RiverKeeper Soft Hackle Cripples, sizes #19 to 15 to cover the same insects listed above. A few odds and ends include the BWO CDC & Biot.
Crooked River Fly Box – This C & F Design fly box holds many of the small nymphs from the Crooked River Fly Box and other small nymphs I might use with a heavy nymph. See my post – How to Fish Unweighted Nymphs for how I tie up a two nymph rig. You’ll find some WD 40, Higa’s SOS and Half Pint Midge in this box. This fly box with a leaf can hold a ton of flies. It’s a good place to stick the smaller flies I continue to play around with.
Here are two other fly boxes you’ll find me carrying at times.
Caddis Box – This is a Deschutes Angler fly box that has seen better days too. It holds most of my caddis patterns, including X Caddis, Elk Hair Caddis, CDC & Elk, Iris Caddis, Peacock Caddis, Hemingway Caddis, along with a few other caddis patterns.
Stonefly Box – OK, here is a fly box I can be proud of. Organized like you wouldn’t believe. It’s one I carry for the Salmonfly and Golden Stonefly hatch. This box came from my local fly shop, the Fly Fisher’s Place. You’ll find Rogue Foam Stonefly, Kaufmann’s Stimulator Golden Stones, Chubby Chernobyls, Norm Wood Special Golden Stones, Clark’s Golden Stones, RiverKeeper Stonefly Nymphs, McPhail’s Golden Stoneflies, Beetle Bailey, Iris Caddis, and Elk Hair Caddis in this box. Yes, a couple of caddis fly patterns just in case.
Lastly, you’ll see a few of these in my wader pocket. My wife calls it my “carry on”.
I’m always tying “just in time” flies before hitting the river in the middle of summer. Evidently, I don’t have the time to place these in the proper slot in each fly box, so they end up in several of these containers.
These aren’t all the fly boxes I have. Others include one for green drakes and a couple of lake fly boxes.
Needless to say, I have a LOT of flies. But I’ve been known to say…you never have enough!
I’m just starting my organization and fly tying to fill empty slots.
I’ll keep you posted on my progress.
I wish you luck restocking and organizing your fly boxes too.
I see something VERY important in the first photo. The fly box in the lower right corner has a white label on the spine of the box. The label includes your phone number and maybe your name (I know because I made it!) This proved to be a VERY VERY important addition to your fly boxes. It is known that fly fishers are kind folks and often return found items to their owner…..if they can. Maybe you have experience with this?
I don’t see the same label in the other fly boxes. I think more labels need to be made and added to those.
Yes, names in fly boxes can be important. I received a call from a good samaritan once asking if I had lost a fly box. My reply? If you’re calling me, then YES, I must have lost one!