Best Fly Boxes on the Market – 2021 Buyer’s Guide

// Written by Leonard Schoenberger

Every time I walk into a fly shop I am magically attracted by the shelves of flies. How to store them I’ll show you in this guide to the best fly fishing boxes.

I have amassed hundreds of patterns over the years. Still I find myself going through the boxes of flies again and again picking a few here and there. Back at home I take out the new patterns and start to reshuffle my boxes of dry flies, wet flies, nymphs, emergers, streamers, terrestrials. It’s a never ending process, a fun process however, at least for me.

The next question that always arises is which box to choose for which situation. My general preference is to reduce my gear and go out to the water with the least amount of things in my pockets. Sure, there are situations when you need a certain range of different types of flies. Still, I then try to choose a few from each category (dries, wet flies, emergers, terrestrials, etc.) and put them all in one or two boxes. I simply don’t like cramped pockets of my jacket, vest or waders. It feels bulky and hinders my casting.

Flybox: Selection of different fly cases to store your fly fishing flies
Different styles of flyboxes

Table of Contents:

How to Choose the Best Fly Boxes

Best Flyboxes on the Market

Aventik Aluminum: Best Dry Fly Case

Tacky Big Bug Box: Best Streamer Box

Tacky Slit Silicone: Best Box for Nymphs

C&F Design: Best Foam Fly Box

SF Super Slim Fishing Box: Best Slim

Best Pre-Filled Boxes

Barnsley Fly Box + 100 Assorted

24/36/48 Assorted Trout Fly Fishing Flies Kit

Ventures Fly Co. | 40 Premium Hand Tied Flies

What Makes the Best Fly Boxes?

Best Fly Boxes: FAQ

How to Choose the Best Fly Boxes

Of course the size of the box increases with the size of the flies. A streamer for pike or hucho fishing definitely takes more space than tiny dry flies. Over the next few paragraphs I want to give you an overview of the fly cases I use, show you for which situation or species I use what type and work out the advantages and disadvantages of different models.

I group my fly cases mostly according to three features: size, shape and material. Naturally the smaller the flies, the smaller you can go in terms of size. On some summer days when I fish a small alpine stream, all I bring is a tiny fly case with a few dry fly patterns and a few nymphs. The size of the box is similar to a box of matches. 

Multiple fly cases to store dry flies
Selection of different dry fly boxes

Best Fly Boxes on the Market in 2021

Best Dry Fly Case: Aventik Aluminum

For dry flies and terrestrials I prefer transparent boxes with small compartments. This way of storing keeps the flies nice and loose and doesn’t damage delicate wings for example. If the box is transparent it makes it easier to preselect a fly without even opening the box (which can come in handy on windy days).

If you are a traditionalist a great option especially for dry flies are aluminum boxes such as the ones originally introduced by Richard Wheatley of England. They have a neat mechanism with mechanical springs that pop open the different compartments. Here again the transparency helps with the preselection of your next pattern. A nice modern interpretation of such a dry fly case is the Aventik Aluminum Dry.

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Best Streamer Case: Tacky Big Bug Box

The newest addition to my collection of fly cases is the Tacky Big Bug Box. It features the same slit silicone system as the smaller fly cases I use for wet flies and nymphs. The Tacky can hold large streamers of 4 to 5” with its silhouette remaining slim. It is a great choice for streamers to target big predators such as hucho hucho or pike.

Like other Tacky models it features magnetic closures to securely hold the box shut. The slit silicone system makes sure even big and heavy streamers stay in place.

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Best Fly Fishing Case for Nymphs: Tacky Slit Silicone

A similarly slim box with a more modern touch to it is the Tacky Slit Silicone Insert. The American made fly cases have made a name for themselves in recent years and rightly so. Even before opening the box you feel they are well made and will last a long time.

The magnetic closure at the corners of the fly cases is a really effective and convenient feature. On top their patented slit silicone feature secures the flies and makes sure they stay where they are. Even after removing flies dozens of times I could not detect any deterioration of the silicone slits.

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Best Foam Fly Box: C&F Design

A modern, slim alternative to the Tacky Slit Silicone case is the foam model from C&F Design. It has a very nice build quality as well and gives you a bit more freedom in terms of organizing your patterns.

Yet, if I had to choose I would opt for the Tacky Fly Fishing Box as their slit silicone system is the most precise and repeatable way of fixing your flies inside the case.fl

Best Fly Box made of foam: C&F Design Foam Fly Box
Best Fly Box: C&F Design Foam

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Best Slim Fly Box: SF Super Slim

If you want to go light and know that what flies you will need to imitate at the water the SF Super Slim is a great choice. It is perfect for storing small midges and dry flies.

Larger flies and streamer would be matted down in this smaller sized box. Since it is so slim its weight is very low. This means it’s easy to carry along even in your waders’ pocket, ideal for the ultra minimal set up.

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Best Fly Boxes: Pre-Filled

Often it is easier to buy a fly case that is pre-filled already. If you’re not yet an expert on fly fishing flies this makes sure you buy flies that catch fish. There are a number of good pre-filled ones out there. Here are our Top 3.

Barnsley Fly Box + 100 Assorted

The Barnsley + 100 Assorted Flies is a combination of an Aluminum box with slotted foam inserts. With it come 50 dry & parachute flies, as well as an assortment of 50 nymphs, beadhead nymphs, wet flies, scuds, streamers and worm flies.

The box is made from sturdy aluminum and fully packed with flies. With bigger hands it can get a bit tedious to take them out and put them back in.

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24/36/48 Assorted Trout Fly Fishing Flies Kit

The 24/36/48 Assorted Trout Fishing Flies Kit is a great choice for beginners. It comes loaded with great flies that catch fish. You can choose between 24, 36 or 48 flies.

The set includes a range of hopper flies, nymphs and dry flies. The box also features foam slits to tightly arrange your flies. Hook sizes range from #8 to #18 giving you a range of options for every fishing situation.

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Ventures Fly Co. | 40 Premium Hand Tied Fishing Flies

The Ventures Fly Co. | 40 Premium Hand Tied Fishing Flies includes 40 premium flies to cover almost any situation you might encounter on the water. The Ventures Set contains 15 different patterns including dry flies, nymphs, terrestrials, and streamers. Hook sizes range from #8 to #18.

The fly box is waterproof and comes with foam slits to safely store your flies no matter the conditions. As the other pre-filled boxes, this one also makes for a great gift for any fisherman or woman.

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Features of the Best Fly Boxes

When selecting your fly fishing box you should pay attention to a number of factors. What’s the material the box is made of? Is it waterproof? How many flies can it hold?

Here is a number of characteristics you should think about. They will help you to choose the best fly fishing box for your needs.

Durability

Like in any good product a more durable fly case will last you longer and might hence be less expensive on the long run. Most of the modern fly cases are made of plastic, often ABS plastics that are known to be very durable.

The other material often used is aluminum. It has a timeless and more classic look and is always a great choice for traditionalists. Like leather it only gets more beautiful over time with small scratches and nicks.

Fly fishing box with flies held by foam slits
Box with flies held by foam slits

The inside of a box is another important factor in terms of durability. High quality foam or silicone will ensure you can take out your flies and put them back in many times without the material deteriorating.

Capacity

In terms of capacity it really comes down to the way you like to fish. If you prefer to keep it light and simple you should choose slim boxes. Bigger ones can get bulky if you don’t want to wear a vest.

If you plan on fishing big streamers you will need a bigger box. So it really matters to think about what you need before getting your fly fishing box. It will make the selection easier.

Waterproofness

A waterproof fly box can be great but is not necessary in. If you pay a little attention the box should not get wet. If it does you can still open it up in your living room and let it dry properly.

Many boxes are waterproof anyways, especially the ones made from plastic. If they are not you should pay attention to keeping them dry to prevent corrosion.

Dry flies in fly box

Types of Flies your Fly Box can Hold

The most important question you should ask yourself before getting a new fly fishing box is: what purpose should it serve? Where will I be fishing and what species will I be targeting?

What size will my flies need to be? Will I be fishing in saltwater or freshwater? How many flies do I need? If you can answer these questions beforehand you will have an easier time picking the right product.

If you are unsure you can always reach out to us at info@thewadinglist.com. We are happy to help!

Read more on streamer boxes in our streamer box guide

Special thanks to:

Isarfliegen for supplying us with high quality flies for the guide. Shop their selection here.

World Fly Angler for providing us with the Tacky cases.

Best Fly Boxes: FAQ


What is a Fly Box?


A Fly Box is a box made of plastic, wood or aluminum in which you can store your flies when fly fishing. Fly boxes, also called fly cases, come in various shapes and sizes and can hold dry flies, wet flies, nymphs, streamers and terrestrials. Fly Box Guide


How do you Put Flies in a Tacky Box?


The Tacky Box has become very popular among fly fishers. It is equipped with silicone slits that make it very easy to put the flies inside. Simply slide the hook of the fly into the silicone slit. That’s it – a great streamer fly box as well. Fly Box Guide Tacky Fly Case


How do you Store Dry Flies?


Dry flies are ideally stored dry and loosely. Ideally you use a dry fly case with small compartments that make it easy to organize the dry flies.
Dry Fly Box with Flies

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