In the Know: Essential Travel Gear for Fly Fishing Adventures

// Header image by Mauro Mazzo
Leonard Schoenberger

Are you ready for your next fly fishing trip?

Packing the right gear is crucial for a successful and enjoyable fishing outing. Whether you’re headed to a local stream or a remote wilderness, having the right equipment can make all the difference. In this guide, we’ll explore the essential fly fishing travel gear you’ll need, from rods and reels to packs and clothing. Let’s dive in!

Hitting the Water: Essential Fly Fishing Rods and Reels

The Perfect Fly Rod

Casting the Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod Outfit
A #5 fly rod is a great allrounder for all species in the trout range. Photo: Shane Rickert

Choosing the right fly rod is the cornerstone of any fly fishing trip. You want a rod that’s versatile, durable, and easy to travel with. Consider these options:

Travel Rods: Travel rods are designed to break down into multiple pieces, making them easy to pack. Look for a rod that is lightweight yet sturdy, with a protective case for transport. For a detailed review, see the Epic Reference Packlight Fly Rod Combo.

Versatile Rods: If you can only bring one rod, choose a versatile option that can handle different types of water and fish. A 9-foot, 5-weight rod is a great all-rounder. Check out the Redington Original or the Orvis Clearwater for two good options.

Reliable Fly Reels

Cheeky Sighter 425 Fly Reel and Atlas Signature Fly Rod 3
The Cheeky Sighter is a very reliable reel for fresh and saltwater. Photo: Christian Anwander

A good reel can be the difference between landing the catch of a lifetime or going home empty-handed. Look for:

Lightweight Reels: When traveling, every ounce counts. Opt for a lightweight reel that won’t weigh down your pack. The Cheeky Sighter Fly Reel offers excellent value and performance.

Durable Construction: Your reel should be able to withstand the rigors of travel and the elements. Look for materials like aluminum or high-quality composites, such as those featured in the Guideline Nova Fly Reel.

Packing Smart: Fly Fishing Packs and Storage

Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled Duffel Bag on a boat on the Deschutes River
Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled Duffel Bag on a boat on the Deschutes River. Essential travel gear for fly fishing guide. Photo: Leonard Schoenberger

Backpacks and Sling Packs

A well-designed pack will keep your gear organized and easily accessible. Here’s what to look for:

Waterproof Backpacks: Protect your gear from rain and splashes with a waterproof pack. Look for one with multiple compartments to keep your gear sorted. The Breakwater Supply Fogland Backpack is an excellent choice for wet conditions.

Sling Packs: For shorter trips or wading, a sling pack is a great option. It allows you to carry essentials without the bulk of a full backpack. The Fishpond Thunderhead Sling Pack offers unmatched versatility and durability.

Rod Tubes and Gear Bags

Fishpond Fly Rod Case Closeup
The Fishpond Rod Case in action. Photo: Leonard Schoenberger

Keeping your rods and gear safe during travel is paramount. Consider these options:

Protective Rod Tubes: Invest in a high-quality rod tube to prevent damage. Some tubes can hold multiple rods, saving space.

Rod Cases: A dedicated gear bag can keep your reels, lines, and accessories organized. Look for one with padded compartments and durable zippers, such as the Fishpond Dakota rod case (pictured above) or the Patagonia Black Hole Rod Case.

Dressing the Part: Fly Fishing Apparel

Weather-Appropriate Clothing

Filson Skagit Wading Jacket Review
A quality rain jacket is imperative when fishing in wet climates. Photo: Christian Anwander

Dressing for the elements is crucial for comfort and safety. Here’s what you need:

Layering System: Start with a moisture-wicking base layer, add an insulating mid-layer, and top it off with a waterproof and windproof outer layer. The Stio Ender Hooded Jacket is perfect for unpredictable weather.

Sun Protection: Don’t forget a wide-brimmed hat, UV-protective shirts, and sunglasses.

Waders and Boots

Simms Freestone Z Waders pocket
Just like a jacket, a quality pair of fishing waders is crucial in any kind of wade fishing. Photo Christian Anwander

Staying dry and comfortable is essential for a great fishing experience:

Breathable Waders: Look for lightweight, breathable waders that allow for easy movement. Chest waders offer the most protection and versatility.

Sturdy Boots: Your boots should provide good traction and support. Felt soles offer excellent grip on slippery rocks, while rubber soles are better for diverse terrain. The Simms G3 Guide Wading Boots are a solid choice for any angler.

Handy Tools and Accessories

Must-Have Gadgets

Simms Flyweight Pliers Review Preview
A pair of fishing pliers can remove a hook, cut a tippet or cramp a barb on a hook. Photo: Leonard Schoenberger

Certain tools and gadgets can make your trip smoother and more enjoyable:

Multi-Tool: A good multi-tool can handle a variety of tasks, from cutting line to removing hooks. The Simms Flyweight Plier is a lightweight, durable option.

Waterproof Phone Case: Keep your phone safe and dry while still having it accessible for photos or emergency calls.

Fly Boxes and Tippets

Saltwater Fly Box

Organizing your flies and lines can save you time and hassle:

Fly Boxes: Invest in a sturdy fly box with compartments for different types of flies. Some boxes are waterproof, ensuring your flies stay dry.

Tippet Dispenser: A handy tippet dispenser keeps your different lines organized and tangle-free.

Staying Comfortable: Camping and Shelter Gear

Tents and Sleeping Bags

Float Plane Fly Fishing Trip
A tent is a crucial piece of equipment on any backcountry trip. Photo: Dave Westburg

If your fly fishing adventure includes overnight stays, you’ll need reliable camping gear:

Lightweight Tent: Choose a tent that is easy to set up and carry. Look for options that offer good ventilation and weather protection.

Warm Sleeping Bag: Depending on the season, ensure your sleeping bag is rated for the temperatures you’ll encounter. A sleeping pad can add extra comfort and insulation.

Cooking and Food Storage

Kanu with cooler
A cooler can come in handy on a multi day trip.

Keeping your meals organized and safe from wildlife is essential:

Portable Stove: A compact, portable stove allows you to cook fresh meals on the go. Look for one that is lightweight and fuel-efficient.

Bear-Proof Containers: In bear country, proper food storage is a must. Use bear-proof containers to keep your food and scented items safe.

Cooler: On hot summer fly fishing outings it is highly recommendable to bring a cooler for food and drinks. You need one that can withstand tough surroundings plus keep the products on the inside cool for 36-48 hours. The YETI Roadie is a great option.

Planning Your Adventure: Tips and Tricks

Research and Preparation

Checking the weather forecast is key on any backcountry trip
Checking the weather forecast is key on any backcountry trip. Photo: Scott Diel

Before you embark on your fly fishing journey, do some research:

Local Regulations: Ensure you understand the fishing regulations of your destination. This includes knowing what licenses you need and any catch-and-release rules.

Weather Forecast: Check the weather forecast for your destination and pack accordingly. Being prepared for sudden changes in weather can save your trip.

Packing Lists and Checklists

Create detailed packing lists to ensure you don’t forget any essentials:

Gear Checklist: Write down all the gear you need, from rods and reels to clothing and accessories. Check off items as you pack them.

Food and Supplies: Plan your meals and snacks ahead of time. Make sure you have enough food and water for your entire trip.

Ready, Set, Fish!

With the right fly fishing travel gear, you’re all set for an unforgettable adventure. Remember, the key to a successful trip is preparation and organization. Pack smart, dress for the weather, and always be ready for the unexpected. Happy fishing, and may your next fly fishing trip be filled with big catches and beautiful memories!