Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Cowboy Wisdom -- Fly Fishing Checklist

When I first started fly fishing -- back in the 1960s -- my outfit was pretty simple.  It included a Wright McGill fly rod, a Montgomery Wards fly reel and an old band-aid box full of flies and leader.

The older I get the worse my memory has become.  I no longer just throw some gear in the back of the pickup and head out for a fishing trip.  These days I tend to make copious lists, double check them, and revise them often in the weeks leading up to a fishing trip.

I haven't been fly fishing in a few years and had to buy a lot of new tackle because I made the mistake of giving all my fly fishing gear to my daughter a couple years back.

In preparation for my coming spring attack on the Upper Owens River -- a place where I've had enormous success in the past -- I've purchased almost an entirely new outfit.

Here's my fly fishing vest checklist to make sure I have all I need when I'm on the river…

Fly Fishing Vest:

Orange dry sack – wallet and cell phone

Current fishing license

Polarized sunglasses

Dry fly Floatant

Dry fly box and flies

Streamer boxes & streamers

Extra leader and Tippets

Retractable zinger & nippers

Knot tying tool

Hook hone

Hook threader

Hook snare & holder

Leader straightener

Line cleaner

Hemostat/forceps - hook remover

Wet fly box

Split shot

Strike indicators

Tape measure

Lip balm and sunscreen

Flashlight or Headlamp

Lighter or Waterproof Matches

Water (and usually a sandwich so I can fish all day without returning to the truck)


Bug repellent


First aid kit

Fuji camera/batteries

Swiss army fisherman's knife


Net with magnetic release

Fly Fishing Clothing:

Gore-Tex paddle jacket (optional if rainy -- I usually carry this all day in the Sierras)

nylon rain pants (optional if rainy)

polyester undershirt

wool or nylon shirt

wool whipcord pants & web belt (or quick drying nylon pants)

nylon underwear

Lightweight wool socks

Water shoes or gore-tex hiking boots

Fleece jacket (optional if cold)

Fingerless gloves (optional if cold)

Warm cap (optional if cold)

Cowboy hat with a full brim

Bandana for sun protection

Bear spray on belt (bear country)

Gerber belt knife

Mosquito net

Fly Rod and Reel (sink tip line for streamers)

I also carry an extra reel (with floating line) in the back of my vest and keep a spare fly rod in the truck.

I hope you find something useful here.  Happy Fishing.

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