Photo: Flickr/Cowgirl Jules

Carrying fewer flies will make you a better angler. Here’s how to do it



Since I fish lots of different places, I organize my flies using an algorithm of species, water and fish size that may be inscrutable to others, but makes sense to me. For example, I have separate boxes for:


  • Panfish
  • Small-river trout
  • Combined smallmouth bass and large trout (pictured above)
  • Combined northern pike, walleye and largemouth bass (which often live together, and eat similar forage)
  • Size 6 & 8  bonefish shrimps/crabs (for Mexico/Belize)
  • Size 4 & 2 bonefish shrimps/crabs (for the Bahamas), and so on…

Other anglers I know do the same, except by region or season. Since fish don’t always follow the rules, however, I hedge my bets just a little by keeping a largemouth fly in my panfish box, one big, fat streamer in my small-river trout box, and a few nymphs and dries in that pike/walleye/largemouth box.

Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong way to organize your flies. This is simply the scheme that has worked for me, and maybe it will work you, too, or at least give you a few ideas. One thing is for certain, though: If you spend some time trimming and organizing during the off season, it’ll pay off on opening day.