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Fly Fishing Gear Must-Haves

by | Oct 26, 2022 | Fly Fishing

Fly fishing gear must-haves: fly rod, fly reel, flies, waders or wading boots, fly floatant, clamps, and a fly box.

When you head out for your first fly fishing trip, you may be wondering what is necessary to take with you. Read on to go over the basics and your fly fishing gear must-haves.

When you are new to fly fishing, the number of accessories and things you need can be a bit overwhelming. The first things to consider before heading out are the season and what type of fish you’re after; this will help you decide which gear to bring.

Fly Rod

A fly rod is (obviously) one of the essentials. A rod should be chosen based on what type of fish you are hoping to catch. Rods are weighted 0 – 12, 0 being the lightest rod (which you may use for brook trout in a mountain stream) and 12 being the heaviest (think… tarpon). Starting with a 5-weight is usually the best bet for a beginner because it’s generally the most adaptable. 

Fly fishing gear must-haves: fly rod, fly reel, flies, waders or wading boots, fly floatant, clamps, and a fly box.

Fly Reel

A fly reel, along with the line, backing, and a leader, is the next essential item. Be sure your line weight matches your rod weight. If you are unsure where to start, choose a rod and reel combo.


There are really two main types of flies that a Colorado fly angler would use: wet or dry. What you use depends largely on the season and what types of bugs are hatching.

Dry flies are meant to look and act like insects floating on top of the water. Wet flies like nymphs and midges resemble aquatic creatures that are just below the surface of the water. In any situation, be sure to “match the hatch.” You can also consult with a local fly shop for what to use. Just be sure to purchase a few flies in thanks for the information.

Waders and Wading Boots

Waders cover your feet, legs, and torso from the water to keep you dry. They are either “stocking foot” or “boot foot,” meaning they come with or without boots. It’s recommended to purchase “stocking foot” waders and wading boots. They’re more comfortable and durable on rocks.

The “boot foot” waders on the other hand can be slippery. While waders and wading boots are not 100% essential to fly fishing in warmish rivers, they are necessary for colder temperatures. 

Fly Floatant

Fly floatant helps keep your dry flies sitting high and pretty as they make their runs down the river. Once a dry fly sinks, it becomes worthless. So a drop of floatant here and there is a necessity.

Fly fishing gear must-haves: fly rod, fly reel, flies, waders or wading boots, fly floatant, clamps, and a fly box.

Clamps (also known as Hemostats or Forceps)

Clamps are used to handle small flies when your hands are cold, wet, or slippery. They are also used to remove flies from fish and sometimes your hand! You may find them useful for untangling line or even tying knots. A good pair of these will make your fly-fishing trip a lot easier.

Fly Box

A good fly box can last you a lifetime. In fact, you can tell a lot about a fly angler just by taking a quick glance at their fly box. It’s the place where all flies stay stored and organized; much like a work of art in itself. If you’re starting out, one box is plenty. But as the years go by, you’ll find yourself with boxes for every season and every major hatch.

Bonus: The West Slope Case By Cold Case Gear

Cold Case Gear, another Colorado company based near our HQ, makes a case that protects your phone in any environment. It floats, it’s waterproof, it’s smashproof, and it stops the cold and heat from zapping your battery. Your phone will be completely protected in this case. Never know when you’ll need to snap a picture of the place you find yourself fishing in; you really can’t beat these Colorado landscapes.


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