Friday, December 16, 2011

Fly Box Organization

Why keep your fly boxes organized. Keep your fly boxes organized will help you spend more time fishing and less time searching you fly box for that one certain pattern. Couple guys I have fished with have no rime or reason to there boxes and it took them twice as long to locate flies in there boxes. Also if your a tier it will help you to know what to tie in that next tying session. If you don't tie it will help you fill the holes when you take that next trip to the fly shop. You can keep the organization simple or you can take it the the extreme. My boxes seem to go to lean more to the extreme side of things. As a fly tier I carry a lot of flies with me.

The first step in organizing you boxes is to select the right style of box that best fits your needs. All of my boxes for nymphs and parachute dry flies are micro slit foam. I personally like C & F fly boxes and the the Umpqua UPG boxes. They are a bit on the pricey side but all micro slit foam boxes are not created equal. The density of the foam really makes a difference in how it holds the fly. Also all of my fly boxes are water proof. In my opinion this is very important one tumble in the river and you don't dry out a fly box well enough can be a disaster. You might as well just throw it away. For dry flies I use an water proof compartment box from Orvis.
Here is how I organize my fly boxes

Box #1 is my meat and potato fly. This box contains all of my bigger nymphs plus a lot of my bead heads. Here is a sampling of the patterns in this box. Hare's ear nymphs, prince nymphs, Copper Johns, Crane fly larva and stone fly nymphs. How you organize inside the box is up to you. The more organized you keep it the easier it is to manage.

Box #2 is my mayfly and caddis nymph box. This box contains all of my hatch matcher flies. Pheasant tail nymph, Biot emergers, plus various styles of caddis nymphs.

Box #3 is my all things small box. This box is full of nothing but midges. I organize this box by color, black, red, white and olive.


Boxes #4 & #5 are compartment dry fly boxes. These boxes contain various styles of hackled dry flies.

Boxes #6 is my parachute dry fly box. This box is a C & F slit foam box. This box contains a selection of parachute dry flies

Box #7 is my hopper box. This box contains hopper, ants, crickets and beetles. This box has lots of foam in it.

Box #8 & # 9 are my streamer boxes. I have a small streamer box and a larger streamer box. I find more of my streamers are going articulated

Box #10 is my eggs and worms box. This box has various types of san juan worms, pig stickers and eggs

Box #11 is my still water box. This box is full of chironomids, scuds, damsel nymphs and various other still water patterns.

Keeping your fly boxes organized can be a plus in a lot of ways. My boxes are continually evolving. You can organize your boxes by fly type or by water way. What ever you choose can make your time on the water more enjoyable.

Also take the time to put your name and phone number on your fly boxes. 95 percent of all fly fisherman would return your fly box to you if you lost on the river.

So take the time this winter and devise a plan for your fly boxes and you can reap the benefits this upcoming fishing season.


  1. A joy to behold. You have inspired me to sort my jumble.

  2. Great looking boxes and a super read!..

  3. Carl,

    your boxes look like my boxes. neat little soldiers in neat little rows waiting for deployment. sure does make finding flies much easier! :)


  4. Carl-

    We gotta get together and twist up some bugs man. Boxes look great.

    I still think you carry to damn many boxes, but they look great.


  5. I am curious, what size fly box do you use for your hoppers. Your pictures look like they are all similar in size, but I can't quite make out how big they are. Thanks, love the blog!

    1. Scott,

      my hopper box is a larage C&F box, it is slit foam on one side and 12 compartment on the other side. It measures 8"x4"

  6. Why can't I have this much money!?