The Ultimate Fly Fishing Trip Checklist

There are some folks that dislike packing. When it comes to a fishing trip I enjoy the preparation because it whets the angling appetite, so to speak. But, the question always looms, what should and shouldn’t I pack? This isn’t an exhaustive checklist, but it’s a few ideas of what to bring to help you get started.

If you are going on your own fishing trip then this top checklist will help you. If you are going on a lodge fishing trip then the bottom checklist will help you out.

Licenses and logistics:

Get a license and any additional required permits, and tags, if needed. If you have a boat ensure all boat insurance and registration is up to date, and organize your travel documentation.

Rain gear — If you’re not prepared, inclement weather can ruin a fishing trip. Quality rain gear, waterproof boots, and moisture wicking layers are must-haves. Bring a hat, gloves, long underwear, and warm socks if cool conditions are a possibility.

Extra boat gear — Bring a portable sonar/GPS and a travel boat seat for a more efficient and comfortable ride when renting a boat.

Fishing Gear:

Don’t forget your fly rod and reel along with whatever type of line you are using. I always try to take two different rods and reels because I have broken one on a smaller fish. If I had not have had another rod my trip would have been over. The same goes for the reels, you never know.

I always take extra tippets and leaders. 9-12 foot tapered leaders will usually work most waters.
I usually take some spools of most of the tippet sizes.
Don’t forget your waders. It is up to you which kind you prefer, neoprene or breathable.

Remember your wading boots, I prefer a felt soled boot.

Skin protection — Sunscreen, sunglasses, sun-protective clothing, a bug suit, and insect repellant are prudent to bring.

Life jacket — Pack it and wear it.

Food and water — Devise a meal plan and make sure you’re clear on who’s bringing what items. Remember spices, butter, oil and other cooking essentials. Bring lots of healthy snacks and water (or water treatment systems).

First-aid kit and medication — Store these essentials in a waterproof case.

Tools — A net, knife, multi-tool, scissors, nippers, catch-and-release equipment. A general toolkit for boat and trailer repairs are also good to bring.

Headlamp and flashlight — These items are great for dawn and dusk fishing as well as finding your way around the camp or lodge at night

Personal Items:

Sleeping comforts, like sleeping bag pillows and your pj’s, if you wear them. Don’t forget towels and toiletries make sure you don’t overlook these items when packing.

Camera — Bring one to capture your memories and pack spare batteries for all electronics

One last tip, creating a fishing-trip “checklist” on your computer reduces preparation and planning time.


If you are going on a fishing trip to a lodge, then this might be good for you:

Packing is always a challenge and having the right gear for fly fishing is essential to have a successful trip. Please check out our fly fishing checklist before you take a pile of unnecessary fly fishing gear. We’ve been doing this for a while, and know how important some of your fly fishing gear is to you. But save yourself some of the stress and pack efficiently by keeping in mind that you don’t need to bring it all.

We want to make your fly fishing trip as enjoyable as possible.

Fly fishing rod along with your reel outfit
Waders, wading boots, and any other personal fishing gear
Rain jacket, fully waterproof
Clothing, fishing and lodge variety
Hat, wide-brimmed, for sun and eye protection
Polarized sunglasses
Daypack or fanny pack
Sunscreen, SPF 20 or higher
Insect repellant
Personal medical supplies and prescriptions
Personal hygiene supplies-toothbrush, shaving kit, etc
Spare corrective eyewear, glasses, or contacts
Books and other reading materials
Compact Binoculars
Flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries



Blue jeans, khakis, shorts, casual shirts, fishing shirts are all common.


Waterproof rain jacket, preferably lightweight and packable. Always carry this with you! Fishing-specific Gortex or similar products are best. Remember it is best to layer for the changing weather conditions.

We always recommend quick-drying synthetic materials like polyester, nylon, etc. Even though you may be fishing in summer it’s always smart to include a good fleece jacket or similar wind-blocking product.

You might want to take some long-sleeved, quick drying fishing shirts, pants, and shorts. You might also want to bring gloves and a stocking cap just in case.


Bring some long underwear, top, and bottoms, at least one pair. Mid-weight and quick drying is most versatile. For colder weather, and water, use heavy weight underwear or fleece garments under your breathable waders.


If you are float fishing you will want to remember some sandals. Neoprene booties or socks, along with non-cotton socks. Smart wool or synthetic fleece is best.



8.5 or 9-foot rod with 5 or 6 weight floating line is most appropriate and versatile
3-4 weight rod for small streams
5-6 weight rod for bigger rivers
Matching reels and lines
Sinking tip line


9-12 foot tapered leaders work throughout the season
Spools of 3x,4x,5x,6x tippet material
The most versatile leader is 9-foot 4x


Lightweight/breathable waders with layers underneath
Felt-soled wading boots


Fishing vest, hip-chest pack or other product to hold your gear

Fly floatant, paste or powder:

The day will be miserable for everyone if all the flies are sinking. Sometimes its hard to convince people just how hard you will need to false cast to properly dry off your flies. So without a lot of false casts, the flies won’t float without some sort of floatant.


These can also make or break your day. Everyone has experienced a day on the river without something to cut line with. It is absolutely horrible not to have something to easily cut the line with. I know everyone has tried to use their teeth a time or two to cut line. This will work ok if you know how to do it.

I have spent a lot of time up until this point cutting line with my teeth. Not only is this hard on your teeth, but it will also leave the line flattened. Often to the point where it is too wide to fit through the eye of the small hook. Now I don’t think the teeth are a cutting tool for fishing line. Nippers or a cheap pair of toe/fingernail clippers can be purchased for a few dollars at nearly any store.


Dean Jensen

I started fly fishing in 1972 and I have learned quite a bit about this wonderful sport called fly fishing and I want to share some of the things that I have learned.

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