Winter inventory - preparation - clean out !


Active Member
After fishing two new lakes this summer and fall and learning they're hatches and my favorite flies to fish on these two lakes i am doing a winter clean out of fly box's from my lake boat gear .

Two years ago i got obsessed with crane prairie and tied flies just for that lake and made a large fly box just for the patterns for that lake .

Now these two lakes closer to home are calling for they're own fly box - I made one mid summer for the first lake and am now making one for the lake i fished most this fall and winter . i carry with me a backpack and smaller gear bag filled with fly box's . The backpack carries my big box's (just regular plastic gear box's) that are lake specific box's , the smaller gear bag carries about 10 or twelve mixed fly box's so today i wanted to start a big box specifically for the new lake i am fishing .

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I was able to get rid of 5 fly box's out of my small bag which will help getting to flies faster . the big box is the start of the NEW LAKE box . I kept tying patterns as i would run into them during the fall and winter and put them in smaller box's - but things kept changing so ended up with all kinds of small box's to dig through when fish would start sipping or needed to change for a certain hatch . having a water specific box really helps on the water - now all i have to do is start tying all the patterns i do not have and get the ones i do have better inventory - numbers- . this is what i have been doing the last two winters .

I still take all the box's i have on each lake but have a big box for most everything for each lake . smaller tools and reels fit in the gear bag and larger stuff fits in the back pack . each large box has a spot for indi's - weights - leaders - and mucilin .

How do you prepare for lakes ? since i always use a drift boat I always wonder how pontoon and float tube fisherman take a whole bunch of stuff on the water with them ? do you have to down size for each trip ? I've fished out of a toon and tube and and used the side pockets for fly box's .

Looking for suggestions


Indi "Ira" Jones
I'm out of a boat as well but when I fished out of the pontoon, I generally had one box for my chironomids, another with dries and emergers and a third for streamers, buggers and other attractors. Eventually I split the bugger/streamer box into two boxes.

Now I have 6 or 7 boxes and I just bring them all because you never know.


Jeff Studebaker

Kayak Fly Angler
I've got a dry box, a wet box, a streamer box, and a chironomid box. Then I have a "big box" with two of everything.

The idea being that, if I know I want – a black bunny leech, for example – I go straight to the streamer box and there it is. However, if I'm just looking for a new strategy and really have no idea what will work, I open the big box and see what catches my eye.

For my winter prep this year, I'm going through all these boxes, taking out flies I never use, stripping the hook clean, and re-tying it in one of my go-to patterns.

While learning fly tying over the past two years, I tied anything that looked cool or had an interesting technique, so, along with some really useful flies, I ended up with dozens of patterns that I never find a reason to use.

My New Year's resolution: simplify my fly boxes.

Oh yeah: I fish out of a kayak. Rods are stowed in holders aft, and the net is under bungees on the bow. Other than that, I only carry what gear will fit in the pockets of my fishing vest (including fly boxes).


Active Member
I fish from a boat as well. I like to stay high and dry. I have 2 boxes of dry flies, 1 large box with nymphs and streamers, 1 large box of new-to-me flies that is starting to become another large box of nymphs and streamers, & 1 box of chironomids that got started from a fly swap. I keep a gear bag on the seat next to me that contains fly boxes, tools, leaders, camera, etc. I have a large waterproof bag that I put on the seat in front of me that contains extra clothes, rain gear, reels, spools, etc. I keep it in front of me so I can rest my rod on it while I row around. Keeps the rod propped up just the way I like it. My Lunch and beverages go in the cooler behind me. I usually have a rod strung up with a sinking line and one with a floating line. I've been trying to come up with a good way to secure the spare rod to the side of the boat to keep it better protected but so far everything I've seen or come up with is too cumbersome to get the rods in and out of or seems to be el' cheapo and could easily break. Something to consider when you have 3 young kids and a chocolate lab that join you on your fishing voyages.


Active Member
I'm usually fishing out of a watermaster so just about everything goes into a vest. I carry a leech/streamer box, general nymph box, and a chironomid/stuff that hangs under a bobber box with a few dries thrown in. Spare spools, tippet, and bobbers all tucked into pockets. Waterproof roll top bag with spare clothes and lunch. I have friends with boats and for those trips a waterproof boat box for all the stuff I'd usually jam into a vest is nice. I like the Patagonia great divider.

I'm due to sort all my boxes again. Every year or two I clean out all the bugs that didn't get any fishing time and stock up with go-to patterns or new ones I want to try.


Active Member
TD the one thing i really need to get is the dry bag . i've been looking at the whitewater kind with zipper that both my pack and gear bag will fit in . Is this what you use?

For keeping my rods safe i have a double rod case with reel holders attached that fit 2 piece 9 ft. rods , when i'm not using a rod even the 4 pc. rods fold in half and fit in this case . i plan on getting another for my 10 and 9'3" rods - the 10 fter is a 2 piece and so is the 9'3" inch they just dont fit in the 9ft double . although these do take up room , when it is dry i can lay them flat on the floor out of the way . the rods are always ready with flies attached even , by reeling the flies to the tip of the rods and slipping them in the case's in two piece for travel and while fishing . one of my 4 pc, rods haven't even been taken fully apart for years . MY lab loves to get on the sides of the boat while landing fish .


Active Member
That isn't a bad idea for the cases. I'm going to look into that.

My waterproof bag is a duffle bag style with hard plastic bottom. The top folds over and has a lip that folds down so water drips away. I like this style because I can leave it unzipped with the top flipped shut and not have to mess with the zipper. The down side is if it ever goes over board and I have the top open.....

I also have a roll top waterproof bag but it doesn't get used much. It mainly is used when I have guests in the boat so they can keep stuff dry.