How many fly patterns do you "need"


Active Member
There are times when fish can be unbelievably persnickety but often times confidence in a pattern and the proper presentation will trump going thru a bunch of flies.
That said, I need to clean my boxes out. :D

Jim Travers

Active Member
You need a lot if you're lookin to be relevant in competitive waters. You gotta get to the point where you're throwin' out expensive flies not carin' -just cut it off tie a new one, need be!!

These days lotta guys claimin' in smokin circles that they been getting sponsors and gear appearances!! Attemptin' to look pro but I know they bought it. Gear 'ppearances are when you're one of the big boys

Phil Fravel

Those are interesting to list the flies??
Trout= Sanjuan worm chronimids damsel wet damsel dry hail bop Adams egg and leach

Bass leach and foam skater

Steelhead tandum tube. Muddler hobo. Small wet

Cutties. Lelands Miyawaki popper. Olive clouser

Pinks. Pink clouser

Dorado /rooster shock n Awe Sardine and mullet colors. Add Foam head for surface
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Steve Saville

Active Member
WFF Supporter
If you are a fly tier, you experiment. You tie, you fish, you cut them off, store them, lose them, or toss them. If you buy, you have to be really selective unless you have deep pockets. I have literally thousands of flies that I have tied over the last thirty years and I keep tying. I certainly don't use them all and I do have favorites but it's more of a hobby than it is a pursuit. How many? It depends on what you are fishing for but I usually carry a box or two of flies each time I go out.

Lue Taylor

Lue Taylor/dbfly
So I guess many never been in a situation where fish are rising all around you an every fly you use gets rejected? Then someone comes along hands you two small flies an says try these an sure enough you back in the game. That happen to me at Pass lake last year I had nothing in my box that looked like them too. So you can never have too many flies.


Active Member
For SRC it's clousers, buggers and reverse spiders all in various colors. In the Winter I use little ones and in Coho season big ones. I tie and try all sorts of flies but for me these always seem to end up being the winners.


Active Member
Well, the ladies say you can never be too blonde and we say you can never have too many flies. Probably true but I always preferred sultry brunettes and have 21 boxes of flies. In the past 40 years I have fished over 100 lakes in Washington and Oregon and believe I could catch fish in any of these lakes with just 3 flies.
Black Wooly Bugger
Black Chironomid with a white tungsten bead head

If I was limited to just one fly I'll take my chances with a size 12 halfback.


Active Member
WFF Supporter
Kinda fun reading this thread as I sit at my vise tending to my vice of tying. @Scott Salzer, only 2,415? ;-) I was thinking about hitting a big lake nearby (it wasn't frozen as of day before yesterday) and trying my luck with a blob and that little seal fur/squirrel tail jig............. Blobs work sometimes, that particular color jig - new today for me. Prototype: I hope I break it off on a big fish.

Old Man

A very Old Man
WFF Supporter
Since I only fish for trout, I use about 4 flies. A size 16 or 18 Royal Wulff and a size 16 to 18 Caddis fly on the top. Nymphing I use a SJW and a Zebra nymph. The SJW in a size 14 or 12, and a size 22 Black Zebra nymph. I tried a red Zebra nymph as my second fly, but all I caught with that set up was Rocky Mountain whitefish. So now I just use black.

I carry about 4 filled fly boxes. You never know when you need to try and match the hatch. So one of those 100's of flies you have along might work. But sometimes I will use other flies.

Rock Creek Fan

Active Member
I am a trout guy like OMJ.

Caddis: size 16 - 18 in various colors including cream, green, red, and orange.
Nymphs: size 14 - 18 Pheasant tail, Hares Ear in cream or brown, San Juan worm
May fly: size 16 and 18 in cream or tan
Midge: I buy them in size 22 - 24
Lake: dragon/damsel nymph

So I carry a box of each due to size and color variations.

Large specialty flies: Skwala dry and nymph, October caddis dry and nymph, Salmon fly in dry and nymph, and a mouse or two....
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