To make this easier for everyone, we took our two best fly fishing gift guides, mashed them into a handy single page, then added a couple drool-worthy additions at the bottom.
33 Best Gift Ideas for Fly Fishing Fanatics 2016
1. Measure Net
The Measure Net is one of the most brilliant fly fishing inventions ever created. First, nets help fly fishers land fish more easily and release them unharmed. The Measure Net takes this a step farther by using a series of painted numbers inside the net to also measure the length of the fish. It works well and takes the guesswork out of length. Obviously fly fishermen like to catch all sorts of fish, but bigger is better and the bragging rights are in the net. Of course, if your fly fisher is a chronic exaggerator who does not want to live in our reality, you can always sew up the bottom of the net to make all the fish appear a few inches longer. But seriously, the Measure Net is a fantastic fly fishing gift.
2. Fly Fishing Lanyard
A fly fishing lanyard is basically a specialized necklace with attachment points for commonly used fly fishing accessories like clippers, tippet, floatant, and forceps. If your fly fishermen isn’t a vest kind of guy — and doesn’t use a chest pack — the lanyard is a must-have accessory. It’s also a handy but inexpensive fly fishing gift for kids and newbies. We like to attach a small fly box to ours, which gives us everything we need for quick jaunts down to the river or around base camp.
3. Fly Fishing Chest Pack or Sling Pack
The chest pack has been replacing old-school vests for a lot of fly fishermen. Why? They focus what you need right under your nose, giving you great access even when you’re wearing a pair of waders and are standing in waist-deep water. A new variation on the chest pack is a “sling pack,” which is lets you carry your gear on your back, but when you need it, spin it around to your front for easy access. The zippers and orientation are designed to work when pulled in front of you. The key benefit? You can carry more gear than a typical chest pack allows. A good sling pack is a splurge kind of item, so they make great fly fishing gifts.
- Allen Company Fall River Chest Pack
- Cabela’s Deluxe Chest Pack
- Orvis Safe Passage Sling Pack
- L.L.Bean Rapid River Sling Pack
- Umpqua Steamboat 1200 ZS Fly Fishing Sling Pack
4. Vehicle Rod Rack
For those rivers that are bordered by roads, it’s nice to be able to stow your fly rod on your vehicle and then drive up the river to a new spot. When you get out, boom, your long and ungainly fly rod is ready to rock and roll. Some guys will simply prop their fly rods on their windshield underneath their wiper blades, but it’s not the most secure method. And it can result in vibration and scratches to the rod or your pickup. A better solution is a dedicated rod mount system that uses suction cups or magnets to lift your rods above the hood of your vehicle and secure them in place. Quite handy and it makes a great fly fishing gift.
5. Fly Fishing Go Bag
One of the things that works against fly fishermen (and women!) getting out of the house is preparation — are you ready to go at a moment’s notice or do you need to put everything together? Go bags solve this problem. We like to throw most of our fly fishing gear into a single large expedition duffle bag that will hold 4-piece rods, wading boots, waders, a net, fly boxes, reels, fishing regulations, a first-aid kit (always a good gift, by the way), and more. When you get a chance to hit the river, all you have to do is grab your bag and leave with confidence that you have all the core gear you need. Go bags are nearly life transforming tools, and as such, they turn into fly fishing gifts that last years.
- Fishpond Westwater Zippered Duffle
- Cabela’s Ripcord Duffle Bags
- L.L.Bean Adventure Duffle
- Orvis Safe Passage Carry It All
6. Rod and Reel Case
Most fly rods are about 9 feet long because it’s a versatile length. The handiest rods we go for are those that break down into 4 pieces, which makes them easy to pack and travel with (they fit into go bags, too). While some premium rods ship with their own protective rod cases, few also include a built-in spot for a reel. If you have a case with this spot for a reel, you can pack your rod and reel together. It saves a bit of time, and when a fly fisher hits the river, it’s hard to be patient. Plus, if your fly fisherman doesn’t have a good case at all — but has a four-piece rod — this is a fly fishing gift he’ll use and appreciate (they also come in versions for two-piece rods).
- Allen Company Thunder River Fly Rod Case
- Cabela’s Fly Rod and Reel Case
- Orvis Safe Passage Rod/Reel Case
7. Polarized Sunglasses
We don’t understand the physics of light, but we know something about glare, and when you’re on the water, certain angles of sunshine create glare on the surface of water, making it hard to see beneath. Polarized sunglasses cut this glare the best, letting a fly fisherman spot fish beneath the surface, which often makes for some of the best fly fishing experiences. If your fly fishing fanatic hasn’t splurged on a pair yet, that’s your cue pick these as your next fly fishing gift.
- Flying Fisherman San Jose Polarized Sunglasses
- Costa BlackFin Realtree XTRA Polarized Sunglasses
- Orvis Superlight Riffle
8. GoPro with Chest Mount
The GoPro action sports camera system is the most widely used waterproof video camera in the world. For a fly fisher with a chest mount, the GoPro can capture first-person action of a fighting fish, and when it’s time to send the fish back home, they can dunk the GoPro underwater to record one of those cool underwater release shots. Even professional fishing show hosts are using GoPro cameras for this purpose. If your fly fisher is planning any epic trips of a lifetime, these GoPro options make excellent fly fishing gifts.
9. Water Shoes
There’s nothing better than fishing in your shorts in a cool stream on a hot summer day — without bulky waders or big wading boots. Water shoes are great for going light, of course, but better yet, they’re great for slipping on after a long day in a pair of waders. Because they let water out, they also let your feet get some fresh air. The Adidas Hydroterra Shandal Shoe used to be the best, but Adidas stopped making them! Only a few sizes are left. As a runner up, the Salomon Techamphibian 3 is excellent, too, and makes a great fly fishing gift for anyone who likes hot summer days on the river.
10. Magnetic Net Release
The Magnetic Net Release lets a fly fisher attach their net to the back of their vest to keep it out of the way while fly fishing, but once they need it, it pops off for easy access and use. Brilliant. Works great as a fly fishing gift stocking stuffer, too. It’s a fairly recent invention, so there are plenty of fly fishermen out there who don’t have one yet.
- SF Magnetic Net Holder with Cord
- Tight Line Magnetic Net Release
- Scientific Anglers Magnetic Net Holder
11. Pontoon Boat
Oh baby, pontoon boats are super cool. They break down and pack up small so you don’t have to own a pickup or a trailer to use one. Plus, one guy can run one by himself, even through some decent rapids. Better still, some are large enough for two people. And . . . quite simply, there are some rivers where you just can’t get to the biggest fish without using some sort of water craft. If your fly fisher unwraps a pontoon boat as a gift, look for the broad smile as his brain furiously churns through rivers and lakes that are suddenly open to his cast.
12. Wading Boots
A good pair of wading boots makes fly fishing easier and safer — they provide support and traction, and they tend to hold up well under water by not losing their shape over time. Typically, wading boots are used with a pair of stocking foot waders so they are sized a bit large because the stocking (neoprene) foot of the waders takes up space. But wading boots are also great for hot-weather summertime fishing. In this case, a set of neoprene booties are the way to go. Get wading boots when your fly fisher has none or a really old pair. They also go great with a set of waders (the next best fly fishing gift, noted below). See also, 7 Best Wading Boots for the Money.
13. Stocking Foot Waders
Stocking foot waders tend to be more versatile than waders with boots connected to the ends of them. Why? The waders can fail and you don’t lose your boot investment. Also, separate boots tend to fit better and provide better support. So we’re fans of stocking foot waders. Waders are like most other pieces of gear. More expensive sets will be more durable and last longer . . . but these days an entry-level pair will usually get the job done for a few years of use, no problem. Check out our guide to the 10 Best Fly Fishing Waders for more detail on this game-changing fly fishing gift idea.
14. Split Willow Creel
When fly fishers used to catch fish to eat, a willow creel lined with fresh grass was the go-to way to keep fish while fishing. Nowadays the creel is more of an heirloom sort of reminder of the traditions of fly fishing, which is why it’s one of our best fly fishing gifts. If your fly fisherman likes to keep and eat their catch, a willow creel is a functional wonder. Otherwise, the willow creel makes a great decoration for a fly fisher’s office, den, cabin, man cave, or as a decorative piece of art that sits next to grandpa’s old bamboo fly rod.
15. Spin/Fly Combo
Not all fly fishermen are complete fly fishing snobs . . . some just like to get out on the water any chance they can get and they’ll happily use a spin fishing outfit in order to cast a line and catch a fish. For these sorts of guys, one of the best gift ideas for fly fishing is, ironically, an easily packable spin-fly combo. Of course, you should know that a spin/fly combo doesn’t result in a fantastic fly rod, nor does it result in a fantastic spinning rod . . . but it will catch fish. As every fly fisherman knows, having any rod while you’re looking at fish swim in front of you is better than having no rod at all.
- L.L.Bean Spin/Fly Combo Outfit (with L.L.Bean’s legendary “100% Satisfaction Guarantee”)
- Daiwa Executive Spin/Fly Travel Pack ComboOrvis Encounter Spin/Fly Combo
16. Practice Casting Rod
Fly fishing is more about timing and rhythm than brute strength — just because you swing your arm harder or faster, it doesn’t mean you’re going to cast farther. In fact, you might just end up with a tangled mess. Enter a practice casting rod. These mini rods let you practice the basic motions of fly casting just about anywhere. And while you won’t be using one to cast to a rising trout, the motion and rhythm has a soothing effect on the angry bear inside of stressed men everywhere. Oh, and it’s a great learning tool for newbies and kids, too, which makes it a particularly good fly fishing gift for anyone starting out.
17. Fishing Jacket
A great fishing jacket will help a fly fisherman keep fishing when the weather turns cold, as well as work well for tooling around a camp or hiking back to the truck. More importantly, a fishing jacket is a symbol — it reminds a man that this is part of the gear you have that calms your mind and puts you in position to catch some fish. If your fly fisher goes after steelhead or salmon or doesn’t let bad weather stop the fishing, a fishing jacket is a great fly fishing gift.
- Frogg Toggs Cascades Sportsman’s Wading Jacket
- Wright & McGill Essentials Big Horn Wading Jacket
- Simms Challenger Jacket
- Orvis Wading Jackets — several price ranges, all great
And the same goes for an Orvis Email Gift Card — most fly fishers will find something useful from Orvis!
18. Tenkara Fly Rod
All this zen prep wording about calming your mind in the previous two fly fishing gift descriptions was just a warmup for a tenkara fly rod — these rods come from a Japanese heritage of simplicity. Instead of packing gobs of modern gear, a tenkara fly fisherman uses an insanely long and super light telescoping rod with a fixed amount of line tied to the tip. The rod is about as bendy as wet spaghetti and the special tenkara flies are soft-hackled blobs that represent nothing in particular but look tantalizingly alive. Fish love them. If your fly fisher is a bit stressed out and could use a switch to a very basic — but artful — form of fly fishing, consider a tenkara rod as your next fly fishing gift.
19. Stripping Basket
Stripping baskets are at once outstandingly utilitarian tools and sort of dorky at the same time. They are, however, fantastic fly fishing gifts for those who fish from a boat. Why? They collect fly line and let a fly fisher zing out a long cast without the line getting caught on pieces of a boat. Stripping baskets also work great when fishing in fast water or spring water that’s full of debris. They help keep your line out of the weeds and out of fast grabby water. If you have seen video footage of your fly fisher getting tangled up in his own line, a stripping basket is a good fly fishing gift!
20. Waterproof Camera
If your fly fisher isn’t into creating a bunch of videos, a GoPro is overkill. But a waterproof camera? Spot on. A good waterproof camera will let a fly fisher shoot video of a beautiful fish — including underwater release shots — as well take photos of the brilliant landscapes they visit. We can’t recommend waterproof cameras enough. They are rugged marvels of engineering that capture memories and let you share them, too. The Olympus TG-870 is our current favorite because it offers a sweet blend of easy-to-use features and an optical zoom lens. Snag the Olympus Tough Sports Holder for on-the-water access. Waterproof cameras make great fly fishing gifts for active fly fishers.
21. Wading Staff
If your fly fisher is getting on in the years, a wading staff is a critical tool for helping him wade into rivers, as well as get up and down banks without falling. Of course, even adventurous (sometimes dumb) young guys can use a wading staff. On some rivers with poor visibility, a wading staff can find hidden holes and drop offs, and on shore, help fend off rattlesnakes. In addition, one of the most dangerous things a fly fisherman can do is fall down in the water while wearing a pair of waders without a wading belt wrapped snugly around their waist — water rushes into the waders, filling them and sinking the fisherman. Tragic. A wading staff helps reduce the chance of falling, and a lot of fly fishers don’t invest in one until they’ve had a spill or missed a fish. Consequently, wading staffs make excellent fly fishing gifts.
- Fishpond Slippery Rock Wading Staff
- White River Fly Shop Collapsible Wading Staff (spring-open design)
22. Waterproof Backpack or Sling Pack
Just because you’re on the water, it doesn’t mean you want everything to get wet. Ever tried to eat a soggy sandwhich? Don’t. A waterproof backpack or sling pack can keep your lunch or smartphone dry, as well as just protect your gear. They are, of course, more important if your fisher stays out in rainy weather. A lot of guys hesitate to spend on waterproof bags — but later wish they had, making waterproof fly fishing gifts a welcome choice. Oh, one more thing: If your fisher falls down a lot, throw an extra pair of socks and underwear inside the backpack or sling pack before you wrap it up.
23. Ultralight or Heavy Duty Fly Rod Combo
Chances are, your fly fisherman primarily uses one favorite rod for most of his fishing adventures. That’s cool. But there’s a decent chance that he would like to try something radically different — like fishing with a super ultralight fly rod for skittish fish or small creeks . . . or going big for coho salmon or steelhead. In this case, the best way to encourage a different kind of fishing is with an inexpensive fly rod and reel combination. Choose a 7.5-foot 3-weight for ultralight action or a 9-foot 8-weight for a rod that’s heavy enough to take on salmon or steelhead. (Of course, you could go even larger with a spey rod if your fly fisher is going after big fish on big water.)
- Cabela’s Three Forks/Prestige Plus Fly Rod/Reel Combo
- Orvis Clearwater Series — options for small creeks to wide open saltwater
24. Fly Fishing Books
Here’s what’s great about fly fishing . . . when a fly fisher is stuck inside and can’t be out fly fishing, reading about fly fishing is the next best thing. Newbies can use some how-to books while veterans can dream about new places to throw a line, making these a versatile fly fishing gift option.
- Fifty Places to Fly Fish Before You Die: Fly-fishing Experts Share the World’s Greatest Destinations
- Orvis Fly-Fishing Guide
- L.L. Bean Ultimate Book of Fly Fishing
25. Inflatable Life Vest
Remember the wading staff? Fly fishermen tend not to wear life jackets. Foolhardy? Maybe. A great compromise is an inflatable life vest. These blow up instantly with a tug on a cord if a fisherman gets into trouble . . . or they can be manually inflated in case the instant CO2 method fails. Either way, fly fishermen often fish in frigid water, and an accidental dunking can get dangerous fast because it’s hard to swim in cold water. For older, younger, or adventurous fly fishers, inflatable life vests make surprisingly good fly fishing gifts.
26. First-Aid Kit
Aside from occasionally hooking themselves, fly fishermen require bandages for scrapes on rocks and falls into bushes. It’s not that fly fishers are clumsy, it’s just that they are so excited about what’s in the water that they forget to pay attention to where their feet are going. So yeah, bandages. Of course, a smart fly fishing gift giver will stock a first-aid kit with some extra ibuprofen, too.
- Adventure Medical Sportsman Series Steelhead First Aid Kit
- Adventure Medical Kits Adventure Medical Sportsman Grizzly Kit
27. Fly Fishing Shirt
Fly fishing works its way into a guy’s identity, which means he’s usually game for a wearing a shirt about fly fishing. Our current favorite is a Monster Trout ‘Obsession Beats Within’ Fly Fishing edition shirt, available only from Teespring. The design comes in a variety of colors and includes t-shirts for both men and women, warm hoodies, and long-sleeve tees.
28. ThermaCELL Mosquito Repellent Device
Mosquitos can ruin a good fishing trip, no doubt about it. While traditional mosquito repellant sprays and lotions work pretty well, it’s not the only line of defense. The ThermaCELL line of devices heats up a specially scented mat to release a vapor that repels mosquitos. Works great for fishing camp, hanging out while having lunch, or for those times where you stay in one spot, patiently working an area of water. If your fisher seems to have everything, ThermaCELLs can be pleasant fly fishing gifts you’ll get thanked for after they save the day.
29. Fishing Pants
A great pair of fishing pants will be lightweight but durable and made from a fast-drying synthetic fibers. Zip off pant legs for a conversion to shorts are a bonus. More importantly, fishing pants let your fly fisher step into the water without fearing a long, cold dry out process.
30. Hoppers, Hoppers, and More Hoppers
There are not many types of flies that you can safely buy for most any trout-focused fly fisherman, but one of the safest is a set of hopper patterns. Most every fly fisherman uses hoppers for summer fly fishing at some point during the year. Not only do they bring big trout up from the bottom, they are particularly effective when used with smaller dropper flies tied to the end of the hook — the hopper attracts attention but a small nymph dropper fly seals the deal. The point is, because hoppers are versatile and get used, they make great fly fishing gifts. (For warm water or saltwater gift options, L.L.Bean has a good assortment of fly collections.)
31. Fly Tying Tool Kit
A fly tying tool kit is a good way to get a fly fisher into tying their own flies. For some, fly tying becomes a life-long passion. The trouble with fly tying kits is that they generally aren’t made from the highest quality tools or materials . . . but they are good enough to give a fisher a taste of what it takes to tie flies. If they catch the fly tying bug, they’ll begin to learn what tools and materials they will want to invest in — better hackle, a better vice, etc. If you wanted to get a lot of high-quality fly tying gear right away, you could drop several hundred dollars in the blink of an eye. So fly tying tool kits make excellent fly fishing gifts for any fly fisher who wants to learn a little about fly tying . . . but has hesitated to make the leap.
- Scientific Anglers Deluxe Fly Tying Kit
- Cabela’s Beginners Fly Tying Kit
- Orvis Fly Tying Kits
- L.L. Bean Angler Fly Tying Kit
32. NRS Pike Fishing Inflatable Kayak
NRS Pike Fishing Inflatable Kayak
This bad boy won’t arrive before Christmas, but your fly fly fisher won’t mind: One of our best fishing buddies just got the NRS Pike Fishing Inflatable Kayak and now he’s moping around just waiting for warmer weather to try it out.
33. NRS Clearwater Drifter Inflatable Drift Boat
NRS Clearwater Drifter Boat
If you really want to go over the top, pick up an NRS Clearwater Drifter Inflatable Drift Boat. Insane awesomeness here and you don’t need to worry about a trailer, either. Just pack and go. Worried that it won’t arrive before the 25th? Don’t be. Just print a photo and wrap that. Your fly fisher will forgive the last-minute effort. Promise.
And the same goes for an Orvis Email Gift Card — most fly fishers will find something useful from Orvis!
Bonus: How About Fly Fishing Stocking Stuffers?
There are a lot of small fly fishing accessories and gadgets that make good stocking stuffers for fly fishermen. A good set of pliers, a fancy nipper, strike indicators, or fly floatant are all accessories that will get used and make good fly fishing stocking stuffers. Browse the fly fishing accessories and tools sections of these online stores below: