Don’t know what to get the fly fisherman or woman in your life? Here’s a great list of fly fishing gifts from active anglers! These are great fly fishing gift ideas for Christmas, Father’s Day, and Mother’s Day.
Going into every holiday season, the angler in your life quietly hopes that instead of socks, bath salts, ties, coffee mugs, slippers, and BBQ equipment, someone gifting them will take a moment to understand what they would really like to receive.
And admittedly, it’s not easy to figure out gifts for fly fishing.
Fly fishing has so much intricacy, things to learn, and gear to buy that there is no shortage of things to fill a stocking or blow their minds with that awesome gift they would love to open.
If only someone would just make a list for the people in our lives of what fly anglers want for the holidays!
Could we just get a simple list of can’t go wrong gifts that we would all like to get? What if that list even included stocking stuffers and items we could never have enough of? Let’s see if we can lay some breadcrumbs and get as close as possible to handing our list directly to Santa.
Best Fly Fishing Gift Ideas
So how did we gather these suggestions?
To put this list together, it made sense to ask fly anglers what they would like to like to see in their stockings or under the tree. The poll included over a dozen avid anglers (male & female) that range from professional guides to newbies. It was fun to see that, whether experienced or new, many of the wishes aligned.
In addition to the simple ask for TIME to fish, this is a can’t-miss list of wants. Let’s look at it three ways:
- Stocking Stuffers, or “What Everyone Needs More Of”
- Items on Every Fisherman’s Wish List
- Fly Fishing Gifts That Will Blow Their Minds
Good news: if you have a fly angler to shop for, there is no shortage of great fly fishing gifts they want and need to fill a stocking In fact, many of the things they use the most and always need more of are small and affordable.
Leaders & Tippet
Besides losing flies, fly anglers will go through leaders and tippet more than anything else. Your angler will need all different weights and lengths of leaders. You can’t go wrong going to Rio and picking up a couple 3-packs of 9ft/5X or 4X trout leaders. While you are there you can add three (3) spools of tippet in sizes 4X, 5X, 6X. You can also find tippet at Scientific Anglers.
Headgate Tippet Holder
If your angler doesn’t have one of these already, you can’t go wrong with picking up Fishpond’s Headgate Tippet Holder. This will hold all the tippet spools you have picked, and the ease of use for your angler will be much appreciated.
Forceps & Nippers
As time goes on, the fly fishing tools just keep getting better and more versatile. Forceps are now able to do a lot more than just remove a fly. The Rogue Quickdraw Forceps from Loon are a favorite to remove flies, crush barbs, and clean the eye of fly hooks. Plus your angler will love the carabiner clip! You can even package that together with the Rogue Nipper on a zinger for all the line trimming.
No what the conditions, there always seems to be a good reason to have a neck gaiter either on or accessible (see what to wear fly fishing!). Whether it’s bugs, warmth, or protection from direct sun (both from above or reflecting off the river) neck gaiters are a great gift.
Waterproof Phone Case
Anglers love to take and share pics of the fish they catch. Maybe not the old timers, but definitely the new generations of fly anglers. At some point a phone is going to get wet from a drop or slip into the river. A waterproof case like the Aquapac from NRS will keep things dry, and allow the phone to be used without exposing it to the rain or river moisture.
Fishing isn’t always about the fishing. Fishing is sometimes a great excuse to hang out with friends and family away from the distractions of home and work life. When it’s time to have a cold drink on the river, a Puffin Adventure Vest is perfect. Who wouldn’t love a fishing vest for their beer?
It might take a little while for your fly angler to realize he or she needs these, but hands get so much sun abuse during a day of fishing. They take direct sun and wet hands from the river can wash off the sunscreen.
Yes, fly anglers always need more flies! Don’t be intimidated to get ones they want or need. In fact, don’t do the choosing yourself. Just go to your local fly shop and tell them where your angler likes to fish . . .or where they would like to fish (more to come on locations in this article).
The shop will set you up. If you don’t have a shop close by, you can email an online shop like Big Y Fly and they will ship them out. Don’t forget to ask your angler’s friends, too!
Besides the above, here are a few other stocking stuffer ideas:
- Waterproof and oil-free sunscreen. Get some that is environmentally friendly like Stream2Sea.
- Floatant for dry flies. like Dry Magic from Japanese Tiemco can be found on Amazon.
- Swivel retractors. These are for the gear bag, like the ones from Fishpond.
- Neck lanyard. For holding essentials, like the Neckvest Lanyard from Loon.
- Fly tying materials. This may be a little tricky, but there are good starter options from Cabelas.
- Thermometer. Yes, a good fisherman will check the river temperature to understand where fish might be holding. Orvis has one called the Encased.
- Socks! Yes, you can buy your angler socks and they won’t be sad. Smartwool makes great fishing specific socks he’ll love.
On the Wish List
We covered some great fly fishing gifts to fill up up the stocking. Hopefully that helps! Now let’s talk about some things your fly angler would love to see under the tree. They may or may not have shared a wish list with you, but you can’t go wrong with any of the below.
And don’t get scared about getting the exact “right” version for them. They can always return it for the item they had their eye on, but at least you gave them permission to get the item in the first place.
The idea is to get a pair of sunglasses that your fly fisher will want to wear both on and off the water. There are some pretty hideous fishing glasses out there that look like something the doctor gives you after eye dilation. Fortunately, you can grab a pair like the SMITH Castaway. The Chromapop technology definitely works!
Hip Bag or Satchel
Not everyone likes wearing a fly fishing vest. In fact, most new fly anglers prefer to assort their gear not using a vest. Vests, though great for organization, can feel cumbersome when casting. Fishpond has some great options with the Summit Sling or Thunderhead Lumbar. If your fly angler loves SIMMS, something like the Flyweight Hip would make them happy.
Fly Fishing Net
You might be thinking, well, my fly angler already has a fishing net. That is probably true. However, they most likely still have the small trout net they started out with. It is likely they would be excited about having a second larger (or maybe smaller) net. Fishpond has some of the best nets on the market, including the Nomad & Emerger.
I know what you’re thinking! But no, the recommendation is not to overspend for a YETI. They may have put some great marketing out into the world, but there are more affordable options that will do the job just as well. Like the RTIC Soft Pack Cooler. If they want a hard cooler, the 45 QT Hard Cooler has great reviews. Don’t overpay for brand name fly fishing gifts, especially when it comes to coolers.
Wading Boots & Wading Socks
For wading boots or socks, you might need to do a little investigating to get it right. A couple “can’t miss” brands to look into are Korkers and SIMMS. The SIMMS Freestone is generally considered one of the best all-round boots, especially for the price.
Even better than wading boots is the opportunity to warm weather fish. You don’t need waders, and more than likely you are just trying to protect your feet. Some folks will just wear water sandals, but for those looking for a little more protection, wading boots may still be in order.
In those cases, a nice pair of wading socks like the Neoprene Flyweight from SIMMS would be a versatile addition to your angler’s gear bag.
Fly Tying Vice
It can be argued that by the time you buy the supplies and weigh the opportunity cost of the time associated with tying your own flies, it makes sense just to buy them. However, there is no greater feeling than watching a fish take a fly that you personally tied.
Your angler will love the nudge to get into tying with a quality vice like the Medallion from Regal. Maybe you will even get to help name some of their new creations!
More than likely, your fly angler may have a rod or two that they are using for the different types of fishing they enjoy. Most will have acquired a 5wt rod to get started. Don’t worry, you can read this article to under what fly rod “weight “ means.
After your giftee fishes for a bit, they would probably like to have a lighter or heavier weight rod for small streams or bigger fish. Adding a 3wt or 6wt rod would be a great gift. You can ask your local fly shop for recommendations or get leads from our fly rod weight post linked above.
Whether your fly angler is jumping on a plane or just tossing gear in the back of their rig to go fish, they always need solid gear bags. In fact, fishing bags probably get the most abuse of any piece gear. Dry bags and backpacks just don’t cut it over the long run.
Here are a few other wish list ideas:
- Branded sun hoody. Get something breathable with sun protection like the Remix Tech from Anetik.
- Fly fishing books. Yes, get him or her books to keep building the knowledge base.
- A new fly reel. Pick up a new fishing reel that can go with their new rod and diversify the types of fishing they can do.
- A set of dry bags. You’ll want a bag like the Discovery from Seal Line to protect gear when on a drift boat.
- More fly boxes! A big box like the Boat Box from MFC Company or smaller artisan boxes like the Poly Fly.
- New fly line. This one might be a little harder to sort out in secret, but if you talk to your local fly shop about what you fly angler likes to do they can help you. Maybe they return it to get exactly what they want, but you still nailed it.
“Blow Their Mind” Gifts
Let’s be honest: a lot of us go into the holidays not really expecting to receive anything we really want. Maybe that’s because our people don’t know what to get us, or the things we want are a little unrealistic financially. That doesn’t change the fact that we are still adults that grew up as kids circling items in the Toys R’ Us catalog.
If you want to see the adult version of a kid screaming about unwrapping a new Nintendo, take a look down this list that – like the above items – came straight from fly angler’s dream lists.
This one is at the top of the list because practically every angler polled had it at the top of their personal list. Fly anglers like guided trips not because they want to have a cushy day on the river, but because they want access to new water, learning opportunities (both technique and location), and the sage advice from someone that fly fishes professionally.
In some cases, guided trips will access private water that a fly shop has an arrangement to access. Like a rock climber would say, it’s all about getting the “beta” on the route.
The misconception might be that guided trips are insanely expensive. That is not necessarily the case as you can find half-day options in addition to full-day and multi-day options. Even the difference between floating and walking trips can drastically change the cost.
Call your local fly shop and ask about the different options and locations. They will take care of you and make sure your fly angler has great time.
Note: for new fly anglers, there is no better accelerator than to have them spend time with a guide! It can save years of frustration.
Everyone starts fly fishing in different ways. Maybe you have someone in the family to show you the ropes. Maybe you were out with friends and gave it a try. Or maybe you watched A River Runs Through It and decided to tackle it on your own.
In most cases, we all either need or want to refine our casting skills. It can be extremely frustrating to know where the fish are and not have the casting skills to get to them. When you are inquiring with the local fly shop about guided trips, you can also ask them about their casting lessons or referrals. It is a great feeling to become more confident with your fly casting!
Two-Handed Trout Spey Rod
What happens to fly anglers over time is that they inevitably what to try their hand at catching new species or add techniques to their existing skill set. In addition to that evolution is the desire to access new water. Sometimes that is as simple as new water on a river they already fish.
What a two-handed spey rod like the SAGE Trout Spey does is that it allows a fly angler to cast flies over much wider swaths of river, which allows the fly to swing across a bigger chunk of river. All of which should allow more fish to see the fly, and hopefully get a chance to fool one into biting.
Basically, the trout spey rod allows anglers to finally get to that water they have been staring at from across the river. It also allows fly anglers to use a lighter weight rod to cast big flies – making the catching more fun.
One of the most popular recent additions to a fly angler’s wish list is a rod holder or box. They are so popular! There are a couple reasons for this.
First, as we have suggested in other posts (fly fishing gear care), fly rods and reels are strong in the right application (catching fish). But they are rather delicate otherwise. It’s not hard to break a rod tip or compromise a rod in some way.
A rod holder protects the most important fishing gear when traveling and moving from spot to spot. Also, it keeps multiple rods from getting tangled up. See the 2 – 4 bangers from Riversmith or the Rod Vault by Thule.
The second reason for their popularity is that the rod holder saves an angler a ton of time! They get to show up to the river with their rods ready to fish, already rigged up from the convenience of home.
That is important because getting the spot is “a thing.” At some point, every fly angler is going to experience someone rolling up ready to fish as they are rigging up and see their spot taken.
It’s great to have multiple rods set-up and locked away too. When the hatch happens, they can drop off the nymph rig and grab the dry fly set-up in a quick switch, which is critical during short hatches. As mentioned earlier, having a rod holder just makes it so smooth and easy to quickly move from spot to spot along the river.
One of the fly anglers polled for this article had a very specific gear request that we think a lot of fly anglers dream about getting at some point. He said very directly, “a custom made bamboo rod with the signature of the person giving the gift laminated on the rod.”
What an awesome gift idea that has a long-term remembrance tied to it! Bamboo is basically a nod to how fly fishing began. Checkout the Bamboo or “Cane” rods from Sweetgrass.
Before high performance fast action graphite rods, fly anglers were learning to perfect their casts on slow action bamboo. Think A River Runs Through It. Inevitably, most experienced fly anglers would love a bamboo rod in their stable. You would definitely get the Christmas morning squeal from this kind of gift!
Fly fishing is all about having access to good water. We might start out hiking to it, or riding in a guide’s boat, but eventually we are going to want to access it ourselves.
Once we get the beta on where to be and what to fish, it’s just a matter of getting there. Pontoon boats like the Colorado XTS from Classic Accessories are what you’re looking for.
These boats are easy to manage, lightweight, and fit in the back of my trucks for transport. Whether floating lakes or paddling past all the bank fisherman at the local river, pontoon boats are a great fly fishing gift.
Here are a few other “blow their mind” ideas:
- A beautifully engineered and crafted reel. Abel is a brand to drool over. Be careful that you don’t get your angler hooked on collecting artisan reels!
- Lightweight waders. Your angler might love new waders that are lighter and fit well. Sometimes it takes a little time to know what you need. The G4 Wader from SIMMS can’t be beat.
- Euro nymphing set-up. This is for those anglers looking to expand their subsurface technique. Tighter lines, no indicators, and less line out means more hook-ups. Check out the Epiphany series from Moonshine Rods.
- 8wt rod. This usually means someone is going after big fish – which everyone loves a chance to do. Whether it’s migratory fish like steelhead or saltwater time, it’s great to have that rod ready to go. You can’t go wrong with the NRX+ from G Loomis.
- Saltwater reel. Saltwater reels go great with that 8wt rod, and every fly angler wants a reason to find the sun and some big fish. You can’t go wrong with the Torque from Galvan.
Now that you’ve heard our recommendations for fly fishing gifts, what are yours? What would you really love to have (whether small, medium, or large)? Let us know in the comments!