On the Fly: An essentials list for success on the water

Justin Moore

Whether you wade fish with a pack, sling or vest, we believe there are a few essential items you should always take to the river. As you might have noticed, there are those who travel light, and others who look ready for multiple days in the backcountry. Along with some organization, you can find a happy medium and be prepared for long days spent hiking into Jaffe Park, or short walks on the Fryingpan.

For a typical day spent on the water, here is what would be on our list of “essentials.” Guides would argue you need 01x through 7x tippets, but 4x, 5x, and 6x should have you ready for most situations, whether tying on big wooly buggers on down to size 24 midges. Nippers and forceps are some of the most important and also most frequently lost tools, so an extra set is never a bad idea. Polarized sunglasses, a rain jacket and a cap are something we never leave home without, and don’t forget sunblock and insect repellant for those dog-days of summer coming soon. Concerning leaders, we would suggest both 7.5 and 9 foot leaders ranging from 4x through 6x. You never can have too many, especially on a windy day.

A set of breathable waders, rugged boots, five weight rod, landing net, split shot, indicators and floatant should round it out for the rest of the “essential” accessories. When it comes to flies and boxes, one for nymphs and another for dries should keep you organized and efficient on the river. For the streamer junkie, a bugger box would be a nice addition to your arsenal. We wish everyone a wonderful fishing season here in the Roaring Fork Valley, and that you are prepared for whatever the river has to throw at you.

This report is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374 or

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