With the gift season coming, my wife asked me what do I want.  She knows my life revolves around her, our kids and fishing.  For me I don’t “need” anything when it comes to fly fishing, but I do have a list of things every fly fisher will need.

I thought shoppers would like to know what true fly fishers want. These are the items that get USED, LOST and, often times, having an extra one of these is a life saver. I emptied my fly fishing sling pack and picked though items I use. As an added bonus NONE of these items cost more than $20.

I’ve included a download with links to help folks shopping for fly fishing items.  None of these items are expensive and ALL of these items will get used.


Click on this link -> 34 Fly Fishing Gifts That WILL Be Used Under $20 and get a DOWNLOADABLE PDF Shopping List with where to get these gifts.


1. Fly Box – A Fly Fisher Can Never Have Enough Fly Boxes

Over at my little fly fishing store, River Traditions, I sell a really cool small double sided fly box and I LASER ETCH INTIALS, Names and Quotes onto the cover.  A useful and personalized fly fishing item that is sure to be appreciated. Get a Small Double Sided Fly Box from River Traditions – Links to my River Traditions Store.


2. Flies Nymphs and Woolly Buggers – Get Foundational Flies

A nice collection of flies is perfect.  If your shopping for a fly fisher it’s best to get what I call “foundational flies” -popular flies like woolly buggers and nymphs that will make the backbone of a fly box.  A couple great collections can be found on Amazon.  Fast easy ordering with great value.

Woolly Buggers by Wild Water – links to Amazon


Nymphs Assortment by Wild Water – links to Amazon

Wild Water is Located in New York State by some great steelhead waters.  These folks know how to gather a quality assortment.


3. A Fly Patch – Dry Out Your Fly Before Dropping in a Box

Fly Patches are neat little items.   You clip them on your vest, shirt or waders.  The idea is to dry your fly before sticking it into your fly box.  Wet flies will rust hooks, so drying them out before putting them away is easy with a patch.  I like the cheap patches, because patches are made of foam and will get torn apart after a while.  (The hook barbs pull little chucks out)

I recommend Kingfisher brand it’s cheap and effective.  Link to Amazon – Kingfisher Foam Fly Patch


4. Fly Fishing Leaders – Used and Abused when Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing Leaders are a disposable item.  In fact, a fly fisher should be replacing them regularly.  Get an assortment for your “Fly Flinger”.  

I actually sell 3 packs of leader.  This is going to sound like I’m over selling, but you could get MULTIPLE 3 packs from my little store and still be $$ ahead compared to other online retailers. I sell my leaders for $4.95 for a 3 pack. Other folks will charge twice as much. Check out the great prices at River Traditions 9 Foot Nylon Leaders (3 Pack)

Another easy option, if your fisher person likes trout fishing, I’d recommend Scientific Anglers 9 foot 5X – 3 packs


A little video describing a little more about these gift items.

5. Tippet – Used on Every Fly Fishing Trip

I (yup the guy writing this) sell a variety pack that contains the MOST POPLAR SIZEs of Tippet for a trout fisher  4X, 5X and 6X.  Check it out here – River Traditions Fly Fishing Nylon Tippet in 4X, 5X and 6X

If you love shopping on Amazon for convenience, you could get this variety pack Scientific Anglers (3) Pack of Tippet on Amazon


6. Fly Fishing Lanyard – A Minimalist Fly Fishers Favorite

For a quick fly fishing trip, I’ll grab my fly rod, a small box of flies, a leader and my lanyard.  The lanyard conveniently holds the basics.  Nippers, dressing, tippet and hemostats.  A basic value packed model is the Ultimate Fly Fishing Lanyard – Amazon Link


7. Fly Dressing – Keeps Flies Floating High

I’m guilty of this- I’ll get to the river and quickly tie on a fly and after the first cast, it sinks.  Ugh….  If I’d simply applied a little fly dressing the problem would be solved.  Fly dressing is used and USED up over the course of a season or two of fishing.  Every fly fisher will use it – I love Gehrke Feets GINK – LinK to Amazon

Gehrke-Feets-GINK-Fly-Dressing
Gehrke-Feets-GINK-Fly-Dressing

Click on this link -> 34 Fly Fishing Gifts That WILL Be Used Under $20 and get a DOWNLOADABLE PDF Shopping List with where to get these gifts.


8. Hemostats / Fly Fishing Scissors – Used for Everything

Whether wading or drifting in a boat, a fly fishing guide will have multiple pairs of hemostats laying around.  One of my most popular videos is about Hacks Using Hemostats – https://youtu.be/0WI4UJR3hdU

I love Dr Slick Scissor Clamps – Amazon Link.  Get the shiny pair with the gold finger loops.  The shiny stainless steel “slides” over leaders and tippets making it easier to tie knots.  Seriously I love These!!

Scissor Clamps Dr Slick Shiny Stainless Steel is Best
Scissor Clamps Dr Slick Shiny Stainless Steel is Best

9. Fly Dressing Holder – Eases Use for the Fly Fisher

Fly dressing is thick when cold.  Having the fly dressing bottle tip-down eases using.  A cheap and easy gift that will be used. Get SF Fly Fishing Floatant Bottle Holder (Amazon Link for FAST delivery) the best.

Gehrke Feets GINK Fly Dressing
Gehrke Feets GINK Fly Dressing and Holder

10. Fly Desiccant – Dries Flies Fast

After a fly is fished for a while, it starts to get water logged, and eventually sinks.  This is especially true when a fish has chomped on it.  The easiest thing to do is dry it with a cloth and then drop it into desiccant/floatant.  Loon makes a product called Loon Outdoors TOP RIDE – link to Amazon that I’ve been using and recommend.  Highly recommended! 

Loon Top Ride Fly Desiccant
Loon Top Ride Fly Desiccant

11. Nippers and Clippers – A Must Have for a Fly Fisher

Nippers, will get dull, will get lost and need to be easily accessible.  This is a cheap item that will be used and it’s better to have more than 1.  They don’t cost much, so get one or more for your fly fisher.  I like the kind with a rubberized grip and some extras, like a nail knot and/or hook sharpener.  SMASFX make a great product – Fishing Quick Knot 4 in 1 Clipper

Fly Fishing Nippers Clippers and Nail Knot Combo
Fly Fishing Nippers Clippers and Nail Knot Combo

12. How to Books for Fly Fishing

Orvis has The Orvis Guide to Fly Fishing for Beginners – Amazon Link.  The book contains short articles with fly fishing tips and techniques.  Even an experienced fly fisher can learn a thing or two. 

Orvis-Guide-to-Beginner-Fly-Fishing
Orvis-Guide-to-Beginner-Fly-Fishing

If your looking for more books I wrote about the 15 Must Read Fly Fishing Books [How to and Fiction] <- link to article


13.  Indicators – For Nymph Fishing

This little item could surprise your fly fisher into thinking you know more about fly fishing than you really do.   Indicators are little floats that help hold a fly up off the bottom.  Think of it as a bobber.  The “go to” indicator is a THINGAMABOBBER – Link to Amazon

Fly Fishing Indicator
Fly Fishing Indicator THINGAMABOBBER

14. Split Shot for the Fly Fisher

Sometimes a little bit of weight makes the difference between catch and just fishing.  I carry a bunch of different styles and sizes of weights.  Be a bit environmentally conscious and stay away from lead.  A great non-toxic product is sold by Orvis.  Recommended and Highly rated – Orvis Non-Toxic Oval Split Shot


Click on this link -> 34 Fly Fishing Gifts That WILL Be Used Under $20 and get a DOWNLOADABLE PDF Shopping List with where to get these gifts.


15. Fly Fishing Magazine Subscription – Get a Magazine in your INBOX

Fly Fisherman magazine is one of the few magazines left that only writes about fly fishing.  It’s a digital magazine, but you’ll get the latest news about this incredible sport.  Best of all, it’s priced at about ten bucks! Check it out with this link –   https://www.flyfisherman.com/


16. Trout Unlimited Membership – Get more than $35 worth

This is easily the best value on this list.  A membership to Trout Unlimited provides way more value than the $35 membership fee.  It includes a magazine, free access to meetings with other fishy people, and the funds HELP a great conservation organization.  PLEASE SUPPORT something that supports your fly fishers sport by protecting the thing we love:  the environment and waters – check out Trout Unlimited – Link https://www.tu.org/trout-unlimited-3/


17. Fly Line Cleaner and Dressing – Protects Your Fly Line

Fly lines can cost over $100 bucks.  If it gets dirty, that same $100 fly line will cast like it’s worth $2 bucks.  An annual cleaning (Link to my article) and applying a fly line dressing will make your fly line work better and stay cleaner.  I’ve been using Rio Agent X – Amazon Link (YES that’s my hand in the picture) It works well and keeps my fly lines in tip top condition.

Fly Line Dressing
Fly Line Dressing Rio Agent X

18. Finger Guards – Protects a Fly Fishers Fingers

If you’ve read any of my articles you know I love streamer fishing.  Casting a streamer requires the fisher to “Strip” the line back in.  I’ll admit I’m a wimp and I don’t have callused fingers.  If you don’t have a stripping guard to protect your fingers, that nick that you get in the joint of your finger, takes a week to heal.  Cheap and simple solution is to get a quality finger guard – I particularly like the Buff Brand – Buff Pro Series Finger Guards.  (Another Pic with my hand, but the Link goes to AMAZON)  

Finger Guard
Finger Guard BUFF Brand Pro Series

19. Small Bottle of Insect Repellent – Fly Fishers Best and Worst Friend

A popular term in fly fishing is the word “Hatch”.  Basically, it’s the perfect conditions for a particular bug to transform from a crawling bug to a flying one.  A hatch can be so thick that weather radar can pick it up.  Those same conditions are perfect for mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers and fleas.  Get a small bottle of insect repellent with DEET like Repel Insect Repellent Sportsman Max– Amazon Link

GUIDE TIP: Ok the bad news for fly fishers, you’ve got to keep DEET off fly line, leaders, flies and other plastic items.  Don’t get spray, get a small squeeze bottle with a flip top.


20. Small Tube of Sun Screen – Great for a Fly Fishers Ears and Nose

I cover my head and neck with a hat and neck buff, but my ears, hands and nose take a beating in the sun.  Neutrogena sells a small easily packable tube of SPF 70 sun screen.  The tube is small and has 2.5 oz, so it easily fits in your shirt pocket or vest.  Protection from the sun is important, I highly recommend getting Neutrogena Sport Face Sunscreen – Amazon Link


21. Fishing Sun Gloves – Water and Sun Abuse a Fly Fishers Hands

Some cheap sun protection is a simple pair of sun gloves.  The water and sun combine to dry and burn hands.  Look for a pair that have a SPF rating, loops to help remove, and patches sewn into the palm.

KastKing Sun Glove (link to Amazon for hundreds of great reviews) sells a pair that has these features.

KastKing Sun Gloves
KastKing Sun Gloves – I make a good hand model😎

Click on this link -> 34 Fly Fishing Gifts That WILL Be Used Under $20 and get a DOWNLOADABLE PDF Shopping List with where to get these gifts.


22. Neck Gaiter – Lots of Benefits for a Fly Fisher

At first wearing, you like a buff for protecting your neck from the sun, then you realize it helps fight wind burn and also, when your face gets a little chilly, it keeps you warm.   A must have item for fly fishing.  What’s even better is that one size fits all and so many styles are available you can buy a couple.

The brand to get is called BUFF Neck Gaiter (Amazon Link) – they practically invented these

Neck Gator BUFF brand
Neck Gaiter BUFF brand – Love’m

23. Fly Rod Ferrule Lube/Wax – Reduces Fly Rod Wear and Tear

Years ago, I was with a buddy (Heinz) fly fishing, we rowed into the take out point and started disassembling our fly rods.  Heinz is a little older and he handed me his rod to to dis-assemble.  Sure, as heck – I broke his fly rod trying to get it apart.  After that expensive lesson, I bought some ferrule wax.  Loon Outdoors makes a product called Graffitolin Ferrule Wax – Amazon Link


24. Fly Fishing Hat – A Fly Fisher Can Always Use Another Hat

I’ve written entire articles about fly fishing hats.  Read more about the qualities and characteristics here – Best Fly Fishing Hats.  My favorite is a felt wide brim that sheds water and sun and keeps me warm.  (I live in Michigan and most mornings are chilly)  It costs more than $20 bucks though.  A “Boonie” or Bucket hat is the next best thing.  Crumble it up and pack it away.  A decent one is the Frogg Toggs Men’s Waterproof Bucket Hat (Amazon link)


25. Nail Knot Tool – Cheap and So Many Fly Fishing Uses

A knot that fly fishers need to learn is a nail knot.  Straight up, it’s tough to tie without a tool.  But with a Tie Fast Nail Knot Tool  (Amazon Link) you can tie nail knots, snell hooks and even make perfect loops for your fly line.  I’ve even made a video on all the knots you can tie with a nail knot tools

Tie Fast Nail Knot Tool
Tie Fast Nail Knot Tool

Guide Tip:  Nail Knot Tool Video https://youtu.be/kqQhobEr_2o


26. Retractor or Fly Fishing Zinger – Keeps Fly Fishing Tools Close

The best retractor cost about $30, it’s called the Fishpond Arrowhead Retractor (Link to Amazon to check out the reviews).  I use mine on every fly fishing trip.  You don’t have to pay that much and still get a nice fly fishing gift.  I’d look at getting the SF 3 Pack of Fly Fishing Zingers (Amazon Link for Easy Shopping)

Guide Tip: To help new fly fishers understand the tools of the trade, I wrote a simple article called What is a Fly Fishing Zinger it describes everything about these little tools


27. Fingerless Gloves – Fly Fishers Need Wool or Fleece

It’s nearly impossible to fly fish with your fingers covered.  For years I cut the tips off cheap cotton gloves.  Bad idea, once your hands get a little wet that cotton freezes your hands.  Get wool or fleece if you get a pair, with a fold over mitten top. Just tear off the fold over top, it’s useless and just gets in the way.  I like these – Winter Wool Knit Fingerless Gloves (Check out the THOUSANDS of high ratings)


Click on this link -> 34 Fly Fishing Gifts That WILL Be Used Under $20 and get a DOWNLOADABLE PDF Shopping List with where to get these gifts.

28. Waterproof Fly Fishing Bag – Keeps Phone, Keys and Fishing License Dry

In a single year, I dropped three cell phones in the water.  Luckily, I buy those expensive warranties, but the last time the warranty folks cancelled me…  Get a little POUCH for your phone, keys, wallet and medicine.  A great one is sold on Amazon called the AiRunTech Waterproof Pouch (2 Pack)   Way better than a zip lock bag.


29. Headlamp – Fly Fishing at Night

The biggest brown trout come out at night.  Here in Michigan, we have the “Hex” hatch.  Usually between 11:00 pm and 2:00 am big mayflies hatch and start a feeding frenzy.  Read about it here – Fly Fishing Tips for Fishing at Night. 

Fly Fishing Headlamp
Fly Fishing Headlamp – Yup that’s me, David- silly!

Get a headlamp, it’s got to have a red lamp and white.  Use the red at night to save your night vision, plus blinding your fishing buddy isn’t a good idea with the white light.  I like the ones that use AAA batteries.  Look for simple buttons so you’re not fumbling around trying to turn it on. 

I like the Vitchelo Headlamp from (Amazon Thousands of High Ratings)


30. Hook Sharpener – “Sharp Hooks Catch Fish”

Streamer flies and nymphs get dull if you’re fly fishing correctly.  The flies have got to touch bottom (think rocks) once in a while.  A little diamond hook sharpener works perfect.  I sell one for $1.99 – Seriously less than $2, I’m selling them on clearance and concentrating on fly boxes. LINK to River Traditions Diamond Hook Sharpener

Hook Sharpener for Fly Fishing
Hook Sharpener

I’m sure they’ll sell out so, check out this one on AMAZON – Orvis Comfy Grip Hook Sharpener


31. Stream Thermometer – Unravel the Fly Fishing Mystery

I document the number of fish I catch, what fly they’re caught on, and I take water TEMPERATURE readings.  After years of doing this, I started to learn where and when to fly fish.  These stream thermometers are inexpensive and demystify fly fishing.  I recommend getting the Umpqua Stream Thermometer

Stream Thermometer for trout
Stream Thermometer for trout

Guide Tip:  Read about the uses for stream thermometers in this article. How to Use a Stream Thermometer

32. Magnetic Net Release – Keeps a Fly Fishers Net Handy

Another no brainer fly fishing gift. Dropping your net when wading really sucks. Especially if your doing contortions trying to net a fish. A magnetic net release WITH LANYARD is a great gift. A silly brand name Piscifun sells a great release with a quality lanyard. Check it out on Amazon – Piscifun Magnetic Net Release

Guide Tip: I made a video describing how to correctly hook these up. It can confuse folks, so it’s on YouTube here – https://youtu.be/-tD_5P8d2_I


33. Mini Multi-Tool – a Fly Fishers Best Friend

Picture hiking 2 miles to a favorite stretch of river, then sitting down to assembly your reel to your fly rod and you notice a screw is loose on your reel.  UGH…major bummer if you don’t have a tool to tighten it.  I carry a Gerber Dime Mini Multi-Tool – (Link to Amazon) that thing has saved my butt on many occasions.  Yes, that’s my hand holding my Gerber Dime

Gerber Mini Multi Tool Dime
Gerber Mini Multi Tool Dime

34. Coffee Cup – Reminds a Fly Fisher of Why

Fly fishing’s famed artist, Derek Deyoung, sells a coffee mug that is perfect.  Fly Fishers in the “know” have seen Deyoung art.  A work of art for any fly fisher for about $20.  Check it out here Cutthroat Yellowstone Derek Deyoung Coffeee Mug.


Last Cast – Fly Fishing is a Journey that takes Time

The VERY BEST GIFT for a fly fisher is a little bit of time on the water. My wife will say to me – “David go fishing”. It clears my mind and I come back from any time tossing flies, renewed.

I don’t know what everyone’s situation is, but getting out for me is special. If you’re significant other is stressed and burnt out, a gift of a day fishing is perfect.


Click on this link -> 34 Fly Fishing Gifts That WILL Be Used Under $20 and get a DOWNLOADABLE PDF Shopping List with where to get these gifts.


David Humphries at Guide Recommended

Hey David here the maker of Guide Recommended. I’m super passionate about everything fly fishing fishing; writing, teaching and even video.