Freshwater Fly Fishing Essentials

One of the most important parts of fly fishing is ensuring that you have everything you’ll need for the adventure ahead. There’s no disappointment quite like getting to the river and realizing that you forgot the flies you just tied, or worse, your reel (been there, done that). We’ve made this super simple list of the top items you must have when targeting any freshwater fish. Everything listed (and more!) will fit perfectly in your Sea Run case so you’ll never hit the water without it again!

What’s something that you would add to the list? 

Hemostats or Pliers 

While they might be attached to your waders or your backpack, that’s not really the place you want them when you’re floating down the river and you realize your waders are still in the back of your truck. You don’t need to get fancy, but a solid pair of pliers will make for a better day for both you and the fish. 


The Right Flyline 

If you’re new to the sport it can be pretty overwhelming trying to figure out what line works best for which species or in certain waters. A little bit of research can go a long way to ensure that you have the right tools for the job. Major players in the industry, such as Airflo, Scientific Anglers, Orvis, and Rio all do a great job of explaining line applications on their websites. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or reach out to anyone on social media too! 


Leader and Tippet Material 

This is attached to the end of your fly line and ranges from 3-15 feet depending on the application. For pickier fish (like most trout) a smaller diameter is required to not spook the fish when fishing nymphs subsurface or dry flies up on top. If you’re targeting pike, musky or any species with large teeth you’ll need to make sure you have a wire leader so that you keep not only your fly but keep the fish safe as well. One thing to note just like flylines they are specific for each type of fishing the best way to find out what leader works best talk to others or look up how to tie your own.


Rod + Reel 

The general rule of thumb is that smaller water calls for a smaller weight rod and reel. If you’re targeting trout in smaller streams, shallow water, or dry fly fishing then a  3-6wt will typically work best. If you’re throwing streamers in deeper and faster water, you’re better off using a 6-9wt. Make sure that the weight of the reel and the rod are compatible. 


Flies + Streamers 

You can’t target fish if they don’t have anything to eat. Whether you’re laying down flies or hucking streamers, make sure to have plenty of patterns in a variety of colors and sizes to test out on the water. Keep them organized and accessible in a fly box. This one will fit perfectly in your Sea Run case. 


Baby Wipes

Hands, rods, beer spills, and butts. You might not think it’s essential but we promise you’ll thank us later. 


Sunglasses + Zeiss Wipes 

Sunrise, midday, sunset. There’s no bad time to have your hat and sunglasses on the water to combat reflection and sun damage. Keep them clean with what we would argue are some of the best sunglass cleaning wipes: Zeiss wipes. They come individually wrapped in a small, portable, premoistened package. All you do is rip the top, take it out, and wipe down your glasses (or phone or camera screen or camera lens). Don’t forget to keep your trash with you and throw it out at the boat ramp or local bar after your day on the water. 



If you’re fishing dries, you need to make sure that the fly will stay on the surface of the water. Look for either Gink or Flyagra, your local fly shop should have exactly what you need. 


Landing Net with Rubber Bag

Ensuring a safe and healthy release of the fish begins with a solid landing. To minimize the stress on the fish, make sure to net swiftly from head to tail. Make sure to keep the gills in water at all times and allow the fish to regain strength in the net before release.