Unless you are a real diehard, most fly fishermen are resting and waiting for the ice to melt. Fly Fishing is a wet water sport. Now I do use fly variations when I ice fish. Wooly buggers, and other trashy /flashy flies can work well under the hard water.
For the rest of us Fly Friendly Brotherhood, we need to get out our fly boxes and tying vices. Each year, you should take stock of what you have. After a busy fly-fishing season, your boxes have broken hooks, leader on flies, destroyed flies, repairable flies, and flies that are not organized. Nymphs are in your streamer box and dries are in your terrestrial box.
Here’s some great ways to get organized, locked, and loaded for the upcoming season.
TIME IS MONEY The more time you waste looking and sorting flies afield, the less time your fly is in the river. This means less catching. Some hatches are time sensitive. If you spend hatch time playing with your flies. You are not fishing.
SECURE YOUR FLIES Wind can quickly send your flies airborne. A drop can dump flies everywhere. Try gluing a super magnet into each fly box compartment. The metal hooks are attracted to the magnet and will stay in their nest.
SORT OUT HE LOSERS Take an empty egg carton and place all the flies in your box into it. Like flies and sizes in separate compartments. Inspect each fly as you segregate them. Look for tippet on the eyes, points on hooks, broken hooks, loose heads, or damage.
RECYCLE or REPAIR Some flies may need a little love to be put back into action. Add some head cement or give them a quick trim. Other flies are trash and are just taking up space. Remove them from the inventory. Cut the hair off damaged flies and save the hooks.
STAY SHARP Use a pen sharpener and make a point to sharpen every hook.
PICK SIX Select the 6 most used flies that you enjoy. How many do you have and how many do you need? This will identify what you need to tie at the vice.
TIE TWELVE Never tie less than 12 flies in a tying session. Only put the materials that you need out on deck. Tie the same pattern 12 times. Some will be perfect while others may be Pass Alongs.
SHARE THE WEALTH If you have flies that are marginal, share or pass them along to others. Kids love useable but maybe a tad rough fly. They are FREE! Keep a community box on hand. Maybe trade with other fly guys. This Injured Reserve box may also come in handy for you.
TIE SIX MORE Pick 6 new flies to try for your experimental fly box. They may pay off.
The point is to use your planning and maintenance time during the Off Season, not when it’s time to fish!
Tie one on!