Loaded Large Fly Box

The Best Fly Boxes For Dry Flies

Because dry flies come in such a variety of sizes and styles, it’s difficult to put your finger on the perfect fly box.

Most mayflies and caddis are defined by hackle. The delicate feather fibers can be deformed if not stored correctly. Foam boxes can be a bit of a problem with certain styles of fly boxes for dry flies. Put simply, any fly with hackle that extends below the shank are difficult to store in foam.

That being said, there are foam boxes designed to accept dries with hackle below the shank. Some of the Cliff and Fulling Mills Boxes utilize strips of slit foam. When a dry is slid into a strip of foam, the hackle has more room to extend due to the open space between the slits. So classic dries like Orange Stimulator and Royal Wulff’s, as well as Stimulators, will travel well in a Cliff or Fulling Mill box.

The best way to carry perpendicularly hackled flies is in a compartment. The Missoulian Angler carries a multitude of compartment fly boxes for dry flies. The Umpqua Bug Lockers, Dewitt, Myran and the Meiho M Series are just a few. The Bug Lockers are polypropylene, come in multiple sizes and are color coded. Dewitt boxes are clear, with metal hinges, and are available in various sizes and compartment configuration. Not sure what the plastic is, but some of our employees have Dewitt boxes that are 40 years old and still working! The Myran 10 series boxes also have a metal hinge for durability, and might be the best box for small dries.

Montana dry flies can run big. Stoneflies and hoppers take up space, and require a big box to handle them. Foam and synthetics have taken over large fly design, and many bigger dries are perfectly suited for foam boxes. The Tacky El Pescador box is a great solution for big bugs, with it’s greater depth. The Fulling Mills Streamer box also doubles well as a big dry fly box, again with good depth for better storage.

When it comes to floating, the Cliff Bugger Box or Boat Box is a great solution for big dries. For smaller dries, the Meiho M Series is a guide favorite. The Meiho’s have removable dividers, allowing the angler to customize compartment size. The M Series comes in 2 depths, making access to smaller flies easier in the shallow box.

Dry flies are the trickiest flies to store correctly. Most anglers use a combination of foam and compartment boxes, keeping classically hackled flies in compartments while storing parachutes and foam flies in foam. There’s no doubt foam boxes provide unrivalled organization. With that organization, it’s easy to see where the holes in your arsenal lie, and make it easy to fill before the next outing.