A Nova Guide fish flying guide holding a trout in front of a lake in Vail.


10 Fly Fishing Must Have Items for your Gear Bag (and the Best Guide in Vail)

Luis Anaya

Luis Anaya

Sep 29, 20215 min read

Nova Guides is our go-to fly fishing outfitter in Vail. A short drive from town, nestled in the breathtaking Pando Valley at Camp Hale's basin, their private lake is an angler's wet dream as it contains the "Colorado Grand Slam" of trout species: rainbow, brown, brook, and cutthroat.

Nova Guides is our go-to fly fishing outfitter in Vail. A short drive from town, nestled in the breathtaking Pando Valley at Camp Hale's basin, their private lake is an angler's wet dream as it contains the "Colorado Grand Slam" of trout species: rainbow, brown, brook, and cutthroat.

Whether you're just a beginner dipping your toes or you're already an experienced aficionado, these are the 10 essential items that you should have in your gear bag before heading off for your fly fishing trip:

📸 by Nova Guides

🎣 1. Rod: graphite is the most popular material for fly fishing rods: their light weight is a blessing for long fishing sessions, their flexibility assures a smooth cast action, and their stiff back and durability avoids accidental snaps when reeling in big catches. It's best to have a handle made of a material such as cork that allows for an ergonomic and steady grip. Depending on your height, your ideal rod can vary between 7 and 9 feet.

🧵 2. Reel: fly fishing reels should be light and have capacity for a decent amount of line, specially if you plan on doing some long distance casts or expect some long runs with heavy, feisty fishes. Make sure they're made of aluminum or graphite: high-quality and corrosion resistant materials will give you smooth drag and durability against quick strikes and sharp yanks.

🧺 3. Landing Net: the bigger the catch, the more difficult it is to land it. Landing nets will help you secure heavy fishes without unnecessary struggles. With the objective of improving the balance of fish populations, catch and release practices have become widely popular among ethical practitioners of the sport, including Nova Guides: their private lake is exclusively catch and release. Having a landing net handy will easy out the process of safely removing the hook from the mouth of a fish before releasing it back into its natural habitat.

🐟 4. Hooks: in order to assure the survival of the fish upon its release, fly fishers should exclusively use barbless or single pinched hooks. As part of their catch and release regulations, Nova Guides does not allow double, triple, or barbed hooks, nor permits the use of live bait.

🦗 5. Fly box: there are countless variations of fishing flies. For trout fishing, dry and nymph flies are some of the most popular options. Improve your fish play and maximize your chances of ending the day with a trophy fish by combining these fly types with streamer techniques and spey or double haul specialty casts.

🥾 6. Wading Boots: this type of lightweight hiking boots have really good traction and will help you be steady on your feet when walking on the irregular terrain of lake beds. They also come with waterproof insulation, something that's specially important when fly fishing during the colder seasons.

👖 7. Waders: going fly fishing inevitable leads to getting wet. This type waterproof overall will cover you from your lower torso to your feet and will protect you from the discomfort of cold and heavy drenched clothes.

🕶️ 8. Polarized Glasses: the glare of the sun on the lake's water surface can be quite hard in your eyes. A good pair of polarized sun glasses will not only protect your eyes from reflected UV rays, but will also help you clearly see what you're doing and reduce the risk of slipping accidents.

🧢 9. Headwear: time flies when you're having fun, so you may not notice the adverse effects of standing for hours under the glaring sun until it's too late. A billed cap or a waterproof bucket hat (along with some sunscreen) will prevent dangerous sunburns and provide your eyes with some coveted shade.

🚰 10. Food and Water: fly fishing is all about patience and persistence, so it's not uncommon for sessions to last for several hours. Continued exposure to the sun, even during the colder months, can cause dehydration, so make sure you keep a water bottle handy. During your Nova Guide fishing experience, you can head up to their Camp Hale's lodge and have a bite to eat at McAllister's Grill.

Although it's important that you are educated on the basics of fly fishing gear, if you book your trip with Nova Guides, they will make life easy for you: their professional guides will provide you with all the essential gear needed for your adventure. With Nova's invaluable expert advice and guidance, you can rest assured that in no time you will be fly fishing like a pro!