My mid-winter ritual has begun. Yesterday I started going through my fly boxes. What once were full and organized have, over the course of last season, turned into a motley crew of hair, hook and feathers. Now, a size 16 PMD can be found sharing a compartment with a hackle-less Royal Wulff, while a chewed up Double Humpy conseals my last size 20 Blue Wing Olive. Flies that were organized by size, type and use, now intermingle freely.
Looking into the boxes is a bit like reading a fishing timeline. I see a Parachute Adams with a midge dropper, reminding me of the stellar fishing that occurred last spring in the Flaming Gorge; the mangled PMD that took quite a few cutthroat from a certain riffle on the Snake every summer morning, and the big, mottled woolly bugger that was a last ditch effort for stubborn browns in the Lewis channel. Flies like these will be picked out and returned to there rightful place, or more likely than not, retired to the trash.
Going through these boxes gives me reason to tie new flies for the upcoming season and helps me see what patterns are needed and what aren’t. Over the years, I’ve tried to simply my fly selection. I’m now convince that all I really need are a few different size Parachute Adams and a Double Humpy or two (I just don't have the courage to test this theory). Despite this, I’ll tie a variety of flies just in case I find myself in a bind. Below is my favorite fly box. It contains nothing more than various Adams patterns, parachute Hare’s Ears, Royal Wulffs, Trudes and Double Humpies. It’s the first box to get refilled every winter….