I do most of my fly fishing in the backcountry. I enjoy canoe trips to remote lakes where I find significantly lower fishing pressure. But backwoods canoe trips require me to pack lightweight and compact fishing gear. Every piece of my tackle is carefully selected. These essential backcountry fly fishing items will fit the bill and also fit in your boat.
Helios 3D Fly Rod
$949 | orvis.com
I was very excited to fish with the Orvis Helios 3D rod. I’m entering my third year fly fishing and getting my hands on the applauded Helios gave me shivers. The rod is designed for accuracy as well as power, and I could feel this on my first cast. The backbone made loading easy, allowing me to effortlessly cast over 60 feet into the wind. The power in the Helios kept my backcast from hitting the water. Even though I do not have the pin-point accuracy of a master fly fisherman, I found the Helios gave me confidence to land my fly in tight places.
Clearwater Large Arbor Cassette
$129 | orvis.com
High performance at a great value has made the Orvis Clearwater Large Arbor Cassette my go-to reel. The Clearwater can use additional spools to carry different lines without having to purchase another reel. Inside the reel, carbon-to-stainless stacked disc drag makes precise adjustments to find the perfect resistance for pulling line off the spool or fighting a fish. The stealthy, matte-grey powder-coat finish makes this reel look as cool as it performs.
Leverage Landing Net
$90 | yakattack.us
YakAttack’s Leverage Landing Net is designed for one-handed operation. The net folds in half to store easily. Then, with one hand, I can unfold the net and drop the hoop in the water. Doing a simple weight test, I lifted a 10-pound medicine ball with a standard net then with the Leverage Landing Net. The reinforced handle with forearm rest made it easier to control the Leverage Landing Net. My favorite feature, even when the net is folded, I can still stick the handle in a rod holder.
Dry Creek Z Fishing Backpack, 35L
$299 | simmsfishing.com
Simms’ Dry Creek Z Fishing Backpack is the perfect size to carry my extra spools, fly boxes and tippet, a jacket, camera gear, snacks and essentials like my keys, wallet and cell phone. The durable pack is made from 300D polyester ripstop fabric with a coating to make it waterproof and submersible. The Dry Creek Z also has a unique TruZip zipper that seals the bag like a Ziploc. To test the seal, I submerged the bag in my bathtub. The closure kept my gear dry, but I learned to double check the zippers when I close the bag. I like the tie downs to secure the drybag in my canoe. When I wade fish, the backpack has attachments to hold my pliers and snips.
Dry Creek Waterproof Gear Pouch, 4L
$59.95 | simmsfishing.com
The Dry Creek gear pouch works great with the Dry Creek Z backpack to organize my tippet, floating and sinking lines, extra spools, pliers, snips and sometimes even a few fly boxes. Since the bag is waterproof, I can leave it out for quick access to my tackle. A clear window makes it easy to find small items that get lost in the bottom of the bag.
Freshwater Specialty Series Bass Line
$89 | cortlandline.com
The new line from Cortland is designed for freshwater bass fishing. It was created with an aggressive short taper to help shoot line and cast larger flies. I tested this line on a few different rods so I could get an understanding of how it feels. On my first cast with a conehead zuddler minnow on a windy day, I noticed how easy it is to shoot line. Usually I would take a few backcasts to let out more line, but I was surprised at how far I could send the big fly with a single back cast.
Micron Fly Line Backing, Pink
$23 | cortlandline.com
Since I mainly fishing for trout and bass, it isn’t often a fish will take me into my backing. Cortland’s Micron is a tight braid with no stretch for a perfect knot. Even if I am not utilizing my backing, I want to make sure I have line I can rely on. I don’t want to risk losing a trophy.
$33 | loonoutdoors.com
The Loon Outdoors Essentials Kit includes pliers and snips at an affordable price. I have never had a problem with my Loon pliers or snips and I always have them handy. Loon guarantees all of their products, no matter how hard I use them. The company supports environmental causes with donations to earth-friendly charities.
Fly fishing in the backcountry doesn’t require a boatload of gear. | Feature photo: Alex Traynor