Fly boxes are about as diverse as the fishermen who use them. There are tons of different kinds available, so the goal in this post is to help you determine what is the best fly box for the flies you plan to use. There are many boxes that will work great for nymphs, but would be lousy for dry flies because they would crush the hackles—when it comes to large streamers, they need a box all of their own because of their sheer size.
Dry Fly Boxes
This simple type of fly box is good for dry flies. These fly boxes are cheap and available anywhere. The only downside to putting dry flies in this type of box is the risk of spilling it—or worse yet, the wind blowing them all over the river.
The slots in the foam offer ample room for the hackles of your favorite dry flies. Fly boxes with ripples or foam in a pattern like this will keep your dry flies in great condition. If you use flat fly boxes, eventually you will have flat bottomed dry flies.
When it comes to dry flies, my personal favorite are versions with foam or closing lids. These light flies are very susceptible to being blown by the wind (I can tell you from past experience they are very hard to catch when they come out 12 at a time). Aside from the wind issue, dry flies have very important hackles that need to be kept in tip top shape—this can only happen with certain types of fly boxes. Using a box with flat foam created for nymphs will after time make your dry flies hackles take on a flat shape and cause permanent damage.
This type of foam is great for nymphs and wet flies.
Nymphs usually don’t have sensitive hackles, so keeping them in any foam style flybox is easy. There are a lot of great nymph boxes available using a variety of materials and designs. You could use a magnetic nymph box, or any box you would typically use for your dry flies. Even super cheap craft bead boxes will work well, however these don’t really offer the ability to keep a large variety of nymphs in individual compartments without using several boxes or very large ones.
We just released a new flybox with perfect nymph style foam called the bomb proof fly box, you can check that out here.
Other Nymph Boxes
Standard Foam Fly Box
This is the super slender fly box. This particular box works good for all types of flies. It is a basic box with strip style foam and small slots to put each fly. You can buy these boxes here, or similar ones at pretty much any fly shop.
Bin Style Fly-boxes are a good choice for nymphs
Boxes like this 18 compartment magnetic flybox are perfect for nymphs. If you tend to get lazy and don’t want to put flies individually into foam after every use, this flybox is great. You can also buy them for very cheap without the magnet in the bottom. Multi compartment fly boxes will also work great for smaller dry flies, because the hackles won’t be affected at all by the box or any type of foam.
Streamer Fly Boxes
This streamer station flybox has perfect foam to fit hundreds of streamers, but it is not limited to those. You can easily make a box like this hold your bigger dry flies and nymphs. This is also a good box choice for storing any large deer hair creations such as mouse patterns.
Streamers are usually quite large, making most fly boxes too small to fit enough in. As you can see in the image above, the troutster streamer station fly box is a great choice for these huge flies. Most standard sized fly-boxes are just big enough to fit ten or so streamers, which is not nearly enough for most hardcore streamer fisherman. When it comes to this type of flies, you need a variety of colors and sizes at your disposal, because fish are always changing their minds about which ones they want to eat.