There’s a misconception in the fly fishing world that, to be a “real” fly angler, you need to tie all your own flies. While tying your own flies has its advantages, not everyone has the time or inclination to do so.
If you’re not a tier, don’t worry. You’re just as much an angler as anyone else. What’s tricky for folks who don’t tie, though, is finding high-quality flies at a price that doesn’t break the bank.
That problem gave rise to a whole host of subscription-based fly box companies in the past few years. I’ve worked with a handful of them, and used flies from every subscription box I could get my hands on. Then, I started looking at buying complete fly packs online, just to get a gauge on what was truly available for anglers.
What I’ve found is that, if you’re willing to sift through the gaudy garbage flies that are out there, a few companies are putting out quality fly packs for reasonable prices.
This list features the fly packs that I’d personally recommend to anyone, and that I’d likely use if I didn’t tie my own flies. I’ve used flies from these companies all across the Rockies, and I’ve had success with them on all kinds of trout.
And for full disclosure – none of these companies are paying for placement on this list. They don’t even know I’m putting this piece together. This article is written to give you – the angler – more information on making the best choice for buying your flies.
With that out of the way, let’s dive into the list.
The Best Fly Packs of 2022
- Superb quality
- Great assortment
- Fantastic price
Ventures Fly Co. is a relatively new company, born in my home state of Utah. While they’re currently expanding their product lineup to include rods, reels, lines, and more, they started out selling flies, and that’s what they still do best.
Their flies are effective, time-tested patterns that work on trout rivers from Oregon to Wyoming. I’ve even used some of their stonefly patterns when fishing for dolly varden and coho in Alaska. The quality of these flies is fantastic, especially considering the price. For $80, you get 122 flies and a few inserts that give you information on how to tackle the water. If you don’t think you need that many flies, Ventures sells plenty of other fly packs, too.
Overall, though, it’s tough for me to put anyone else above Ventures because of their quality, assortment, and price. Often, I’ve found some fly packs come with flies we’ll never really use. Those flies are thrown in to take up space, not to help you catch fish. Ventures doesn’t operate that way, and I’ve had nothing but success with their flies.
- Time-tested patterns
- Orvis quality
The Orvis Essential Trout collection is a close second to what Ventures offers with their Premier pack. Featuring 20 flies, the Orvis Essential Trout box contains exactly what you need, and none of what you don’t. The patterns are time-tested, and the fly quality is top-notch. I make no secret that I love most everything that Orvis produces, and their flies are no exception.
I really like the variety of nymphs present here, though – Hare’s Ears, zebra midges, and pheasant tails. Orvis didn’t try to get cute with their selection. They just picked flies anglers have used for a century, and that you’ll find plenty of success with.
The only reason Orvis doesn’t finish on top is that, for about $30 more, you get 122 flies from Ventures.
Other Fantastic Fly Packs
These fly packs are all great in their own way, but don’t offer the same value as the ones from Ventures or Orvis. And, I should add, that if you want non-trout centered flies, both Orvis and Ventures have fly packs with patterns designed for all sorts of fishy critters.
- Great quality
- Good selection
- Reputable guide
Postfly is one of the first companies to launch a subscription-based fly pack service. You can still sign up to get a box of flies per month, along with a few extra goodies (like tippet, booklets on different techniques, and other accoutrements necessary for fly fishing). I’ve used their flies for a while, and really enjoy some of their emerger patterns in their trout boxes.
Their Guide Series collection with Shyanne Orvis, though, is likely their best value. Shyanne has made a name for herself as a great guide, and she definitely knows what she’s doing. Partnering with her is a great move for Postfly, and Shyanne. Her curated collection of flies reflects her intimate knowledge of some of Colorado’s most productive tailwaters.
- Time-tested patterns
- Great service
- Good price
I’ve worked with the folks over at The Fly Crate before, and they’re top-notch people. Their flies are just as good. This collection of 30 Euro flies is what I consider their best value based on price and the number of flies you get.
The patterns are the time-tested ones that work in Euro nymphing, and flies that I’ve seen champion Euro nymph anglers use in competitions.
- Fantastic quality
- Great selection
- Perfect for trout
Rainy’s is another Utah-based company, and their also one of the most reliable names in all of fly tying. Their flies have a reputation for being fantastic, and there’s a reason for that – they are.
Rainy’s didn’t make the top spot, though, because finding their fly packs lately has been tough. I’m sure they’re facing similar supply chain issues to everyone else, but once they’re back on shelves in most fly shops, they’d easily challenge Orvis and Ventures for the top spot on this list.
If you’re looking for fly packs to supplement your own tying, or to fill your empty boxes, these packs should be at the top of your list. The flies are great quality, the selections are generally great, and above all, they’re effective patterns successful anglers have used for decades.
Spencer Durrant is a fly fishing writer, guide, and bamboo rod builder from Utah. He’s the News Editor for MidCurrent and a columnist for Hatch Magazine. Connect with him on Instagram/Twitter, @Spencer_Durrant.