High Country Fly Fishing Gear

If you're hiking deep into the mountains where lakes abound, you're missing the boat if you don't catch your supper. Here are seven items that perform and pack well for excellent backcountry fly fishing..

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Fly Fishing

The author chasing fat rainbow trout (and testing gear, of course) in Idaho’s spectacular White Cloud mountains. Photo: Brad Schmidt

Cabela's Stowaway 6 fishing rod

Our testers loved the medium-fast action on the 8’6″ 5-weight Cabela’s Stowaway 6. Leave the included hard case at home-the cloth case is enough protection if you pack the rod with your tent poles. $150, 4.5 oz. incl. case, cabelas.com

Redingtons Drift reel

Redington’s 5/6 Drift reel pairs perfectly with Scientific Anglers’ Sharkskin Ultimate Trout line, enabling gorgeous roll casts on a brushy lake. Reel, 3.9 oz., $99, redington.com, line, 1 oz., $99, scientificanglers.com

Small Morell Fly Box

The closed cell foam Small Morell Fly Box is palm-sized and dirt cheap. It floats (even when full), holds a ton of flies, and is virtually indestructible. Magnetic closures open easily with one hand and won’t rust. $11, .8 oz., llbean.com

Morning Star Fishing Lanyard

Testers appreciated the convenience of having hemostats and tippet close at hand with the Morning Star Fishing Lanyard. Spacer beads and rigid steel wire kept tools from becoming a tangled mess. $38 w/optional lens cloth, 2.6 oz., mslanyards.com


Buy your high lake flies from your favorite fly shop, or tie them yourself, as I did. My favorites, left to right: Damsel Nymph, black Foam Ant, Beetle, Adams, black Mini Leech. Fly tying basics: http://www.flyanglersonline.com/flytying/beginners/

Native Eyewear Trango sunglasses

The large-framed, gray-tinted Native Eyewear Trango sunglasses have polarized lenses, a must for cutting glare on the water’s surface. Bonus: interchangeable lenses are included, prescription lenses can be made. $149, 1 oz., nativeyewear.com

Tilley’s Sou’Wester hat

The small brim on Tilley’s Sou’Wester hat covers just enough sun, andat just over 3″ in the back, is narrow enough to wear with a pack. Great features: interior adjustment band keeps hat on head and a rear vent, which really works! $82, 3 oz., tilley.com