Fly fishing has created a cottage industry across the U.S. It will come as no surprise that it’s one of the fastest growing outdoor industries. But over the last fifty years or so, the art of catching fish with fly rods and artificial insects fashioned from feathers and thread has captured thousands of new anglers. This growth is producing record sales for equipment manufacturers, retailers, and organizers of fly-fishing schools and trips. There have been major motion pictures filmed around it (A River Runs Through It, The River Why, etc.), which has served to boost its popularity exponentially. But with a rise in interest, a rise in cost follows.
Cheapest Fly Fishing Flies
Hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent each year on equipment like fly rods, reels, nets, waterproof clothing, fishing line, flies, fly boxes…you name it, fishing gear sells both online and in brick-and-mortar shops year-round. Fly fishing can become quite costly to keep up with the best and latest equipment, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Smart shoppers look for quality equipment at low prices. One item above all others can make or break a successful fishing excursion: flies. You can buy them from your local dealer (online and in-store) or tie them yourself.
There are millions of variations of fishing flies, often imitating an insect or bait fish, and can range in cost from $0.35 each to $15.00 each, and many in between. The low end does not guarantee quality, and sometimes can be a huge waste of money as they don’t always attract the fish you’re hoping to catch, or any fish at all. However, the high-end flies are often priced as such due to the brand name only, with little increase in quality.
If a new fly-tier started from ground zero, it would cost about $150.00 to tie 50 flies. That averages out to be about $3 per fly for the first batch. For the next round of flies, when you don’t have to account for the vise and tools, your cost is $35.00, give or take, which rounds out to be about $0.70 per fly (and it will likely be even cheaper because your materials will tie more than 25 flies). However, you sacrifice variation this way (you bought materials for a few different patterns), which is why purchasing your flies might be your best course of action.
CHEAP VS. CHEAP
There are literally thousands of places you can purchase low-cost flies, but certain shops are known to provide much more consistent quality than others. Shoddy materials and poor craftsmanship are just a couple of the downfalls of purchasing flies sight unseen online. So how does one avoid breaking the bank and still get great quality?
We at Flyrods.com are here to help you get the best deals for the lowest out-of-pocket cost. While we could cover a whole article on fly tying equipment and accessories, we want to help you get the best possible price, the most bang for your buck when it comes to flies. Like you, we are constantly looking for the cheapest flies.
Nationally, there are literally thousands of companies that can provide you with cost-saving flies. Here are a few:
- Fly Crate is a monthly fly club and online fly shop out of Pennsylvania that provides fly anglers with amazing trout flies, tips, and sweet stickers each month. As a bonus, they donate flies to help rehabilitate disabled veterans and make annual donations to help support fly fishing youth camps.
- Feather-Craft Fly Fishing has been providing fishermen with quality flies since 1955. Based out of St. Louis, MO, they offer both online sales and a retail location.
- The Fly Shack carries more than 1,100 styles of fishing flies, ranging in price from $0.59 per individual fly to $35.00 for a grab-bag assortment of 50 flies.
- Orvis, a national, family-owned retail and mail-order business, specializes in higher-end fishing gear. Their individual flies start at around $1.79 and go to $2.99 each. They also offer assortment selections in the $25.00 range per pack of eight.
- The Fly Shop is and online-only shop that offers fly fishing catalogue purchases with sales on equipment and tackle throughout the year.
- TCO Fly Fishing was founded in 1990, it is touted as the largest and most complete fly fishing outfitter on the east coast. With 4 Pennsylvania retail locations and a strong online sales presence, you can find pretty much anything you need or want.
- In Montana you’ll find Blue Ribbon Flies, a specialty online shop that boasts a large selection of flies and other equipment. With a storefront in West Yellowstone, they also offer trips and guides for the connoisseur fly fisher.
For online purchases, you must figure in shipping and handling per purchase.
Here in Colorado where fly fishing is one of the largest recreational industries, there are more than one hundred online and brick-and-mortar locations from which to choose. Here’s a handful of online dealers:
- The Colorado Fly Company advertises quality flies for less, their prices ranging from $3.50 to $11.50 for saltwater flies, in case you’re taking a trip, with plenty of trout flies available.
- Hills Discount Flies in Avon, Colorado, gives you an equally great selection, at lower prices. They range from $0.66/fly (on sale) up to $1.75/fly.
- The Flystop online has pricing that starts at around $0.70/fly to $2.00, depending on style.
- Percy’s Flies online offers pricing from $0.54/fly to $2.00/fly, and typically sells them in packs of six.
- Big Y Fly Company carries flies from $0.60/fly and higher.
- Ascent Fly Fishing boasts an aquatic biologist on staff to help you get the perfect box of flies. Prices in the lower $1 range.
- For more low prices, we encourage you to check out DiscountFlies.com, with thousands of fly choices, they offer discounts on bulk fly purchases. They advertise that their flies are not tied in Kenya, nor by U.S. prisoners, as those sources offer inferior quality. They directly employ tyers to better manage quality.
There are numerous fly fishing forums to be found online. One notable site is The Fly Fishing Community on Facebook, where they have hosted posts that ask for input on where to buy quality flies for less. There’s also The Fly Fishing Forum that contains threads addressing the purchase of discount flies and equipment.
We hope that we’ve helped you find the balance in fly quality and economics when purchasing online. Where do YOU find the best prices? Please tell us in the comments.