Originally Posted by shimloom
So my question to you guys out there is how many flies do you really use. I love looking at my fly boxes all full of great little flies but I think I have to narrow it down (some).
I carry five (5) boxes all the time; a large one with all streamers that stays in my back pocket (next to my victory cigar) as I don't fish them all that often. I carry a midge box, one side is various patterns/colors of midges and the other side mostly Baetis
patterns. I carry a nymph box with all of my "go to" patterns on one side, and some miscellaneous and stillwater patterns on the other side. Then I've got a medium sized box with all soft hackles (my favorite) on one side and Comparaduns on the other. And finally one compartment type box with various hackled dry flies in the bins and spent-wing spinners on the top.
I carry very few terrestrial patterns (maybe a handful of hoppers).
As to how many I fish? Probably a dozen and a half "core" patterns, but I would guess 3 to 4 times that many see serious action throughout the season depending on the conditions. For example, I've been fortunate enough to hit some incredible Baetis
hatches over the past month or so and I regularly use four (4) patterns just to cover the various stages that the trout are taking; simple BHPT, Baetis soft hackle, olive Comparadun, and Barr's Emerger... all size 18.
I expect more of the same once the PMD's get going and caddisfly activity really opens things up even further.
A lot depends on what types of waters are available to you and how diverse the insect populations are.
Like anything else (life for example), fly-fishing can be as complicated or as simple as you care to make it.