Which fishing supplies do folks take with them hiking?

9:44 p.m. on March 20, 2010 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
3 forum posts

Hey everyone,

I've read a bunch of old forum posts, and noticed that a number of people fish on multi-day hikes. What kind of fishing gear (fly, rod&reel, nets, etc.) do folks usually take out with them? How do you usually go about locating good locations to fish (this is especially important when you go to areas you are unfamiliar with)? Also, once you clean the fish, how do you sanitize yourself to ensure that bears won't try to munch on you in the middle of the night?

Thanks for all the awesome forum posts!

- Ryan

3:51 a.m. on March 21, 2010 (EDT)
22 reviewer rep
210 forum posts

I take a 5pc 5wt flyrod and reel and 1bx of assorted flies. Also, nippers, forceps, dry fly dressing, extra leader and some tippit, it will all fit in the cargo pockets of my pants while fishing.

As for finding good locations to hike and fish there are lots of books to be read and the internet. For truely awesome information that many feel to sensitive to put out on the world wide net I've developed some good relationships on a couple of local forums and the shareing of locations is handled in PM's. Many times all I have to do is ask around a little and I can find out enough to tell me if a particular area is someplace I want to go. Even a local sporting goods often has someone working there that knows and is willing share information.

Many states even print or put on line fishing guides with the needed information to get you started. Here is a link to the California DFG Fishing Guide.


12:31 p.m. on March 21, 2010 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
48 forum posts

Good question. Depends on the waters encountered along the way and/or at destination.

Sometimes I carry a little Daiwa mini-rod with an assortment of flies, jigs, a couple of bobbers, etc; this for the "ecountered waters". For the "destination waters" (typically mountain lakes) I'm packin' a real fly rod, a 905 Scott, an Orvis BBS loaded with double-taper line and a ridiculous assortment of flies and important paraphenalia.

As comment:

You know hiking used to be just a method to get to the fishing hole or the hunting grounds, not an end in itself like it is for so many today. I think we miss something when we impose yet another schedule on ourselves and bust rump to meet it. Helps the fantasy of wilderness man I suppose but it's a bit one-dimensional (though an experience of the mystical dimension can enlarge it considerably, which of course transforms the singular into the multi-dimensional). Fishing improves the odds of that happening, as does photography, a blues harp, long perspectives from high places, friends, the sound of a brook and of course bears and alligators.

And none of that's got anything to do with the "gee-wiz" factor of your equipment or the total weight of the load you pack out.

It's got everything to do with what you bring back, or the you that you bring back.

Whatever, you always come back lighter.




If you're gonna' gut and eat fish in the boonies you're gonna' peak the interest of bears and their little brothers. Just use common sense dealing with entrails and carry some Dr. Bronners and when you cook make sure you're not blowing smoke/scent into your clothes and equipment (tents and sleeping bags and packs). As SOP I always assemble a respectable pile of rocks for midnite use. I've never run out of rocks.


10:19 a.m. on March 22, 2010 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
67 forum posts

We only take fishing gear on paddling trips because most of our backpacking trips don't have ideal spots for fishing. That said I do paddling in a lightweight - backpacker minded sort of way. I take a rod and reel and a small little case of lures and such. I don't bother with a net. I use a Gerber Sport Multi-tool for pinching the barbs on lures and such.

The benefit with a canoe is that I can paddle to the other side of a lake or at least a kilometre from camp and clean the fish. However, we didn't do that on a paddle trip last summer but we did keep the campsite as clean as possible and incinerated any fish remains. We were extremely careful and didn't clean right in the camp but a few hundred meters away - we had noticed a bear across the lake earlier so we were cautious.

Oh and I also take a small stringer, my fishing permit and some swivels.

As you can see... one of the fish lost part of his tail fin when I had a battle with a huge snapping turtle who saw a free lunch on the stringer in the water.

11:14 a.m. on March 22, 2010 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
1 forum posts

I usually take a Shakespeare Travel Mate telescoping rod and reel along with various flies, spinners, bobbers, etc. If needed I set up my spin rod to fly fish using the casting bubble method. Also, for high mountain lakes, I like to pack in an ultralight inflatable raft. A guy by the name of Brian Curtis used to make a really light inflatable raft but he stopped a few years back. A new company apparently is starting to produce them. www.flyweightdesigns.com.

As far as finding places to fish, you should look for forums in your area and fishing books that provide detailed beta. Also, you may want to befriend a local guide, and see if they can give you some hints.

Good luck!

11:54 a.m. on March 22, 2010 (EDT)
22 reviewer rep
210 forum posts

Since this is in the "Camp Kitchen" section I guess I should mention that I always carry some heavy duty foil, salt, smoked pepper, and some cajun seasoning. :)

1:03 p.m. on March 22, 2010 (EDT)
227 reviewer rep
52 forum posts

When I go out there is almost always some room in my schedule for some time to be spent fishing. I usually go to Colorado and hike up into the mountains. There are many small streams that are teeming with trout. I just find a slow moving part of the stream and cast upstream so as not to scare them off. I usually just take a smaller Shakespeare pole, a few spinners, and some assorted split-shot. I can't recall a time that I didn't come home with some fresh fish. I also take some heavy duty foil, some oil, assorted seasonings, and a pair of tongs to cook the little guys. There's nothing like some fresh trout on the trail.

7:48 p.m. on March 22, 2010 (EDT)
1,663 reviewer rep
3,956 forum posts

Welcome Matty91,

I don't know where you plan to hike, that makes a huge difference. I have been fishing on backpacking trips for many years in the Southern Appalachian mountains. While the tackle & tactics may vary from region to region, the steps taken to plan a trip are basically the same.

1. Decide where you're going to.

2. Look at your topographic map(s) & trail guides to see what bodies of water or streams are in that area, also go to online forums for that region and ask for info there. If you have someone you trust with experience in the area that works too. Be careful asking bait and tackle stores, some will give good info, some not.

3. After knowing which waters you will be fishing you need to know which species of fish are commonly caught there, and if any of those species are seasonal. Again, reading online forums, or websites for that body of water, talking to people you know or feel you can trust are all ways to get info fast and free.

4. After you know where your fishing and which species of fish you're fishing for, you must decide first, if you want to fly fish or spin fish. Most species I fish for can be caught with either rod type. Second, you need to pick the appropriate weight rod. For smaller streams a 4-5 weight fly rod or ultralight spinning rod works fine for me. For lakes and bigger rivers I may switch to a 5-7 weight fly rod or lightweight spinning rod.

5. You need to know what type of lures or bait is allowed in each body of water you plan to visit, many areas, especially trout streams are regulated with 'trophy' or 'artificial lures only' or 'catch and release only' sections. Then pick your lures or bait (sizes matched to your rod weight), based on the information you have gleamed from your various sources. For fly fishing you must do something called 'Matching the Hatch' or in other words, you need to buy flies that resemble the insects on that particular body of water for that particular time of year. Many fly fishing forums or other sites have 'hatch charts' you can use for that selection. Same goes for spin fishing, but I find in my area worms work year round.

8:20 p.m. on March 22, 2010 (EDT)
1,663 reviewer rep
3,956 forum posts

Maybe all that sounds too complicated, if so you can also just take someone along who is experienced in backpack fishing.

I will say that spin fishing requires less stuff, and is more forgiving than fly fishing for someone starting out, in my opinion. Fly fishing is more of an art and requires some patience to get the hang of it, but well worth it.

A fly fishing outfit generally costs twice as much as spin fishing outfits, partially because fly fishing requires more gear, and partially because fly fishing gear is more technical and costs more to produce.

Now how do you pack this fishing gear you might ask? Multi piece rods are the best, easiest way to go in my experience. They cost more than telescopic or two piece rods, but pack much better and perform much better, that is worth the extra money if your going to do this much. You can get plastic rod tubes to store your rod in safely and strap that tube outside your pack. You may want to start out with a small net, I don't carry one anymore myself.

I personally carry the very minimum needed to get the job done, that is why doing your homework is so important, unless your okay with carrying a large assortment of gear. Most people will start out with too much stuff, then as they gain experience they will thin out the herd, so to speak.

Now....cleaning fish & staying clean. Very important in bear country!

I can tell you what I and many others do in bear country. First, you need to set up your camp with a cooking area at least 100' downwind from your sleeping area. You need to have soap and hand sanitizer with you.

Once I have caught my supper for the night I clean the fish right in the water letting the innards flow downstream away from me, or toss them away from the shore in still water. This method is closer to the natural process of fish dying in the water, and helps control odor both on you and in the area. I place the fish in sealed plastic bags then wash very thoroughly including my face. You can also wrap the fish in damp moss, leaves, etc. and place in a cool spot until ready to cook.

After eating wash up everything and leave all fishing gear in the cooking area, hang it with your bear bag along with all your other smelly stuff, or place further downwind from camp if you don't have to worry about others coming along and taking it.

Regardless of whether I'm fishing or not, I keep no food, soaps, sun screen, or other smellables at all in my sleeping area, when I'm ready to go to sleep I take a bottle of water in the tent and that's all.

Don't forget the fishing license, and know the rules for fishing where your going, my state of SC publishes a free rules and guidelines booklet that can be picked up anywhere you purchase a license.

7:06 p.m. on March 26, 2010 (EDT)
6,158 reviewer rep
1,625 forum posts

I bring a cheap (less than $50) three piece #7 fly rod I found at Big 5, an old Pfluger fly reel, some weight forward line (helps cast against wind), some 4# monofillament for leader (Stren Ultragreen) and a box of flies. Purists hate these but I use the tiny clips on the end of my leader so I can change flies quickly w/o retying. The flies I use a lot are a tellico, adams, ant, mosquito, coronomid (normal and bead head), brown black and white leeches and a few wooly buggers. I fish barbless hooks of pretty small size and I don't always eat the fish I catch unless I am extra hungry or the fish is extra nice. My whole kit weighs less than an MRE and if I loose it all I'm out less than $100 which is less than some fly fishermen (who tend to be into ritzy gear) spend on their fly box.

Fishing where a creek flows into a lake is very easy, requires no casting ability to speak of and usually gets me something nice for dinner. I agree with the previous post which reccommends cleaning the fish in the water. Looking in their stomach will also give you an indication of what they are eating and will help you pick a good fly. Stab a forked stick through the belly of he gutted fish, which holds the body cavity open, and roast him on the fire. I either burn the carcass or burry it in the latrine when I've picked his bones clean.

I steer away from bait fishing (especially powerbait) because its not always legal, uses lots of gear and is a lot like fishing with dynamite in some of the high mountain lakes. Saying that, I let my kids bait fish because success is more important than style with beginners.

3:02 a.m. on April 1, 2010 (EDT)
170 reviewer rep
99 forum posts


No pics of fish hanging off of the end of a line on my Emmrod. But I can tell you it's one sweet tool.

Emmrod Packer.


As far as I can tell, anyways. It's lasted at least a year longer than any other "pack rod" I've ever owned. Which means it's lasted about 12 times longer than any other "pack rod" I've ever owned. :-) Solid aluminum body, solid stainless spring-steel interchangable rods, welded eyes on the ends. Bombproof! Not to mention it breaks down to around twelve inches by four inches or so. So it can fit pretty much anywhere. Have I mentioned that after more than a year I haven't broken it yet? ;-) It's spookily accurate. Yes, Spookily. And can be cast from anywhere. And I mean, Anywhere. I love the feel of a fish on the bloody thing! It's unlike any other rod I've ever used. You can feel absolutely every tiny little twitch the fish makes. And once again, I mean, every twitch. Awesome feeling! Anyhoo, that's what's been tagging along with me for the last year or so whenever I go out for a stomp.

Righto, later!

7:37 p.m. on April 18, 2010 (EDT)
905 reviewer rep
554 forum posts

ROD> 6' Cabela's telescoping carbon fiber

REEL> Penn 420 ss ultralight spinning reel

LINE> 6# test

LURES/FLYS> various, Panther Martin, etc. & wet flys

plus 18" floating tippet & dry flys

This is a versatile and FUN to use setup.

If you know of a higher quality Carbon Fiber telescoping pole than the Cabela's pole let me know. Their pole is OK but the tip is fragile.


11:01 p.m. on April 18, 2010 (EDT)
244 reviewer rep
5,249 forum posts

When I am hiking where there's fish to be had, all I carry is a fishing line and some hooks then use a stick like Tom Saywer and Huckleberry Finn. Usually if I am hiking where theres fish the creeks are usually fairly shallow and I can catch with my hands or simple traps. I do more primative fishing and hunting.

7:41 p.m. on April 20, 2010 (EDT)
1,663 reviewer rep
3,956 forum posts

Actually Gary I know some very good fishermen, not fancy, but effective, who do not use a pole at all.

These guys call it rock fishing because it is usually done from rocks high above deep pools, or from the top of waterfalls. The first time I saw this was in the winter of '87 when I was wade fishing close to a swinging bridge in freezing temps.

These guys & and couple ladies too, turned out to be locals looking for supper. They did not care for fancy fly fishing with all that gear in cold water, or so they told me later.

These locals were fishing from the swinging bridge out over the river.

As it turns out, due to the water clarity you can see the fish swimming around very well from that vantage point. These guys (generic guys) were just using a regular size tin can with a plastic lid. They would keep enough line wrapped around the can to reach the river below, and keep their stringer, hooks, & lures in the can with the plastic lid on it.

There I was with 350 - 400 dollars worth of gear on, freezing my butt off, and being out fished by people who thought Walmart was a rip off.

In later years I learned that sometimes people who live the simple life are quite smart & crafty to say the least.

12:45 a.m. on April 21, 2010 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
81 forum posts

In the past I took a small rod and spinning reel using spoons, flies, real and artificial worms. These days I have a 35mm container with flies, hooks, leaders, line weights and a modified spool with fishing line. I plan to add a spoon which I hope will fit. Rod wise, I intend to use a branch of a tree or not at all. I'll use a section of dry branch for a float if needed. I like to go lite as you can conclude from the above description as my fishing plans these days are essentially survival based.

11:51 a.m. on May 7, 2010 (EDT)
25 reviewer rep
67 forum posts

I carry a 3 piece graphite rod and a micro spin caster I am not good at all with a fly reel { something I keep trying to make time for}and a small assortment of bass, trout and pan fish lures and gummy worms. That seems to work for me it is light and breaks down quite nice, I made a nice canvas travel sheet/case that lays out and you can place everything in slips and pockets and roll it up and tie to the side of your pack the other nice thing about it is you can tie it around your waist when fishing and use it as a creel and tackle holder. Oh like trout hunter said it depends on where you are going I travel the AT through VA mostly up by Harpers Ferry, so know what is local for you and what they like to eat (bait) good luck
Hope this helps

9:39 p.m. on May 17, 2010 (EDT)
8 reviewer rep
28 forum posts

If you are an ultralight person, you have to have a good assortment of Joe's fly's (not really fly's) they are little spinners and awesome for pocket water. The first time I combined two of my favorite sports I thought "there can't be any trout in this skinny little creek!" I still delight more to pulling a native brookie out of a hole the size of a basketball while trying to stand on something akin to a greased bowling ball all while wondering what I will see around the next bend more than any other kind of fishing could ever thrill me! I do it with a five weight now though. But a better question you could ask is "How much gear have you lost on Rhodedindrum while Backpack Fishing?"

9:56 p.m. on June 3, 2010 (EDT)
75 reviewer rep
306 forum posts

I have recently received a device called the "Pocket Fisherman" https://www.ronco.com/PocketFisherman/Default.aspx and was just wondering if anyone has had any experience with this device. I thought it was kind of a neat idea for backpacking since everything is in one unit, but I really don't know much of fishing. I would assume that these days with ultralight metals and things made of unobtanium, that one could get a very light and quality rod/reel set. Just food for thought, didn't know if I should take the Pocket Fisherman with on the next multi-day outing or look into a real-deal piece of gear. (I decided that if I was going to be out for multiple days and near water, that fishing sounded like a good time, and a great way to get some dinner!)


June 21, 2018
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply

More Topics
This forum: Older: Ever make Pot luck or end trip soup/stew ...anybody? Newer: My all time favorite meal
All forums: Older: Backpacking in Texas Newer: Alcohol Stoves