The old adage to "match the hatch" has been the best way for anglers to ensure success on any stream, no matter how foreign, for decades. Matching the hatch, however, can be very challenging, and can test the fly collection of even the most seasoned angler. As a solution to this, many anglers choose to bring a smattering of materials from their tying bench so that they can set up shop right next to the river and tie up some offerings that closely resemble the local forage. To facilitate this, here are some recommendations for equipment and materials to bring on your next trip so that you can most effectively match the hatch, no matter what may be hatching at the time.
No matter what season it is or what your target fish is, the equipment required for tying your own flies on the fly is going to remain fairly constant. You'll need to bring, buy, or borrow a base for your vise (since there likely won't be a bench to clamp one onto), as well as appropriately sized vise jaws for the hooks you'll be using. 2 bobbins are also a necessity, either in case of one breaking in transport or needing to tie something that requires both thread and floss, like a Royal Wulff, for example. Obviously scissors, a finishing tool, and hackle pliers are a necessity too, but luxuries like a bobbin rest or an articulating desk light can be left at home.
For materials, versatility is the name of the game, so be sure to bring lots of natural colors like natural deer hair, pheasant tail, and rabbit fur. Rabbit fur in particular can be helpful since you can either use the coarse fur for a wing or the underfur as dubbing, getting you more bang for your buck in the same material. If you're going to be tying dry flies, which can be very size-specific, bringing two packs of hooks of different sizes can be a life saver, like a size 14 and a size 20 for caddis and midges, respectively. For wet flies, bring nymph hooks, a big and a small pack, which can then be bent to tie a scud on, if necessary. Materials like head cement can likely stay at home, since not only can they be messy to bring along, but the drying time can make it hard to get on the water quickly in a pinch. Also, you're only tying these flies to use right then and there, so durability isn't as much of a priority as speed.
For more information, contact Latitudes Outfitting Company or a similar organization.