Umpqua UPG Fly Box Review

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Umpqua UPG Midge Box. Photo by Louis Cahill

Umpqua really raised the bar when they introduced their UPG line of fly boxes.

In fact, they won multiple awards at trade shows, which were voted on by professionals in the industry. Their goal in mind when designing the UPG fly boxes was to tailor them for the professional guides. Point being, Umpqua knew if they could design and build a series of fly boxes that would hold up to the daily use and be loved by professional guides, the end result would be a product line that would in turn be popular among the majority of recreational fly fisherman. There’s no doubt they met their goal, and it’s no surprise, that today the Umpqua UPG fly boxes are now currently found in many of our own packs and vests.

I think a lot of fly anglers undervalue the importance of a quality fly box. Think about it for a second. As fly fisherman, we fit into one of two categories. We either spend hours upon hours at the vise, tying up our fly imitations or we spend hundreds of dollars buying individual fly patterns to fill up our fly boxes. Whatever category you fall into, it’s pretty apparent that there’s a substantial investment involved when it comes to what we carry around in our fly boxes, and it makes sense for us to protect that investment with a quality fly box.


Good friend and guide Justin PIckett exclusively uses UPG fly boxes.

The first thing you notice when you pick up a UPG fly box is how solid it feels. It’s not one of those flimsy light weight jobs that you find in many of the knock off fly boxes on the market. With solidness, comes a little bit of extra weight, and although some fly anglers would look down on this, you have to understand that extra weight translates into quality and durability on the water. The next thing you’ll notice about the fly boxes are the extraordinary amount of fly capacity in all of the fly box models. Some of the models, designed for storing smaller nymphs and midges, even have off set foam slits, which is intended to allow the fly angler to store twice as many flies per row of foam. Furthermore, most models incorporate two magnet areas that can be used for you to place your stand by flies waiting to be tied on and fished, or for secure storage for the smaller flies that are cumbersome to put into the foam slits. The benefit of the well designed layout of all of the UPG fly boxes translates into significantly increased fly capacity that’s well organized, and that means you’ll find it much easier to carry less fly boxes with you on the water without you having to sacrifice leaving any flies at the truck.


Umpqua incorporates Zerust tabs to help eliminate moisture build up. Photo Louis Cahill

Another innovative feature that I like on the UPG fly boxes, are the Zerust tabs located on the inside panels. The purpose of these is to help eliminated moisture build up, which can cause fly hooks to rust overtime in fly boxes. If you feel the need to add more moisture eliminator adhesive tabs to your fly boxes, you can purchase similar versions extremely cheap online at One pet peeve I have, are fly boxes that don’t have see through lids for easy viewing of the contents inside. It’s clear Umpqua understood the importance and functionality of this feature, and they made a point to make both sides of their UPG fly boxes see through. As an additional measure for organization and efficiency on the water, Umpqua also made each UPG fly box model a different color. Although the fly boxes aren’t waterproof, they do close extremely tight and provide impressive weather protection from the outdoor elements. If you drop one in the water accidentally or have it laying out in your drift boat in the rain, you shouldn’t have a problem with water finding its way into the fly box. That being said, if you purposely submerge it, water will eventually reach the inside. If you want my opinion on that, I don’t think it’s a bad thing, because I don’t make a habit of regularly dunking my fly boxes. Furthermore, an air-tight fly box will retain moisture if it gets inside (thereby increasing your chances for rusty hooks), and quite honestly, most of the waterproof gaskets on fly boxes I’ve used in the past, ended up cracking, shrinking or failing over time anyway. That being said, I believe Umpqua made the right call by designing a tight fitting, solid fly box, that’s weatherproof for most situations on the water.


Above are 3 of the 8 UPG fly boxes models available to the fly angler.

In conclusion, everything on the Umpqua UPG fly boxes is well designed, with quality and durability in mind. I’ve put my UPG fly boxes to the test for a good while now, and they not only still look brand new, they’ve been a complete pleasure to use. If you’re currently in the need to replace your old worn out fly boxes, I highly recommend picking up some of these. I’ve got many hardcore fly fishing buddies that exclusively use UPG fly boxes, and they’ve all been really happy that they made the investment. Let’s just say, we won’t be needing to replace our UPG fly boxes for a very long time. You can find the Umpqua UPG fly boxes online and in most fly shops currently. They come in three different sizes and in 8 different layout models, and they retail from $24.99-42.95 (Prices vary on retail location)


Get Yours Here!

Keep it Reel,

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
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5 thoughts on “Umpqua UPG Fly Box Review

  1. Love these boxes, but a heads up to anyone who fishes in freezing or near freezing weather – the clasps are fragile in the cold. I broke the clasp for one side on two of my four boxes, both while fishing in the cold. I still use them and those sides will swing open if I’m not careful, but I haven’t had any issues losing flies since the foam holds so well. The only problem seems to be that the broken sides now let in moisture if my bag gets wet. I agree with Koz, these boxes are well worth the money.

  2. They are a takeoff of the scientific anglers fly boxes that have been around for many years, I’ve got six SA boxes will various inserts they will last forever
    Tight lines …..



  3. Fly fishing blogs need to increase actual information with fly fishing gear reviews and lessen up on industry buzz terms. “Made for guides,” “fly anglers undervalue the importance,” and “how solid it feels,” this doesn’t actually tell me anything. Good work on talking about the Zerust tabs, but expand on that, why is it better than someone else’s tab, what do they use? Is it waterproof, or is it not? Compare it to other products. All these reviews are seen as ads, not content for the reader. As a reader, I would love to see blogs and magazines make improvements here, because currently they are useless.

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