Why a Fly Fishing Knife Should Be an Essential Part of Your Fishing Gear

April 18, 2023

A fly fisherman exits a river with a fly fishing knife clipped to the front of his waders.

If you’re a fly fisherman, the title of this blog post may leave you scratching your head. You don’t typically filet your fish on the riverbank, so why would you need to carry a fly fishing knife?

At the end of the day, a fly fishing knife is a versatile tool that can come in handy in countless situations. Consider the old adage: “It’s better to have something and not need it than to need something and not have it.”

Just like the hiker who carries a knife for safety and practicality, a fly fisherman can benefit immensely from having a reliable blade within reach at all times.

Quote: Why a Fly Fishing Knife Should Be an Essential Part of Your Fishing Gear

Why Carry a Knife as a Fly Fisherman

Whether you’re cutting fishing line, clearing hook eyelets, or preparing bait, I’ve found that a fly fishing knife can make cumbersome tasks faster and more efficient.

  • Cutting fishing line: A fly fishing knife can cut fishing line when it gets tangled, frays, or needs to be shortened.
  • Clearing hook eyelets: If a hook clogs with debris, a fly fishing knife can clear the eyelet, making it easier to tie on a new fly.
  • Removing hooks from fish: A fly fishing knife can carefully remove hooks from fish you’ve caught, reducing the stress on the fish and helping preserve its health.
  • Cutting bait: If you’re fishing with bait, a fly fishing knife can be used to prepare it.
  • Trimming leaders and tippets: A fly fishing knife can be used to trim leaders and tippets to the desired length.
  • Cutting netting: A fly fishing knife can cut through a fishing net if it becomes tangled.

What Makes a Good Fly Fishing Knife?


A good fly fishing knife should be lightweight. You’re already carrying plenty of gear, and you don’t want anything extra weighing you down, even if it’s just by a few ounces.


Of course, “lightweight” doesn’t mean “not useful.” That’s why we sharpen our knives with a working edge: so they can tackle any cutting task with ease.

Accessible Carrying Method

Consider how you’ll be carrying your fly fishing knife. You want it easily accessible when you need it, whether you prefer to carry it on your waders, around your neck, or on your chest pouch.

Having multiple carry options is crucial for a blade’s versatility and convenience. The main goal is to have your knife there whenever you need it — because it’s useless if it’s not always within reach.

Rust-Resistant Blade Material

The blade material is another important factor to consider, especially given all the time fishermen spend around water, which can cause a knife to rust.

That’s why we use MagnaCut steel for many of our blades. It’s a premium material that offers excellent corrosion resistance and edge retention.

Durable Handle

The handle of your fly fishing knife should be durable and rust-resistant. If you choose an MKC knife with a handle wrapped in paracord, you’ll have a knife with a comfortable, secure grip and a ton of extra versatility.

Infographic: Why a Fly Fishing Knife Should Be an Essential Part of Your Fishing Gear


The best knife for fly fishing is lightweight, sharp, easily accessible, and made from high-quality materials that resist rust and corrosion. It’s a knife that prepares you for any situation out on the water, life-threatening or otherwise.

Keep those factors in mind, and you’re sure to find the best fly fishing knife for your time out on the river.


by Josh Smith, Master Bladesmith and Founder of Montana Knife Company


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