The Best Fly Fishing Lanyards, Top 7 | Buyer’s Guide (2023)

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Goede Vangst Fully Loaded Lanyard

The Tools at Hand

Dr. Slick Fully Loaded Lanyard

A fly fishing lanyard hangs around your neck and allows you quick and direct access to the tools you need and use most. It is a minimalist approach to fly fishing and is most popular in the summer months, when wet wading, or for quick day trips.

Having the right tools at the right time

The task of attempting to reapply the tippet to the leader and reattach a tandem fly rig to said tippet, all the while in waist-deep rushing water, is enough to make some of us head directly back to the bank and quit for the day.

Having the right tools can help simplify the more technical aspects of fly fishing (like line management), but having them isn’t quite enough. Having these tools ready and at hand when the need for them arises is oftentimes just as important.


How we organize the tools we need to spend less time trimming lines and tying knots and more time fishing can be crucial, especially when disaster strikes in the form of bad snags or treed flies.

A fly fishing lanyard can help keep your most-used pieces of gear at the ready and accessible at all times when fly fishing.

Lanyards are worn around the neck (sometimes called a fishing neck lanyard) and usually contain several ‘docks’ upon which you can attach those pieces of gear that you know you use frequently, or that you need to be able to access quickly. As usual with fly fishing gear, there are numerous variations of this idea available on the market, and I’m going to take a look at some of them in this review.

Join me as I give this organizational tool an honest assessment.

In this guide we’ll cover:

  • Best fully loaded fly fishing neck lanyards
  • Best fishing lanyards (not loaded)
  • Best fly fishing lanyards for the money
  • Best simple fishing lanyards
  • Why a fishing lanyard?
  • Fly fishing lanyard setup
  • And much more!

Let’s get started!

Best Fully Loaded Lanyard

We reviewed the best fly fishing lanyards that come fully loaded with everything an angler needs for a successful day on the water.

1. Dr. Slick Fully Loaded Lanyard

I know Dr. Slick because I tie flies, and their gear has a reputation for being ergonomic, super sharp, and functional.

This lanyard goes to show that this company knows fly fishing, and they have produced a quality product replete with the gear needed to streamline your endeavors on the water.

The lanyard itself is made of an adjustable elastic shock cord that’s tough as nails and impervious to hook points.

The lower portion holds an effective tippet caddy, and the attachment points are simplistic D-rings here.

Dr. Slick Fully Loaded Lanyard

There is an included shirt clamp to keep the fully encumbered lanyard from swinging around and is another point of contact for you to keep it out of the water.

  • Adjustable Elastic Shock Cord with Padded Collar
  • Tippet Caddy
  • Floatant Holder
  • Two RPD Retractors (Zingers)
  • D-Ring Gear Attachment Points
  • Shirt Clamp
Loaded Lanyards Include:
  • Bug Jelly Fly Floatant
  • 5” Forceps in Gold
  • Offset Nippers
  • Waterproof Fly Box
  • HFG4 Hook File

View on Amazon →

The fully loaded lanyard includes Dr. Slick’s brand of fly floatant (Bug Jelly) and a floatant holder, as well as 5” forceps and their super sharp offset nippers.

In the provided photos, these two items are seen attached to the two RPD retractors, and I must say, that is how I would personally use them as well. Having your nippers and forceps attached to retractors makes it near impossible for them to get dropped in the creek, a regrettable and extremely frustrating occurrence that I think is far more common than any of us would like to admit…

There’s even a hook honer and file included here, which is particularly useful when you’re in pursuit of more toothy and predatory fish and a needle-sharp fly is a must.

This lanyard has it all and is a great answer to Orvis’ loaded lanyard. The multiple D-Ring attachments allow for additional gear to be applied, but I struggle to think of what else you might need.

Dr. Slick has even included an attachable waterproof fly box suitable for both dries and nymphs. This product was masterfully designed and is more than worthy of your consideration.

View on Amazon →

Best Fly Fishing Lanyards

These are some great picks for someone who wants a simple and reliable lanyard but without all the bells and whistles of a fully loaded lanyard.

2. Orvis Lanyard

The Orvis Lanyard offers an improved way to organize and access fly-fishing tools. Its Molle-style webbing is designed to sit flush against the body, eliminating any twisting for a more streamlined experience.

The lanyard’s lower strap is versatile, offering numerous customization options for tool placement. It features six paracord loops for easy tool attachment and retrieval. An ingeniously designed upper dock holds forceps steady, preventing unwanted movement. Additionally, there’s a convenient lower dock specifically for flies, ensuring they’re always within reach and can dry effectively.

  • Molle-style Webbing Lays Flat to Reduce Twisting
  • Six Paracord Docking Loops
  • Upper Forceps Dock Prevents Swinging
  • Lower Fly Dock for Easy Access and Drying

This is a functional, quality piece of gear that I could not recommend more.

View on Amazon →

3. Mountain River Fishing Lanyard

Mountain River has created a stylish and functional beaded lanyard that is a perfect blank slate to customize to your needs.

There are four included attachment points, but since this lanyard is beaded, you can easily attach your D-rings, O-rings, or carabiners in between the beads to hold more gear.

There is a safety breakaway built in and a padded neckpiece.

Mountain River Lanyard

The sky’s the limit with this lanyard, and if you already have an idea of what you want and where you want it, this product is a great design to build from.

  • Handmade Beaded Lanyard
  • Four Included Attachment Points
  • Very Customizable
  • Shirt Clamp
  • Tippet Bar
  • Included Brown Trout Chamois

View on Amazon →

Not all of us need floatant and an amadou fly drying patch at the ready when we fish. If you know what you want out of your lanyard, consider the Mountain River’s offering as a starting point for building something right for you.

View on Amazon →

4. Scientific Anglers Fishing Lanyard

There’s a lot of function in this lanyard from Scientific Anglers, a company that’s renowned for smart and purposeful design in its products.

The foam neck strap is comfortable and very adjustable, and it has a breakaway feature included for safety should a disaster occur while in the wild.

There are four swivel-type attachment clips, as well as a floatant holder and a shirt clip to keep the lanyard close to your chest and away from your fly line when casting.

Scientific Anglers Guide Lanyard

Two tube-shaped fly docks made of self-healing foam are positioned above the tippet holder, one for drying off used flies so they can return to the box, and one to keep those new patterns ready for quick and easy use on the water.

  • Adjustable Foam Neck Strap
  • Breakaway Feature for Safety
  • Four Attachment Clips
  • Horizontal Tippet Holder
  • Floatant Holder
  • Shirt Clip
  • Two Tubular Foam Fly Docks
  • Fly Drying Chamois

View on Amazon →

There’s also an adjustable velcro floatant holder to accommodate nearly any brand of floatant that you like and a fly-drying chamois (I would personally ditch this and replace it with something I’ll use, but to each his own).

You can’t go wrong with a Scientific Anglers product, so check this one out.

View on Amazon →

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Best Lanyards for the Money

If you’re looking for a high-quality fishing lanyard at a more affordable price, we’ve featured two of these products.

5. Loon Outdoors Neckvest Lanyard

Loon, like Dr. Slick, was known by me for their fly tying products, and not so much for their actual outdoor products. That being said, they make quality UV Resin and other fly tying materials and are known for quality.

Loon’s Neckvest Lanyard has no product information on its website, so I’m going to do my best to describe it to you, here.

Loon Outdoors Fly Fishing Neckvest Lanyard

The foam neck piece seems adjustable, and the bottom half of the lanyard is a braided cord, allowing you to customize it to your liking with your preferred clip. 

  • Foam Neck Piece
  • Adjustable Tippet Holder
  • 2 Integrated Fly Docks
  • Four Carabiner-Style Attachment Points
  • Shirt Clip

View on Trident Fly Fishing →

There are four included attachment clips in the carabiner style, and they seem large and easy to operate. Here again, like with the Morric lanyard, there are two foam fly docks built into the lanyard itself.

This time there is a tippet bar included, a feature I think is very useful in a lanyard. While I can’t readily discern exactly what material is used to construct this lanyard, it looks durable and neat in a flat black color.

Loon has always impressed me on the fly tying side of fly fishing, so their lanyard is probably worth checking out.

View on Trident Fly Fishing →

Best Basic Fly Fishing Neck Lanyard

We wanted to feature a couple of fly fishing lanyards that were for the true minimalist. These two lanyards feature limited gear storage but work great at keeping nippers or forceps handy.

6. Simms Guide Lanyard

Simms has created a quality lanyard using a very basic, but customizable design.

Dyneema cording is used to make this lanyard, and it’s fully adjustable by using the machined slides on either side.

It’s long at 127cm, but that length can be put to use by attaching your own clips and slides to hold your preferred gear.

Simms Guide Lanyard

The only point of attachment included on this lanyard is a stainless steel split ring, perfect for that expensive pair of nippers and forceps.

  • Dyneema Cord Construction
  • Adjustable Fit
  • Machined Aluminum and Anodized Hardware
  • 127 cm in Length
  • Stainless Steel Split Ring

View on Simms →

7. River Canyon Fishing Lanyard

There’s not much to say about this lanyard other than it’s rugged and simplistic.

The main point of attachment is a larger carabiner on the end of a woven cord, and this larger design means that it’s easy to operate. I can see where the addition of several split rings onto this carabiner could do well to keep your gear organized on this lanyard, but they’re not included.

River Canyon Fishing Lanyard

This lanyard is not adjustable and fits large, so keep that in mind when purchasing.

  • Large Lanyard
  • Functional Carabiner on Attachment Point
  • Simplistic, Rugged
  • Affordable at under $20.00

View on Amazon →

Why Use a Fishing Lanyard?

I am fortunate enough to spend a lot of my time fly fishing my local waters, and I never fish alone. This being the case, I’ve had the chance to watch newcomers and veterans alike struggle with things like management, fly selection, kinked leader, and a host of other problems, on the water.

Having the right tool is the first step to being able to deal with these problems, but being able to easily access that tool is the next step, and it is a step that I see many anglers forget or avoid often.

catching trout on fly icon

Having nippers is great, but having to slap your vest pockets to remember where they are and then retrieving them while wielding a rod with files attached can be a fiasco.

Lanyards are designed to alleviate having to locate, use, and then safely replace said gear. With a lanyard, the most frequently needed gear you’ll need is not just at hand, it’s clipped around your neck.

Ease of use is the goal here, but also keeping your gear attached to yourself and not lost to the creek would be a close second. I’ve lost my fair share of fingernail clippers, forceps, and yes, even flies to the creek for no other reason than not having it organized and easily replaceable to its specific spot.

Fly Fishing Lanyard Setup?

The lanyard you choose, as well as how you set up your lanyard should reflect the way you fish. Part of deciding how to set up your new lanyard will involve an honest and measured assessment of what gear you use frequently while fly fishing, as well as what type of fly fishing you’re doing.

I’ve never used a hook sharpener, but I do use dry flies, and floatant is a must for keeping them above water and floating as they should. Nippers and forceps are pretty universal–we all lose flies and have to reattach them, and this involves knots and a subsequent trim of the tag ends to keep our leader neat and straight.

Trout water icon

Forceps, to remove hooks are hopefully not necessary on a given day, however, fish do get hooked badly at times, and with small hooks come the inevitable problem of trying to grab them with clumsy fingers. Forceps can really help remove hooks when needed.

Tip: Scissor clamps can serve as both nippers and forceps. If you do not have your forceps yet, you might consider scissor clamps as they typically do not cost more than a pair of forceps without scissors…

Something else that I view as helpful is a tippet bar or other organizational tool to help you keep your tippet organized and on the spool.

At the beginning of my fly fishing journey I wondered why you would need anything more than one spool of tippet in a vest pocket, but as I continued to fish it became clear that these spools of tippet, each different and specific in use, could easily become tangled together, kinked or otherwise damaged. Worst of all, tippet spools are easily dropped and lost either to the stream or trail, so a way to keep them organized as well as safe is worth its weight in gold.

I view a tippet bar as an essential part of a useful lanyard for my style of fishing now.

Again, only you will know what you need on your lanyard and what you don’t. Ease of customization and thus, personalization is important when choosing a fly fishing lanyard.

Popular Lanyard Accessories to Consider

Loon Outdoors Rogue Quick Draw Forcep

Loon Outdoors Rogue Quick Draw Forceps

Gink Fly Floatant

Gink Floatant

Loon Outdoors Nip n Sip XL

Loon Outdoors Nip n Sip XL

The next time you go out for a fly fishing session, pay careful attention to how many times you reach for a dry fly floatant or your folding knife and plan out the design of your lanyard ahead of buying it to make this organizing tool work for you.

With the right design and correct fit, lanyards can take a lot of the frustration out of fly fishing.

Conclusion/Reeling it innymph-checklist-icon

That’s a lot of words about a piece of gear that on the surface seems so simple. There is a slight tendency in fly fishing to make problems (and then solutions to these problems) where there aren’t any sometimes.

That being said, I think lanyards and their growing popularity are due mostly to their practicality and use on the water.

I don’t categorize them in the same bracket as I do other “fads” that so often pop up in fly fishing because they’re timeless and have only gotten more useful as time goes on.

Hopefully, this review has at least made you consider using one, even a simplistic one, on your next outing. Whether you are a loyal devotee to the classic ‘fingernail clippers on a shoelace’ method or a calculating gearhead with all the bells-and-whistle attachments of the next best lanyard, consider these well-made and reliable products.

As always, tight lines, and keep the tools out of the creek if you can!

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Photo of author
Andrew was brought up fishing high mountain streams for eastern brook trout in central PA, but fell in love with all things fly fishing later in life. Now, his days are spent pursuing all of Pennsylvania's freshwater gamefish on the fly, while attempting to make the hobby more accessible and approachable to everyone.

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