A certain amount of physical conditioning is needed to do any kind of serious wading. You will need do those 45-minute morning walks three or four times a week to get in shape. Wading in rivers is not the same as walking down to the corner store for the morning paper. For your own safety and enjoyment it pays to be fit.
For most fly-fishing situations, stocking foot type waders are the best because they are lightweight, easy to get on and off, and give better flexibility and comfort. The breathable type wader is the best for most wading situations. They are cool in the warmer months of the year and warm in colder water conditions when used with the proper wading underwear. However, I prefer neoprene type waders during the winter and late fall months given the cold weather and water conditions here in Oregon. Neoprene also gives the user the added benefit of flotation should you happen to fall in that icy cold water. It is also a very good idea to wear a float coat or some type life jacket just to be on the safe side during the colder months of the year.
Why are waders better than hip boots? Simply put, waders keep your back side dry when it rains, and there are those special times when fly fishing that the waders will allow you to get out farther from shore line. Many times waders will allow you to move to a better position so you can cast to that special place that holds fish.
Good quality wading shoes with felt soles are a very good investment. Better yet, felt soles wading shoes with studs or cleats are even better and a must when wading bedrock rivers, or rivers with large round rocks. Felts with studs or cleats will also help you avoid lower back pain caused by slipping and sliding around those smooth slimy rocks during a long day of fishing. Take my word for it; you do not want to spoil a destination fishing trip by being stove-up with lower back pain. So spend the extra bucks and invest in a good pair of wading shoes with felt soles and studs. If you now have wading shoes with only felt soles, you can purchase studded sandals or have a shoe shop replace your present felts with studded felts.
Did you know that most people fall down wading when they first enter the water? I learned this when I was a kid and my uncle did just that every time he took me fishing. He only had hip boots, and he always fell in just as soon as he entered the water. I couldn't understand why he even wore boots; they were always half full of water.
Here are a few wading tips my uncle could have used: When starting out, take your time and get the feel for the conditions of the river bottom, the flow of the current and water clarity.
After several minutes in the water you may need to adjust your wading boot strings or sandal bindings. You don't want your feet slipping back and forth inside your wading boots; you need a solid firm footing while wading.
When you first enter the water, your steps should be about half the distance they would be if you were walking on dry solid ground. Keeping your feet apart about the width of your shoulders will also help you to maintain balance while in the water.
When you need to move down stream, side-step and keep your body parallel to the flow of the current.
Do not try to back out of the river, you must turn around and walk out just like you walked into the river. For example, if you are in the river and the current is flowing from your left to right, make your turn on your right foot, using it as a pivot point and let the current help make the turn with the left foot. Just do the opposite if the current is flowing from your right to left. Never try to turn into the current flow to make a turn.
Always take your time and be careful, if you are uncertain about your wading abilities be sure to wear a flotation device.
If you feel uneasy about wading for any reason, consider using a wading staff. They are inexpensive and will give you that needed third leg when you need it. You might even try making one out of that old golf club or ski pole you have gathering dust in the corner of the garage. Remember to wrap the wading staff tip with duct tape to prevent that clanging noise on the river bottom.
Please remember to be careful while you are on the river, do not harm our wonderful land, don’t litter, and please practice catch and release for the next generation.
Stanley Stanton is an Oregon Fly Fishing Guide and McKenzie River fishing guide, visit http://www.oregon-fly-fishing-with-stan.com For information about Fly-fishing for Rainbow Trout, Steelhead Fly fishing and salmon fishing in Oregon. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org The above author authorizes distribution of this article with the provision that it be reprinted or Published in its entirety, including this resource box.
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