When you are taking up fly fishing, you will want to get a good pair of waders as part of your gear. Waders allow you to traverse waters and reach places you can’t from the shore. Fly fishers spend a lot of time on the water, but most of the time it is IN the water. You’ll want to keep warm and dry while you are fishing.
You do have some choices when considering what type of waders you will want to buy. There are two different types of waders: those that come with built-in boots and those without. Both have distinct advantages and disadvantages, and the choice is purely a personal one as to which way you will want to go.
Waders with built-in boots are great for ease and convenience. You don’t have to worry about buying a pair of fishing boots and staying dry is just about guaranteed unless you get a leak. The boot portion of the waders should fit you comfortably and you should be able to move about easily while wearing them. They tend to be heavier than stocking foot waders and there’s not as much ankle support, but they are easy on and easy off which is quite convenient.
Stocking foot waders end in a rubber sock. You’ll need to buy a pair of wading boots to go over the top of the sock. They are a little more difficult to put on, but you’ll get lots of foot support as you walk over slippery river rocks. The boots that you choose to go with these waders should not fit as closely as a hiking boot, but they should give you good ankle support and have stiff soles.
You have a couple of options when deciding how high you want the waders to go. You can choose the ones that come to your waist or ones that come up to your chest. Chest waders are much more versatile because you can wear them in any depth of water. Waist waders are for more shallow water. There are also hip boots that are separate and come to your hips. These are the less practical choice of waders for fly fishing because you can’t go in deep water.
You may want to add a wading belt to keep your waders from filling with water should you slip and go into the water. Elastic straps used to hold the waders up are a more practical choice than the webbed straps. They are more comfortable and allow you more room for movement.
The waders should not be skintight. You will want some room to move around inside them, but not too much! If you will be fishing in cold weather, you’ll want to wear some layers underneath, so try them on with clothes and be sure you have enough room to move about comfortably.
Fly fishing waders are an important part of your fishing gear. Prices will range anywhere from $100 up to $600. Use caution, too, if you are thinking of buying used fly fishing waders. Be sure they don’t leak and are exactly what you are looking for.