With spring rapidly approaching, the new trout and salmon fishing season is just round the corner. Early season river fly fishing naturally involves wading, but before you charge waist deep into the flow you should take a read of our essential river wading tips.
Think before you get in – Think about how you are going to get in AND out of the water. Visually survey the stretch before you climb into the river. If you have no safe exit point, you could be in for rough time.
Cross in the right way – When crossing the river angle yourself so you move diagonally down stream, with the current helping you rather than fighting against it. Move slowly side on if possible, so the water force is pushing against a smaller surface area. Remember to slightly lean into the current as you cross. As you go use your arms to help you balance.
Take short steps – Slide and shuffle your way across the river. Don’t stride or lift your feet high as you step or the current could push your balance out. The key is don’t rush – take your time and be safe.
Pack your wading belt – Using a wading belt will help should you end up in the drink. Flooded waders will make you struggle to get back up and out of the river safely. Also rather than your fishing day be over instantly, you wont ship as much water and hopefully remain fairly comfortable. Another benefit is they can offer a great lumbar support – for example the Airflo or Simms wading belts.
Check your wading boots – A set of good boots are vital. Over the previous season your wader studs may have worn down so its well worth replacing these at the start. This could save you an early season dunking!
Consider a wading staff – For early season, the rivers are often swollen with rain. A staff is a god-send and well worth the investment, especially if you are not so strong on your feet. A wading staff can also be used to probe the depths and look for ledges and drop offs in coloured up water.
IF you fall in – Turn over onto your back, an get your feet facing downriver as soon as you can. Float downstream and paddle to the nearest bank ASAP. An inflatable fly fishing vest is a safe option for peace of mind, especially if your river is particularly large or dangerous.
Keep to your limits – If you feel like the current is too much, and the wading is uncomfortable for you simply don’t do it. Why take the risk?