Fly fishing waders are one of the most important parts of any fly fisherman gear and can make your fishing experience a pleasant one or one you will want to forget. Depending on the depth of the water you will be wading in and where you plan on fishing will determine the type of wader you should choose. Waders come in three basic styles, hip waders, waist high waders and chest waders.
Anglers that will be wading in only a foot or two of water may prefer hip waders which are a good choice when fishing in very shallow water such as small streams.
Waist high fly fishing waders would be a good choice for wading in slightly deeper waters and where you need additional coverage when fishing in moderately aggressive streams.
Chest waders are the most versatile because they provide the fly fisherman with the most coverage. This is a perfect choice when wading in chest deep aggressive waters. It’s great to have this kind of coverage even when you’re not planning on wading in very deep waters because some waters that we wade in could have unexpected drop offs or holes. Chest fly fishing waders are perfect when fly fishing using a float tube and also gives you the best protection in fowl weather conditions like on a windy or rainy day.
Many newer waist-high and chest fly fishing waders also include pockets for small tools or fly boxes and have the exterior pouches positioned out of the way of your arms when casting a fly.
Types of Waders
Bootfoot fly fishing waders have the boot built right into the wader. From a cost standpoint this is an advantage since you don’t have to buy a pair of wading boots. Bootfoot waders typically can come with either rubber or felt soles. Rubber soles are good when wading in muddy conditions and felt soles are ideal when wading around or on slippery rocks. Some people claim because they can’t get a good fitting boot with bootfoot waders that they prefer going with a stockingfoot wader.
Stockingfoot waders have a couple of advantages. One is that you choose your own style wading boots. Being able to choose your own wading boots might give you better fit, support and comfort.
Waders can be made from several different types of materials, breathable material, neoprene, nylon and rubber. Breathable fly fishing waders are the most comfortable and versatile. They are perfect for all kinds of weather. They are typically light weight and will keep exterior moisture out but allow your perspiration vapor to pass though.
Neoprene will keep you warm in cold water and cold weather conditions. In warm weather conditions they could become uncomfortably warm and may not be my wader of choice.
Nylon waders are inexpensive for the angler that is on a tight budget. Some of these waders are lightweight and some are heavy duty. They are durable but can become uncomfortably hot. They are non breathable so perspiration will stay inside the wader.
Rubber is the cheapest, durable and heavy. Most rubber waders you see today are pretty much limited to hip waders.
One other quick tip, no matter what fly fishing wader you elect to purchase even if you have the best fishing waders that money can buy, you will want to carry a repair kit made specifically for the wader material in event of a rip.