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caclunker

wading river tips

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I rolled through a lot of the above, so please pardon my redundancy if I cover things already covered.

 

I wade for trout, bass and musky.  Cold water rivers (trout) tend to have fewer slippery rocks.

 

Wet wading is fine, I do it all the time in warmer weather...but get a decent pair of wading boots anyway, and a wear a pair of heavy socks, or whatever it takes to make up the difference in the size so your feet fit...I use the cut off bottoms of an old set of waders.  Don't wear shorts unless you are OK with abrasions and cuts on your shins and knees.  Anyone who says they never get them is telling fibs, or only wades in municipal swimming pools.

 

Felt bottom boots are best, and a wading staff is the gnat's fanny - two points in contact with the bottom at any given time is massively more stable than one...it's logarithmic in the increase in stability it gives you.  I slipped and fell a few years back trying to land a pike...blew up my left wrist and had to pass on an entire season of chasing grouse and pheasant...couldn't shoot.

 

Simms boots are awesome, but there are a lot of other brands that work just fine...but don't go cheap (unless you find great boots on sale, then hit 'er hard, I do that all the time).  There are Simms boots with rubber soles that are almost as good as felt...other brands may do as well, but I can't speak from experience.

 

Waders...buy the kind with separate boots if you can swing the cash.  There is no comparison for comfort.  Period.  Get good waders (you do not have to spend hundreds of $$$, but you're not going to find them for $39.99 at Wally world either)...and wear a belt.  A belt can save your butt.

 

Get a good vest/backpack/chest pack/belt pack/sling pack...whatever fits your style...and put in it what you're going to use for the day.  Don't take everything you own, or try to cover too many "maybes".  You'll just make yourself crabby on the water when you cant get to what you need without wading to the side of the river and dumping all your crap out to find that fluoro leader spool you thought you put in that pocket...don't ask how I know this...

 

The advice to check in with the trout guys is great - they do this almost every time they fish, and they're not dummies.  I have stolen all kinds of ideas and techniques from them.  As a a sidebar, the saltwater guys know a thing or two about what to wear in hot weather and sun protection...

 

...on to the fishing: If the water is slow (pools) wade very slowly and think about the water your pushing.  On relatively un=pressured water, this isn't quite as big a deal...but from the fish's perspective, a significant number of the things that try to eat them disturb the water a fair amount...

 

In runs and riffles, it's not quite as important to wade stealthily...but it is important to watch where your shadow falls, and if fish can see you.  Wear clothing that blends into the background if possible.

 

Length of your steps matters less than being sure you are stable on one foot before you move the other.  There's an "Oh CRAP!" moment when you realize you're not...and you're gonna get wet...hopefully you don't wind up as a floater...

 

For bass and toothy fish, I fish downstream because it's easier and I am unconvinced it makes any difference.  Look ahead and plan your wading so you don't run a buncha mud and bottom crap through an area you're gonna fish two minutes later.  Get out of the river and walk along the bank if you need to, if that's legal in your area.

 

On river bends: The inside of the bend in usually where it's shallow.  this is important.  You want to wade there, most often, and throw to the outside where it's deeper.

 

There is almost always a hole right after any significant obstruction on the bottom (and often right in front of it as well, depending on current.  This is important because A) fish like to hang out there, and B) you're gonna loose your balance and fall if you step in too many of the holes.

 

Try to be across the river from structure you are casting at...if possible...but don't get too wrapped 'round the axle about this.  You can always cast ahead to cover structure.

 

On every river, everywhere, the best place to cross is going to be between bends, in the riffles.  Rivers are always Run - Riffle - Pool/Run - Riffle - Pool.  There are no exceptions to this, though some riffles on big rivers may still be too deep and'or moving too fast to wade safely.  Learn to look for the pattern and use it to your benefit.

 

When you come to a section of river that's new...do yourself a favor and take some time to look at it and plan how you're going to work it.  Look for where the fish are likely to be and how you might approach them.  If there is any kind of a topwater bite happening, you might even have a fish or two show you where they are.

 

All in all, rivers are awesome places to fish...but be careful, and be cautious...they can kick your butt much faster than stillwater.  You'll be the most likely to hurt yourself when you think you know hat you're doing...but don't quite have a handle on it yet.  Try to recognize when this is, and up your caution. 

 

Hope this helps and if it generated any questions, fire away...happy to expand on anything I've left you wondering about.

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I fish downstream alot for bass, but also for trout.   The trout waters I fish are small spring creeks,  sidewalk to driveway width.   A killer technique is to stand above a riffle where it falls into deeper water and just let a little bead headed nymph swim in the pool.   When they stop biting kick up a bunch of rocks and silt and let it drift down, that releases some food downstream and seems to turn them back on.   Dry flies upstream, but I do alot of downstream trout fishing. 

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4 hours ago, jimf said:

When they stop biting kick up a bunch of rocks and silt and let it drift down, that releases some food downstream and seems to turn them back on.

They call that "chumming" where I come from... ;)

 

...be careful here, I have been advised that some states frown on it.  I might have been fibbed to...but I'd check it out first.

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I primarily wet wade small creeks in old sneakers. Tried wading boots but they were just too heavy since I usually walk back. True, they're more surefooted but my slip ups come as often out of the water as in. Water deeper than my knees actually tends to slow my fall and let me catch myself. At 63 it's all becoming more challenging. I don't look forward to the day that I can't do it anymore.

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19 hours ago, The Bassman said:

I primarily wet wade small creeks in old sneakers. Tried wading boots but they were just too heavy since I usually walk back. True, they're more surefooted but my slip ups come as often out of the water as in. Water deeper than my knees actually tends to slow my fall and let me catch myself. At 63 it's all becoming more challenging. I don't look forward to the day that I can't do it anymore.

I used sneakers for years, but between filling with pebbles/sand/mud and weighing a ton once soaked, I switched to Keen wading shoes for the warmer months and couldn't be happier.  They drain super easy, are on and off in seconds, and do a pretty good job with traction. 

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The title is wading rivers not creeks, streams, ponds or lake shores. Rivers are big, wide, deep with varing current speeds, meaning you slip and fall you can be carried down river and drown. Anyone wading rivers should use caution doing it and know what they are doing. 

Tom

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1 hour ago, Turkey sandwich said:

I used sneakers for years, but between filling with pebbles/sand/mud and weighing a ton once soaked, I switched to Keen wading shoes for the warmer months and couldn't be happier.  They drain super easy, are on and off in seconds, and do a pretty good job with traction. 

Really appreciate the tip. Can they stand up to walking on pavement?

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