If you fly fish in rivers and streams, you’re constantly on the move, hiking to and from different locations, wading rocky shorelines, bogs, sloughs, and sometimes navigating difficult terrain just to get to and from your favorite fishing spots.
Functional wading gear helps you do all that and catch more fish, because you’re more comfortable, you can stay on the water longer, and make the most of your time while you’re out there. But even more important, good wading gear helps keep you safe by keeping you upright, and keeping you dry in a variety of conditions. Let’s take a look at some different wading systems that cover all the seasons, and all kinds of rivers.
<h2>Felt vs. Rubber</h2>For decades, everyone wore felt on their wading boots which still works great on slimy river rocks, but you need to add metal studs for traction hiking up and down the riverbanks, especially on snow, ice, mud, or even wet grass. Rubber soles are easier to clean than felt, much more durable, and give you more traction under a great variety of conditions hiking to and from the river and along muddy, rocky unstable river banks. For smooth algae-covered rocks on the river bottom, you'll need studs to cut through the slime.