A guide to fishing waders and boots | VailDaily.com

A guide to fishing waders and boots

The Eagle River and other rivers around the state are starting to experience the annual runoff and with the cold water coming down from the mountains, and a good pair of waders and boots are going to be an important tool for any angler.

After getting your rod, reel, line and some flies, the next major purchase for anglers who fly-fish is a solid pair of waders and boots. Waders allow us to access areas of the river or lake that might not be reachable without them. They also allow you to get into a position in the river to make casts without the worry of getting snagged on the banks or trees. Getting yourself into a pair is a game changer for any novice angler.


Gone are the days of wearing neoprene waders with boots attached to them. Modern waders are made with breathable materials, making them very comfortable to wear on warm summer days and still warm enough for cold days.

There are a wide range of features with different waders and brands. Some waders offer convertible tops to provide more comfort on hot days. While other waders have a full waterproof zipper on the front to make it easier to put the waders on and also easier to relieve yourself when the time comes. Pockets, hand warmers, cell phone pouches, and knee pads are just a few of the additional features you can find when looking at different waders.

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You want to look for a pair of waders that are durable, comfortable and have the special features that you are craving. Price is going to be a driving factor when you are looking for a new pair of waders. Just remember that waders are built to last a long time, so make sure they have the features that you are looking for in the long run.

Most waders available for fly-fishing are going to have neoprene stocking feet to accommodate a pair of wading boots. The stocking feet are waterproof and the neoprene provides a great amount of warmth. This design is extremely comfortable and provides comfort and warmth throughout a long day of fishing.


Wading boots have also come along ways in terms of comfort, design and durability. You can find boots with laces or now with the similar Boa system that you might find on snowboard boots. You will also notice that wading boots will have felt soles or rubber soles. All of these factors are things to take into account when shopping for boots to go along with your waters.

Felt vs. rubber soles has been a debate in the fly-fishing world for a while now. Felt soles offer amazing slip protection in the water but invasive species can latch on to these soles. This has caused felt soles to be banned in some states to protect their waterways. Colorado still allows felt soles but it’s a good idea to disinfect them before heading to different water systems.

Rubber soles have gotten better and better over the years. Many rubber soles have pre-drilled or preselected places to insert metal or aluminum studs to help with wading in slippery rivers. These studs are an absolute must for the Eagle River due to its greased bowling ball like rocks. The drawback to adding studs to your boots is you shouldn’t wear them in rubber fishing boats because the sharp edges may cause a hole in the boat. Rubber soles, however, are very nice in the winter when snow is present because they don’t build up snow like the felt soles.

When it comes to buying a pair of waders and boots there are a lot of factors and features to think about. The best way to figure out what you are looking for is to call a fly shop and talk to the staff about their selection. Typically, waders and boots can last several seasons of fishing if cared for correctly. Like any gear for outdoor sports, you get what you pay for. Come on in and talk to us about what you are looking for in your wading game and we will get you set up.

Ray Kyle is a manager and a guide at Vail Valley Anglers. He can be reached at 970-926-0900 and rkyle@vailvalleyanglers.com.

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