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  1. #1
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    School Me on Waders/Boots

    So after many years of fighting it, I'm giving in to the lure (pun intended) of fly fishing. I've been on a few guided trips but know very little about gear and am picking up what I can here and there. I plan to fish the rivers of SW CO (Animas, Delores, Florida, Pine, San Juan, etc) and am looking for suggestions on waders and boots. I'm thinking a pair of stocking foot waist waders and some boots to match. Any recommendations? What about felt vs cleats?

    Any advice appreciated.
    The Sheriff is near!

  2. #2
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    Whatever Redington stockingfoot waders you can find online on sale plus Simms Freestone wading boots is what I run. Plus some microspikes like ice trekkers in case the bottom is slippery rocks. Better than studded wading boots for walking into a fly shop or drift boat, just take off the trekkers

    Edit: yeah x3 for the chest height waders.
    Last edited by kokomas; 08-14-2023 at 12:00 PM.
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  3. #3
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    Wading pants are stupid. If it's too warm for full waders then you can wet wade and when it's cold and wet, you'll want that full wader, trust me on that.. Buy good wading boots and a pair of simms neoprene socks.

  4. #4
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    Agree with neckdeep. Get full waders (Redington Sonic Pros are an incredible deal for the price, and can usually be found on markdown). I actually find myself using my Sonics more than my Simms G3s. Get quality wading boots (my current favorites are Orvis Pros) rubber soles + studs, and neoprene socks with gravel guards (Simms are great, but Patagonia, Orvis, Redington all make good ones) for wet wading.

    Felt soles are the best traction while in the river, but wears out quickly, shitty for hiking long distances and are a nightmare on snow & ice. There are also restrictions on using them in certain states & watersheds due to the possibility of transmitting invasive species. Rubber with studs or cleats give you the most flexibility and decent traction.
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  5. #5
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    Some good advice here, you don't need to buy super expensive waders and invest the savings in decent boots. Do yourself and the environment a favor and don't get felt soles, yeah I know felt is better grip on slippery rocks but get used to rubber soles with cleats.

    Don't forget to purchase a wading belt.

  6. #6
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    I’ve got Patagonia waders and Simms boots. Both highly recommended.

    Cleats or studs are great in a lot of Western rivers, but never use them in any kind of boat or raft. My current Simms boots are the Guide model with felt soles. I really like them. I have weird feet and Simms boots fit me better than Patagonia.

    I’ve also got a pair of Patagonia boots, rubber sole with big metal cleats. Since I lived right outside Yellowstone Park all those years these were my inside the park wading boots since felt soles were illegal. I’m mostly fishing from my boat these days so I have no use for these. If you want them they are free plus shipping. Size 12, so size 11 foot plus the neoprene bootfoot wader makes a size 12 boot.
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    I've had Simms Guide waders, then went to Patagonia and just switched back to Simms. The Simms I just bought only have 10 or so days of use. They seem to be working and holding up fine. I bought them because they were on sale. Simms website still has them for $230 Last years model Freestone. I wouldn't buy super expensive waders but really cheap ones don't seem to last.

    As far as boots. Avoid Korkers. Being able to change soles seems nice until the soles come off. The pin/knob that holds the soles on the back of the boot broke on my pair after very little use. I like felt but I usually only fish 3/4 local streams and have time to dry out my boots between switching streams. I just bought new boots when I got my waders. I had decided on the Orvis Pro but then found the Simms G4 Pros on sale so went with them. I've been very happy with them. Fishwest still has a few sizes left on sale for $132
    I'd rather die while I'm living then live while I'm dead

  8. #8
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    Feb 2005
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    This is a good deal on a solid set of waders:
    https://www.wyomingflyfishing.com/Fl...-Closeout-Sale
    Is it radix panax notoginseng? - splat
    This is like hanging yourself but the rope breaks. - DTM
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  9. #9
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    Dec 2005
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    I'll disagree on wading pants are stupid. I hardly wade over my waist anymore unless I'm wet wading. Wading pants on the boat are so much better. I also milk the shit outta wet wading season. I saw people just yesterday full waders on in 90 deg temps. Fuck that. There's also the guide boat crowd that really like muck boots around here mostly in winter. I have no recs since my old lady worked for simms for quite awhile so I got all my gear free or cheap. Still rocking an ancient pair of guide boots. Just be aware felt is illegal in quite a few places and don't put your studs or cleats near anyone's boat.

    Sent from my SM-S236DL using Tapatalk

  10. #10
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    Thanks for all the input. I've heard felt soles were the best for grip but I was just on a guided trip in YNP and it's illegal there. Pretty sure it's OK here though but the cleats seem to make more sense, especially if you're hoofing it on the shore. When we were in Yellowstone the guide provided us with Simms boots and neoprene socks but our feet still got really wet...is that supposed to happen?

    I have a pair of Salomon river shoes that would probably be OK this time of year but grip is definitely a concern for me. I've waded a few times in the past and it blows me away how powerful a little water can be.

    I'll probably go visit one of fly shops in Durango for this stuff, particularly the boots...not sure that's the kind of purchase I want to make online.

    Again, appreciate the info...if anyone has anything else they can offer that might help me move forward on this adventure, feel free. I've been spinning for many years and have avoided fly fishing because it seems like a pain in the ass but there are too many great opportunities around here not to try it.
    The Sheriff is near!

  11. #11
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    Jan 2018
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garth Bimble View Post
    When we were in Yellowstone the guide provided us with Simms boots and neoprene socks but our feet still got really wet...is that supposed to happen?
    Assuming you were just using neoprene socks and boots, yes your feet get wet. If you want dry feet use waders instead of the neoprene socks. Beware that YNP prohibts felt to stop the spread of rock snot (Didymosphenia geminata) and other unwanted organisms that felt soles can spread.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by lifelinksplit View Post
    I'll disagree on wading pants are stupid. I hardly wade over my waist anymore unless I'm wet wading. Wading pants on the boat are so much better. I also milk the shit outta wet wading season. I saw people just yesterday full waders on in 90 deg temps. Fuck that. There's also the guide boat crowd that really like muck boots around here mostly in winter. I have no recs since my old lady worked for simms for quite awhile so I got all my gear free or cheap. Still rocking an ancient pair of guide boots. Just be aware felt is illegal in quite a few places and don't put your studs or cleats near anyone's boat.

    Sent from my SM-S236DL using Tapatalk
    This timers a 100! I have both pants waders and chest waders, I haven’t put on my chest waders in over 2 years. Most of my fishing is out of a boat and pants waders are so much nicer for that. My non boat fishing days are spent in small streams and pants waders are just fine for that. I think the last time I used pants waders and went over my waist was Pyramid Lake, I would recommend chest waders for that!


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  13. #13
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    So there you have it.

    If, as a beginner, you want to buy two pairs of waders or already own a drift boat and plan to fish the big stream riffles with all the other boaters, then buy wading pants.

    If, however, you do the rougher sort of angling where you will need to ford a stream more than 3 feet deep in cold weather, then don't buy wading pants.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garth Bimble View Post
    I've waded a few times in the past and it blows me away how powerful a little water can be.
    .
    A cubic meter of water weighs about 2200 pounds.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by neckdeep View Post
    So there you have it.

    If, as a beginner, you want to buy two pairs of waders or already own a drift boat and plan to fish the big stream riffles with all the other boaters, then buy wading pants.

    If, however, you do the rougher sort of angling where you will need to ford a stream more than 3 feet deep in cold weather, then don't buy wading pants.
    I'm no kid anymore, it's unlikely that I'll be going into anything over my knees. If it's slack I can handle it but if it's moving fuck that.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garth Bimble View Post
    I'm no kid anymore, it's unlikely that I'll be going into anything over my knees. If it's slack I can handle it but if it's moving fuck that.
    It's all about the bottom surface. You can do a lot on firm gravel or an abrasive bedrock that you can't do on large cobble.

    I still do a lot of crazy stuff in my old age but note well: I NEVER wade rough stuff without using a stick for balance and to poke around for foot entrapping holes. Always maintain 2 points of contact with the bottom. The stick is also good for poking around for rattlesnakes hiding in the grass.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by neckdeep View Post
    It's all about the bottom surface. You can do a lot on firm gravel or an abrasive bedrock that you can't do on large cobble.

    I still do a lot of crazy stuff in my old age but note well: I NEVER wade rough stuff without using a stick for balance and to poke around for foot entrapping holes. Always maintain 2 points of contact with the bottom. The stick is also good for poking around for rattlesnakes hiding in the grass.
    Yeah...I'm thinking a collapsible trekking pole would be a good idea.
    The Sheriff is near!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garth Bimble View Post
    Yeah...I'm thinking a collapsible trekking pole would be a good idea.
    Nope. Holds water. Sinks if dropped.

    Old ski pole is ok if you cut off the basket. The webing loop is convenient for attaching to belt midstream.

    A stick works fine. When you got a good one, leave it behind where you parked. All my favorite places have a collection of snake swatters waiting at the parking lot.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by neckdeep View Post
    Nope. Holds water. Sinks if dropped.

    Old ski pole is ok if you cut off the basket. The webing loop is convenient for attaching to belt midstream.

    A stick works fine. When you got a good one, leave it behind where you parked. All my favorite places have a collection of snake swatters waiting at the parking lot.
    Good to know...thanks
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  20. #20
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    I hope you've got some profitting stock......

  21. #21
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    Dec 2023
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    How bad of any idea would it be to jump off the end of my dock with waders on? Just to feel what it is like to take on water. Might as well do it in a controlled setting than in a river. Has anyone had any experience taking a swim with waders?

    (I'll probable try shallow water first so I don't immediately drown and have my name listed prominently on the Darwin awards)

  22. #22
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    Feb 2005
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    Should be 988 in most jurisdictions. Trust me, I've been there.
    Is it radix panax notoginseng? - splat
    This is like hanging yourself but the rope breaks. - DTM
    Dude Listen to mtm. He's a marriage counselor at burning man. - subtle plague

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