Choosing to wet wade is a summer treat. Walking in the cool river on a hot day is comfortable and appropriate. Wearing a heavy pair of neoprene or chest waders is a sweaty and stinky job.
Back in the day, we wore old high top tennis shoes with outdoor carpet glued to the bottoms. Old hiking socks were important to keep the gravel out of your shoes. If things were still slick, a walking stick would help. An old pair of jeans or shorts completed the outfit. ￼
To wet wade comfortably, you will need some new gear. Gone are the days of wearing old tennis shoes. Now you have many new choices that are also an improvement in comfort and traction.
Wading Boots Slip on, lace up boots are much improved. No longer do you need carpet, felt, or synthetic fabrics. These are banned in many states due to invasive algae and snails. Instead, you can get a quality Vibram sole boot with metal screws attached. This is real Action Traction! ￼
Wading Socks A custom fit neoprene sock is a perfect foot protector. These cuffed cocks will also pull over long pants legs for added protection. The neoprene also adds cushioning to your foot. The trick is to get them on and off easily. Try on a pair one size larger than your foot. Also try the on with the boot you plan to use. A proper fit will ensure that the socks will not tear or be too tight/loose.
Wading Pants Old Wet Jeans are heavy and take forever to dry. I still prefer long pants over shorts to keep off the cooties and thorns. New fast drying fabrics are perfect for wet wading. They come with zip off legs to transform into shorts or some even have snake proof lowers.
Walking Sticks A collapsible wading stick is the best. These are made from aircraft aluminum and stay connected with a bungy cord. They holster onto your belt until needed. Solid staffs also work but need to attach to the angler with a cord. They can get in the way. ￼
Wet Wading is fun until the sun goes down. If you are still wet when the temperature drops, hypothermia is just around the corner. Most Hypothermia can occur at temperatures in the 60’s and 70 degrees. As the evening cools, so will your body.
Plan on changing back into warmer and dryer wading gear. If you are a distance away from the access, have your stocking foot boots stashed under a rock or in some bushes. Hang your pants to dry and change into your fresh, dry gear. You may only need to carry out wet socks, small towel, and pants. A dry bag in the boat is also a good idea. Changing into warmer and drier gear will allow you to finish the drift or fish into dark comfortably.
Stay Wet, Wild, and Dry!