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[dropcap]Y[/dropcap]esterday, my angling friend and I watched a pair of anglers fight for balance and footholds while marching up-current in deep water of the Caloosahatchee River (Georgia). Serendipitously, Red’s Fly Shop had an early season ‘how-to-do-list’ for wading big and small water.

It is worth your time to review the following checklist. Doing so will make you safer, allow you to fish smarter and catch more fish. All good things

1. If you are casting across slow water to fast water, cast or wade upstream to get the best possible dead drift with dry flies or nymphs.  If you are casting across fast water to slower water, cast across or downstream and make big mends or feed line to promote dead drifts.

2. On small streams, wading and hiking your way upstream is the best strategy.  On large rivers most angler prefer to work downstream.

3. Don’t step on top of the big rocks.  Too many people search for the high spots with their feet only to slip off the rock and stumble!  Find the deep spots.

4. Stand sideways in the current in swift flows.  Just like a boxer that wants to minimize their target to an opponent, stand sideways in swift flows to minimize the impact.  Let your upstream leg break the flow to protect your downstream leg.  Move slowly across fast currents in this manner.

5. Tighten up your wading belt.  This is a critical piece of equipment and will prevent a massive fill up if you take a tumble.  Cinch it up, use it, and it will salvage a day of fishing by keeping your lower extremeties dry in the event you take a dip.

6.  When you are crossing a river, take a slight downstream approach.  Don’t fight the current, gently angle downstream and work with the current.  Sideways approach of course.

7. Never cross or wade swift currents above a danger spot.  Log jams are killers, be careful above log jams.

8. Use a “depth finder.”  If you are stepping into water that you can’t see the bottom use a stick, wading staff, or as a last resort your fly rod tip (no, just use rod. Forget carrying a clumsy ‘staff’).  Check the depth before you take the plunge.

Quality waders and boots, booties are essential equipment. Avoid clutter and too many tools. you are there to fish not model gear and rags


Red’s Fly Shop at Canyon River Ranch Resort
PO Box 186 – Mile Marker 15 Yakima Canyon
14706 Hwy 821
Ellensburg, WA 98926

Website . . .

(509) 933-2300 Fly Shop Office
(509) 933-2100 Lodge Desk
(509) 933-2309 Canyon River Grill



Author Skip

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