When it comes to standing in a body of water waving a stick, fly fishermen are likely to be the largest demographic to participate in such behavior. As a dry fly fisherman, I am an active participant in this activity, and you are likely to be too. Sure you can paddle around in a watercraft of some sort, or even stand on dry ground and fish from the bank. But you haven’t truly entered the fraternity of fly fishing until you’ve waded out into a stream and cast a line.
There’s something special about standing in a stream, with the water passing through your legs and swirling into little eddies behind them, that can’t be truly understood until you’ve felt it for yourself. It can be almost magical, and it puts the angler into the environment instead of only observing it. You feel the coolness of the water, the power behind it, and the life forces that it carries with it. Personally, I would rather fish wading in a stream than in any other way.
But wading in moving water also brings with it hazards. Most of these hazards (and those that fall victim to them) will only result in the angler being a little humiliated, a little colder, and likely a lot wetter. But they can also inflict pain and injury, and even be life threatening. So it behooves anyone that is going to set a foot into water to understand what they are getting themselves into, and how they might get themselves out.
I could try and describe some of the things I’ve learned first-hand on wading safely, but a picture is worth a thousand words, so a video must be worth millions. Thanks to the good folks at Simms we have six videos, each about 5 minutes in length (give or take a minute or two). These are actually one video produced by Simms that has been broken up into segments that Fly Fisherman Magazine posted to YouTube, and below you’ll find a link to each of them. Each video will take you through some of the hazards you are likely to encounter when wading, and they’ll provide some sound advice on how to deal with them should you need to. They also cover some information on selecting the right gear for wading safely, albeit with a slight Simms bias.
I’ll admit that these aren’t the most entertaining of videos I’ve seen, but they may be some of the most important ones, and my son and I watch them at the beginning of every fishing season to ensure we’re wading safely. I’d suggest you do the same.