When I was a kid I fly fished with my dad many times. He taught me about rivers, the force of the current and how to wade into and across the river when necessary. When we came to a place that required a river crossing, he would search around on the bank for a branch about four feet long and use it as a “third leg” to help him navigate across the river. I tried it and found it made walking in water so much easier. You could use it to determine just how deep a particular stretch of river was and it supported your movement as you crossed or climbed up and down the bank.
Since then I’ve always used a wading staff when fly fishing in mountain rivers. After dad showed me the branch trick, we graduated to using a ski pole that was tied with a length of cord to our wading belts. This makeshift wading staff would drag along with us as we moved up and down the banks. It was also useful when our fly snagged in a tree since it helped us to retrieve it easily.
Now anglers have a great choice of wading staffs to choose from, many that collapse when not in use. Some, like the Simms Wading Staff, are foldable, to fit into a leather holster on your wading belt. Others are shock-corded while some wading staffs feature an extendable shaft that retracts to about 24 inches. It’s worth considering a wading staff with a rubber base, like the Fishpond Slippery Rock Wading Staff that keeps down the noise when you’re in the river. I learned while steelhead fishing that the clinking noise of metal on rocks can alert fish to your presence.
Come into the fly shop at Jans and let our fly fishing experts show you the variety of wading staffs available. We carry models from Simms, Fishpond and Dan Bailey’s in our Park Avenue flagship store. Once you use one, you’ll agree that fly fishing with a wading staff makes your day on the river so much easier and safer.