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December 8, 2021

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How to Choose the Best Fishing Waders

How to Choose the Best Fishing Waders

Trout fishing in rivers is one of the common ways to fish in America. There are many systems of rivers and canals coming from any of the major lakes and reservoirs found throughout the country; most of which carry healthy amounts of trout that love swimming through lakes. Though fly fishing can be as easy as using any fly fishing rod in moving waters, river wading is another form of fishing that’s very popular among more veteran anglers. 

River wading is perfect for getting into shallow waters that most boats or kayaks can’t access. River wading waters where small boats like kayaks and paddleboards can enter are also possible. In general, buying river wading gear is much cheaper than using any type of boat and especially when keeping up its maintenance. It’s also more up close and personal when instead of waiting for fish, anglers have to walk and stalk to where the fish are. It is for the same reason that ice fishing in itself is a unique and fun experience. Since anglers are walking around the area, fishing also becomes more active and can be seen as a light workout.

River wade fishing has been a form of fishing done by anglers as early as the 19th century. During that time, however, fishing waders have been hit or miss. Rubber-based fishing waders used decades prior were sweat-inducing dehydration suits masquerading as river waders. Years of innovations have since made river waders much friendlier to anglers with more breathable materials being implemented. That being said, here are some of the things that anglers should look out for when choosing a fishing wader.

Fishing Waders: Everything to Look Out For


Out of everything an angler needs to find out about choosing waders, comfortability should definitely be the first on the list. Most of the time, anglers will probably be out in cold river waters for hours on end so wearing comfortable waders is a must. As previously mentioned, old fishing waders gripped too tightly on the angler’s thighs; insulating the body heat in them way too much as well as trapping perspiration. Modern-day fishing waders are made out of breathable gore-tex or neoprene. The former is more expensive but is highly breathable while still being lightweight. A downside to its breathability is its weakness against the cold. The latter is more common as it’s cheaper and is relatively as effective. Neoprene is made out of the same material wetsuits are made of; which is usually in the range of 3.5 mm to 5 mm in thickness. It is great for insulation despite being quite thin and is perfect for cold weather.

Out of all the fishing wader materials being used today the cheapest and most ill-advised material would have to be rubber. Waders made out of this material trap sweat and can be dangerous over long periods of time. The only reason anglers still use this is because it’s cheap and very durable. Otherwise, using rubber-based waders is not recommended.


There are two main types of fishing waders available, namely boot-foot and stockingfoot waders. The former is usually made up of breathable materials and has wading boots permanently attached to the rest of the suit.  Bootfoots are also considerably warmer and easier to slip into. Anglers typically use the former for steelhead fishing. Depending on the weather, either two are viable for use. Bootfoots are, in a sense, more popular as water is cold in most seasons anyway, keeping warm in the face of hours of cold, running water is obviously very important. The latter is made up of non-breathable materials, usually neoprene, but are too thin to use on the surface of rivers alone, having the need to use extra wading boots.


Fishing waders also come in different sizes, reaching different parts of the body. All of these depend on how deep or shallow waters are, with fishing waders coming in three types of length, namely hip, pant, and chest waders. Hip waders are great for very shallow waters just a little over or under the knee. They’re great for hikers going up high places while searching for little streams to fish in. Obviously, they’re limited to shallow waters in comparison to pant and chest waders. Pant fishing waders can cover up to the waist only and generally fit like regular pants. Anglers rowing boats also recommend using these types of waders as they tend to go into decently deep waters. Possibly the more popular of the three, chest waders are the most versatile. They have great insulators built with going into deep cold waters in mind. One downside is that they’re pretty much the most expensive of the three but for good reason. They keep anglers well protected from the cold especially during the fall and winter season and are durable enough to use when hiking or hunting. 


When considering all types of fishing waders, their height, and of course the materials being used, all of this should be in proportion to its price. Anglers aren’t required to buy the most expensive, all-encompassing fishing waders for sale but instead research where the fishing trip area is, its climate, habitat, and how deep the waters are. While spending money on expensive fishing equipment works well for anglers that travel around the country visiting multiple fishing spots throughout the year, a regular angler that has a favorite spot or a new one feeling things out should only go for what a specific area demands. Things could go wrong when buying an already insulated chest fishing wader when heading on out to a warm river in Nevada. 

When buying any piece of equipment whether it’s for fishing or for any other hobby it’s best to research about it. This is especially true for fishing as it is a gear heavy sport. Fishing waders in general are great for a lot of things other than trout fishing like hiking and even hunting. There’s great value in investing in them for any person who loves the outdoors. In the end, however, there are lots of ways to go about fishing. Its versatility is one of the reasons why it is one of the country's most popular sports.