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View Full Version : To wet wade or not to wet wade...that is the question?


LA MantaRay12
04-05-2013, 12:03 PM
Folks,

My family and I go to the GSMNP as much as work allows but it seems we typically make it there in the Fall. This year we have planned a trip for the Spring, week of April 22 to be exact. I have always worn waders in the fall because we are normally in the area in November.

What is the concensus for wet wading in late April? Should I plan to wear waders?

William
04-05-2013, 12:34 PM
Folks,

My family and I go to the GSMNP as much as work allows but it seems we typically make it there in the Fall. This year we have planned a trip for the Spring, week of April 22 to be exact. I have always worn waders in the fall because we are normally in the area in November.

What is the concensus for wet wading in late April? Should I plan to wear waders?

I waded out to my knees on Monday. It was not a good experience. Bring the waders unless the water gets another 20ish degrees warmer by then.

Don Kirk
04-05-2013, 12:52 PM
For years we wet waded year round, but then moved to wet wading if we could stand the cold and the water, as moving upstream and casting while jogging is tough in waders. That was a long time ago...

Last year I fell on my left knee wet wading the Hiwassee. I wound up with a staff infection, and did three trips to the hospital for a total of 20 days and two surgeries. Mrs. Kirk says that I am no longer allowed to wet wade anywhere except in the hot tub on the back where I still have skinny dipping privileges when the kids are gone.

Year before last Kevin Howell over at Davidson River Outfitters had the same thing happen to him in the Tusk. He also had a friend who got infected from a puncture. They no longer wet wade. None of these incidents occurred in the GSMNP where one would presume there is less danger from things like fecal bacteria. I never liked wearing waders if they could be avoided, but when the doctors tell you that you may loose your leg, waders are a reasonable compromise. Thatís my two cents worth on wet wading.

mattblick
04-05-2013, 01:36 PM
You need something to keep firm footing as others have mentioned. Several years ago while I was wet wading in Teva sandals my feet went out from under me. My leg slammed into a sharp ridge of shale. I let it bleed out for a while, gobbed it up with triple antibiotic and then used three butterfly closures to hold it shut. Fortunately it didn't get infected. I probably should have gone for stitches but I didn't want to hike out.

I'm a big fan of the Chota Hippies that LRO carries. They are super light, I believe I read 10 ounces each. You can wear them at 3 different heights depending on the temperature and use your wading boots for good footing. There are also the Simms neoprene socks that allow you to wear your regular wading boots and still have the wet wading feeling.

Streamhound
04-05-2013, 01:58 PM
I am going out on monday and will be wearing waders.
But then I like wearing plastic pants in running water;)

silvercreek
04-05-2013, 02:03 PM
Bootfoot breathable hip boots. You can get to all your pockets as a plus.

David Knapp
04-05-2013, 02:31 PM
Wet wade except perhaps on the largest streams (Little River from Elkmont down would be considered "large). Also depends a lot on water levels...bring the waders so you have options...

Stana Claus
04-05-2013, 05:46 PM
It's currently still a little bit too cold for me to wet wade, but we're supposed to be getting up into the 70's this weekend and through next week. If those temps hold, the creeks might be warm enough for wet wading by the time you get here as long as you don't get too deep and don't stay in the water too long.

Here's a link (http://amazon.nws.noaa.gov/nexhads2/jsp/interactiveDisplays/createChart.jsp?nesdis_id=DD5263E0) to the water temps on the Little River just below the park boundary in Townsend (click the box at the top of the page and select TW Temperature, water to show that graph). Keep in mind, this is the temp for a larger river at a lower elevation and the smaller creeks higher up will likely be a bit colder.

NDuncan
04-05-2013, 10:52 PM
If water temp is above 45 and air temp is above 60 I usually wet wade. It also depends on how far back in I am going. Sometimes if I am roadside, I bring the waders just in case the chill in the air/ wind is a little more than I am expecting.

Wet wading in colder weather- I use neoprene booties, fleece liners and wool/synthetic hiking socks. I'm never uncomfortable like that. As it warms up I Ditch the wool, then replace the fleece with cotton ( more to prevent blisters than anything else)

That's how I do it. Others will their own opinion but I'm happy with that set up.

LA MantaRay12
04-05-2013, 11:27 PM
All great information.....hate to hear about the staff infections. Thank you very much for the Little River temperature link...i keep up with conditions on the Little River Fishing Report but I like the graph.

I will have my trusty waders with me...I will also take a look at the Chota Hippies...can't find them in Mobile, AL.

Thanks to everyone for the great info...hopefully I will get a chance to fish/meet with some of you while I am in town.

Rog 1
04-08-2013, 09:51 AM
My son and I were fishing the Park over Easter weekend...snowing above Alum Cave trailhead...still wet waded...I just don't find most of the water that I fish up there to be easily fished in waders...plus it is not unusal for us to put in an 8 mile day and even if you carry the things it becomes a pain on the way out...most of my backcountry fishing doesn't require long periods in the water so I find the extra weight to be a negative.

Carolina Kudzu
04-08-2013, 03:06 PM
I wet wade in warm weather (Mid April through early November), but wear wading shoes and have a wading staff with me.

Stonefly
04-08-2013, 04:21 PM
I still have a pair of Hippies in size XL that I'd like to sell. Should have bought L's. Used once.

steve

nvr2L8
04-15-2013, 02:29 PM
To give you the classic cop-out, it depends. Most of the streams I fish, I spend the majority of the time on the rocks and not in the water. I avoid waders whenever possible ( generally late March to early November). HOWEVER, if you are in a larger stream where you plan to spend extended periods standing in the water (especially thigh high or more) you may want to consider waders to avoid gradual hypothermia. For those who are more acclimated to the mountain streams (i.e., no live nerve endings left) even this type wading can bd done wader-less. So, it depends.

tntom
04-26-2013, 10:41 AM
I still have a pair of Hippies in size XL that I'd like to sell. Should have bought L's. Used once.

steve

Sorry my bad.

Rob Johnson
05-12-2013, 12:43 AM
I always wear light chest waders or " guide pants " because they keep my butt dry when I sit on the bank or wet rocks. I do a lot of sitting. The guys I was with on Hazel last week said the water was very cold but it didn"t matter because they couldn"t feel their feet or lower legs after a few minutes in the water anyway. I kinda like to know where my feet are when wading fast water.