View Full Version : Waders or Hiking Boots?

10-25-2007, 11:01 AM
Hello, newbie to fishing the park (and this webboard), planning a first trip to the park this weekend for some fly fishing. I have a quick equipment question for you folks. When you folks hike in a distance in the park in order to fly fish a more remote stream (i.e. goodly mileage, not a quick stroll from the car), do you: Wear waders & boots and hike in them? Wear hiking boots and carry waders & boots for fishing? Or simply plan to stay feet dry in hiking boots?


10-25-2007, 11:11 AM
If I am hiking some distance to say a place like campsite 18 to fish I use a back pack and pack my waders and felt boots. I hike in my regular hiking boots and change at the site. This makes for a much better exp. Remimber you are going to have to hike back after fishing for a while and felt boots and waders can be very tiring and uncomftable.

Best way to enjoy and have fun is be prepared. A back pack also allows you to take food, rain coat and other stuff. Being caught of in the hills unprepaired can make for a really bad trip.

Take care of yourself.


10-25-2007, 11:17 AM
If I'm just hiking in for a day to fish where I'll be on a trail most the time, I normally just wear an old pair of running shoes. I think hiking boots are overkill if I'm just carrying a small day pack, and they take up too much room in the pack. I hardly ever hike in my wading boots anymore, because as Redfish said, the "hike back after fishing for a while and felt boots and waders can be very tiring and uncomftable". Most paths that I've been on in the park are pretty well worn trails and I've never wished I'd had something more rugged than a running shoe.

Rog 1
10-25-2007, 11:46 AM
Since I don't live locally and usually fish only in warmer weather I have never owned a pair of waders....I have wet waded in everything from old Converser Allstars, army boots, felt wading boots to aqua stealth soles.....usually hike in with what I am fishing with and come back out the same way....the idea of a pack is sounding better as the years go by but sometimes I think it may be like a bigger fishing vest....nature abhors a vacuum and all sorts of extra things would probably find their way into the pack....I usually look for a wading boot that is built on the base of a hiking shoe and is made for walking as well as wading.

10-25-2007, 12:03 PM
So, the consensus answer seems to be hike carrying waders & boots in a backpack unless you plan to wet wade. The air temperature forecast for this weekend is in the 60's and the water temps are probably that or less so I'm not keen to wet wade; backpack with the waders & boots I will.

All of the help and suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thank you.

10-25-2007, 12:08 PM
I really like the wading boots with rock-climbing rubber soles rather than felt. I find they provide better grip/footing in the water and are also much better to hike in.

I actually spend as little time as possible actually wading/standing in the water because of spooking the fish. If you're in the water I guarantee the fish have already seen you. Best to go slow and stay low on the stream banks. That being said, at this time of year waders/boots are nice for crossing streams.

Good luck.

Mr. Mike
10-25-2007, 04:05 PM
I have never worn waders in a freestone stream in the southern appalachians before December. You're rarely in water deeper than knee high and even that is usually only for a minute or two. Quick dry pants, wool socks, and if it's on the chilly side, a pair of polypro long underwear bottoms keep me comfortable in temps down into the 40's and 50's without the need to hike in with all that luggage.

10-25-2007, 07:59 PM
I fished yesterday in the higher elevations of the Smokies and wet waded with relative comfort. The water and air temperatures were both in the mid-50s. I have been up there when the air temperature was 43 and water temperature was 55 and also stayed quite comfortable in only my boots and quick-dry nylon pants. In most of the streams, felt-soled boots or an equivalent are absolutely necessary with or without waders. I also stay on the rocks and out of the water as much as possible but the rocks are almost always wet and now are covered with leaves. Sneakers will have you on your tookus (sp?) in a heartbeat even if you are determined to stay out of the water.

10-25-2007, 08:14 PM
I'm with Charlie and Mr. Mike. I fished today in nylon pants and wading boots (air temp 55/water temp 52) and was very comfortable. I can usually hike about .75 miles in my hiking boots (with neoprene wading socks). Anything more than that and I wear hiking boots. The trails are usually in pretty good shape, but I'd rather be over prepared, than under prepared. I don't have great knees or ankles and I always seem to turn an ankle just wearing my running shoes.

Absolutely wear wading boots. I try to stay out of the water as much as possible, but on some of the more boulder happy streams there is no way to completely avoid it and climbing on wet boulders or dry ones with wet feet is a recipe for a spill. For the next couple of months you can add wet leaves on top of the rocks for an even more hazardous ride...wear your boots!

And if you don't have an expensive backpack, don't sweat it. I have a $19 Target special that works fine and is lightweight enough to wear while I'm fishing. Of course I would love a Fishpond backpack, if anyone is looking for items to add to my Christmas list...