Small Stream Trout fishing in Michigan

Waders 101

Feral Tweed with a good Brown Trout

If you are serious about small stream trout fishing you will need chest waders. Visit any large outdoor supply chain and you will find a large variety of waders you absolutely do not want to buy. And a few pair that make sense. For years I wore chest waders with a built-in boot. They were made of canvas, lasted a few years, and I could get in and out of then easily. On a scale of 10, they were about 5 for comfort and weight.  Now I wear superlight stocking foot waders with wading shoes and here is why: It’s like wearing a comfortable pair of pants. Trout fishing involves a lot of walking, a lot of grueling wading (upstream), and after that, more walking. Waders can sap your strength, make you sweat, and slow you down.

You can buy light weight waders and boots for not much more than conventional waders. My waders (Hodgeman Wadelites) and shoes ran about $100.00 on sale. See the “about” page to check out my waders. You can spend more, much more, and the investment may be worth it. Keep your receipt. My main fishing partner and trout legend, Feral Tweed, pictured above, purchased a pair of light weight Simms waders ($200+) that leaked right out of the box. This may have been the exception, as the Simms brand gets good reviews generally.

Do not worry about warmth, at least for the type of trout fishing I will be explaining in later posts. Do not buy rubber waders or waders that seem to promise you will stay warm, including neoprene. You will be on the move, even in cold spring or fall weather, and warmth is not an issue. If you think you will get cold, you can always put on a pair of long johns.

At some point, all waders leak.

Wader Repair: If your light-weight waders leak around a seam – pick up a tube of SEAMGRIP, turn the waders inside out and coat the seams. If you puncture them on a snag, waders typically have a repair kit including patches.

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