What do you consider fast moving water? What would be ideal for wading? And what is dangerous?
I'm a noob, this was only my third time in fishing waders. If I'm completely mis-explaining myself, please let me know.
I went out this weekend, caught nothing but still had fun. Seemed like the water was ripping even though it hasn't rained in more than a week.
I just now looked up the stream rate, it was at about 850-900cf.
I have no context in terms of whether that's a lot, but it seemed like a whole lot. Having hunted in waders for years, I'm pretty good and not going swimming, but when the water got above my knees, it started to feel a bit on the dangerous side.
I like to err on the side of caution, especially when I'm alone, but just trying to get a sense of what I should hope for in terms of stream flow rate.
If the sand and gravel is washing out from around your feet the current is too strong and not safe
Any level that makes you feel uncomfortable is considered dangerous. That's when Confidence goes and mistakes are made.
Well put guys, when in doubt…pass as there will be another day
USGS sites have flow rates for most streams and rivers.
But you have no frame of reference for the data if you are new to the river
And all rivers are different
As has been said , if it don’t look or feel safe. It’s probably not
Well, now you have a sense for what 900 cf feels like, so look up the flows for the stream you might be interested in and judge it with that in mind. I don't wade any more, too old and unsteady, but when I did I always went with the attitude that it's all dangerous. You get out there in water over your knees you need to be damn careful and probably recalculate whether that's a good idea or not. Brad Pitt be damned.
The posted CFS do not mean squat. River bed condition and bed shape will determine the CFS at any given spot at any given time. Examples width of the bed or drop. It is not a constant flow like a canal.
OJ makes a very very good point!
* There will be other days.
Always wear a wading "belt" somewhere around your midriff...maybe at navel level. If you do top the waders, the trapped air will help keep you afloat for a bit so you can enjoy the ride. If the water is swift and the stream is boulder strewn...try to keep both feet pointing downstream.
Staying close to shore in the event of a retreat is wise. Don't completely cross a stream unless you are sure footed, and as mentioned already, the type of bottom structure makes a huge difference. Muck, silt, sand, gravel and mossy rocks come to mind as typical scenarios. In cloudy water, be careful to feel for sticks, old line, logs, stumps, etc. that can cause a trip. Never have both feet moving at the same time when you are unsure of things. Plant one foot well...feel ahead and then plant the next foot firmly before moving your other foot.
Wading staffs may seem to be in vogue...but frankly, if you need a staff, then the current is probably too strong. In stained water a staff can be handy for probing ahead in case of deep spots and debris though.
I do a lot of wading, in a variety of situations. Listen to that "still small voice of caution" in your head. If you lack confidence and physical dexterity, then you will definitely get wet. Also beware of rip tides and strong currents that can sneak up behind you and take you away from shore...especially when in surf conditions.
No fish is worth risking your life over!
I fish Harper's Ferry West Virginia. The rocks can go from flat to deep enough to hide a Volkswagen bus.
I use t-shirt, shorts, sneakers and a fishing life vest. I can step off one rock, float to the next. I can place the rod handle behind the zipper leaving my hands free.
I really only use waders during colder temps.
Wear a life jacket and as previously mentioned, a waist belt. When taking people out in Alaska, I found it was common for fishermen to spook fish by wading when they could reach the fish from shore. If in doubt, get out. Wade for a reason, not just to get your feet wet.
always wear a good fitting belt. It can save your life.
I won’t wade above 500 cfs. One for me it’s unsafe. Two those trout are going to be hard to find. They don’t like that current either.
Like Pixiedog said if it makes you uncomfortable get out of the water. I only ever wear hip waders so I don't go into deep water any way. But one time I did catch my foot under a rock that was sticking up at an angle and I went down. Luckily the water wasn't even up to my knees but my waders did fill up. It really sucked because I had to walk about a half mile with my waders full of water because I knew if I took them off to dump them out I'd never get them back on until they dried out.
I use korkers wading boots with the hex cleats. What a difference even from felts. Helps when climbing down a slippery bank to get to the water too. Never felt so sure footed in the water. Still, high flows will move your feet, then it’s time to reconsider until your really comfortable in moving water. If you get in trouble, like others have said, point your feet upstream and slowly make your way to the bank one foot at a time.
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