My old waders began leaking over a year ago, and I began wading less and less. It quickly became apparent that good fish often hold very close to the bank, and that casting along the bank is not all that difficult. It's also safer not to wade. Just ask my wife....and me as of about 6 weeks ago: knee crashing on a submerged boulder!
Location: Lake of the Woods/Rainy River Minnesota Canada border
Re: To wade or not to wade?
I only wade when I need to, but because I use a spey rod more than anything else I wade a lot. When I do wade I try not to make a lot of racket and try to stand in one spot and work the area completely before moving. At all. Sometimes when I use single hand rods, I wade because I have high banks here and need the back cast room. I started using a spey rod because in some spots you can be just 20' feet from shore and over 20' of water beneath you, then add the high banks. When I do move I try and do it as slowly as I can trying not to "Push" water. I think that alerts fish more than splashing. If I move down the shore I will generally back out of the water and move to the new spot on the beach. I keep my movements in the water to a minimum.
Unfortunately I spent the money Mom gave me for dance lessons on junk food and Candy so I'm not always as graceful and quiet as I try to be.
Location: White City (tad north of Medford) Oar-E-Gone
Re: To wade or not to wade?
Originally Posted by mikel
Not only do we wade when unnecessary, we often wade right into the lanes we should be fishing and walk all over our prey. I'm certainly guilty, athough trying to get better. There's definitely an appeal to being in the water, especially if you already have those darned waders on.
Since now I generally carry a net, wear a pfd and wade with a staff, it's like you need a frigging moving van to get on the water. How come 40 years ago we just needed a couple of flies, a spool of tippet and some felt glued to the bottom of our Chuck Taylors?
In the past couple of years I seek out more water that doesn't require wading. Too lazy to wader up.
Mike gets my vote for "Post of the Day." Dead on point by point. Lots of thoughts but I rarely wade even up to my knees in the river. Several reasons: personal safety (my balance just isn't that good anymore at 69 and change), Mr Fish wants water 3 - 8 feet of water ... why would you want to stand in water over a foot deep? Etc.
I float tube a lot on stillwater, so wear chest waders then, for rivers, even the truckee, I usually carry my hip waders in the car, and try to wade no deeper than knee deep, especially in the winter, where taking a swim can be a lot more dangerous in deeper water due to the water temps. I like to wade, but last year when fishing with a younger friend that has no issues wading accross heavy water, and I tried to follow him, big slippery rocks, strong current, and about half way accross I asked myself what a 50 year old guy was doing trying to get himself hurt or killed to catch a fish. Not worth it, and I like others have to agree when you minimize the wading, I have taken fish out of spots I was wading through previoiusly. makes you stop and think a little about where you are putting your feet.
There is alot of sound in the water. Rocks fall over, or into the water.
Banks slide etc....
The difference I think, is our sonic signature. Crunch, crunch, crunch.
I just take a couple steps and watch birds or fish or something for a minute between steps.
This season I had two guys with me. We were wading across to head back to the car.
(Just imagine the noise of three guys walking..)
I put one guy on a fish lye that I knew of. No love. Apparently no one was home.
One guy had a leak in his waders (recently added) so I took him away to sit on the bank and drain his leg.
The fisherman who remained got mauled by a biggy. Instantly broken off!
I have to wonder if the fish waited for foot steps to recede before he fed.
Many of the bigger fish we hook are within 2ft of the bank.....
Sometimes when we wade we "herd" fish up stream. A spooked fish just alerts the next hole upstream with their body language.
It's good to step out and walk a little.
And one of my least favorite things, is to put guys on fish, and because they have waders, they wade to where the fish......were.
Wade less, catch more....
You know, in my little trout creek, I usually have to wade upstream to get to my "honey hole." I have never thought about doing my best to actually stay on the shore for most of the way. I am quite certain it would be possible. You guys may have just helped me hook into a big one. We shall see this weekend!
I'll never know how many fish I missed because I was wading and scared them away, but I know for a fact that I have still caught my share and enjoyed the solitude of standing in the shallows of the St. Johns River watching a beautiful sunset. For me wading is half the enjoyment.
Funny thing...I fish the Yellowstone in Montana a lot, both from boats and by wading. When I'm in a drift boat or a raft, we're making casts land within 6 inches of the bank much of the time, and fishing water no farther than a few feet off the banks. And that water is anywhere from a foot to four feet deep for the most part. But when I'm wading, my casts are landing 5-30 feet off the banks. Now what's wrong with that picture? It's like you can see that the water next to bank is shallow when you're wading it, but when you're drifting out toward the middle of the river, it just looks so good next to the bank. It's definitely a psychological thing.
Funny thing is that you'll catch fish in both those zones. So while it's certainly true that a lot of times you're wading where you should be fishing, you still end up catching fish where your flies are. I've learned to not overlook that shallow zone along the bank, and now hopefully I'm catching more fish than I once was because of it.
In my other fishing persona, I'm a canoe angler for river smallmouth. Most of the people who float in canoes get out and wade at every good looking riffle area. I don't, I stay in the canoe as much as possible. The streams I wade are gravel bottomed, and that crunch--crunch--crunch as you wade is exceedingly noisy. Maybe it doesn't alarm all the fish, but I figure there's a good chance that it will turn off the bigger specimens that have associated that noise and cadence with being hooked in the past.