How To Pack For Your Next Wading Trip

A small inline spinner on a light action rod is my preferred method for covering water on new creeks and small rivers.

Traveling light is the key to successful wade fishing trips. Less is more in this situation because the more tackle you bring the harder and more cumbersome it is to wade and fish a stream effectively. The type of gear and how much gear I bring depends on the fish I will be targeting in streams.

When I fish for trout, a good pair of insulated waders is necessary to keep my legs and lower extremities warm in the chilly trout waters. I have used waders with the built-in boots in the past but always had problems with the upper part of the boot section rubbing against my leg and leaving a rub burn on my skin. So I switched to stocking foot waders and wading boots, which are harder to put on and take off but don’t cause the rub burns on my legs.

If I am fishing warm-water creeks in the late spring or summer, I just wear an old pair of jean shorts (AKA Jorts) or a swimsuit for wading. I have tried water shoes for wading to protect my feet but I have problems with pebbles getting into the shoes making it difficult to walk along the rocky bottom. I frequently had to take the shoes off to shake out the pebbles. I prefer to wear sandals so I can shake out the pebbles without having to take off my footwear.

Chris Bulaw with a Maumee River Walleye. Each spring thousands of Ohio anglers line the bank of the Maumee River in waders hoping to catch a spring run Walleye.

Wearing a fishing vest (like Karl) is the best way to store a variety of fishing gear while wading. The vests usually have plenty of pockets for storing pliers, line clippers, fish stringers, and lure boxes. You can keep your wallet and cell phone dry by stowing them in the chest-high pockets of the fishing vest. Two or three small plastic utility boxes should be all you need for a wading trip. The boxes should contain an assortment of weights and hooks and lures that can be presented throughout the various levels of the water column from top to bottom.

I have carried two rods before while wading and would lay one on the bank while using the other one. However, I kept forgetting the rod on the bank and would have to frequently walk back to get it. Now I carry one spinning rod and reel and a spare reel spool with a different line size in case I need to switch lines for a different presentation.

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