Maybe I need a pair of waders?


Active Member
I was fishing on the Stillaguamish the other day and there was about 10 to 12 other people on the river around me and then I noticed.. That I was the only person who didn't have waders.. I kinda felt out of place.. Like everyone pointing at me laughing because I didn't have waders.. :( well not that bad, but still..
Are waders like the boat alternative? I know nothing about waders, but I do know that I seem to be the only person who doesn't have a pair..

And what are wader boots? Is there special pants I can wear and then use the wader boots and still be able to stand in the river waist deep?
I'm sure it sounds like a really stupid question, but I never explored this part of fishing yet. :oops:

Kyle Smith

DBA BozoKlown406
Waders will get you into fish you wouldn't want to wade to without them, and they could save your life! No need to get fancy, the Cabelas neoprenes are great for PNW cold weather fishing. Find some closeout boots online (make sure there is a good return policy just like with shoes) and you are set.
Yeah, where to start? In most fly fishing scenarios when you are not fishing strictly from a boat you need to be feet wet for everything from being in the right position to make a presentation to landing a fish without damaging it. If all you have to do is go down a wide open trail and step into the water you can get away with something relatively inexpensive. If you have to do some serious hiking, wading, bushwacking, jumping in and out of a drift boat, etc, well the sky is the limit on what you can spend and get. The good news for you is that now through about March is an excellent time to buy since in a lot of areas it’s approaching off peak season and prices. For example, even though I have four pair of functional waders right now for various seasons / applications I just bought a pair of Frogg Toggs $180 retail for $77 through a major online store.
I'm just confused by the question, in general. If there are 12 other people around you wearing waders then it must be pretty darn cold (otherwise they'd be wet-wading and you wouldn't feel so out of place). So you're either: 1. Not getting in the water and therefore not getting to fish as easily as the other folks. Or 2. Freezing your butt off standing in that water without waders. If the second scenario fits you then the answers to your questions are obvious. Waders keep you warm and dry in the cold fishing months. Boots keep your feet firmly planted so you're not falling all over the place and breaking ankles. They're basically glorified hiking boots. I wouldn't say waders are an alternative to a boat (at least i've never thought of it that way). It's just that waders get you in the water, keep you warm, keep you dry, and if you're rockin Simms waders then they keep you lookin super cool! lol. Just kidding about that last part. Sorta. ;)
If you're catching fish now and don't need them who cares. If you want to wade, but don't see a need to get deep buy some hip waders for $30-40. I've got both hip and full waders. I use the hip waders for quick after work trips or places were I don't need to go deep, and full waders for just about everything else.

Old Man

Just an Old Man
Why do you need to wade out to your waist. All that water behind you is fishable. Why waste it to wade to your waist. Nothing like wading waste deep to cross a river and to find out your waders leak in the crotch.
As someone that got into the sport late in life, I found this to be a reasonable question that I also had when starting out. I used to wet-wade the sound and quickly learned that that was not a pleasant experience. The best thing I did was visit my local fly shop where I could try on a variety of waders and get some advice from real people that fished. I found that fit was the most important thing for me - and the Simms G3 fit perfectly. Been happy with them ever since. I've heard that Simms is updating the G3 line, so there might be some sales in the future.

In a nutshell, waders keep you warm(er), dry, and are handy when busting through brush. You get what you pay for, so although they may look identical, the difference may be in the number of layers. Fixing leaks is inevitable, but it's just a fact that more layers is better. Neoprene is fine for winter, but better to buy high-tech layering than depending on your waders to keep you warm. Warmth may not be a desirable feature in the summer.

Stocking foot waders plus wading boots are better since it gives you more options for footwear. My Simms guide wading boots double as my hiking boots, making the cost easier to justify. I like vibram with hardbite start cleats, but others like felt. I prefer vibram primarily because the boots are also used for hiking - but if you go vibram, you really have to have the cleats or they are downright dangerous in rivers. I've hiked up to 13 miles in the heat of the summer without any ill effects.

Here's a good website to check out for reviews:

Hope this helps.

Evan Virnoche

and if you plan on fishing the stilly from a boat your breaking the law im pretty sure

Hillbilly Redneck

wishin i was fishin
It's still legal to fish the main stem Stilly from a boat. As far as I know it's still legal to fish the NF Stilly from a boat below Cicero. I haven't read the regs lately though so don't take my word for it.

Hillbilly Redneck

wishin i was fishin
As far as first pair of waders go. I'd recommend getting some inexpensive neoprene bootfoot waders. Especially if you plan to do any steelheading this winter. With bootfoot waders you don't need to buy wading shoes in addition to the waders and your feet will thank me while they're nice and toasty.
This kinda seems like coming here and asking if you should bring a coat before heading outside. Well are you cold?

Did the lack of waders hinder your fishing experience in any way? Did you catch less fish because of the lack of waders? If the answer is yes, then I'd say yes you need them. If the answer is "no", then you could probably get by without. If the answer is "no, but I don't want the other mean Fisher guys to poke fun at me" then I'd still suggest not getting any waders. You'd probably just stain up the inside anyway.


Active Member
Hillbilly Redneck,
You've got it right. There are no boat fishing restrictions on the main river or the South Fork. Above the Cicero bridge on the North Fork a boat may only be used for transportation; no fishing from any floating device. But downstream of the Cicero bridge there are no boat-fishing restrictions.
I fish year-around, but I'm basically a big sissy when it comes to getting cold and/or wet. Waders are practically essential to position yourself, most places, just like boats and other floatation devices. I wear breathable stocking foot waders in summer, 3.5 mm. neoprene waders for fall and spring, and 5 mm waders during the winter. I use Cabela and other inexpensive brands, so the cost total isn't prohibitive. Also, waders that aren't being used because of the season aren't wearing out, so they last longer.