Wading and the big swim


Living at the place of many waters
WFF Supporter
Well it happened today. I got the biggest scare I've ever had in the water today. It was a winter low water water day so I didn't expect anything to happen. How many years have I brought a change of cloths and towel and not needed them. Well I did today, and it was in a situation in that was no where near challenging, until it became that moment. I was contact nymphing, and fishing from about shin deep about 10' back from the edge drop to a seam I was fishing along the bank, and there was a pool, with a log jam on my side, about 20 yards long about 15' below my position. I hooked a little fish, I can laugh now, and it ran straight for the pool and the log jam. Trying to keep it out I just rotated to my right a little to apply pressure. All of a sudden I could feel all the rocks move under my feet. I hit on my butt and instantly I was in that pool bobbing vertically, and I could not touch bottom. I could feel the water coming in the top of my waders, even though I had secured the top, had the wading belt on, and the waist strap from my chest pack. I do pretty good under pressure usually, and this was no different. In about a second I was going to be at a log sticking 1/2 way into the river directly below me. The log was a few inches under the surface where I was going to hit it, but the log jam end was an out. To the left was the fast current and the way around the log. Because of the way the log was situated I chose it, and in my best "Deadpool" imitation it was maximum effort. To hit the log I kicked to help get my feet up, took a quick stroke with my arm launching the rod toward the log jam as I rolled, then the current had me right on top of the log as I planned and I shimmied out, retrieved my rod, and then released the fish.
I've played in the river all my life. Not even 2 years ago my son, his buddy and I did a full wader full of water day on the river to know what it feels like. I knew that if that log had been at the surface I would have been pinned against it. As it was I could tell by the force that if I had draped my arms over it, I would not get my feet up and I'm not strong enough to pull myself out of that situation. So I would have gone under when I got tired. With a PFD I would have gone the other way. I could never have held that log with a PFD on. In this case as it was, I think if I had gone left, got my feet up and not struggled I would have hit bottom on the downstream end before my waders would have filled. As it was they were full to the knees. As usual, shit happens quick, and when you least expect it.
Beautiful day
Several fish today, but the big swim for this little dude.
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Speyrod GB

Active Member
Glad you made it out safely. It's a lil scary how fast that stuff can happen. Definitely a good reminder for wading anglers.


Active Member
With how often I end up taking a swim, I’m surprised I haven’t been in a sticky situation like yours. Glad you’re able to write about it.

Rocking Chair Fan

No more hot spotting
Water is very powerful - way more than we give it credit that it has. So glad everything came out well for you! And you caught the fish!

I was on Rocking Chair creek on a side channel. Water was not even up to the top of my studded, felt boots. All of a sudden I was moving downstream with both feet 'planted'. Rut Roh. Then a large flash of yellow from a brown took my fly. Decisions, decisions... I knew I was going in. Fish or no fish... Decided I was going to catch that fish. The stream won. I went down and filled up my waders. The fish went on it's merry way. Hurt my knee at the same time.

Episodes like this will be in your memory banks forever. Future fishing excursions will be affected so it will not reoccur. A good thing!

Canuck from Kansas

WFF Supporter
Thanks for writing. So glad to hear you are OK. Log jams a tricky decision. I was in a small creek, but with a pretty swift current, pinned in a log jam. At one point, I figured I could under the jam and come out the other side. Felt around more with my foot when I felt another log further under. I was able to use that lot to hoist myself out. Looking back, really glad I didn't try to go under as I would have been pinned against the underneath log. After that one, I am waaay more cautious.



WFF Supporter
A really worthwhile read ! Going for a swim is always a surprise...Glad yours had a happy ending.
Simms has an excellent series on wading safety on Youtube :

...Should be required viewing for anyone wading.
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Old Man

A very Old Man
I took a swim in the Sauk where the Suiattle runs in. I was wearing waist high waders clinched up tight. As I was wading down stream I tripped on a stick stuck on the bottom. Down I went. the water wasn't fast at that area as I got right back up. But it was raining and cold as it was in January. I was dry from my waist down, but soaked from my waist up.

I was fishing with Matt Burke and our transportation was his cold, never warm Jeep.-


WFF Supporter
Glad things turned out well. You're right that it happens unexpectedly and in an instant. I've taken water into my waders twice this winter, which fortunately is about two more than average. I just hate when that happens, any time of year, but especially in the winter - brrrr! It's a good idea to be prepared and bring a change of clothes. I think I will start doing that.

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