Should you fish from the banks of streams, rivers and ponds or would wading be better for you? Both methods can bring you good results, but which method sounds best to you.

Bank fishing, for the beginner, is lots of fun until you realize that all the fish are in spots you can’t get to from the bank. That is not always the case but you will notice it frequently. The other problem with bank fishing is that there are lots of obstructions like bushes and trees on the banks that make it very difficult to cast and bring in when you catch one. The best way to fish is to get into the water.

The most important things to think about when you are wading are safety, and to trying not to disturb the fish. When it comes to safety the things you should keep in mind are; how fast is the water moving? How deep is the water at various current speeds? What kind of obstruction’s are above and below the water? Is the river bottom smooth or rocky?

Fast water is OK as long as it is not very deep. Personally I don’t like to get past my knees in fast water, but fast is relative. If the water is on the faster side and still below my knee’s I will use a wading staff, or a large stick to help me get across the river. Sometimes the best thing to do is find a better place to cross the stream or find another place to fish.

One thing I like to do when crossing water with a decent or fast current is to start upstream and cross at an angle to the other side. I will be stepping with the current instead of against the current and it makes it easier. If at any time I feel that it is not safe I work back to the side I started on, and I do this at an angle.

In slow water or water that is barely moving you can get in as far as you want as long as you can still cast, or as high as your waders will allow. There are many places where I like to fish that I can get in past my belly button and still feel safe. Slow water doesn’t bother me, it is the fast water that makes you really question what you are doing.

Regardless of the water height and speed the most important factor when wading is your footing. You need to be able to keep your balance. For me this means taking short steps. Taking short steps allows you to feel around a little bit with your feet to decide where to step, which is very important when there are many rocks in the stream.

The other big factor to consider before getting into the water is where are the fish? You do not want to walk across or into an area you plan on fishing right away. If it is your only way across the river you should fish it first from your side before crossing. You should always identify where you think the fish should be and try to cross the river 20’-30’ downstream from that point.

To me wading a stream is the best way to fly fish. That is what originally got me hooked on the sport. You can walk up and down the river, go across the river and back and get to all the best spots as long as the river allows it. I have on many occasions started across a river just to turn back. If you are not familiar with a stream you may have to do this often. Keep in mind this thought, you want to live to fish another day, so be careful.

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