Additional Wading Principles
The deeper you wade the less secure your footing becomes because the water’s displacement buoys you upwards so that your effective weight is lessened. The current’s flow affects you more as you wade deeper because it pushes on a larger surface area of yourself that is underwater. This along with the buoying effect will reach a point where you cannot securely stand in the flow. In addition, the faster the current the more water pressure is exerted upon you.
Use good judgment when evaluating the current speed and depth. Select appropriate footwear and use a staff to secure your footing. In case of a spill, do not panic! Exercise common sense by aiming your feet downstream with your head upstream and simply ride it out. Sooner or later you will likely be swept to a safe exiting place. Lying on your back and paddling diagonally across stream will help reposition yourself to a bank. Chest waders secured with a wading belt will furnish some buoyancy, and an inflatable vest or coast-guard approved life vest is useful in providing additional floatation. Avoid panicking because you may tumble downstream in a head-over-heels manner exposing yourself to potential injury. Lie back and swim it out.
Neoprene chest waders provide both buoyancy and a slimmer profile which lessens the amount of exposed surface area and helps to trap air inside the waders. Neoprenes are the safest waders available. Even if you fall and take in some water the waders can warm it up.
During a plunge it’s difficult to give up your precious fly rod and reel. Try to hold it upright while swimming or if possible you may choose to toss it bank side. Throw the rod like a spear so it lands butt first; it is less likely to break when thrown in this manner.
Some streams afford troublesome wading. Idaho’s Fall River is appropriately named not only for its scenic waterfalls but for its many fallen anglers. It has swift currents with unbelievably odd-shaped lava boulders and well-greased rocks. Nearly every step is a potential trip. Another difficult wading stream is the Madison. When wading such streams use utmost caution.
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