Central Wyoming received its first severe winter storm of the year this week with 40 to 50 mph winds and as much as three feet of snow falling in some places. This, of course, was the week I chose to visit. My unfortunate fishing buddies and I had a choice; we could abandon the trip and go somewhere else or we could brave the elements and fish.
Probably the most critical piece of equipment to own when trying to catch the fish of a lifetime in severe weather is a good pair of waders. Whether you are wading in deep water all day or just casting from a drift boat, durable, warm, comfortable waders can make even the worst days seem tolerable.
High-tech, performance waders are not cheap but they are worth it. Cold weather anglers know that this is not the place for penny pinching. The days of the cumbersome, goofy neoprene or rubber waders are long gone and if you still have a pair it means you are due for an upgrade.
Simms waders have been made in the USA since 1980 and have been the favorite among fly fishing guides and hardcore anglers ever since. Their flagship model is the G4 Pro wader which also has a front zipper edition called the G4Z. Both models feature five layer Gore-Tex Pro Shell fabric from the waist down. This rugged, dependable waterproof material is the most breathable Gore-Tex product ever. Features include:
- large fleece-lined
- zippered chest pocket
- abrasion resistant gravel guards
- tippet tender
- tool retractor
- fly patch
If you don’t need all of the features of the G4 Pro, but still want the legendary Simms’ protection, you are in luck. Simms offers a wide variety of waders for every angler including women and kids sizes.
The combination of 4 layer H2No fabric and single seam construction make Patagonia’s Rio Gallegos waders some of the toughest around. These things are virtually bulletproof. Many times the seams are the first thing to wear out and leak so Patagonia eliminated all but one seam in the leg and put it in the back where it is protected. The Rio Gallegos waders are equipped with
- numerous extras like merino wool lined stocking foots for added warmth
- EZ lock suspenders for quick conversion between chest high and waist high
- a waterproof interior pocket for the camera or cell phone
You can feel good about owning a new pair of Patagonia waders. Patagonia is committed to reducing their environmental footprint through the Common Threads Partnership, and preserving the environment by donating via the 1% for the Planet program.
This week’s snow and rain reaffirmed a lesson I learned a long time ago. Get good waders that you can trust. That way the next time you “wader up” you will know without a doubt that at the end of the day you will be warm and dry. Be sure to read “What Type of Sole Is Best for Wading Boots?” by Brody Henderson for information on how to pair your new waders with the best boots.
Andy “Otter” Smith, Guide and Content Writer