Fly Fishing Gear Reviews | Patagonia River Crampons

*Please note this product may no longer be available to purchase on our website*
I have a frustrating fly fishing footwear dilemma on my hands at the moment. Unfortunately, I keep slipping and sliding all over the place while negotiating treacherous bed of the Eagle river here in Edwards, and want the kind of traction that only comes with aluminum bars, but don’t want those aluminum bars anywhere near the gel coat of my precious ClackaCraft drift boat. Also don’t want to purchase two separate pairs of wading boots. Felt is not an option for me partially because of the risk of transporting invasive aquatic species, but mainly because I fish a lot during the winter months, and felt soles tend to constantly collect snow and ice, making long walks difficult. Designers at Patagonia must have known that I was having a hard time dealing with this because they recently introduced their River Crampon, an underwater take on an old mountaineering tool.

Soft Aluminum for Better Traction

A lot of other metal cleat options out there are constructed of steel or hardened aluminum for the sake of durability. The problem with those is that the metal can be too hard and cause an ice skate like feeling on smooth rock surfaces. The Patagonia River Crampons were designed to overcome that phenomenon by Yvon Chouinard himself in the legendary Tin Shed. He brilliantly used softer aluminum that would be hard enough to cut through moss and algae but soft enough to grip on the smooth rock surfaces many anglers deal with on a regular basis. The River Crampons are advertised as useable in a boat as long as the angler is careful, but since they are so easy to put on and take off, there is really no reason to wear them in the boat and risk damaging it. To me, this is one of the greatest advantages of the crampons.

Better for our Fisheries Than Felt

Everyone who has used felt soled wading boots knows that felt excels in the subsurface environment, but is less than adequate on grass, dirt, and snow. The new River Crampons solve this problem. Anglers can take them off before long hikes on the shore, and put them back on before stepping into the slippery stream. An even bigger disadvantage of felt soled wading boots is the potential for unintentionally transporting live aquatic nuisance species to new fisheries. The Patagonia River Crampons allow traveling anglers to sleep a little easier knowing that their boots and waders can be completely cleaned and dried before moving on to new territory.

If you are looking for a permanent solution to your wading boot traction dilemma, look no further than the Patagonia River Crampons. They can be paired with any wading boot out there, new or old. Patagonia stands by all of their products, and the River Crampons are no exception. If you break them or wear them out, they will always replace or repair them for a reasonable charge.

Stop by Vail Valley Anglers in Edwards to take a look at the River Crampons. Or to get more information about other Patagonia wading products.

Andy “Otter” Smith, Guide and Content Writer