What to Wear Fly Fishing? Top Outfit Choices for Serious Anglers

Knowing what to wear fly fishing depending on the season can give you the ability to protect yourself from the elements. What’s more, you can stay comfortable as you explore new fishing spots.

There are multiple must-haves you should keep in your fishing wardrobe. With the right gear, you’ll be able to enjoy your time on the banks without having to cut your trip short.

What To Wear Fly Fishing?

As with any outdoor activity, one of the most important things to think about is the season. The last thing you’d want is to be outdoors in the middle of summer dressed head to toe in wool.

Let’s break down the essential pieces of gear to have in your collection for the most popular fishing months.

All-Season Essentials

Aside from the specific items you’ll need for certain times of the year, some fishing gear is necessary for all-season wear. Making sure you have these essentials in your wardrobe can prepare you for every fly fishing excursion.

1. Fishing Pants

Regardless of the season, fishing pants are a must-have for fly fishers. You’ll need to be able to stand in water for extended periods without soaking yourself from your toes to your hips.

Also known as wading pants, these articles of clothing are exceptionally waterproof. They also come in various styles, some of which fit like standard pants while others feature suspenders. Depending on the depth of the water you typically fish in, it should be easy to find the right pair for you.

2. Fishing Boots

Wading boot technology has significantly improved over the years, making them more comfortable to wear. There are many options to choose from, but the most important feature is finding a pair that fits.

You’ll want support for your ankles and the bottom of your foot, offering optimal traction in all conditions. It’s also essential to find a pair that fits comfortably within your budget, as many have high-tech features that cost a pretty penny.

For example, some fishing boots have wire lacing systems that offer a more customizable fit. As long as you opt for designs that give you added convenience paired with all-day comfort, you’ll benefit significantly.

3. Vest or Pack

There’s nothing more important than making sure you have your most important gear on you at all times. If there’s one article of clothing customary for fly fishers, it’s a fishing vest.

When you wade through the water, it would be relatively impossible to manage a whole tackle box. With a vest, you can attach all of your most important tools so that they’re within arm’s reach.

These unique items have multiple pockets for your flies, line, and any other necessities you might need. The key is finding a design that will keep you comfortable all day long.

Not only will it need adequate support to prevent shoulder and back pain, but good storage options as well. You won’t want to carry more than you need, but you should also have enough space for your must-haves.

what to wear fly fishing

Spring Fly Fishing

Spring can often be unpredictable, as some days are warm while others are cold, rainy, and windy. With that said, you’ll likely need the largest variety of outdoor clothing to keep you comfortable.

Base layers for temperature regulation paired with a water-resistant outer shell are bound to keep you warm and dry. However, you’ll also want to consider having layers you can take off if it gets warmer throughout the day.

Below are some of the top recommended things to wear for spring fly fishing.

1. Insulating Layers

When it comes to tackling the frigid chill of early spring, insulation is of the utmost importance. Having insulated socks, underwear, and even an undershirt is more than enough to keep you toasty.

With the help of base layers, your body heat is retained, which helps regulate warmth for extended periods. Plus, they have a fantastic benefit to consider because they can keep you dry.

Depending on the materials the clothing is made of, such as moisture-wicking materials, you can wick sweat off your body. If you’re someone prone to sweating while fishing, these layers are a remarkable investment to make.

2. Thermal Socks

The importance of thermal socks cannot be understated, especially for an angler spending most of their time in the water. Unless you’re fishing in incredibly warm water, you’re bound to notice your feet will get colder over time.

Choosing a light-duty pair of thermal socks can help keep your feet warm without getting too sweaty. Considering most fishing boots have poor insulation, this is a layer that’s essential for most seasons.

It’s also important to note that light-duty thermal socks aren’t as thick as heavy-duty pairs. As such, they fit more comfortably inside your boots, preventing your toes from going numb.

3. Breathable Rain Jacket

A rain jacket is another essential part of fly fishing in spring, primarily to protect you from the elements. With that said, make sure your outer layers are breathable, especially with thick underlayers.

A breathable rain jacket will help shield you from dampness and allow your body to breathe. As you get warmer, some of the heat will escape through the jacket, which helps keep it comfortable for hours.

Ideally, you’ll want to find a jacket made from materials like Gore-Tex, as they’re remarkably durable. Also, their weather resistance is outstanding, making them an excellent option for multiple seasons.

Summer Fly Fishing

The impending heat of summer is something that all outdoor enthusiasts have to prepare for. As a fly fisher, you’ll need gear that specifically offers sun protection and also keep you cool and flexible.

Let’s take a look at some of the most recommended items you should have in your closet.

1. Hat and Sunglasses

Two of the first things you need to invest in are a hat and a good pair of sunglasses. Hats not only help regulate body temperature but also offer good sun protection.

If possible, we highly recommend finding fishing hats that boast UV resistance as another layer of protection. These specialized materials prevent the sun from causing damage to your face and head.

With sunglasses, you can keep the sun out of your eyes to prevent long-term damage and enhance your vision while fishing. Ensure they are polarized, as this can significantly cut back on glare from the water’s surface.

2. Neck Gaiter or Buff

Your face and head aren’t the only two areas exposed to the sun, which is where a neck gaiter proves helpful. These unique pieces of material give you the ability to protect the lower half of your face as well as your neck.

As you’ll likely be standing with your back to the sun at one point, preventing sunburn is ideal. A neck gaiter or buff is a reliable piece of gear you can use for that purpose.

3. Base Layers

Why would you need base layers in the middle of summer? With summer-friendly under layers that you can wear, you’ll experience several benefits.

First, they help wick moisture away from your body, keeping you cool and dry for hours on end. Second, base layers allow you to wear thin clothing with possible UV protection with added breathability.

There’s no doubt that a long-sleeve fishing shirt will outperform a standard cotton t-shirt on the brightest days. With the added protection they offer, you’ll be able to fish comfortably and confidently all day.

Dressing for the Season

With a good idea of what to wear fly fishing, you can begin preparing your wardrobe early. Fortunately, most fishing gear is adaptable to all seasons, making it more cost-effective for your favorite activity.

As long as you’re able to protect yourself from the sun and the elements, you’ll be prepared for an all-day excursion.

About the author

Ken is an avid fisherman of 40+ years who loves to explore and find new places to fish. He created DIY Fly Fishing to help you do the same.

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