Fly Fishing Safety Considerations

By Andy Whitcomb

Jul 18, 2018

There are several key aspects to fly fishing safety with the main concern focusing on wading.

Fly fishing can be accomplished from a boat; such as when drift fishing in a river boat or other big water, perhaps chasing schools of active fish busting the surface. However, the most common method of fly fishing usually involves actually entering the water. And there is when Fly fishing safety concerns begins.

Wading allows fly fishing anglers to reach fish and escape overhanging limbs which always seem to be lurking to snag flies on the backcast. Fly fishing safety practices involve some attention to wading technique and a few pieces of fly fishing safety gear.

Polarized glasses are always a great start to fly fishing safety.  Not only do they help you locate fish, but the glare removal will assist with potential stumbles due to rocks, submerged logs, or drop-offs. They also provide fishing safety as eye protection from flies on wayward backcasts, hook sets, or freeing from snags.

Wading boots with good grip are an important part of fly fishing safety too.  This can be accomplished with various treads, studs, or if allowed, felt.  If using the sock/bootie type waders, the separate wading boot allows for easier hiking and less chance of overheating than neoprene while fishing in summer, if that aspect of fly fishing health and safety is a concern.

A wading belt, or two, is a good idea. Cinched high around your chest, they will help keep water from entering over the wader if you slip and go under.  Borrowing a tip from kayak anglers, plan to fall in; that way you are better protected.

A wading staff can be helpful when crossing current. Turn your feet sideways so the upstream foot blocks current of your downstream foot. Brace the staff downstream and take small, slow steps, crossing at a downstream angle.<

Another good fly fishing safety practice is to fish with a friend.  Friends can not only remind each other about fishing safety tips, but also snap pictures of each others’ catch before releasing!

Andy Whitcomb
Andy Whitcomb
Andy is an outdoor writer ( and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.