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Wading Staffs – Are They Necessary?

Wading Staffs – Are They Necessary?

Wading staffs are a very useful accessory that can help anglers cross the river and wade effectively. If you have good balance and are a younger angler, they may not be necessary. However, if you have trouble wading and are a bit older, a wading staff can be very beneficial.

There are many wading staffs on the market, ranging from cheap to quite expensive. If you have ever taken a spill on the river, a wading staff probably could have prevented it. By having this third contact point, you can wade much safer.

This article will cover the benefits of wading staffs, and why you might consider investing in one. Although it’s an optional accessory, every fly fisher should consider them.

Wading Deep Water/ Fast Water

There are many places in rivers that are questionable to cross. The water is fast and deep, and you are on the fence about whether to cross or not. Using a wading staff will allow for more stability with these crossings. By putting your weight on the staff, you can cross the river in more places.

It is always up to the angler to decide if a crossing is doable or not. We rely on our judgment to keep us safe on the river. However, the hole on the other side often looks very fishy. For these scenarios, having a wading staff can safely get you to the far bank.

Wading Staffs Are Good For Older Fly Fishers

As we age as anglers, we get less stable on our feet. This can make wade fishing much harder, and much more dangerous. For older anglers, having a wading staff can be one of the most useful tools around.

Fly shops carry wading staffs because they know that older anglers will purchase them. It is not that we’re passing judgment, we just know that wading staffs are very useful to senior fly fishers.

Having a staff really increases safety on the river, and can prevent falls and injuries.

The video below by Reds Fly Shop demonstrates some of the benefits of wading staffs.

Wading Staffs Are Good For Less Coordinated Fly Fishers

For clumsy anglers, wading staffs can also be a good choice. I have taken my fair share of spills on the river – often from being overconfident or wading too fast. Even as a young guy, I could have benefited from having one.

If you know that you tend to slip or trip when wade fishing, considering a wading staff can be a smart choice.

Beneficial For Slick Rocks

Some rivers have very slippery rocks, while others don’t. This varies by region, and every river is different. If your local river is mostly gravel and small rocks, a wading staff won’t be as necessary. If you live in Colorado, you’re probably used to river rocks that are like bowling balls. We have some of the most slippery rocks around, and wading staffs are very helpful.

Using felt soled boots can help with these slippery rocks, as opposed to wearing rubber soles. You can also put studs in your boots which help to grip rocks. Doing this will prevent some accidents, but not all of them. A wading staff will always be your best bet.

Con – Can Be Expensive

Quality wading staffs are not cheap. For a premium wading staff these days, expect to spend up to $200. These are generally carbon fiber, or another very light and durable material. You can spend much less on a staff, it just depends on the quality you’re looking for.

With this being said, wading staffs are all about safety. That isn’t something that should be skimped on, in my opinion. If you’re going to purchase a wading staff, I recommend reading reviews, visiting your local fly shop, and selecting a good one.


Overall, wading staff isn’t necessary for everyone. If you are sure footed, young and stable – you probably don’t need a wading staff. However, if you are older and less stable on the river, a wading staff offers many benefits.

It really is a personal choice that comes down to your preference. Everyone eventually needs a wading staff, but you may want to put it off until your older years.