White River

Summer is here… we might as well get ready

Posted by Phil Lilley on June 7th, 2013
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The other day I was guiding some clients from Oklahoma. We had waded far from the access and on the way back the temperature was in the mid eighties and I was perspiring. By the time I got to my vehicle, I was pretty soaked. Though my chest waders were made of Gore-Tex, I was still warm. It was a clear sign to me that summer was here and I had to get ready for it. I should have known it was time as I have been wearing shorts and polo shirts, when working in the garden or cutting the grass.

I went out to the garage and swapped out my chest waders for a pair of convertible waders. Convertible waders can be worn as chest high or waist high waders. They have an apron of waterproof material that can be folded into the waist band and pulled up when needed for higher water. I always wear mine as waist highs, although a couple of years ago, I had to pull them up to make my way through some deep water. Waist high waders are much cooler as they allow your upper body to breathe much better.

My neighbor, Scott, has been wet wading for about two months. In lieu of waders, he wades in a pair of cotton shorts, neoprene booties (so that his feet take as much space in his boots as his waders do) and his regular wading boots. I also wet wade but I generally wait until it is much warmer like ninety five or a hundred degrees. I also opt for long quick drying pants to give me a bit more protection from the elements, with particular emphasis on protecting my fair skin from the sun. I did add a pair of neoprene booties to my wader bag, so that I would be ready to wet wade when it got warm enough.

While I was at it, I went through my Suburban and swapped out some other gear. My beloved felt cowboy hat and my classic Elmer Phud extreme weather hat were swapped out for my straw cowboy hat and my Lefty Kreh style up downer. Both offer serious sun protection and are much cooler. In homage to my new lab, Tilley, I bought a Tilley hat. While they are comfortable, offer extreme sun protection and a functioning chin strap, they are also highly rain resistant. I generally carry several hats in the back of my car and choose the best for the conditions. I have found that no one hat does it all.

It was also time for me to swap out my wool fingerless gloves for my fingerless sun gloves. I also have a pair of extreme weather full fingered gloves that I put away. I then searched out and found my disposable hand warmers that I also put away for the season. As I was searching through my wader bag, I found a spare fleece jacket that would not be needed until next fall. My fleece pants had been put away several weeks ago.

In fact, I had switched to my warm weather guide uniform a month earlier. I wear quick drying pants that feature lots of pockets and a long sleeved tropical fishing shirt that have two button flap chest pockets. I also wear quick drying wading shoes that are practical in the boat and can get wet if necessary. This ensemble protects me from the sun, is loose fitting and quite cool.

Finally, I turned my attention to the flies that I carry. I went through my fly boxes and eliminated or thinned out flies that I mostly use in the fall and winter like egg and shad patterns. I then added my favorite summer fly patterns, grasshoppers and other terrestrials. The hopper fishing around here is the most reliable and productive dry fly fishing of the year and most serious anglers around here look forward to it. I have been fishing hoppers for the last couple of weeks and have caught several trout on them. It should be noted that, I have been doing better on the small dropper nymphs that I have been using in conjunction with them.

Summer is here! It is time to go through your gear to see if you need to put anything that should be put away or added.

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