Safe Wading in High Waters – Fins and Feathers Bozeman
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Safe Wading in High Waters

While we are chin-deep in high-water season, everyone becomes a little restless. Swift, muddy water is holding most people to lakes and streams, and fisherman are becoming a bit antsy when it comes to local water. A few of our employees (Courtney and Sam) have recently taken some chilly swims while fishing in the area…..it is not a fun experience. While the levels dance to the tune of moody Montana weather, it is extremely important to watch the daily flows of water you are hoping to fish. Swift, muddy water can be very dangerous to those wading, as well as rafts and driftboats. Visibility and fast-moving waters challenge even the most skilled fishermen; cold waters and moving debris create a dangerous combination that can knock anyone off their feet. By monitoring the water levels, one can determine whether the water is passable.

You can access the flow data here: https://waterdata.usgs.gov/mt/nwis/current?type=flow.

Once the flows are in manageable range for your wading ability, be sure you are equipped to enter the water. First, be sure you are equipped with a wading boot or shoe that can grip the wet ground. We carry a wide selection of quality wading boots in store and online. Secondly, carrying a wading staff may also aid in crossing difficult waters. Lastly, be sure to cinch your wading belt before entering or crossing. If you do take a tumble into the water, this will impede water from filling your waders; cold waters can slow muscles and add extra weight, making this a potentially dangerous situation.

Keeping an eye on water levels and wearing proper gear can limit the chance of taking an unexpected swim. If you do choose to brave the elements, watch your step, and stay safe while fishing out there!