Stocking foot chest waders are the only way to go. Neoprene waders are the most popular and work well, but GORE-TEX® “Breathable” waders have totally revolutionized wading equipment. We have tested the breathable waders from Russian to Tierra del Fuego, and they work…and work well! You will experience little or no moisture build-up inside the waders, even after a long hike; they wear like iron, and are comfortable to be in all day. To stay warm in GORE-TEX® waders, simply wear some synthetic fiber under-wader ware. Lastly, GORE-TEX® waders take up a fraction of the space neoprene waders take up when packed in your duffel bag. We have tested most of the major brands of waders on the market today and recommend the following: Neoprene: Simms, or Bare. Breathables: SimmsGORE-TEX® Chest High Guide Model, Orvis Clearwater Breathables. All waders should be worn with a synthetic fiber under-wader ware for maximum comfort, minimum moisture retention and warmth. For safety, we strongly recommend you wear a wading belt at all times.
Rubber soled wading shoes/boots are highly recommended as they offer superior ankle support and are the ticket for hiking to and from waters. Orvis, Simms, and Danner make some good models to consider. Wading cleats or studs are not needed and tough on boats, rafts and floats.
Wool or Polypropylene Gloves:
Fingerless gloves are great for boat rides or for those cold, late September days out chasing rainbows. Neoprene gloves are fin, but retain a lot of water when wet. We have had the best success with synthetic or wool gloves.
Simms Windstopper Gloves or Kenai Polartec/Neoprene Gloves.
Fishing Vest or Tackle Pack:
For Vests we like a high quality product, in a shorty model. Choose one that has room for a rain jacket or camera in the back. The brands we like are Sage, Simms and Orvis. If you prefer a tackle pack, take a good look at the J.W. Outfitters or Wood River or Patagonia products.
Simms Master Vest or J.W. Outfitters Deluxe TroutPack.
Small Day/Fanny Pack:
This can be an extremely important article to include while packing. We like a waterproof, top-loader daypack that can hold extra gear, clothes, flies, camera, snacks, etc…
A hat that is comfortable, relatively waterproof and that has a good size brim to shade your eyes, and keep the moisture from fogging your glasses is the one to look for. A dark under brim is strongly recommended. A “stocking cap” can be nice when the weather turns cold.
Line Clippers, Pliers, Hemostats, & Hook File:
These are essential to any fisherman and should not be left behind.
Camera & Film:
Waterproof or splash-proof 35mm pocket cameras are handy. Choose high speed film, Kodak or Fuji in ASA 200 or 400. If you are going to take your 35mm SLR camera, make sure you have some sort of waterproof case for it. We like the Frost-Pak insulated waterproof bags or a river dry bag, as they pack nearly flat. Don’t forget your flash unit.
Our favorites include the Tekna-Lites or Magnalites with a lanyard,. Headlamps also work well, freeing up your hands; Petzal makes one of the best.
Polaroid Sun Glasses:
Alaska flyfishing is often a visual experience. Spotting the fish is part of the excitement and part of the challenge. Good quality polarized sunglasses are a must. Include a bandanna or lens cloth to wipe them off during periods of rain or fog.
Action Optics by Smith Sunglasses or Hobie Eyeware.
When the sun shines in Alaska, the ultra-violet rays are intense and will burn you. Sunblock in SF30+ or better is recommended.
After a long day of fishing, its nice to get out of your waders and slip in to a comfortable pair of shoes for around the lodge/camp. We suggest Moccasins, duck boots, or your favorite tennis shoes, something really comfortable.