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Safe Wading Techniques (13 of 14)

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Video Transcript:

Tom: Dealing with current also means watching where you wade. Never move your weight from one foot to another until one foot has a firm placement. The best place to cross a large river is usually at the tail of a pool or at the head of a wide riffle, where the water is usually the most shallow. One important tip for wading safety is when you're crossing a wide piece of river like this, you're not sure of the bottom or the current, always angle yourself upstream when you're crossing. If, for some reason, you get to a point where you can't go any farther, you can always retrace your steps. If you angle downstream, you might get pushed into a hole and get yourself into big trouble. When crossing a difficult piece of water, make sure you stop and rest briefly if you get tired. Wading is hard work, and I should have had a wading staff here. When turning around in deep fast water, always pivot in an upstream direction against the current, because rotating while facing downstream can push you into a deep hole. When you're wading tricky water, it's always a good idea to have a wading staff. If you don't have a regular wading staff or you forgot yours, you could cut a stout piece of wood or grab a stout piece of wood from the bank or use a long-handled net. And what you want to do is shuffle along, keeping the wading staff downstream of you so you can lean against the wading staff. Put it downstream, park it, and then you use that to support yourself. Always wear a wader belt in fast water. It will keep water from getting into your waders, which will prevent your waders from becoming a sea anchor pushing you downstream and will add buoyancy because of the air trapped inside your waders. Man 1: I got you. Man 2: It's all right. I just went for a swim. Tom: Don't forget to wear the correct footwear. Felt soles, where they're legal, are very secure on slippery rocks, but they stay wet for a long time and harbor invasive species. You can get more information on invasive species on the Orvis website. Rubber soles are great for muddy banks and bottoms and for hiking long distances, and by adding carbide studs to the bottom of them, rubber soles can be made as secure as felt, even on slippery rocks. Be as careful in shallow water as you are in deep water. A spill in deep water will often just get you wet. A spill on streamside rocks, which are often very slippery, can break a bone. Never step where you can't see bottom, and if you're fishing in the evening into the dark, always know the water really well.