Old School: New School: Waders

Old School: New School: Waders

You don't have to look back far to see how much waders have changed over the years. Heck, 20 years ago neoprene waders--those steamy saunas for your legs

You don't have to look back far to see how much waders have changed over the years. Heck, 20 years ago neoprene waders--those steamy saunas for your legs and nether regions--were considered state of the art; now they just seem barbaric.

These days things are far more civilized. An angler now has the choice of a variety of waterproof, breathable fabrics that allow him to fish in the height of comfort. (Although thick neoprene waders are still the choice for winter steelheaders.)

But at the beginning of the 20th Century the fly angler didn't have so many choices when it came to keeping dry while fishing. Heavy wool trousers and oil-cloth pants were as fancy as wader technology came for the most part, although some styles of rubber "trousers" could be found. Price and availability, however, put waders out of the reach of all except the well-to-do, and most anglers waded wet.

It could be for this reason that much of the artwork and photography from the early days of fly-fishing depicts anglers fishing from rocks or the bank--the water was just too cold to stand in.

Special thanks to Paul Schullery and Darrel Martin.