Canoe vs. Waders
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Canoe vs. Waders

Canoe vs. Waders


Canoe vs. Waders

Canoe vs. Waders

It must be admitted at the start that the majority of fly-fishermen, if the stream conditions are at all favorable, would choose the waders. For this choice there are many reasons, all good ones. The fly-caster who has acquired his angling education on northern trout streams is never quite at home when casting from boat or canoe; and to the minds of many anglers wading the stream is a necessary accompaniment of the day's fishing if the occasion is to be enjoyed to the utmost.

The man in the waders undoubtedly gets into closer communication with the stream and its surroundings than does the canoe-man. From the first pool or riffle he follows the stream through its various windings, learning as he can in no other way its peculiarities. Every trout stream is unique. To fish it successfully It must be learned, and the man who wades, soon acquires a good working knowledge.

Given a stream which may be fished by either method, canoe or waders, the question arises as to which method is the more apt to be effective. Wading a trout stream is quite a science in itself. Some anglers, not the majority in America at least, favor fishing or wading upstream. The reasons for this preference are many and logical. It is claimed that as trout customarily lie heading up-stream the angler casting from below is less liable to be seen; that the flies when so cast as to float down to the fish from above act more naturally than when worked more or less against the current; and that wading up-stream removes the possibility of alarming the trout or, at least, causing them to be suspicious by any disturbance of the stream bed, the dislodgment of small sticks, or muddying the water, the current, of course, carrying the news to the trout when the angler is working down-stream.

The advantages of wading down-stream in the typically swift trout stream are, however, very apparent to most experienced fly-casters. In the first place it is far more natural and certainly much easier to wade with the current than against it. It is generally possible to cast a sufficiently long line to do away with the possibility of being seen by the fish, and it is a question whether the flies if skillfully fished from above are not quite as attractive as when worked from below. And as to the matter of disturbing the stream bed the man who wades slowly and carefully can reduce the disturbance to a negligible quantity.

The man who wades enjoys absolute freedom from restraint. The canoe-man is bounded by the gunwales of his craft. However, in the silence with which the canoe makes its progress there is an advantage. If care is taken in the matter of anchorage no possible warning is given to the fish. Also, if the stream is a large one, good places may be easily fished from the canoe which might be beyond the ability of the most expert fly-caster to reach when wading. In the case of over-fished waters the use of a canoe, if the stream has ordinarily been fished by wading, might spell the difference between a light creel and a heavy one.

When fishing a stream of this sort it may be taken for granted that the most accessible spots have been fished to death, and the angler who is wise and ambitious will devote himself to the more difficult places. The chances are that such spots have been very little fished, and possibly, in the case of some of them, not at all. In many trout streams of good size there are reaches of deep, swift-running water too deep to wade and where the banks are so brushy as to prevent casting from them. Such places are avoided by the average angler, the man who wades, and the use of a canoe in such waters should yield very weighty results.

Camp, Samuel Granger. The Fine Art of Fishing. New York: Outing Pub., 1911. Print.

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