What To Wear Fly Fishing? It Depends On The Season! (Complete Guide)

What to wear fly fishing, depends not only on the season and the weather outlook but the time.

It also depends on if you are stream fishing or you are fishing in a lake or reservoir.

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Spring Fly Fishing

If they are cold, or cold and rainy, or cold and windy, or cold, windy and rainy. Then you might also need some of these items below. Remember it is best to use layers rather than one heavy coat, base layers are it.

The idea of base layers is to help provide temperature regulation and to wick any moisture away from your skin. This is your next to your skin comfort layer. Next is the foundation garment which you then layer mid or outer layers as weather and climate conditions dictate.

rainbow trout caught by a fly fisherman in autumn river

Fishing Pants

There are several different styles and prices for these pants. You should decide which type is best for you. There are many different fishing brands for you to choose from, like Simms, Orvis, Patagonia, LL Bean, Duluth Trading Post and many more.

Insulating Underwear

Base layers of long underwear are capable of adding considerable warmth. So, layering a pair under your jeans or waders for a winter outing will help keep you warm. But, by choosing the right ones it means you can then leave them on all day.

These garments are very important because they will keep you warmer and they will wick away moisture from your body.

Insulating Undershirt

There are many different types, style, and manufacturers of insulating undershirts. Nike, Under Armour, Reebok, Field, and Stream, Second Skin, Duofold, Slazenger are brands that have these.

Insulating Socks

The first thing to consider when looking for the perfect winter socks is the material they are made out of. Winter socks are made out of a mix of synthetic materials like nylon, lycra, and elastane, or a blend of natural fibers like Merino wool and nylon.

Beware cotton socks absorb sweat and moisture quickly and dry very slowly, which can cause blisters.

Outerwear that is Down-Filled or Gore-Tex

There are several brands that have gore-tex coats or jackets. Cabela’s, Columbia, Grundens and Frogg Toggs. You also want to remember to get a good breathable rain jacket to help keep you dry and warm.


They have all sorts and styles of fishing gloves, there are fingerless and fold over. They come in fleece and softshell, neoprene, along with wool.

Face Covering

Face coverings or buffs as they are called are great for winter fishing or when it’s really cold. They are also very good for wind protection and to keep the sun of-of your face.

fisherman holding net and fly fishing in river

Summer Fly Fishing

Summer is the most popular time for fly fishing or for that fact any type of fishing. The warmer weather and water make the bugs and insects more active.

The hot and sunny days are best spent in the cool waters of your favorite stream, reservoir or lake. You need to have the right summer fly fishing clothing, it can make it more comfortable and a better time on the water.

Hat and Sunglasses Should Be Required

A wide-brimmed or baseball-style hat can help shield your head and keep the sun out of your eyes. The problem is they can leave gaps and you can get a really bad sunburn.

You might want to look into getting a buff, you can get them with UV coating for more protection. If the insects and bugs get to be a real problem you can get them with insect repellent.

Sunglasses should be one of the most essential pieces, along with the rod and reel of your fly fishing gear. Your vision is too important not to protect it not only from the sun but also if you make a bad cast.

You should also make sure that they are polarized because they help remove the glare from the water. This helps to see what is below the surface, like structures where the fish might be hiding or the fish themselves.

Pants or Shorts

When fly fishing wading is a very good way that you can beat the summer heat. Please remember that with shorts your legs will get very cold standing in the colder water.

I have seen guys that even try to wear flip-flops while wading, trust me they do not work. They can lead to some very serious problems, like getting caught in the current and not able to get out.

I would recommend a durable and fast-drying pair of pants, look for something that is lightweight. These will protect your legs from the sun, branches, and the biting bugs and insects. Waders are also a good choice as there are several styles and weights to choose from.

Your Feet

You do not want to have some soggy wet feet, so to avoid this here is what you can do. Use a pair of wading boots with interchangeable soles these will allow you to match for the traction that you need for any day. You can get rubber soles for hiking to a lake or on a trail or felt soles for mossy rocks. when you are finished fishing

The biggest problem with neoprene wading socks is, they feel like heavy weights when you are out of the water. If you have wool or cotton sock underneath it makes you think you have sponges on your feet. A pair of polyester socks under your neoprene socks to avoid the weight and stop the wet foot feeling.

Fishing Shirts

Linen fishing shirts worn by anglers on saltwater flats have become mainstays in the wardrobe of fly fishermen. The vented back, button-down linen shirts have become so popular because of the recent updates. The updates include adding UV light protection, and some have insect repellant the fibers of the garment.

Base layered style polyester shirts are becoming very popular compared to traditional button downs. There are fly fishing shirts that have very good wicking properties. These are a good way to cool off just put them in the water. Then when you put them back on the warm air evaporating will cool you off.

fisherman wearing waders and sunglasses fly fishing in river

Fall Fly Fishing

There are lots of fly fishermen who give up for the season to maybe go hunting deer or ducks. Don’t give up to early fall can be a great time for fly fishing because there are fewer anglers. Another good reason is that the fish have their feed bags on so a good pattern can bring great results.

One other good reason is that the trees are changing colors and it can be beautiful in the great outdoors. Here are a couple of tips, the sun will throw shadows farther into the water and don’t wear flashy colors. You should also wear the same clothing as in the spring.

Winter Fly Fishing

Winter is a totally different kind of fishing. Instead of fishing banks that are covered in willow or trees now, they have snow or ice. You can normally use bigger flies like streamers and nymphs because the fish are going after more protein.

Most of the time you will pick up a trout in the water behind rocks, boulders or downfalls. You also need to remember it is colder now and you might want to stop by and get a Gortex coat.

Bob Hoffmann

The author of this post is Bob Hoffmann. Bob has spend most of his childhood fishing with his father and now share all his knowledge with other anglers. Feel free to leave a comment below.

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