Fly fishing is a rewarding activity that attracts every avid angler.
But here’s one caveat: It is a highly risky ordeal.
If the riverbed offers limited visibility, you are exposing yourself to potential dangers. These include a slippery rock covered with algae, a very deep drop or even a boulder or sharp rocks that can trip you up.
Anything can happen in the riverbed, so it is smart to be prepared for what might happen. Unseen obstacles and dangerous surfaces are the last things you want to be dealing with when wading in the river.
Fortunately, there’s a practical tool you can use to spare you from all of these risks.
A wading staff helps you to stay safe in the riverbed. You can use this tool to keep each step secure by helping you maintain your balance and “see” those obstacles hiding underneath. With a wading staff, you are minimizing your risks of an injury while fly fishing. In fact, this tool can make a huge difference between life and death considering the dangers lurking in the riverbed!
Quick Comparison: Top Wading Staff for Fly Fishing
|Best for Practicality||Best for Practicality||1. Hammers Fishing Stick Collapsible||
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|Best for Durability||Best for Durability||2. High Stream Gear Wading Staff||
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|Best for Convenience||Best for Convenience||3. Sterling Endurance Collapsible Wading Staff||
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|Best for Stability||Best for Stability||4. Folstaf Fishing Stick||
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|Best for Complete Accessories||Best for Complete Accessories||5. M MAXIMUMCATCH Folding Fishing Stick||
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|Best for Ease of Use||Best for Ease of Use||6. Creative Angler Wading Folding Staff||
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|Best for Long Lifespan||Best for Long Lifespan||7. Aventik Wading Folding Staff||
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|Best for Lightweight||Best for Lightweight||8. Kingfisher Wading Staff||
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|Best for Versatility||Best for Versatility||9. SNOWBEE Wading Telescopic Staff||
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**Below, you’ll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
What are the Types of Wading Staff for Fly Fishing?
There are different types of wading staff you can choose from, each with its unique features and purpose.
For instance, there is a static wading staff, which is just as the word implies – non-adjustable. It is a one-piece staff that you cannot collapse or fold, and the full length is set all the time. While this type of staff spares you from the constant adjusting and folding, it can be cumbersome to bring along because of the length.
A foldable wading staff is more practical to use because you can easily fold it down to a shorter length, making it easy to carry and snap it onto your backpack or belt. But one thing to note about this type of staff is the lack of height customization. You won’t be able to shorten or lengthen it to the height you prefer.
As for a collapsible wading staff, you can retract or lengthen it as you please. They are also slightly heavier than a folding staff, and you can’t fold them at a very short length. But the best thing about this type of staff is the assurance that it will not suddenly come apart when underwater. They are quite sturdy and reliable just like a static wading staff but with the additional feature of being adjustable.
With all these things in mind, let us go over our top picks for the finest wading staff for fly fishing to keep you safe and give you a much better angling experience.
9 Best Wading Staff for Fly Fishing
1. Hammers Fishing Stick Collapsible – Best for Practicality
When it comes to practicality and functionality, you can never go wrong with the Hammers wading staff. It is collapsible, which allows you to customize the length as you please. After use, you can simply fold it down to 12 inches, so it fits perfectly in your backpack.
Made of aluminum alloy for the tubing, this staff is thick and durable. There is an EVA grip contoured to match your hands, along with a wrist strap for security. With a carbide steel material for the tip, it is sturdy and should give you a steady step each time.
This is without a doubt an excellent wading staff that you can use on land or in riverbanks. With a corded spring action, you should be able to quickly set it up for use with just one hand. Once fully extended, it reaches up to 52.5 inches.
- Adjustable and practical
- Folds down to 12 inches
- Comfortable and secure grip
- A little bit pricey
- Takes some practice to lengthen and fold down
2. High Stream Gear Wading Staff – Best for Durability
This is one of the best wading staff when it comes to durability and value for the money. It is sturdy and reliable as it is made of 7075 aluminum that is also used for military aircraft. This is why it will not fall apart easily for your peace of mind.
These poles offer excellent ergonomics for the handle design. You can also clip it up on your belt after use, which makes it convenient to store after use. This allows you to free your hands up when you need to use your other tools for fishing.
Our only gripe about this product is the weight. It is not very light, yet you will find it quite ideal for wading because of how extremely durable and robust it is. Overall, the High Stream Gear staff is a true value for your money.
- Highly durable
- Folds down to 14.5 inches
- Offers maximum wading safety
- Slightly long height when folded
- A tad heavy
3. Sterling Endurance Collapsible Wading Staff – Best for Convenience
If you need a wading staff that offers the right length for your needs, you can count on what this Sterling Endurance collapsible wading staff has to offer. It is crafted from a T6 alloy that is highly durable as it is a combination of magnesium and zinc, which are durable and lightweight at the same time.
You can easily adjust the length of this staff to a maximum of 54 inches. It is ideal for people between 5 foot 4 inches to over 6 feet in height. This is why it is quite versatile and perfect for any angler.
With a lightweight quality, you should be able to carry this staff with you anywhere you go. This minimizes fatigue while offering endurance each time you bring it along for fly fishing.
- The collapsible length offers practicality
- Comes with a storage bag
- Versatile and functional
- Not suitable for people under 5 foot 4 inches
- Slightly heavy
4. Folstaf Fishing Stick – Best for Stability
When you need a couple of extra “feet” to help you maintain your balance and secure your steps while wading, the Folstaf fishing sticks are a great choice for you. These wading staffs are crafted from aircraft-quality aluminum, which makes them very durable and sturdy.
You can adjust the length to a maximum of 59 inches, which is longer than most staff in the market. For ease of storage, you can fold it down to 10 inches, so you can easily store it in your backpack or belt.
One thing to note about this staff is that it ends up locking tightly when folded down. This is why it takes some getting used to the folding and retracting process at first but you should be able to be more efficient in doing these.
- Folds down in a short, convenient length
- Flare and swage provide maximum stability
- Tough and secure lanyard
- Not as lightweight as most wading staff
- Can be a bit tricky to retract
5. M MAXIMUMCATCH Folding Fishing Stick – Best for Complete Accessories
What’s great about this product is that it comes with some special add-ons aside from the wading staff. It also includes tow attachments, rock claw, and a rubber end cap. These additional accessories make it highly useful and practical.
When fully extended, it reaches a maximum length of 55 inches but folds down to about 15 inches for ease of storage. The wire connector and the tubing are both sturdy, so you can expect this wading staff to last for a long time.
There is a neoprene sheath added for storage purposes, as well as a belt loop built right into the unit for convenience. However, there are no directions included, so you just have to figure out how to use this product (which should not be too hard to do).
- Plenty of accessories included
- Excellent length when retracted
- Sturdy and durable
- No directions included
- A bit too long when folded down
6. Creative Angler Wading Folding Staff – Best for Ease of Use
If what you look for is a wading staff that is easy to use and take with you anywhere you go, then you will certainly like this product. It is a folding staff that can be retracted and collapsed in seconds for your convenience.
This product is crafted from aluminum, which is ultralight and sturdy at the same time. There is a lanyard and an attachment for the camera seat, which makes it a breeze to set up. With a foam handle, this should eliminate fatigue and discomfort while using it.
Our only observation about this product is that the sections then to be a little unstable when deeply planted in moist land or mud. But it always snaps back, so it is not a big deal at all.
- Folding staff for practicality
- Comes with a camera seat attachment and a secure lanyard
- Comfortable foam handle
- Tends to separate in mud and moist land
- Inadequate directions on how to use
7. Aventik Fold-able Wading Staff – Best for Long Lifespan
Another wading staff that is sure to keep you safe when fly fishing, the Aventik wading staff is a great investment to make. You will love the ease of retracting this staff with just one hand. When fully retracted, it goes up to 55 inches.
This staff has 4 feet marking on its body. This helps you determine the maximum water depth that may be unsafe for you. With multiple functions, you can use this while fly fishing, trekking, or wading.
We like the fact that this staff is undeniably strong and secure. It is corrosion-resistant, too, and we love the rule marks on the body. But it is just a slightly pricey wading staff, although well worth the cost.
- Easy to retract and fold down
- Lightweight and strong
- Water depth warning sign included
- Slightly pricey
- Can take some getting used to with the set up
8. Kingfisher Wading Staff – Best for Lightweight
Lightweight and sturdy, this wading staff from Kingfisher should definitely last long. You can open it with just one hand as you wade in the riverbed, so it is convenient to use.
This wading staff is crafted from aluminum, which is a lightweight and strong material. The neoprene case added in is durable, and you can easily snap it on your belt or store in your backpack after use.
The pole has a little bit of flex, although it holds up pretty well. It is a cheap pole but should be good enough for wading and keeping yourself safe while doing so.
- Lightweight and corrosion-resistant
- Extends to 54 inches
- Includes a case
- Has a slight flex to it
- A bit on the flimsy side
9. SNOWBEE Wading Telescopic Staff – Best for Versatility
This is one of the best wading staff out there when it comes to versatility because of its maximum length of 63 inches when fully extended. We love the weighted foot for an extra grip and security underwater.
There is a lanyard included, which can be adjusted to the length you prefer, as well as a rubberized handle for your comfort. The material used for the staff is relatively lightweight as it is aluminum.
Just be sure to twist the pole harder to make sure it sticks and does not collapse easily. The lanyard included could also use some improvements as it is a bit flimsy.
- A superior grip that offers maximum stability
- Extra-long when fully extended
- Lightweight and convenient to use
- Requires a harder twist to secure the pole when retracted
- Slightly flimsy lanyard material
Complete Beginner’s Guide to Buying the Best Wading Staff for Fly Fishing
Now that you know the basics of a wading staff, let’s talk about features. What are the features you should look for in the best wading staff for fly fishing? Here are some of the things to keep in mind.
You want to be sure that the wading staff is light enough for your needs. We recommend a fishing stick that is between 15 and 20 ounces. If it gets heavier than that, it may be a bit cumbersome to take it with you during your trip.
Naturally, you want your wading staff to be just the right length or height to serve its purpose. Take into consideration your height and check if the wading staff in question is long enough for your needs. There are those that you can retract to 50 inches while others can go up to over 60 inches.
3. Ease of Use
Be sure that the wading staff you buy is a breeze to use and set up. You would want to look into a staff that only requires a one-hand operation, which is very convenient for first-timers. Some wading sticks take some time with the assembly during the initial process but once you have become well-versed with it, then it should be easy to use from that point forward. If you can collapse it quickly, this will make things much easier for you.
Choose a wading staff that offers a decent range for the length and height. It should also be suitable for use when you are engaged in other outdoor activities such as trekking and climbing, which makes the wading staff truly practical and an excellent value for your money.
There are many brands and styles of wading staff in the market, yet you are only limited to the price you are willing to spend. For instance, there is a good staff that should cost you about $30, which is pretty basic with all the standard features. If you want it to be more advanced in terms of what the stick can do, be prepared to spend about $100 for it. But the most important thing is that you do not compromise the quality for the price.
A great wading staff is one that is not just sturdy but comfortable, as well. Consider buying a staff that has great ergonomics for the handle and the head. There are those with a soft EVA material to eliminate fatigue when using the staff
In addition to a stable handle, you want to make sure that the tip is just as secure. A metal tip is perfect as this can give you the stability you need. But at the same time, you want it to have a nice, grippy quality that will not make noises that can scare off the fish and cause you to lose your catch. So be sure to take these things into consideration to help you determine the right wading staff to buy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I need a wading staff when fly fishing?
When wading in the riverbed, you need to be prepared to encounter some obstacles underneath the water including boulders, slippery rocks, and deep drops. This is why a wading staff is highly practical to use as it helps you maintain your balance while allowing you to “feel” what’s hiding underwater before you make your step.
What is the best type of wading staff should I get?
There are three types of wading staff, as mentioned earlier. A static staff is ready to use but is quite a bit of a hassle to bring along because you cannot retract or shorten the length. This is why you are better off with a foldable or collapsible wading staff. You will love the ease of storage while allowing you to extend the length to your preference.
How do you use a wading staff?
If you buy a folding wading staff, the first thing you need to do is to retract it. You can find a wading staff that is easy to retract to a maximum of 54 inches while others can go up to 63 inches. Check the specifications before you buy since the last thing you want is to end up buying a wading staff that is to short for your needs.
Once retracted, you can use the staff to check each step before you take it. You can use it to feel obstructions or depths of the water, and it is also great for balancing. When done using it, just fold it down to the shortest length and keep it in your backpack or clip it right onto your belt.
Some models of wading staff require a bit of twist movement to keep it secure once retracted. Otherwise, it might snap back and fold down, which exposes you to some risks especially if the water is a bit too high.
Also, pay attention to any markings on the staff. If there is a special marking about the maximum depth you should take, make it a point to follow this to spare yourself from injuries or accidents caused by a fast-flowing, high water.
Here is a helpful video on wading safety techniques you can implement as you use your wading staff:
A wading staff can help you stay safe despite the dangers that riverbeds may offer.
Be sure to buy a reliable wading staff that has all the features you need to help you achieve the best results when fly fishing.
After learning more about your options on the top-selling wading staff brands and models today, as well as after checking out our guide, you should have better ideas on how to go about your search for the best wading staff for fly fishing that suits you well.