Fly Fishing Clothing

This post was last updated on December 3rd, 2022 at 07:42 pm

Fly fishing clothing choicesHow Does Normal Clothing Differ From Fly Fishing Attire?

Chances are you have seen the way fly fisherman choose to dress differently than most people, there is a good reason for that; every piece of clothing is optimized for a purpose in this sport. Whether you are looking at a new fangle SPF 50 sun blocking shirt, or even lightweight convertible pants. Let go over the main clothing items that are perfect for fly fishing.

Lightweight Breathable Pants with Possibly Even Zip off Legs

Breathable fly fishing pantsThe lightweight super breathable fabrics on the market in this day and age will have you looking down to check periodically if you are even wearing pants at all. The lightweight fabric is so thin that it literally dries in just a few minutes in the sun. Whether it is super hot out or not, these pants will still dry really quickly. Why don’t you just stay out of the water you might be asking? That’s pretty much impossible in this sport! I cant even usually step out of a car to look at a river usually without getting wet. Frankly, I never really care if I get wet because after 10 minutes of drying time, I won’t be anymore.

Pant Types To Avoid For Wading and Most types of Fly Fishing

  • Pants with Large Cargo Pockets: While large pockets come in handy to store nick nacks, they are not friendly to wading in moving water. The pockets can fill up and make wading difficult and in a worse case scenario the can inhibit your ability to swim.
  • Pants That are Too Large: You don’t need all of that excess material holding you back while wading and swimming. The trout stream is no place for sagging over-sized pants falling off your rear, they are dangerous!

Zip Off Pant Legs

I am not really a fan of shorts, but on occasion it does come in handy to be able to unzip the bottom of my pant-legs and convert them into shorts. The only time I ever remove the bottoms is in the case of fast moving water: The current will catch the legs of the pants (a lot like a parachute) and will cause you to become unstable and make moving around in heavy current more difficult.

Sun Blocking or High SPF Protective Clothing

Spending hours out in the sun can take a major toll on your body. If you spend as much time as I do on the river, you should invest in some lightweight shirts that will protect you from the suns radiation.


hats are essential to a fly fishermanAnother important piece of clothing that is critical to the fly fisher is quality headgear. Keeping the glare and the sun out of your face will keep you feeling good all day long. The sun beating on your face, causing you to squint in order to see your flies will not only cause unnecessary fatigue, but can actually lead to headaches. There are many hats on the market that offer SPF protection, as well as a nice long bill to keep your eyes in the shade.


Sunglasses for the fly fisherPerhaps the single most important piece of attire a fly fishing enthusiast can invest in. Where I guide in Idaho, we take out dozens of eye surgeons on a yearly basis, and I guarantee you not one of them is ever seen without a pair of sunglasses on their face. Choose a good pair of polarized fishing glasses and wear them at all times while you, or other people are casting near you. They not only allow you to see more fish, but a bad cast can send a hook into your eye. I have been hit in the sunglasses more times than I can count by crazy casters, don’t risk your vision over the cost of sunglasses. If all else fails, stop at a gas station and buy a cheap 5$ pair.
fly fishing gloves

Sun Protection For Your Hands

Fingerless gloves such as this will keep your hands looking young and wrinkle free. These gloves will protect your hands from up to 99% of the suns harmful rays, but be sure you don’t try to handle trout while wearing these, because you will do serious damage to the fish.


Sandals for flyfishermen
One item that can never be overlooked by the person who spends a lot of time around water is sandals. They make it so easy to get in and out of the water without excessive amounts of drying time involved. If I had to choose my 2 favorite brands I would surely go with Chacos and Keens, both of these brands have been good to me over the years when it comes to above average lifespan. Going in and out of water frequently is hard on footwear, so choose a good pair of wading sandals; they are a worthwhile investment.

The next time you head to your local fly shop, I hope you can appreciate the specialty fly fishing apparel that is available. It is made just for you with your great sport in mind.