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What to wear fly fishing - Top 6 important items to bring

If you're wondering what to wear for your perfect fly fishing trip, here's a great list of recommendations. Just you, fish and water early in the morning, breathing the fresh air full of life. But without the right clothing and equipment, you could end up coming home wet and fish-free. Obviously, clothing is key to your comfort and well-being. In this Fly Fishing Outfits Guide, we'll cover the top 6 best as well as essential items to wear (or bring) on your first or next fly fishing adventure.

a man is fly fishing

1. Fishing hat/ baseball cap

Hats are one of the most important items for what to wear fly fishing. The waterproof wide-brimmed fishing hat protects your head and face from the harsh sun and some insects. Besides, it also helps reduce sunlight so you can see better in the water, shielding your eyes from the glare of the water. This gives you better visibility to detect your catch. Make sure the hat fits snugly, prevents it from blowing in the wind, and doesn't create too much tension.

The truth is that hats come in many different shapes, sizes, styles, and colors. This seems especially true in the field of fly fishing. You can also choose a baseball cap to wear for your fly fishing. A good solution is to wear a regular baseball cap and combine it with a buff. A wide-brimmed hat or ball hat helps a lot, but they can also leave gaps and give you a nasty sunburn. For that reason, many anglers choose to wear a buff to cover areas missed by a hat.

2. Fly fishing rod and reel

Obviously, these are highly important for what to wear fly fishing. The choice of rod and reel depends on many factors during your fly fishing trip, including your destination, the size of the fish you want to catch, and whether you are fishing in small streams or large ones. From those factors, you will need to consider choosing the rod length, rope weight, and rod impact type to suit your rig. Not only that you will also need leaders and tippets.

fly fishing

3. Waders/ wader boots

Fly fishing usually takes place in the water and you are not usually on a boat or on shore. While it may seem tempting and enjoyable to enjoy the cool water directly (especially if you're fly fishing on a hot summer day), this isn't always a smart idea. Water can be very cold and is full of hazards, obstacles, and disease-causing bacteria.

In this case, waders will be a good solution when there is a barrier between you and the water. They are made of waterproof material and are great for keeping your bottom half dry during your fly fishing trip. For the summer months, you can use a lighter pair of waders. There are thick, insulated models out there, and they will be perfect for a winter fishing trip. There are many styles of boots but consider support and comfort. You can choose between rubber soles, spike soles and felt soles, depending on the underwater terrain or your fly fishing spot.

Usually, your waders will come with accompanying boots. These are essential to keeping your feet on slippery rocks and in moving water. Wader boots also provide excellent protection from water and underwater obstacles. These are waterproof boots with the same sole material with full options that extend up, usually to the hip. This takes away a lot of the volume that comes with using and storing traditional waders. Especially in the hot summer, boots can be the smart way to go. As they provide easier breathing, you don't overheat.

4. Fly fishing shirt & pants/shorts

The lightweight, long-sleeve fishing shirt is truly a must-have thing for what to wear fly fishing trip. Regardless of the temperature, a shirt that offers UV protection when you're standing in the sun is a great thing. These fly fishing shirts include the addition of sunlight/UV protection (UFP) and insect repellent woven into the fibers of the garment. Baselayer-style polyester shirts are also gaining popularity as an alternative to traditional button-down styles.

Fly fishing shirts are also our favorites. The fly fishing shirt features UPF sun protection and anti-odor treatment, along with exceptional water-repellent properties. Besides, they are also made of lightweight materials with vivid designs that many fishing fans appreciate. Especially, you can completely customize your wanted name on the shirt, making it a meaningful personalized gift for yourself or any angler you love.

Likewise, with pants or shorts, nylon or polyester are great options for materials that dry quickly and keep you cool and comfortable all day long. However, shorts are not the best option to protect you from sun, wind, palm and fly bites. Instead, choose a pair of durable and quick-drying nylon fishing pants that will suitable most for what to wear fly fishing. Look for something light enough to keep you cool and made with durable textiles to keep your feet protected. Another great option for what to wear fly fishing might be pants that can convert into shorts. Having a pair of fly fishing pants for hot weather is really essential - they keep you warm and dry as well as protect you from the sun, insects and water.

5. Raincoat

The next important thing for what to wear fly fishing is the raincoat. The truth is, nothing can ruin a great fishing trip faster than a rainstorm if you're not fully prepared. You should always carry a light raincoat with you if you go fly fishing. You can keep a small waterproof poncho in your fishing shirt in case the weather suddenly changes while you are on the water.

Especially in the summer, knowing the local climate and checking the forecast before you go is important. Temperatures can change dramatically, in places where the weather is notoriously unpredictable - on a summer afternoon it can change from warm sunny to cold and rainy in a matter of minutes. And this is why you must pack a raincoat or keep a raincoat, even during the hot summer months.

Today, many of the top outdoor apparel brands have amazing raincoats that are super lightweight and can be packaged in a very small package that's super convenient to carry. Regardless of what the forecast says, bring a good, lightweight raincoat and put it on before or as soon as it starts to rain, to avoid getting wet and ruining your fishing session.

rain coat fly fishing

6. Sun protection items

  • Polarized Sunglasses

An angler's vision is key to a successful day of fly fishing, which makes hats and sunglasses paramount. Sunglasses are considered the top essential items when going fishing like fishing rods and reels. Even on a cloudy day, bring a pair of polarized sunglasses. Water reflects and amplifies sunlight; therefore, potentially harmful to your eyes. A good quality pair of polarized sunglasses will eliminate nearly all glare on the water's surface. That allows you to see what's going on below the surface at a much higher level of clarity.

The lens color must match the watercolor to give the best contrast to see the structures and shadows. For example, when fishing offshore with dark blue, a blue lens will work best for you. In the case of deep tannic water fishing, you should choose a brown or bronze lens that will be most suitable choice. This will help ensure you can see deeper (through glare), spot more fish and use the right fishing strategy.

  • Fly fishing sun protection gloves

If you have fair skin or plan to fish for a long time, consider wearing gloves when fly fishing. Often we forget to protect our hands from the sun. So if the weather is hot, you can go home with burned hands while the rest of your body is protected. Too much sun exposure can lead to skin cancer. So a pair of gloves that are light, thin, and equipped with sun protection can reduce your hands' sensitivity to the sun. A lot of companies now offer fingerless (or amputated and half-fingered) gloves that protect the back of your palm, while still providing full hand protection.

And, wash your gloves regularly because sweat, sunscreen, river water, fish slime, insect repellent, dirt, and a pair of crumpled damp sun protection gloves give off a musty stench. Another measure is to buy more than one pair of sun protection gloves to change often.

  • Sunscreen

Fly anglers spend hours in the sun, patiently waiting for the fish to bite. Therefore sunscreen is very important to protect your skin and prevent melanoma. Choose a reputable brand that is suitable for your skin type. Make sure your brand is waterproof, with a minimum SPF of 30, and remember to reapply every 3-4 hours of activity. Besides, you can also choose sunscreens with moisturizing ingredients to prevent sunburn. Lifelong sun damage issues aside, being dazzled by the blazing sun on the first day of your epic fly-fishing trip will make the next battle days even worst.

  • Neck gaiter

Note that the hat will also expose your neck, so you may need extra sunscreen on the back of your neck. Or, more unique and impressive is a neck gaiter. The turtleneck is a simple yet quite welcome sun protection outfit innovation. It's basically a cylindrical fabric cover, the collar cape comes in a variety of cool textures and color combinations and can be worn in many different ways.

These neck gaiters are often used to shield the face, neck and ears from the sun, but also work very well in blocking the wind, creating a layer to keep warm on cold days.

neck gaiter to wear fly fishing


A cooler

Bring a large bucket of cold water and snacks to fuel you up on your hour-long fishing trip. Especially if you are fishing on a hot day, bring a little more water. Because we easily become dehydrated in the sun and suffer from heat exhaustion.


A fly fishing trip can last from early morning until late evening, depending on how the fish bite or how long you decide to stay. Always have a flashlight ready in the room. There are times when plans will change depending on many factors and you won't be stuck in the dark with this useful flashlight.

Insect repellent 

If insects and bed bugs become a real problem, you can use a carry-on insect repellent to kill them. It is clear that slow-flowing streams are crowded breeding grounds for mosquitoes and other flying pests. Mosquito bites are annoying and can carry dangerous diseases, depending on your location. Insects around can be distracting, annoying, and come home with no fish. Carry an insect repellant spray that will help get rid of mosquitoes, fleas and ticks as well as other species; These species are also abundant in fly-catching areas. And remember to reapply the spray every 3-4 hours as sunscreen.

Emergency kit

Finally, fly fishing and be in the wilderness so bring an emergency kit. You won't know what trouble you'll get into so it's essential to deal with unexpected events. You probably won't need anything, but accidents happen unexpectedly and a first aid kit and basic knowledge of first aid can help a lot, even mean the difference between life and death.

Fishing License

Before you go out on a fishing trip, be sure to review your state's fishing laws. It is sometimes required that you purchase a fishing license. The application process, cost, and length of license vary from state to state and often depend on the species of fish and their size.

checking fishing license

Because you will be on the water all day long, you must dress and bring appropriate gear for the ever-changing weather. What to wear fly fishing - the clothing and essentials system we mentioned above will ensure comfort in rainy and cold conditions and wick away moisture when it's hot. With the right clothes and fly fishing gear, you have the perfect foundation for a thrilling and successful fly fishing adventure. Protection Status