What to Wear When Fly Fishing?

What to Wear When Fly Fishing

Whenever I get to chat about some interesting facts on Montana, the first thing that comes up in my mind is the surprising weather. Montana is naturally blessed with different varieties of weather throughout the year – a hardly seen scenario in many parts of the world. On top of that, the weather changes pretty dramatically.

The summer here can be irritatingly warm for most new visitors who are expecting mild weather for a vacation. To their utter surprise, within a few days of the warmth, Montana can become a chilling cold place.

Wet & Cold weather is a recurring phenomenon here, which is kind of good news for all fishers out there. After all, the wet season brings in more water in the rivers and streams. How can it get better for fishing? In this article, I am going to share my views on fishing-clothing. To be specific – fly-fishing-clothing. It’s one of the most common fishing methods here in Montana for its ‘EASIER’ preparation and ‘COMFORTABLE’ technique.

Fishing Seasons

As I have said, the weather in Montana is pretty diverse. To cope up with the different varieties of seasons, fly-fishing would require different suiting-up. That means you don’t stick to one type of set of attires & gears for fly-fishing in Montana.

Always Remember – “Changing your attires as per weather demand is necessary”.

If you are wondering what is the best time for fly-fishing in Montana, check out my article for a detailed discussion on it.

At the same time, do check my guidelines (based on my personal experiences) on tying fishing knots so that you face no problems while your fishing preparation.

Here, I will be discussing on what to wear for fly-fishing in three different seasons – spring, summer, and winter. As these are the major seasons you get to see around here, it will provide you with the overall idea of fly-fishing attire for the whole year.

Now let’s find out what to wear for fly-fishing

Now let’s find out what to wear for fly-fishing

Spring Fly-Fishing

Spring here in Montana doesn’t come with any scorching heat or warmth. In fact, it can be a bit wet and cold once in a while. So, it’s always a good idea to wear a layer of clothes. The layer will be attaching to your skin. This will absorb any wetness from your sin and will regulate the temperature of your body. You can wear any other layers of cloths over it depending on the weather condition.

Long-Sleeved Polyester Shirt is the Key

A polyester or micro-fiber shirt will take away moisture from your body and it will protect you from sunlight. It’s a great tool way to stay safe from the harmful rays of the sun. There are some fly-fishing shirts available in the market that you can wear over your Polyester shirt. It’s best if you can manage the fly-fishing shirt made from polyester.

The pockets of the fly-fishing shirt will give you some extra benefits as well. You can keep some small baits and other tiny tools you need for fishing inside the front pocket. Most fly-fishing shirts come with two pockets. If you are not a long-sleeve inner shirt person, you can always wear a fly-fishing shirt over a short-sleeved t-shirt, preferably a polyester made one.

Consider Comfortable Nylon Pants

Nylon pants are very comfortable to wear. Besides, these are lighter than jeans; with a bonus feature, they don’t absorb much water as jeans do. Nylon pants dry up very quickly, so you can rest assured that your pants won’t get soaked in water.

In addition to the Nylon pants, you need to wear a base layer of underwear that will support your temperature. It’s always better to go for layers than for wearing extra baggy clothes.

There are different types of Nylon pants available at the market. One of the most useful ones is the removable pants system. You can remove the leg part of the Nylon pant to convert it into a short one. Again, it all depends on if the weather is favorable.

Get a Great Pair of Socks

Socks are actually pretty useful when you are out for fishing. There are some special socks that come with reinforced cushion zones that can keep your feet warm and dry, even if you are drowning your feet underwater for sometimes.

Waterproof Boots are What You Want

Remember, you will be stepping in the water of the streams and Rivers while you are fly-fishing. A great pair of shoes that are completely waterproof is absolutely necessary in this case. The waterproof feature of the boot will keep your boot safe from waterlogging and from getting soaked in water. Don’t forget the sole! Make sure the sole has a great grip on the uneven surface of low water. A good sole with a solid grip will protect you from slipping in water and drown yourself.

Find a Waterproof Wader

A waterproof wader is perfect attire for fly-fishing in summer seasons. Lightweight, waterproof, and breathable waders can make a difference in your performance. It will prevent waterlogging, wetness, and discomfort throughout the fishing session.

Take Cover in Hats

Last but not least, put a hat on your head. A good comfortable hat is pretty essential for fly-fishing. It will save your eyes from coming into direct connection with the sun, provide you with the necessary shade for a better sight, and will keep your head cool providing a barrier between your head and open sun.

Summer Fly-Fishing

Summer is the best season for fly-fishing in Montana. This is the favorite part of the year for most of the fly-fishers. The warm and hot weather influences the bugs and insects to become more active. This is a perfect time to get into the cool water of your choice of lake, reservoir, and river. Not to mention, wearing proper clothes for summer fishing is very important. Having said that, let’s see what to wear when fly-fishing in summer.

The Hat

A great baseball-type hat will keep you going in the hot days of summer. It will protect your eyes from the sun and let you have a clear vision, as well. Again, it may not protect your head and back of the head from the sun-rays. You can go for a round-shaped hat for better protection and shade if you like.


Summer and sunglasses are synonymous to me. The UV-rays you are exposed to while fishing in the open space in the rivers and lakes is very harmful to your eyes. Shading your pair of eyes with good quality sunglass is absolutely essential. It will not only protect your eyes from the harmful rays of the sun but also provide you with a clear vision.

Try to find the polarized sunglass if you can. These special polarized sunglasses will protect your eyes quite well. Besides that, these shades will help you get a see-through vision under the water surface. That will help you very well with fishing the smallest of the fish.

Pants of Waders

For summer fishing, most people do have a tendency to wear shorts for comfort. But the problem with shorts is that when you step into cold water, your legs can get cold and get subject to bites of bugs and insects.

On the other hand, waders can be an excellent choice to prevent these problems. Go for a lightweight, soft, and waterproof waders that can give you the comfort you need, and the necessary warmth you legs require. You can put on a layer of pants inside, as well for extra comfort and quick-drying.


Some people go for flip-flops while fly-fishing in summer. That’s quite a weird and discomforting decision to make. Flip-flops can put you in danger when the current is a bit powerful. You will struggle to even stand straight in the water.

A great pair of wading boots can save your day. If possible, find the model that allows changeable soles. That will give you a choice to set the soles that match the surface you are on and make sure you have a perfect grip wherever you are.

Summer Shirts

The linen shirts with a button-down and vented back design has become very popular among fly-fishers recently. The shirt has some unique features that have been updated recently. These updated linen shirts have UV protection for protecting your skin for the UV rays of the sun. Again, some linen shirts come with insect-repellant fibers that can be of great help when the insects and bugs are too annoying.

Besides these linen shirts, polyester shirts with base-layers are also very useful and popular these days. You can easily find some of these types that are customized for fly-fishing. These specially made shirts will let you cool down and have a comfortable fly-fishing experience.

Polyester Socks

Wearing a pair of wool or cotton socks can challenge your comfort while fly-fishing. When your feet get wet, you will feel like you have a soaked sponge under your feet that is not going to dry-up sooner. A good solution to this problem can be polyester socks that will not let you feel any weight on your feet and will also prevent any wet feeling while being actually wet.

Fly-Fishing Vest

For most of the fly-fishers and salmon anglers, a fishing vest is really useful and important for fishing. It’s very conveniently designed with multiple pockets to put all the handly and necessary fishing gears. It works as a very effective organizer when you are physically involved in a tiring job like fly fishing. A vest like this is quite a perfect alternative to a jacket in the summer. It’s less thick, lightweight, and comes with a lot of carrying pockets

Fall Fly-Fishing

After the summer tends to leave, the fall knocks on the door. The fall comes with a less cool, colder, and sometimes, rainy environment. To cope up with the drastically changing season, you must be prepared with warm and durable attire that can provide high-quality materials.

Wear 3-Layered Cloths

As fall can come colder than usual, your shirt and pant should be at least 3-layered for better protection. The base layer of the cloth is the prime defense against cold and wetness. It should be able to wick away any moisture that may stick to your skin. Choose synthetic clothing or wool clothing. Never try out jeans in this case. Jeans may soak moistures and can cause real problems for you.

The mid-layer acts as the secondary protection after the base layer. It will wick the remaining water and moisture that couldn’t be eliminated by the base layer. Cotton may be the favorite type of clothing for most of us, but DO NOT WEAR cotton as the layers. Cotton will absorb water to an insane level and wetness is never going to perish.

The outer layer is the ultimate protection over the two layers. It will protect your body from external environmental issues like rain, cold, wind, etc. A raincoat may also serve as a good outer layer if needed.


Gloves will keep your hands warm and protected from any harm in water. Make sure you get a pair of gloves that can quickly dry-up and shed off the water. Don’t just go for completely woolen gloves that don’t offer a great grip. Some gloves have a gripping layer on the palm-side. That will allow you a good hold even underwater.

Winter Fly-Fishing

Winter comes with a completely different look. Lakes and rivers tend to turn in to complete ice, and the weather turns freezing cold. This special season requires special attire and protective clothing. If you are fishing in ice-cold streams or ice-fishing under icy-lake, you need to wrap yourself in multiple layers of cloths.

Stay Away From Cotton!

Cotton clothes are very much fond of water. Cotton absorbs and retains water more than any type of fabric. If you are fly-fishing in winter, the last thing you would want is your clothes to be absorbing water. The hydrophilic nature of cotton will not let go of water for a long time. This means your body will struggle more to keep itself warm. The damp clothes will even cause hypothermia in extreme conditions.

So avoid cotton layers, shirts, sweat pants as much as you can. It’s better if you can fully keep yourself away from it. Breathable wader is the best solution in this case. It will let attract less moisture and can keep your body drier.

Get a Two-Layer Sock

It’s always a good idea to wear a couple of layers of socks while hiking and fishing in winter. The first layer of socks should be lightweight and synthetic in nature.  These are generally made of polyester or nylon materials.

Over this layer, put on an extra layer of socks that is heavyweight woolen – ideally a nylon-blend one. It will provide you with the warmth you need and the necessary waterproofing you need.

Keep one thing in mind; do not overdo it. Don’t make your socks so thick, that you can’t even fit your feet in, or at least fit your feet with a tight feeling. This way you will prevent the normal blood circulation in your feet and feel colder. Not to mention, the numbness it can cause.

Gloves and Hats

I know, it’s really not very enjoying if you are fishing wearing a pair of gloves. Fishers feel less in control and feel they are losing tactile abilities. Still, in winter, you can’t really avoid its need. You can’t fish around in riversides under freezing temperature with your hands without gloves. Your hands will feel numb and hard and will be challenged to even get a good grip.

The best glove option you have is the neoprene 100% waterproof gloves. It will give you full waterproof protection. These neoprene dive-style gloves are very popular among winter fishers. Yes, you will not be able to tie a fly with the gloves on, so you need to take these off while tying a bait.

As for hats, don’t bring the baseball hat types. You need hats that have the insulating ability. A fleece line bill hat that can be folded over the ear flaps is a good choice for winter fishing. Make sure the cap is 100% wool woven skullcap.

Multi-Layer Clothes

As for layer clothes, you definitely need to put on multi-layer clothing.

The first or base layer should be of high-quality underwear, preferably long sleeve shirt and pants. Go for synthetic or woolen inner-wear. These are best-worn fitting to your skin. That means wearing just next to your skin.

The second layer can be a synthetic fiber made clothing. These can also be made from wool or merino wool. You can use fleece trouser for your lower body part. Fleece is a very lightweight and highly breathable fabric. The second layer is not necessarily waterproof.

As the third layer, you can use a lightweight, breathable wader. For maximum warmth, you can always go for neoprene waders. These are very comfortable, lightweight, and highly durable. Above that, you can wear a pullover jacket. This layer shouldn’t be very tight.

The fourth and final layer will be the outer jacket that will save you from the rain and snow. No matter how the rain is, even if it is raining in torrents, you can still save yourself with the help of the outer jackets. The outer jacket must be 100% waterproof, breathable and must have the ability to transmit humidity to the environment.

That’s it!

This is the ideal way you should get prepared and put on your attires for winter fly-fishing!

Before we wrap things up, let me inform you about the key differences between Fly Fishing and Spin Fishing. This will surely assist you a lot in improving your fishing skills.

Final Words

As I said earlier, the seasons in Montana are diverse. How are you planning to fly-fish in Montana should entirely depend on which season are you fishing in. I have discussed the main four seasons we get to see around here, and fly-fishers are active all through the seasons. If you are thinking of what to wear while fly-fishing in Montana, follow the tips I shared here. If the tips are followed well, clothing should not be something that would be a matter to you.

Let me know if you have got any tips and tricks, as well. Share your experience and idea. I can even add your tips as well in the post. Happy Fishing!

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