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How to Make Safe and Efficient River Crossings


Making safe river crossings can allow an angler a different approach to each fishing hole, but staying upright requires a little preparation before entering the water.

Staying warm, dry, and safe will improve any day on the water, while fumbling around, getting wet, hurt, or losing gear can be a game-changer in the worst kind of way.

As Chris Cravens of Cross Current TV explains, reading water and crossing in the most efficient sections of the river can make crossing much easier and safer.

Having a good set of waders is key to staying dry. Chest waders offer the best buffer zone from water entering through the top in the incident of a fall, and filling with water. Most modern materials used in waders tend to form to our bodies, while the canvas varieties a generation removed tend to fill with water, potentially sinking you like a brick.

Using a wader belt and having a waterproof jacket over your waders are also ideal to prevent you from becoming a water balloon.

Having good wading boots with felt, rubber or studded soles will help you keep your footing in the river, although felt is banned in some areas because it transfers invasive weeds and algae.

Using a pair of polarized sunglasses will not only help you see fish underwater, but also the obstacles that you'll be traversing while crossing the river.

Having a wading staff (or a big stick) will also help you gauge how deep the water is ahead of you and provide you with some additional stability.

As the video explains, crossing in the tail of a run will give you the least amount of resistance from the current. Starting at a higher point upstream and crossing the river at an angle will also allow for some compensation if the current pushes you downstream of the point where you're aiming to come out on the other side.

When crossing with a friend, the bigger of the two anglers can cross just a step upstream of the other as you walk side by side. This will break some of the current for the downstream angler, and in the case you lose your footing, you'll have someone to lean on.

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How to Make Safe and Efficient River Crossings