As of 2012, Alaska has followed several other western states in forbidding felt bottom waders and most fishing supply companies are following suit by no longer offering this newly contraband item.
Over the last few years, we’ve learned that felt waders can carry evasive creatures from stream to stream and these creatures can affect the fish population. So I guess outlawing felt waders is a good thing, before Alaska learns the hard way, much like New Zealand or Montana. However, falling is also not a good thing, which is why I’m addressing this new dilemma.
I honestly don’t know what the best bottom is going to be. In the past I’ve stressed ‘no cleats’ as they tend to tear up the wood floor, the boats and raft, not to mention the half a million dollar helicopters! I mean, would you jump into your BMW with cleats? Hell no.
But, I guess cleats are much better than bruised knees and guests bobbing down the river. So, this year at Talaheim, we will be supplying sandals that cover up your cleats. You’ll slip these fine sandals on before entering the aircraft and simply slip them off when you exit.
As for the waders themselves, I’ve always preferred lightweight Gortex waders with separate wading shoes. They’re much easier to pack; plus if it’s cool or warm, these waders allow you to dress accordingly. We normally don’t spend a lot of time in waist deep waters, but use our waders to cross the rivers instead, fishing the shallows to deeper runs. In July and early August we can experience very warm weather, so a pair of shorts under your waders might be all you need. Or perhaps just your shorts and wading boots. However, Alaska seems to be experiencing Global Cooling this year, so one never knows! Pack different options just to be safe.
~ Mark Miller, Alaska Fishing Lodge Owner for over 30 years