fly fishing attire

The Best Fly Fishing Attire for Comfort and Flexibility

I’ve always said being comfortable will help you catch more fish.  Being warm wading or protected from the sun gives you a chance to relax.  Being relaxed lets you get into the right mindset, soaking in the surroundings and reacting to subtle strikes.

If you’ve made the decision to become serious about tossing flies, you’ll be spending a considerable time on the water.  Clothing is key to your comfort and mental well-being.  It’s impossible concentrate on a fish rising when your fingers are so cold, they hurt.  🐟

When the weather condition change fishing can turn on like a switch.  Your clothing system needs to be flexible. Selecting the correct outer, mid and base layers is essential when building your fly fishing attire. A clothing system will insure comfort in cold, rainy conditions and wick moisture away in the heat.

Because you’ll be out on the water the entire day, you must dress for the ever-changing weather. This article will detail how you how to layer your outfits and which clothes are ideal for fishing, whether cold, hot, or rainy.

The Best Fly Fishing Attire for Comfort

It’s incredible how folks are ready to dress most of the time comfortably, but not when going fishing, which is a wrong decision. After all, aren’t you supposed to be having fun while fishing? And underdressing or overdressing can be pretty uncomfortable. But most importantly, make sure your fly fishing attire makes it easier for you to fish.

Remember, the types of clothing for warm and cold weather fishing are quite different.

Guide Tip: Is fly fishing any good in the rain?  Oh-Yes!  Some of my best days fly fishing have been in the rain.  Read more in this article How to Catch more Fly Fishing in the Rain

The Best Fly Fishing Attire for Cold Weather

Folks living in cold regions know the importance of dressing in layers, especially when fishing. And while this saying may be old, it is very effective; with the proper layers of clothes, you can remain warm in any weather condition, be it snowing or raining. After all, several layers of the right outfit are better than many layers of the wrong attire. (1)

Fly Fishing in the Winter
Fly Fishing in the Winter

First Layer of Cloths

Remember, too many layers of clothing can impede your freedom of movement. So, during the cold weather, you should start with high-quality long underwear, like the ones made by Patagonia or Simms. Avoid wearing cotton T-shirts or long underwear if you want to be warm; after all, cotton attire retains moisture resulting in chills. Compared to synthetic materials like Capilene or polyester, cotton is a poor insulator. (1)

Remember, when hiking to your favorite fishing spot, you will sweat a little bit even when it’s cold. And if you’re wearing cotton underwear, it will hold the sweat against your body, resulting in you feeling cold. Wearing long underwear made from a suitable material that can wick the moisture away from your body can come in handy. (1)

Second Layer

Your second layer should include a fleece jacket or woolen sweater and a pair of fleece pants. Wool is also the right option for socks as it can keep your legs warm even when wet. After wearing your wader, you can add a breathable wading jacket to help break the wind. A fold-over, fingerless pair of gloves is ideal for fishing during the cold months. (2)

Some of the best fly fishing attire for winter includes

Drasry Neoprene Fishing Gloves

Drasy Neoprene gloves are cold weather ice fishing attire made of soft neoprene design and waterproof fleece lining that will keep you warm while fishing. (3) The Functional 3-cutting fingers allow you to easily operate the cameras, phones, baits, and fishing rods without exposing your entire hand to the cold weather. Plus, its touchscreen-friendly fingertips make it easy for you to operate your phone.

Another cold-weather glove is the Kastking PolarBlast gloves. Kastking polar blast gloves are one of the best leather ice fishing gloves that will keep you warm all winter long. (4)

Redington I/O Fleece Pants

I love my Redington I/O fleece pants.  The fleece is a denser than standard and the simple draw string at the waist reduces bulk.  That thickness provides insulation from the waders and allows your waders to “breathe” as designed.

Highly recommended, I wear my Redington I/O Fleece (link to Amazon) when ever the water temperature drops below 50 degrees F.

For added comfort, this fleece pants’ Lycra stirrups can help keep it down the wader; plus, it’s fully elastic. (5)

Trout Fishing Fleece Jacket

This trout fishing jacket is made from a 100% polyester 300gsm micro-fleece jacket that can keep you warm while fishing. It is the best compromise for fly fishing during cold months; plus, it’s available in a wide range of colors. (6)

This jacket is a steal on Amazon.  Read the reviews and check the prices with this link.  Trout Fishing Fleece Jacket

The Best Fly Fishing Attire for Warm Weather

During the warm months, the water may be cooler than the surrounding air; therefore, it’s always a good idea to wear some fleece pants under the wader if you plan on wading. If you believe that the water will be warm, you should go for a pair of light pants or shorts. For a shirt, any option can do; in fact, you can even try a t-shirt. (1)

The best top for warm weather is a lighter fishing long-sleeved shirt. You can leave the sleeves down when it gets cold and roll the sleeves on hot days. The best fabric for warm weather is either nylon, cotton, or a blend of these two fabrics.

Fly fishing for brook trout in summer
Fly fishing for brook trout in summer

Cotton may be the ideal option for hot days, but the nylon fishing shirts come with UV blockers; so, if your skin burns easily, then you should look for a nylon fishing shirt. (1)

Nylon shirts are also ideal for fishing because they are wrinkle-free. And make sure you wear a baseball cap where it’s hot or cold. The underside of the baseball cap for fishing should be black to help absorb the light being reflected from the water surface. Avoid wearing the baseball cap backward as it won’t protect your face from the reflected light. (1)

People with sensitive skins should go for flat-style hats with huge flaps around the wearer’s neck. These caps protect your neck and ears from direct sunlight. The best gloves for sensitive skin are sun blocker gloves, and make sure you apply reliable sunscreen. (1)

Polarized Sunglasses

Wearing polarized sunglasses is mandatory for all fishers, they protect you from the hooks and reduce the glare from the water surface. But when purchasing polarized sunglasses, you get what you pay for.  Look for proven brands like Smith, Oakley and Maui Jim.

Guide Tip: I’ve written about what I think are the best.  Smith Optics, but you can read more with this article. – 4 Best Fly Fishing Sunglasses

The glasses of polarized sunglasses are made from lots of materials, and this includes:

  • Polycarbonate lenses are quite popular among mid-priced sunglasses. They are scratch-resistant and better than the plastic ones.
  • Plastic lenses are used to produce low-end sunglasses. They can be easily scratched, but they are better than wearing no sunglasses.
  • Glasses lenses offer the best optical quality than the other options. Glass lenses make things look more transparent and sharper. They are scratch-resistant and can serve you for years. (1)

Big and Tall Nylon Fishing Shirts

These fishing shirts are 100% nylon with UPF 30 sun protection. They have a ventilated polyester mesh under the yoke that helps with ventilation. This short-sleeved shirt comes with a utility loop, tool holder, and fishing rod holder, making it the best option for flay fishing when the weather’s warm. Fortunately, it is available in a wide range of colors, so you can get a shirt that matches your fly fishing attire. (7)

Guide Tip: Clothes are nearly as important as flies. I often wondered if the color of a shirt makes a difference so I wrote – Finding the best shirt for fly fishing It details why I didn’t catch fish – with a red shirt.


What Can I Wear Under My Fly Fishing Wader?

When fly fishing, it’s always a good idea to wear base and mid-layers of clothing under your wader. You can wear long underwear to help with wicking the sweat and fleece pants and a jacket to protect you against cold.

What Shoes Can I Wear When Fly Fishing?

The best wading shoes must have interchangeable soles that can easily match your shoes with the terrain. For hiking to alpine lakes, you need rubber soles and felt soles for fishing on the riverbeds.

Why Are Felt Soles Banned In Some States?

Numerous studies have confirmed that felt soles can harbor lots of invasive species for a very long time. And this can result in the introduction of new species into a lake that can damage the ecosystem. I’ve written even more in the article – Where are Felt Wading Boots Banned

Last Cast

Other than your fishing gear, another factor that can affect the success of your fishing trip is your fly fishing attire. Therefore, before leaving the house, you should find out the weather condition of your fishing spot and dress for the weather. Dress warmly during the cold and rainy seasons and lightly during the hot months.

Hi David Humphries Owner of Guide Recommended. I love everything to do with fly fishing. Casting, Tying, YouTube, writing about it and even teaching. I’ve got a FREE video workshop teaching how to dry fly fish at this link How to Fly Fish


  1. Chris Hansen, Fy fishing for beginners, Accessed September 5, 2021
  2. Jay Zimmerman, Top ten guide to fly fishing, Accessed September 5, 2021
  3. Amazon contributors, Drasy Neoprene Fishing Gloves, Accessed September 5, 2021
  4. Amazon contributors, KastKing PolarBlast Ice fishing Gloves convertible mitters, Accessed September 5, 2021
  5. Amazon contributors, Redington I/O fleece pants, Accessed September 5, 2021
  6. Amazon contributors, Trout fishing fleece jacket with embroidered fish fisherman clothing gift ideas, Accessed September 5, 2021
  7. Amazon contributors, Big and Tall nylon fishing shirts fuller cut with longer shirt tails, Accessed September 5, 2021
  8. Creative Publishing Editors, Fly fishing for trout in streams: a how to guide, Accessed September 5, 2021
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