The Best Wading Staff For Fly Fishing: Complete Reviews With Comparisons



  • Easily deployed with one hand
  • Total of 54 inch length when extended (15 inches when collapsed)
  • Airplane grade aluminum construction
  • Pointed aluminum tip
  • Great blend of quality and affordability

Fly Fishing has a tendency to take us to some wild, rugged yet extremely beautiful places. All in the pursuit of a rising trout, steelhead or many other species of fish. And after hiking into your favorite secluded stretch of river, you make your way into the water, foot against stone. You feel the slight pressure of the moving current against your legs. That’s when you reach to your trusty fly fishing wading staff that’s conveniently stored on your wading belt. You deploy the staff and continue to wade through the moving current with confidence and find your position. Now it’s just you and rising fish.

walking stick for fly fishing in rivers

When I was learning how to fly fish, I didn’t even know that wading rods existed. Do I wish I had one? You bet. I’ve slipped and fallen more times than I’d like to admit. And thankfully, nothing has ever been hurt other than my pride. But I know in almost all of those instances, I wouldn’t have entered the drink if I had been properly using a wading staff.

So that’s what this post is all about. I’m going to share with you the 3 best wading staffs that are perfect to take along with you the next time you go fly fishing.

Wading Staff For Fly Fishing Reviews

The Kingfisher Wading Staff is an all aluminum pole made by the folks over at Kingfisher. This river walking staff is made out of lightweight yet durable airplane grade aluminum construction giving you the confidence needed when traversing swift water and slippery rocks.

You’ll easily and quickly be able to extend the Kingfisher with a single hand when you need it, eliminating the need to put down your fly rod or other gear you might be carrying with you other hand. The fast and easy opening is a result of the heavy duty double bungee cord that's in the center of the wading staff.

The bottom of the aluminum pole is designed with a solid aluminum pointed tip. While other staffs feature a rubber tip, the Kingfisher wading staffs pointed tip will easily find its way through slick rocks and not stop until it finds the sturdiest ground to nestle into.

With the large ergonomic foam handle and wrist lanyard, you can navigate the river with confidence, knowing that the staff will not be lost if ever dropped. However, this fly fishing wading staff does not float and will sink if dropped. So be sure to always use the wrist lanyard when using the staff in the water.

When you’ve crossed the stream, or are no longer in need of the wading staff, with one hand you can easily collapse it back into it’s 15 inch long storage length. Once collapsed, the staff can be stored in it’s durable and well built neoprene storage case, which can also be attached to your belt.

Pros:

  • Easily deployed with one hand
  • Affordable compared to many other wading staffs

Cons:

  • The pointed metal tip can be loud when clanging against rocks making stealth an issue.
  • There is a small degree of flex in the staff when heavy weight is applied.

The Maxcatch Folding Wading Staff is an easy to operate fly fishing staff. The pole itself is made out of durable aluminum keeping the staff lightweight for those long excursions in the river.

The Maxcatch staff is easily deployed with the use of both hands. Simply remove the fishing staff from the neoprene storage sheath and hold it up allowing all the sections to fall into place. Then simply push the sections together until you hear the familiar click sound, which tells you all is secure and ready to go. 

The handle on this wading staff is made out of plastic material and covered with no-slip rubber, making it next to impossible to fall out of your hands while in use. And when the accidental drop does occur, you still won’t have to worry, as the integrated wrist lanyard will prevent it from being lost.

The Maxcatch wading staff also includes two different kinds of tips; a rubber end cap and the rock/snow claw, resulting in a versatile fly fishing wading staff.

When not in use, the staff is easily pulled apart, folds into four sections and can be stored in the included neoprene storage case. The storage case has a belt loop and is designed to be carried on your wading belt or backpack.

Pros:

  • Includes two different style of tips

Cons:

  • Requires two hands to assemble

The FishPond Lost Trail Wading Staff is the highest priced wading staff on this list, but when it comes to quality and durability, you won’t be disappointed. The staff is extremely stable, easy to deploy and lightweight. This is just about everything you want in a fly fishing wading staff and is the the perfect solution for general wading and hiking support.

This staff is made out of lightweight aluminum tubing. It easily extends into multiple adjustable positions via its integrated locking mechanism.  Where a lot of the other wading staffs are one single length, this staff is the most versatile due to its multiple height adjustability. The staff can adjust from 42” up to 49” and is only 16” when folded.

A locking button secures the folding sections when fully deployed. All you have to do is pull tight on the sections and they will lock into place.

The handle is made out of both lightweight cork material and foam. Attached to the handle is an adjustable lanyard style loop which is lined with neoprene padding for extra comfort.

The tip of the staff features a rubber end, which is also removable.

Where most other staffs incorporate an internal bungee style cord, the FishPond Lost Trail staff features a stranded metal cable that’s encased in plastic. This type of cord will last significantly longer than the bungee style cords which have a tendency to fray with age.

When done using the staff, it easily folds into three sections and can be stored in the included carrying pouch. The carrying pouch, which is made from thermoformed foam and ballistic nylon fits perfectly on your wading belt or backpack via the integrated belt loop.

Pros:


  • Excellent blend of quality and affordability
  • Adjustable height
  • Perfect for wading and hiking situations

Cons:

  • Maximum length is only 49”

Final Thoughts

You’ll find that all three of these wading rods will work for what you need them to do. I like the adjustable length of the FishPond staff, but I’m a pretty tall guy, and 49” just isn’t long enough for me. I also like the Maxcatch staff and believe you would too. However, the fact that it requires two hands to deploy prevented it from being my top pick.  Ultimately, my top pick as the best wading rod for fly fishing is the Kingfisher 54" Wading Staff. It’s not the most expensive staff available, but the fact that you can deploy it with one hand and has an aluminum pointed tip combined with the price point makes it the best choice in my opinion. 

wading staff walking stick

About the Author

When I'm not bass fishing or looking for steelhead in my home state of Oregon I can be found working on house projects dreaming of my next fishing adventure. I started this website to share just some of the things I've learned along my fishing journey, and the many things I'm still learning. Enjoy!