Warm-weather river essentials.
Bozeman Reel RS Series 527
The price is high, but this is one of the best, most durable reels on the market ($495). It was made specifically for trout fishing in western waters, with sealed bearings and a stainless-steel drag system that can slow down any runner.
Redington Vapen Red Five-Weight Rod
Some consider this fast-action stick ($350) gimmicky because of the synthetic handle, developed with golf brand Winn Grips. But get past the no-slip hold and you have a powerful rod with plenty of backbone for slinging flies in heavy wind.
Benchmade Small Summit Lake Knife
Occasionally, a fisherman cooks what he hooks. At three ounces, this stainless-steel and wood folding knife ($135) stashes easily in your pack and lends a bit of class to an otherwise routine chore.
Mountain Hardwear Trotting Stripe Shorts
Unless you’re on a sub-50-degree tailrace river, all you really need are some quick-drying shorts. This cotton-poly-spandex pair ($65) has plenty of pockets and a bit of stretch, so they work just as well on the trail.
Simms Vapor Boots
Most fishing boots are too clunky for wet wading, and sandals never provide enough support. This minimalist design (about 25 ounces) hits the sweet spot, with a rubber outsole that grips even the snottiest algae-covered rocks ($170).
Eddie Bauer Adventurer Lumbar Pack
The iconic gearmaker’s first foray into fly-fishing ($99) seems like just another pack with two main compartments and multiple inside pockets, albeit one with a handy removable fly patch. But there’s one notable advancement: magnetic closures, which eliminate clumsy, one-handed zipping on the water.
Farm to Feet Concord Socks
Made in North Carolina from American merino wool, these socks ($23) provide cushioning everywhere, not just at the heel and toe. That means comfortable hiking in ankle-high boots, even while wet wading.
ExOfficio Minimo Plaid Shirt
Two reasons we liked this moisture-wicking, ultralight nylon shirt ($95) in the hot sun: the handy tabs for rolled-up sleeves and the back vents, which keep you cooler than you might think.
Fishpond Nomad Hand Net
Since Nomad debuted in 2011 (the company was bought out last year by Fishpond), its carbon-fiber and fiberglass nets ($116) have been the envy of every serious fisherman. Why? They’re several ounces lighter than wood-frame nets, so they’re easier to carry, and they don’t break when you step on them.