On the Water

Mid-spring fly-fishing gear.

By now, we've spent a few more days on the water than we should have, considering how heavy our spring workload is. But we all live here for a reason, and for some of us, that reason is fish. And with fish comes fishing, and fishing gear. Here's a rundown of some new items to check out. 

Rio Powerflex Plus TippetRIO Powerflex Leader & Tippet
If you spend enough time fishing, this has probably happened to you: a fat pig of a trout takes your fly, and as you set the hook, your tippet breaks.  It’s not a break-off due to a knot or a ding, either; the monster is gone because the fish exceeds the strength of the tippet. Powerflex Plus, a new line of leaders and tippet from RIO, just might be the answer. Powerflex Plus has an increased tensile strength of 20%, so your 5x leader or tippet is rated for up to six pounds, without sacrificing flexibility, stretch, or knot strength. RIO didn’t increase the diameter—it’s a new nylon formulation. There’s no guarantee that you’ll catch fish that are 20% bigger, but with RIO Powerflex Plus, you’ll have the tools to land one if it hits your fly. $10; rioproducts.com. —Chris McCarthy

Korkers Whitehorse Wading BootKorkers Whitehorse Wading Boot
I’ve had a couple different pairs of Korkers, each one exceeding the previous version, and the new Whitehorse is no exception. It's a great combination of comfort and ease of use. The high-ankle support cinches up tightly with the boa lacing system; this system also helps alleviate any sloppiness in the foot box. The soles swap out quickly, adapting the boot to changing river conditions. They also have a drain system, so you’re not packing half the river with each step. One small complaint is the removal of the D-ring that you clip the front of your rock-guards to—a minor detail on previous models, but a very helpful one in keeping the guard down on the boot and the rocks out. $180; korkers.com. Also available at local fly shops. —Chris McCarthy


StreamTrekkers Traction Harness
Don't feel like dropping a bunch of dough on new boots? Want the flexibility to wet-wade in an old pair of tennies without taking an unplanned plunge? StreamTrekkers are diamond-beaded foot harnesses that wrap around your worn-out wading boots or shoes, providing crampon-like traction on wet rock, moss, and river slime, keeping you upright and confident on slick surfaces and in fast moving water. The best part? You can use 'em for hiking ice-covered trails in the off-season, too. $45; icetrekkers.com. —Mike England

Avex 3SixAvex 3Sixty Pour Thermosty Pour Thermos
Nothing beats hot coffee on the river, especially on a crisp mountain morning. But all too often, after an hour's worth of striking out, I go to drown my sorrows in a hot cup o' joe and it's stone cold. Not anymore, as the 3Sixty Pour Thermos from Avex has changed all that. Unlike most thermoses, the 3Sixty actually keeps the coffee—or tea, soup, or chili—hot. And I'm not talking room temperature, it'll do because I'm desperate. I'm talking fresh-from-the-pot hot. The thermos's insulated lid also doubles as a cup and is the perfect serving size. The 3Sixty is a little heavy, so it's not great for longer hikes or backpacking, but for mornings on the river, it's perfect. $30; avexoutdoor.com. —David Tucker