Head Above Water

fly fishing yellowstone

Preventing fishing injuries.

As the summer sun beats down, the bugs are popping, and you hit the water in earnest, injuries are likely not on your radar. But fly casting, walking in a river, and rowing puts stress and strain on your joints and muscles, so it’s important to have the strength and stability to help mitigate injuries. Here are a few considerations for the summer fishing season.

Prevent Overuse Injuries
Due to the repetitive nature of casting in an overhead position, overuse injuries of the shoulder can result from a season spent double-hauling streamers. Mixing some banded rotator cuff exercises into your strength routine can aid in your shoulder’s capacity to handle the stressors of repeated casting. Specifically, resistance-band pull-apart and external rotation exercises that isolate the mid-back and rotator cuff allow for more stability and endurance while in a casting position.

Increase Rowing Strength
Ensure that you can effectively direct your fishing buddy to the best part of the river by consistently performing rowing exercises focused on upper and mid-back mobility and strength. Kneeling thoracic rotations can assist in your ability to look up and down the river, and can provide mobility for the strong rows needed to turn your boat. Whether utilizing a band or rowing machine, perform seated rows with high repetitions to simulate a long day on the water.

Train for Balance
Slippery rocks combined with strong-willed trout and high flows can cause an unfortunate misstep, creating repercussions on the rest of your day or season. Using a wading staff and practicing balance exercises can prevent falls in the river that may lead to various injuries (or worse, a broken rod). No one likes to end the day due to a bruised hip. Perform walking balance exercises on variable surfaces to practice stability, protective stepping, and fall prevention.

Fishing injury exercise

Walking balance exercise

With a little in-season preventative maintenance and some strengthening exercises, it’s easy to reduce the risk of injury or overuse strains while fishing this summer. For individual assessments and exercise programs, visit us at Excel PT. Otherwise, we’ll catch you on the water.

Kylie Metzger is a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) at Excel Physical Therapy in Bozeman. She specializes in orthopedics and enjoys treating any injury involving the extremities and spine. When not in the clinic, she enjoys fly fishing, mountain biking, skiing, and hiking with her golden pup, Olive.