What To Wear Fly Fishing

Fly fishing is certainly one of the most relaxing ways to fish, but that doesn’t mean you can slack off when selecting your clothes. Proper attire will help keep you comfortable and protect you from the elements. It will also help ensure the freedom of movement you need to cast and battle fish. Here’s a quick guide on what to wear fly fishing along with a few of the other things you may want to bring.

Basic Fly-Fishing Apparel

No matter where you’re fishing or what species you’re targeting, you’ll always want to start with a good pair of shorts or pants and a high-quality fishing shirt.

Shorts or Slacks?

If you are fishing in a cold climate, you’ll usually want to wear long pants while fly fishing. You’ll likely be wearing waders to keep your legs and feet dry, but unless they’re insulated, you’ll surely appreciate the additional warmth pants provide. An old pair of jeans or khakis are fine. Just be sure that they’re comfortable and allow you to move around easily.

On the other hand, you may prefer wearing shorts if you’re fly fishing for panfish or bass in a southern farm pond. Once again, just be sure that the shorts you choose provide plenty of freedom to move around.

No matter what type of bottoms you choose, just be sure to try them out with any waders you intend to wear. Waders can cause some pants to bind or pinch, and you’ll want to be sure your pants work well with your waders before you find yourself standing uncomfortably in the middle of a stream.

Find The Best Fly Fishing Shirts

You need to be able to move your arms and shoulders freely while fly fishing, so your shirt selection is very important.

Long Sleeve Shirts

Anglers fishing in cold climates will typically want a long-sleeved shirt. Just be sure that you select one that fits snuggly and is made from a comfortable material so it won’t impede your movement. Here are some great selections from Bone On Sportswear:

  Daybreak Long Sleeve 

UPF 50 & moisture wicking

 Recon Fishing Shirt 

Hood for additional sun pro

 Outfitter Long Sleeve  

Technical shirt for the avid angler


Short Sleeve Shirts

Short sleeve shirts are often preferable in warm weather. Just be sure that you keep sun-safety in mind (more on this in a moment). Here are some great short sleeve options from Bone On Sportswear:


Bone Dry Daybreak Fishing Shirt

Lightweight performance


Signature Fish Print Shirt

Fishing is about good times


Outfitter Short Sleeve Technical Shirt

When you mean business


But whether you prefer long or short sleeves, it’s crucial to select a durable shirt for your fly-fishing adventures. Between errant hooks and streamside vegetation, low-quality shirts just won’t hold up to the rigors of fly fishing. If you often fish in areas with particularly dense vegetation (or find yourself constantly snagging your shirt with hooks), you may want to give Bone On Outfitter Shirts a try. These shirts are remarkably durable, look great, and have plenty of other useful fishing features too.

Fly-Fishing Footwear

Your fly-fishing footwear decisions will usually depend on whether or not you intend to wear waders. Some waders are designed to be worn with shoes while others are intended for bare feet. You’ll have to wear whatever is appropriate for the waders you choose. But no matter whether you wear shoes or go barefoot, you should consider wearing a good pair of wool or synthetic socks to keep your feet warm. 

If you don’t intend to wear waders, you’ll want to wear shoes that protect your feet from underwater hazards and give you plenty of traction. Strap-on sandals are a good option, as long as they have sturdy soles that provide plenty of traction. You can also wear an old pair of sneakers or hiking boots if you like. Just note that these will become quite heavy as they get wet.

Protect Yourself from the Sun

It’s very important to think about sun safety when fly fishing. After all, the sun doesn’t just shine on anglers from above. UV rays bounce off the surface of the water too. With the right clothes and accessories, you can protect yourself from the sun:

  • Wear a good hat. A hat will protect your scalp from the sun’s rays. Plus, it’ll help shield your eyes from the sun, allowing you to better spot fish. This can help prevent the headaches that sometimes occur after squinting at the water all day long.


Pursuit Trucker Hat 

A classic style


Hunter Camo Hat 

Quarry over land & sea


American Flag Hat 

Celebrate U.S. fishing


  • Use sunscreen. Always wear a sunscreen that provides as much protection as your skin calls for. Generally speaking, those with fair skin want higher SPF ratings than those with darker skin. Sunburns are not only painful—they’re dangerous too.
  • Wear Sunglasses. Because the water will scatter UV rays in all directions, you’ll want to make sure your eyes are protected while spending hours on the water. Additionally, if you pick a pair of polarized glasses, you’ll be able to peer beneath the surface and see where the fish are hiding.  
  • Try UV-Resistant Shirts. If you’re fishing in exceptionally strong sunlight, you should probably consider wearing a UV-resistant shirt too. Bone On has an entire line of UV Protection Shirts designed to protect you from the sun.


BoneDry Crew Neck, Long Sleeve 

A classic style


Bone Dry Mens Daybreak, Long Sleeve 

Quarry over land & sea


Signature Fish Print, Short Sleeve 

Celebrate U.S. fishing


Final Thoughts

Clothing is just as important a consideration for fly fishers as the rest of your gear. We hope this guide on what to wear fly fishing has been helpful. Just remember to select clothing that keeps you comfortable in the current conditions, and don’t forget to protect yourself from the sun.

Bone On Sportswear is proud to offer a full line of performance fishing apparel to help you stay in the action longer and look great while you’re at it!