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Bought a new pair of wading boots this week (first time in a VERY long time - like 20 years). The description said felt soles but when I got them, they came with felt soles and cleats (basically machine screws) to screw into pre-drilled holes.

I've always had straight felt and replaced it when it got worn. Since these came with cleats, I'm wondering what thoughts are on them? I was raised being told not to use ski poles as wading staffs because the metal hitting the rocks scares the fish - I'd imagine metal cleats would do the same.

Any thoughts?
 

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I think it depends on where you fish - I couldn't get around in rivers like the San Juan without cleats, but if you are on some little backcountry creek where the fish are spooky, it could make a difference. If you do put in the cleats, don't use all that are supplied, it works better if you just use 3 or 4 across the front part and another 2 or 3 on the heel.
 

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Nothing sticks better all around in the water, IMO. I have some old Simms and they are awesome. I also have some new stream tread Simms and they are slippery, I am going to put just a couple of studs in them also. I fish the ark around Salida allot and wade in some pretty heavy current at times.

Draw backs are they poke holes in rafts, are not fun for long hikes, pack full of snow, and are sketchy on rocks on dry land.
 

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If you fish in the winter they are a big help. I bit the dust a couple times on the ice banks with the felt soles and no studs. Got some studs and no problems. However, when I fish the Blue or freestone type of rivers, they can get pretty slick with the studs. Do like the others say and just put in a few of the studs. Not all.
 

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I wore cleats once. Horrible.

I much prefer boots with no cleats, rubber or felt.

But here we are speaking of Preference. I am comfortable wading the rivers and seem to get to where most waders cant...

Not because of my boots but because of very good wading knowledge and experience.

Do not let cleats give you a false sense of security. Honestly my best tool for wading is the concentration on my Key!
 

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All depends on what rivers you fish. IMO here in Colorado, you really don't need cleats. I've actually had cleats make things worse, way worse. Now when lived back east I used to fish the Salmon River in New York a lot and if you didn't have cleats there you'd be hose. All the wading skills in the world won't help you when you're crossing flat slimy rocks.
 

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fly_guy said:
All the wading skills in the world won't help you when you're crossing flat slimy rocks.
The Ark just below Leadville fits that description. It's the most slippery river bottom I've ever set foot on.
 

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Rubber or felt without cleats are Horrible. If I am not in a drift boat or inflatable (Watermaster) I always use cleats.
The greased bowling ball like boulders below Glenwood are almost impossible wityhout cleats.
 

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I've fallen 4 times on banks. All 4 were with felt with no studs.

I use rubber now and no studs. It seems like the best compromise for me.
 

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Love my Patagonia boots with cleats. The Roaring Fork has slime covered rocks that will put you down fast but my cleats always hold.
 
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