Gear Maintenance is Critical

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Hose it off. Hang it up. Gear maintenance.

Gear Maintenance

You’ve fished all day. No luck—been skunked by every trout from here to Kansas. And when you get home, it’s sometimes tempting to drop your equipment and forget about all the trickery those silly trout played on you. But responsible anglers know, with fishing comes the extreme importance of gear maintenance after emerging from the riverbed.

At Casting for Recovery, here’s how we care for our gear.

Boots and Waders

Inspect boots and waders, removing any debris using a soft brush and/or bucket of water. We find here at CfR that in most cases a thorough rinse with clean water most always does the trick. If soap is needed, we use a very small amount of Seventh Generation cleaning products. Refrain from bleach or bacterial killing disinfectant, which can compromise the quality of your gear.

Hang boots and waders outside and in a sunny place if possible to dry completely, this helps gear stay fresh and clean, and kills bacteria that could otherwise be transported to other streams. To store, keep these items in a well-ventilated, temperature controlled area (think no basements, attics or sheds).


Inspect rods after each use and gently wipe down with soft cloth returning them to their with “butt end” and “tip end” of rod facing upward and place in rod case. Strip line off from each reel into a bucket of soapy warm water—clean only the amount of line that was fished with. Use a small amount of non-toxic detergent that is free of dye and fragrance. After soaking line in soapy water for several minutes before rinsing it in clean water. Dry by pulling through a soft cloth as you are reeling back on the reel, guiding the line back on evenly as you go. Store rods and reels in a temperature controlled/ventilated area. Do NOT store in garages or outdoor buildings prone to temperature fluctuation.


Vests should be hung if possible or stored in a ventilated storage container. Check and empty all vest pockets after each use Wash as needed, cold gentle cycle, dry low heat few minutes and hang to air dry.

Learn more about invasive aquatic species and help keep our fisheries clean, take the Clean Angling Pledge.

What kinds of gear maintenance do you perform? Do tell!

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