BOISE -- After a 32-year-old angler diedin the Boise River this weekend, fly fishing professionals are bringing awareness about the use of water waders.
The Ada County coroner said Jeffrey Summerlin, of Garden City, drowned Saturday. He had been fishing near the Parkcenter Bridge when he was swept under the water.
Boise Fire Department's Dive Rescue Team, with help from Boise Police, were able to pull Summerlin out of the water at Ann Morrison Park, but he was unresponsive. He was pronounced dead a short time later at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center.
His drowning was ruled an accident.
The coroner says Summerlin was wearing fishing waders that appear to have filled with water, making it impossible for the man to stay afloat.
On the banks of the Boise River Tuesday, Erik Moncada from Anglers, a fly fishing shop in Boise, suited up to show us a few things about fly fishing apparel.
Waders are simply meant to keep you dry, but if not worn properly they can actually put you into a lot of danger, he said.
Moncada is an avid fly fisherman.
That is the reason why we wear a belt, he said. The belt itself will actually keep water from filling up the waders if you do happen to fall in.
Moncada said the belt should fit snugly. If the belt is too loose or not comfortable, water can find its way into the waders, filling them up. That can add a lot of weight.
I don t know if you have kids or anything, but think of having two or three on each leg and flowing water and try to walk, he said. It s tough to do it on land, but when you have water involved it makes it a whole lot more difficult, he said.
Aside from waders, Moncada said boots are the most important piece of apparel an angler can have. He said there are many different kinds, some with felt on the bottom to help with walking on slippery rocks, and even rubber-bottom boots designed with aluminum studs.
Rubber-bottom boots are the kind Moncada uses.
They are tough, he said. If I went and kicked the concrete with these the concrete would lose.
Before Moncada waded into the Boise River, he talked about the speed of the water.
You see how slow the water looks? he asked. As soon as I get out there maybe 20 to 30 yards, I mean it s already too dangerous to wade.
Moncada slowly waded out, and said it s important to keep your boots pointed upstream as you take one slow step at a time farther out to middle of the river.
This is probably as far as I would go by myself but since you are here I will go a little further, smiled Moncada. But all it would take is one wrong step on a slick rock to get me off guard and take me down, and it happens so fast that I don t even want to show you how it s done.
He said having the right gear, knowing the speed of the water and having along a friend are the best ways to stay safe in the water.
You can check the Boise River's water flow speeds at the Idaho Department of Water Resource's River Flow for Recreationists page.