There are many who believe that metal studs on wading boots and metal wading staffs generate too much noise and make trout nervous, if not frightened away.
I have yet to become a believer. I have banged two hard rocks together underwater within 30 feet of trout and they have not moved.
Over on the MidCurrent site there is an interesting comparison video between a metal wading staff and a wooden staff with a rubber tip, and the sound generated by both. The video makes it pretty clear that the metal staff does make more noise as it hits boulders. But the wooden staff also generates a lot of noise as it moves rocks and boulders. It is that, that I think gets forgotten in the ‘no metal’ argument.
That majority of the noise generated by a wading angler is the displacement of rocks and boulders on the bottom, and this background noise reduces the impact of metal noise.
On rocky, boulder, river beds any time a wader moves across the bottom noise is generated. Best advice, metal studs, metal wading staff, or not, stay out of the water if at all possible.
But even if you have to wade, keeping as way away from the trout, or likely lie, is good advice – my experience is that trout most often only react to ‘clear and present danger’, in the water or above it. I am often amazed at how close you can get to a fish without spooking it if you wade carefully, despite the noise I make treading on boulders and rocks.