I use an old cross country ski pole made out of cane (not metal). I cut it down so that I grip the handle waist high... I have used taller and shorter ones and feel that waist high is the way to go. If the staff is to tall then I don't feel safe enough in tough water (like the St. Lawrence River). If it's shorter I tend to lean too much on it.
The plastic grip has an old leather strap on it where I attach a short bungy cord. The other end of the bungy attaches to my wading belt, so that I'm always connected. If it really starts getting in the way I can then tuck it inside my (stretchy)wading belt behind my back. I find that I prefer to have the full length staff available if I'm in rough water, so many times I just let it dangle and grab it when I want to move, even if it's for a few steps.
I have added a rubber plug to it, to make it quieter while wading.