When many anglers hang up their waders and pull out the fly tying gear, others are just getting started. Winter can be one of the best seasons to get on the water. The crowds dissipate, the scenery changes, and the fish keep feeding. This post is meant to help those bold enough to keep fishing in the winter stay warm, and hopefully land more fish in the winter months.
Layer Properly There are waders made to handle cold water, but you should still have the proper layers regardless of the waders you are rocking. Even breathable thin layers can be made warm enough with the right system. Utilize a base layer of a wicking material. This can be wool, or a wool and synthetic blend. Avoid using cotton. On top of the base layer, utilize a warm layer to trap heat for both your legs and core. Fleece is a great option to retain heat. Puffy down jackets also work well. Fleece lined pants can help you stay warm in even the coldest waters.
Foot and Hand Warmers They are cheap, and very effective. Bringing a few hand warmers to tuck wherever you need them. Some anglers hate wearing gloves, and the hand warmers can make that possible in much colder temperatures. Some anglers will even tape a hand warmer onto their rod handle.
Bring a Hand Towel When handling fish, changing flies, or doing anything that can get your hands wet, you may find yourself wishing you had a better way to dry off your hands. The evaporation of water off your hands will get them cold, and render them nearly useless until you warm them back up.
Bring a Thermal Mug Keeping a warm beverage handy can help warm up your body very fast with just a few sips. Tea, coffee, soup or some hot chocolate are all great options for being on the water.
Mind The Gap No matter what waders you are wearing, try to keep your skin away from the waders. In cold weather, bundling up certainly helps, but if those layers get compressed by tight waders, or by the water pressing down, the effectiveness of those layers will be hindered. This is especially important if the angler is wearing thin breathable waders. Having a fleece layer between your skin and the waders will make it possible to stay in the water far longer.
Learn to Fish With Gloves When it is really cold, anglers have little choice but to utilize gloves. It can be difficult to change flies or adjust your rig in any way with gloves, making it very helpful to have a thin pair of water proof and wind resistant gloves. Fingerless gloves can be great for more mild temperatures, allowing anglers to better handle flies and rig changes. You can read more from Maxwell DesMarais on his blog at: https://hikingandfishing.com/