Fishing in the elements can be extremely rewarding. However, it's important to select the proper gear to keep you warm and dry when spending a day on the water during the winter.
One of the keys to a comfortable day on the water during bitter cold conditions is proper layering. There are multiple layers needed for winter fishing, including a base layer, mid layer and outer shell. Equally important to your cold weather fishing clothing system are a good pair of fishing gloves, headwear for freezing temperatures, cold weather footwear and a good set of cold weather rain gear in case of wet cold conditions.
Proper planning for a day of cold weather fishing can make all the difference in your level of comfort, as well as your ability to concentrate and perform to the best of your abilities. Let's take a look at the type of gear you need to tackle a day of winter fishing.
Winter Weather Layering
Layering is dressing based on the weather and activity level that you will experience during your day on the water. There are numerous options to choose from when layering for winter fishing, all offering different benefits.
1. Base Layer
Your base layer is the first line of defense against cold conditions and serves dual purposes. Insulating your body's natural heat and preventing it from escaping, as well wicking moisture away from your skin to the outside of your garment to evaporate, are essential elements that a quality base layer offer. A prime example of a base layer is AFTCO's ICAST award winning Hexatron performance fishing fleece.
Our Hexatron performance fleece crew and Hexatron performance fleece sweatpants are ideal base layer options, offering ample warmth and performance properties that will wick moisture away keeping you dry.
2. Mid Layers
A good mid layer is designed to preserve the natural warmth of your body, holding it in while keeping the brick cold out. A mid layer can take on various forms during a winter time fishing trip. One great option is a hooded technical fleece like the Reaper tech sweatshirt.
The Reaper tech sweatshirt is designed with a toasty microfleece fabric and an integrated face mask making it ideal for those chilly mornings on the water. This crucial layering piece will quickly become your go-to when warmth is paramount.
3. Waterproof Rain Gear
Choosing your outer layer is a crucial element of creating your outer line of defense against cold weather. Protecting the underneath layers from precipitation and wind is essential in keeping you warm, dry and comfortable during a day of winter fishing. The Hydronaut waterproof system was designed specifically to tackle cold conditions and keep you on the water no matter what card you're dealt by mother nature.
Unlike many other waterproof fishing bibs that cause shoulder and neck fatigue based on their design, the Hydronaut bibs are designed with an adjustable shoulder strap to help reduce dig while eliminating uncomfortable buckles.
4. Winter Weather Fishing Gloves
All fishing gloves are not created equal. Finding the best cold weather fishing gloves can be challenging, but are a must to keep your extremities from getting cold. Utilizing a two pronged approach to protect your hands during cold weather fishing is something we highly recommend.
As a base layer for hand protection, the Thermaflex windproof gloves offer a 4-way stretch outer shell with microfleece insulation and reinforced silicone textured palm.
Combine Thermaflex with waterproof fishing gloves and you have a functional cold weather glove system that will keep your hands warm even on the coldest winter days.
The Hydronaut gloves are constructed with a 220D 4-way stretch shell and feature 3M™ Thinuslate™ insulation, water-resistant DWR, adjustable Velcro wrist straps, touchscreen compatible index fingers with integrated screen wipes and reflective accents for low light conditions.
Anglers can easily lose a large amount of heat through their feet, so choosing the proper boot for winter fishing is crucial. The XTRATUF 12 in Rubber Deck Boot features a slip-resistant outsole and the extra height provides just the right amount of coverage to protect you against the elements. This functional all weather boot is the perfect choice for a day of ice fishing or a cold weather fishing trip. Pairing a good set of boots with a quality sock like the Smartwool Men's PhD can make all the difference between leaving you with cold feet or keeping your extremities nice and toasty.
6. Winter Fishing Headwear
Keeping your head and neck area warm and protected from the cold weather is a must during a winter fishing trip. While there are numerous styles of cold weather hats available, something that covers your ears along with your head like the Half Dome beanie is ideal.
7. Hand & Feet Warmers
Another helpful item that anglers should carry with them on a cold weather fishing trip are hand warmers. It's always a good idea to grab some disposal HotHands® to provide extra warmth in key areas. For a longer lasting and more sustainable option, ThermaCELL offers rechargeable options.
8. Other Cold Weather Gear Tips
Don't forget to cover your face during a day of winter fishing. A quality balaclava not only will protect your skin from the bitter cold, but can also serve as a layer of protection against harmful UV rays that are present even during the coldest of winter days.
Dressing properly for a day of cold weather fishing without sacrificing comfort and mobility will lead to an enjoyable day on the water. Staying warm is essential to maintaining your level of concentration when fishing on a cold winter day. With the advancements in cold weather gear that are available in today's marketplace there is no reason to spend your time shivering rather than fishing the next time you hit the water.