Fishing in cold weather can be quite rewarding. After all, you’ll likely be the only one on the water. When I was younger, I really enjoyed spending the day on the water in crappy conditions. I’m not sure if I’m wiser now or just don’t enjoy the cold as much as I used to but without employing these ideas I’m afraid I would be down right miserable. Use these 5 helpful tips to help you make it through a cold, blustery day on the water.
#1. Layer Up
More important than anything else; you must layer your clothing. Start with a good base layer, add a mid layer, insulation layer and a weather proof layer to keep the elements at bay. Wool or micro fleece work great for insulation as they will be effective even if they get wet. Make sure your final layer is a good quality weather resistant garment. Gore-Tex seems to be the most popular but other quality materials work well also. Keeping warm and dry could be the difference between 30 minutes of misery and 6 hours of warm dry heaven. Control your temperature by adding or removing layers as needed.
#2. Dry Gloves
We’ve all been there; trying to tie a fly on or add a piece of tippett with frozen fingers. The best thing to do here is invest in a good pair of cold weather fishing gloves. Something that is waterproof and breathable should do the trick. I always carry MULTIPLE pairs of gloves with me. If one pair gets wet, I quickly switch. Dry usually equals warmth. It’s never a bad idea to have a few disposable hand warmers as well.
#3. Be Prepared for Anything
This one could truly be a life saver. Extra clothing, first aid kit and firestarter should be the minimum items you carry. In case the worst happens, be prepared. Get warm and dry as quickly as possible.
#4. Use A De-Icer
There are several items you can use to help prevent the build up of ice on your guides and tip top. We like to use a product from Loon called Stanley’s Ice Off. This will take some of the frustration out of ice building up in your guides. If you decide to use a different method be sure it is fly line friendly as some products will have adverse affects on your equipment.
#5. Keep the Top Covered
A warm hat or beanie will help keep the heat in. I like using something with ear flaps that I can fold up if I get warm and is waterproof to keep my noggin dry. A beanie will work in similar fashion especially if used over a brimmed hat. Either way use something to keep the heat in and stay dry.
Using these 5 tips will help you enjoy a successful river trip in less than ideal conditions. Remember that fishing in extreme conditions can be both rewarding and dangerous. Make smart decisions and be safe on the water.