For those of us who stay on the water year round, fighting the cold is a never ending battle. Just the thought of standing in 33 degree water in the middle of February is enough to make most normal people shiver. Here is a short and sweet list of the top five things I do to keep the cold at bay for as long as possible.
- Chemical Hand warmers. These things are worth their weight in gold. I keep a couple in my hand pockets of the waders, and a big body warmer size one somewhere near my core. If you can keep your core warm, the blood circulating your extremities will stay warmer. Lastly, I use the full size foot warmers that stick on to the bottom of your socks. They seem to stay in place much better than the smaller toe warmer size which always slips off when I slide my foot into my waders.
- I always try to keep a towel or handkerchief in an easily accessible pocket. This way when my hands inevitably get wet, I can dry them off before they get super cold. Simple, but makes a difference.
- Wear a buff or something else around your neck/head. Humans loose a ton of body heat through their heads. A thick winter hat is key. Also, the exposed artery on the sides of your neck will chill your blood down considerably, spreading cold all throughout your body.
- Spare gloves. I am one of those people whose hands get cold extremely fast. I hate fishing in gloves, I have tried nearly all styles and brands available. Lately I have been a fan of the neoprene gloves Simms makes. I still have enough dexterity to fish and tie with large tippet. Fingerless wool gloves are probably the most versatile style out there. Wool still holds heat when damp. Having spare dry gloves are nice just in case.
- Finally, there is no better midday rejuvenating pick up other than a hot meal or drink. Getting hot food into your body will spread warmth down to your fingers and toes. Also, the digestion process gives off a lot of heat, which will get trapped under your clothes. Plan on coming back to the truck for a hot drink out of a thermos or better yet, build a fire or bring a small grill and cook up some brats or venison burgers!
Winter fishing is not for everyone. But using these tips will help you stay motivated and warm while you hook fish after fish when most people don’t even realize that you can fly fish in the winter… As always, give us a call if you’re thinking about heading out and we can point you in the right direction.