Scouting the riveody if you’re not prepared, which is why making sure to wear the right clothing for the job is a must. Today we’ll take a look at some must-have attire for your trips to the river this winter.
As with all outdoor winter activities, it’s important to make sure to put on a solid baselayer. I suggest polypropylene long-john’s, with at least one other layer on top, such as a longsleeve t-shirt. Put on a heavy fleece, hooded sweatshirt or sweater before strapping up your vest, too. On top of all that, cover yourself with a quality water-repellant jacket to keep your inner layers dry. A good water-resistant jacket can be found at any outdoors retailer.
Moving downward, it’s smart to wear thick pants—preferably lined with fleece—over your long-john’s, as well as heavy knit hiking socks. Fleece and cotton will keep you warm, but they won’t block wind and water.
Make sure you have heavy boot-foot neoprene chest waders for when you have to venture out into the water. The boots on these waders should have no-slip, rubber soles, which are critical for walking on ice and maneuvering steep, snowy ledges.
Believe it or not, what most winter anglers struggle with while fishing on the river is keeping their fingers warm. While gloves are usually one of the first items on the list for heading out of the house in the winter, it’s surprising how many neglect to consider them when they head out to fish. I’d make sure to have two sets of gloves at all times; the first being a reliable pair of fingertip-less gloves for when you’re fishing. Try to find a pair that is lightweight and flexible so that you can tie hooks and handle line with ample dexterity, but doesn’t compromise warmth for the rest of your hand. Your second pair of gloves should be a regular pair of heavy fleece gloves to wear when you’re walking, moving locations, or resting in between sessions. Fishing will become impossible if your fingers become numb and frozen, so it’s important to not be careless, especially when it comes to wearing the second set of gloves as much as possible.
Finally, be sure to protect your head and ears by wearing a heavy knit cap. If you feel yourself overheating, you can take it off and stuff it inside your pocket to keep it warm. Most of our heat loss is through our head, so it’s important to control your body temperature by warming up with the hat on and removing it to cool off.
As I’ve said, layers are a vital part of your outdoor attire planning. Being able to keep your body temperature under control by removing layers as needed will go a long way towards keeping you comfortable, warm, and safe on the river this winter. Make sure to keep the clothing items listed above in mind if you plan on steelheading or getting into some winter smallie action this year!
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