It took a little longer than most people in my neck of the woods are used to, but the snow and the temperatures have started to steadily fall. There are tons of rivers near me that make their way to the bigger lakes, which means I have plenty of options to get my trout fix.
If you too are looking to hit the rivers in search of cold weather trout, you’ll want to make sure you’re equipped for the job. Here are four essential tips.
Felt sole waders
If getting into the water is your thing, felt sole waders are a definite must. They’re excellent on those slick rocks, as long as the temperatures are above freezing and you’re in the water. When the mercury drops low and you step onto a rock out of the water, even for a few seconds, your soles will freeze to the rock. To counter this, carbide studs are useful, although they can be noisy on the rocks. Korker’s OmniTrax studded felt soles are a popular option, too.
Keep in mind that cold hands are difficult to fish with, so you’ll need to make sure you keep them warm. Take the time to find a pair of gloves that work best for you. There are many different styles on the market today; you just want a pair that is versatile enough to give you the dexterity needed to fish effectively. I like Clam Corp’s IceArmor Fold-Back Mitts. Some anglers prefer heat packs or hand warmers in their pockets in place of gloves.
For cold weather trout, I like to throw plugs, spinners and plastic baits, taking care to remove the treble hooks to allow the fish to be released with minimal damage. Don’t be afraid to use large baits, either, especially if you’re targeting brown trout; they like those slow, large baits in the winter. Also, keep in mind that inline spinners—Roostertail or Mepp’s—work great in the winter, too, so stock up on those gold, silver and copper-bladed beauties.
Don’t fish alone
I had a friend once who slipped into the river once in February while trout fishing. Within minutes of getting out of the water, he was hypothermic. Had someone not been there with him, he would have died. When you’re hitting secluded rivers during the cold season, make sure someone knows where you’ll be. Also, if you can, fish with a partner. It’s just smart to not risk your safety.
Photo credit: Dreamstime
Pflueger President Spinning Reel
For fishermen in the know, there is no greater spinning reel than the Pflueger President Limited Edition. This classic and versatile model is one of the most popular reels ever created. You’ll feel the difference with every cast. MSRP $79.99
Backpacker's Rod and Reel Combo
No backpacking trip is complete without fresh caught fish, which makes this Browning Survivalist Rod and Reel Spinning Combo such an important item to have along in your pack. The rod breaks down into five pieces and the reel is small and reliable so that you can have a fishing rod anywhere you go. MSRP $69.99
Orvis Fly Fishing Rods
For the fly fisherman, consider the Helios 2 fly rods by Orvis. These quality fishing rods are lighter and stronger with greater tip impact than its competitors. Fine-tuned tapers make for unrivaled tracking and lifting power. MSRP $795
Field & Stream Digital Fish Scale
If you’re serious about catching big fish, then you should be serious about documenting your catch. With this digital pistol grip fish scale by Field & Stream, you won’t be left out of the record books. MSRP $29.99
Yatra Waterproof Speaker
The Aquatune all-weather Bluetooth speaker by Yatra is a perfect companion for long fishing trips. This device syncs seamlessly with any device. It’s waterproof, shockproof, it floats on water and it sounds great. MSRP $59.99-$79.99
Tiny Pliers by Field & Stream
It’s always a good idea to have a set of small pliers handy to safely remove the hook from a fish’s mouth. This pair light weight plier by Field & Stream are made out of rust-proof aluminum and come with an easy to access case that will be there for you when you need it most. MSRP $29.99
Dexshell Waterproof Socks
When you’re wearing rain boots or just standing along the shoreline, there’s always a chance your feet will get wet. Fear no more with Dexshell’s waterproof socks. Offer comfort and breathability, these socks are a great way to make sure your feet always stay dry. MSRP $39
Work Sharp Knife Sharpener
It is so important when you go to filet a fish that you have a sharp knife in hand. More accidents occur with dull knives than sharp ones. For a great knife sharpening, consider the Work Sharp Guided Sharpening System. Offering age-old techniques with an innovative design that makes it impossible to get wrong. The Work Sharp knife sharpener will have the dullest blades feeling like brand new. MSRP $59.95
The black-and-white floating Rapala that started a legacy. This classic lure remains one of the best lures ever designed. It imitates a minnow as well as anything and can catch fish on even the slowest day. Its all-around attraction makes it effective for northern pike, bass, trout or walleye and can be fished in any type of water throughout the season.
Like the Jitterbug, the Hula Popper is an amazing surface bait. The popping sound made by the hula popper makes it irresistible to big bass. This bait is great for heavy cover and going places other baits cannot, a must for bass anglers. MSRP $6.99
For catching aggressive feeders like walleye a good crankbait is good to have in the tackle box. The Rapala DT series is bound to generate strikes from trophy spot tails.
What’s a fishing drip without ice cold beer? To make sure that your beverage never gets warm, the Yeti Colster offers the most cutting edge technology is beer coziness. $29.99