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