Staying Warm on the Water

With the transition from fall to winter approaching, temperatures on the water are becoming cooler and cooler. Anglers who find themselves on the water or on the ice when the temperatures are at their coldest—early in the morning, late at night, or on the ice in the dead of winter—will need to focus on staying warm by choosing the right clothing for the job. There are some great options out there that go a long way towards accomplishing this goal and I’ve highlighted a few of them today.

Anyone who’s spent some time outdoors during the colder months will tell you that the best place to start when it comes to fighting the cold is selecting a quality baselayer. The term “baselayer” applies to a reasonably fitted clothing item that is worn directly next to the skin and typically consists of insulating material, such as thermal cotton. Popular examples include long johns or synthetic ColdGear from Under Armour, both of which do a great job of trapping heat and providing solid protection against the cold and wind.

The next two layers consist of heavier clothes, such as winter pants, and sweaters/jackets, followed by outer shells. Over the baselayer you can wear warmer clothes to further battle the frigid conditions. I usually wear a fleece pullover over my Under Armour, which keeps me very comfortable when I’m steelheading in January. This year, I plan to purchase the Rut Scent Control jacket from Under Armour, which utilizes extra padding around the kidneys, as well as kidney warming pockets, to warm the blood within the kidneys before it’s pumped throughout the rest of your body. This feature utilizes science and technology to go further in terms of keeping outdoorsmen warm in the winter.

Outer shells consist of larger coats and pants that are comprised of water and wind-resistant materials and are usually internally lined with insulating material to keep you warm. Bone Dry, Columbia, Ice Armour, and North Face all make amazing coats that will have you forgetting that it’s even winter. Furthermore, they also offer pants that can be worn over jeans and utilize the same materials and technology to provide full body coverage and warmth.

Other than baselayers and outer shells, I highly suggest investing in quality accessories like hats, masks, boots, and gloves. Ice Armour offers fishing gloves that have retractable thumb and index fingertips to enable free use of your hands while fishing, so don’t worry about that. Also, a solid pair of waterproof, Gore-Tex lined boots will be your best friend while trudging through the snow to your favorite bend in the river or sitting over a hole in the ice. Finally, hand and foot warmers can be purchased by the box at any outdoor retailer, so it might be a good idea to pick up a box to keep stocked throughout the season, just in case. Anglers are a stubborn bunch, and there’s no measure of snow or temperature too low that can keep most of us off the water, even in winter. Countering the weather with warming layers and protective clothing will not only keep you warm, but also safe when threats like frostbite linger. Do yourself a favor and be smart this winter by taking measures to stay warm and covered.