Winter Fishing Survival

With that title I have just scared off many of you in fishing this winter. Yes, it’s a little harsh to use the word “survival”. Maybe I should call this blog “Winter Fishing is AWESOME”, because it truly is awesome if you are prepared for it. I just completed a blog on winter fishing about a month ago, but I still see our guys doing things that “could” put themselves in jeopardy when winter fishing.  So, without trying to embarrass anyone let me go over some things to think about that will make your winter fishing more enjoyable.  To shorten this blog, I’ll just use bullet points and you can fill in the rest.

  1. Wear layers. This way if you are too warm you can peel off your layers
  2. DO NOT WEAR COTTON!! If you fall in, cotton will hold the cold water. In winter, you will get hypothermia if you don’t get to a warm place asap. Do Not wear cotton socks, jeans, cotton pullover hoodies, etc.…  Wear wool, fleece or the newest “wicky” type clothing that is sold by many sport companies. (I wear a lot of Under Armor products – you can get sales by getting on their newsletter list)
  3. Buy a Balaclava. A buff or wool cap is ok if it’s not too cold, but it is nowhere near as good as a balaclava
  4. Have gloves – wool or fleece. Fingerless are preferred but some fishing companies sell the mitten style that “peel” back when you need your fingers to tie.
  5. Bring hand warmers. Open them up before you head to the river to get them started. Put them in a pocket and use them when your hands or fingers get cold.
  6. Get “decent” boots WITH CLEATS. In Missouri we must have rubber bottoms and cleats are a must. I use Rock Treads (one of our sponsors). I have been wearing them for 2 ½ years and I wouldn’t fish without them. Get sturdy quality boots. If you are on a budget, then I would advise to put more money into your boots than your waders. So many fly fishers think it’s the other way around.
  7. Get a staff to use when walking in any area where you are not sure of the footing or the current is moving fast. Get a quality staff. It could save you from going down – and having a battle with hypothermia.
  8. Carry extra clothing! Get a small, ideally waterproof, bag and put a complete exchange of clothing in it. My bag contains similar clothing that I wear when I fish, that way if (or when) I fall in I can change clothes and get back out and fish again.
  9. Keep a set of car keys (whoever is driving) somewhere hidden outside the car so the guy that falls in can get warm and change clothes.
  10. If you have any good ideas for winter fishing, please add them in the comment section. We would love to hear from you. Plus check out this article that was on Troutbitten web site:
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About Kenny
Kenny is presently a Captain for Southwest Airlines. A graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, he served twenty years in the Air Force as a fighter pilot. He has been fishing all his life but fly fishing seriously for the past 24 years in Alaska, Canada, most of the Rocky Mountain states, and of course, here in Missouri. Kenny has been an instructor for ten years teaching fly fishing as part of men's ministries. He has been teaching at The Crossing Community Church in Chesterfield, Missouri for the past eight years. His passion for fly fishing provides a unique teaching style that brings Christian men together in community. Kenny is married and has three children. Sorry St. Louis, he is a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan.
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