Fly fishing involves you going outside and braving whatever the elements throw at you. During summer, this is not a major problem, but during the other three seasons, you can often expect to face some cold temperatures. If you’re not careful, you could jeopardize your safety as you get wet and stand in freezing waters for long periods of time. Find out how to stay warm while fly fishing with these tips.
Similar to how you would if you were hiking, you should layer your clothing for fly fishing in the cold. Your base layer, which lies closest to your skin, should be made of synthetic materials or merino wool, which wick away your sweat. Even when it is frigid around you, you will sweat to some degree and this moisture can quickly make you feel colder if it is moved away from your body. Avoid cotton, since this will just absorb sweat and hold it there, increasing your risk for hypothermia.
On top of the base, you should put on a midlayer that insulates you. Puffy synthetic jackets, fleece, and wool are all good options for trapping in the heat. Finally, wear an outer shell layer that is waterproof and breathable. A jacket that meets these requirements will deflect splashes and precipitation while allowing your sweat to disperse.
Waders are an absolute must when you plan on spending any amount of time standing in cold waters. They will keep you dry, which is necessary for you to stay warm while fly fishing. Breathable waders can work in icy temperatures as long as you layer underneath them. As with your upper body, you can put on fleece pants or synthetic down-filled pants to insulate you inside the waders. Thick wool socks offer good warmth for your feet. You may also go for neoprene waders to completely block any heat transfer at all, though you exchange breathability for this. Neoprene waders can work well when you don’t need to move far as you travel from your vehicle to where you will be fishing since you won’t sweat as much.
Both bootfoot and stockingfoot waders can work when it is cold, but bootfoot waders may be more advantageous since they are comprised of one continuous piece. Water will not circulate around your feet at all, as opposed to stockingfoot waders where water can get in between the insides of your boots and the outsides of the stockings. When choosing a bootfoot wader, make sure there is ample space in the boots for you to layer up your legs and feet.
Cover Your Extremities
You can quickly lose a lot of heat through your head. Furthermore, your hands and feet can start to freeze since they are far from the center of your body. Wear a thick beanie or fleece hat to maintain the warmth in your head and ears. A neck gaiter can keep the lower part of your face warm as well. For your hands, mitts that can flip over to reveal fingerless gloves are a smart option. They’ll keep your hands warm and allow you to manipulate your equipment when needed by exposing the fingertips. Keep hand warmers in the pockets of your waders so you can put your hands there when you need an extra bit of heat. People also place warmers in their boots so their feet don’t freeze, which you may also adopt as a useful practice.