Winter Fly Fishing: How to Stay Warm

Though many people hang up their gear, especially here in Maine, the winter months can be a fantastic time to get out and wet a line. The peaceful solitude of winter fly fishing, which can actually be quite productive at times, is not to be missed out on because it’s too cold outside. Here are 5 things that are guaranteed to keep you warm and happy when venturing out even in the coldest of days.  

1. Bootfoot Waders:

Bootfoot waders are a game changer for winter fishing. The number one discomfort when fishing water below 40 degrees is cold feet. Bootfoot waders essentially solve this problem. Though there is no argument that stocking foot waders are more comfortable (though you would be surprised at how comfortable the boots are in the Simms G3 Bootfoot Waders) and a better tool for walking long distances, however they will not keep you warm because there is not enough room for air to reach around your foot. This is the same reason that foot warmers often do not work as well as you would want them to in stocking foot waders (Side note: foot warmers will often prematurely wear out neoprene stocking feet). Bootfoot waders allow for circulation and for allowing warmth from other parts of your body to transfer down into your feet. Bootfoot waders will also accommodate layering of socks, or one pair of thicker socks, much better than stockingfoot waders. Generally speaking, when investing in a pair of waders for spring, summer, or fall, people are not accommodating for extra layers which does affect boot size. Circulation is everything. Another perk of bootfoot waders that is worth mentioning is how easy on and off they are. Just slip in and go. 

Check out the Simms G3 Guide Bootfoot Waders

2. Gloves:

Two or more pairs is best but one is not enough. You never know what’s going to happen and gloves have a tendency to attract water just like fly line attracts to your feet (haha). You can try to prevent it but the reality is it’s going to happen. Your gloves will get wet. Keeping your hands warm can affect how your whole body feels. The best thing to do is carry a pair of fingerless or fingerless/mitten combo gloves for when you are actively casting, and another pair of mittens or insulated fingered gloves for when the other pair gets wet. Mittens work better than fingered gloves to keep you warm fast for the same reason boot foot waders do, circulation. Hand warmers will also distribute heat to your fingers in mittens vs. fingered gloves. Whatever your preference may be, make sure you have a pair you can use while casting, and a warm pair (that might not be suited so well to casting) to throw on when the fingerless gloves aren’t cutting it anymore. 

Check out the Simms Lightweight Wool Flex Glove

Check out the Simms Gore-Tex ExStreme Foldover Fishing Mitten

Check out the Simms Gore-Tex Infinium Flex Glove

3. Towel:

If you’re lucky enough to catch a fish in cold water and you’ve removed your gloves to safely release the fish without affecting its slime coat, your hands will be cold. Don’t just stick them back in your gloves because then your gloves will get wet. Always bring a towel to dry your hands off. This is a simple thing to bring that will improve your post fish celebrations greatly.

4. Face Covering:

No, for once we’re not talking about masks. This means the combination of a gaiter (or baklava) and hat. The neck warmer can often be shed when moving spot to spot, but when sitting in a location, something to keep your neck warm can turn an uncomfortably cold day into a balmy day. There are many options from lightweight wool gaiters to full baklava’s that go under your hat and cover your whole face. For hats, something that goes over your ears is a must. If not bring ear warmers. A visor is especially useful when there is snow on the ground as it is another tool on top of your sunglasses against glare. Wearing a beanie over a hat with a visor is a great option because the beanie can be shed if you get too warm. 

Check out the Simms Gore-Tex ExStream Cap

Check out the All Points Beanies

Check out the Simms Lightweight Wool Neck Gaiter

5. Waterproof Pack or Dry Bag:

Whether you buy a waterproof pack, or carry a dry bag in your non waterproof pack (often a more budget friendly option), it is important to have something to keep your extra clothes dry. Moisture is what will make you cold the fastest. On top of a place to store your extra gloves and towel, make sure there is enough room in your dry bag for a jacket or two. Because layering is so important during the winter months, you can often find yourself adding and shedding layers constantly. Walking through snow requires so much physical energy, you can find yourself getting very warm when moving around, and freezing when standing still. Make sure to shed layers when walking, and to bring enough layers to keep you warm when standing in one location. Bringing an extra pair of clothes when hiking too far away from your vehicle is always wise when hypothermia is a risk.

Below are some great waterproof pack options that we carry

Check out the Fishpond Wind River Roll-Top Backpack

Check out the Simms Dry Creek Z Backpack

Check out the Fishpond Thunderhead Roll-Top Dry Bag

Check out the Simms Dry Creek Simple Pack

Check out the Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Sling Pack

Check out the Simms Dry Creek Z Sling Pack

Other great cold weather gear to consider!

Simms G3 Tactical Wading Jacket

Simms Insulated Challenger Jacket

Simms Challenger Jacket

Simms Freestone Wading Jacket

Stanly's Ice Off Paste by Loon

- Joe Webster


sebastian fasanello:

Hey so I was fishing in Buffalo over the weekend …38 degree water… previously I would have had blue toes… so i got boots 2 sizes larger (on a tip from a guide from Montana) and purchased heated insoles with remote control from Dicks. My toes were not cold for one second. Also caught 4 steelhead!

Jan 04, 2022

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