: Dressing for Cold Weather Wading
01-16-2003, 09:39 PM
I know this subject has been dealt with off and on a number of times, but thought it was appropriate given the fact that aa April Clave is being planned. So, what do you were when wading in cold weather?
Up until season before last, I always wore stocking-foot neoprenes. I have since bought a pair of breatheables, but have not yet tried them in cold weather. I just bought some additional capilene underwear and some new "Smartwool" socks.
What do you recommend for wearing under breatheable waders? If it is really cold, I would even consider wearing my stocking-foot neoprenes under a pair of lightweight boot-foot nylon waders. I did that once while wading in the Maine surf and it really worked well.
Anyway, I am interested in hearing what you all recommend.
I wear polypro long undies, then fleece, then neoprene for super cold rivers and breathables for everything else. You can beef up the fleece and go breathable or lighten up and go neoprene.
Socks that are designed for performance use (hiking, climbing, skiing) are important. I buy at outdoor equipment stores and pay the $10-15 / pair, so very worth it on a winter river. Formed to fit very nicely and padded in all the right places.
Shoes that are too tight are the worst thing for cold feet, choosing the right performance sock that is not too thick or layering with high quality materials is the key IMHO.
On top I swear by the Techwick medium weight zip-front longsleeve mockturtleneck pullover. It can be worn under a comfortable shirt & fleece jacket under an all-around shell like goretex. Freedom of movement, lightweight, cools quickly after walking opened up and keeps you toasty when zipped up.
You lose a lot of heat form your noggin, so a good headcover is critical. Gloves are a whole nuther topic too.
When it comes to performance clothing, it pays to buy high-end IMHO. It lasts a long time and it's easy to appreciate in the conditions it gets used in.
01-16-2003, 10:01 PM
Basically what Juro stated above is good.
Do you have breatheable waders which are large enough to wear the long underwear and fleece pants/bib ?
Thats what I am using now and I like it better than the neopremes.
Get some Smartwool socks and liners.
Galyans has some decent stuff but I think the best in our area is probably Bass Pro Shop in Gurnee. Their hunting waterfowl gear is awesome and is the same stuff we need for cold weather GLs fishing.
Thats up your way check it out.
P.S. In April the water temp will be in the high 30s low 40s and air temps 40-50s. Could be 30-40 air temps though to.
01-16-2003, 10:07 PM
Get some capelline socks made by cant say name they arent sponsors
. also get their liners keeps your feet warm and dry all day pick up some of their silk weight long underwear too..
If you are a big guy hit a freeport maine outfitter and a nebraska one for fleece pants, shirts, and tops. Get a good goretex shell as the final layer and a warm hat. You will be warm and dry all day. dry is a key word here the drier you are the warmer you stay.
01-17-2003, 08:46 AM
All good points above.
I fish year round here in MA and it can get pretty chilly. My setup:
Socks: Polypro liner socks, thin merino wool socks, and then 100 weght fleece socks. I have found that if I take the insole out of my wading boots, there is plenty of room for that setup.
I use breathables year-round so underneath I go with the following: Spandex polypro thermals under 300 wt fleece pants. An additional layer of wool long johns if neccessary.
Under the wading jacket I sport a polypro liner, wool sweater and then a heavy fleece jacket. I find that the combination of fleece and merino wool is less bulky and warmer than 2 layers of one or the other.
Heavy duty ski hat is key, along with some fleece fingerless gloves and those little handwarmer packets if it really gets bad.
I generally buy all of this stuff for skiing but it works great for foul-weather fishing too!
Footwear can be as important as the clothing!!! The bottoms are most important!
If there still is snow on the ground, or shelf-ice in the streams, AVOID FELT SOLED WADING SHOES OR BOOTS.
Studded rubber soles are best, or plain cleated rubber.
The problem with felt is it is slicker than grease on snow and ice, and you can take a spill. In addition, any walking you do on the shore will build up ice and snow, and you'll be 8 feet tall in short order! Even with studded felt!
There are a variety of strap-on "cleats" that are great in respect to the materials used, but the straps can be a real pain, and usually slip and partially come loose at the worst possible moment.
01-17-2003, 03:30 PM
Good catch studs are a must gotta have.
Get the wader boots with the studs built in. I have a great pair from a Montana co. that also makes waders.
01-17-2003, 06:57 PM
In air and water temps a few degrees above freezing:
- oversized studded boots
- capeline sock system
- polypropelene undies
- lined ski pants or quick dry light pants
- gortex jacket
- heavy shirt
- t shirt or polypropelene undershirt
- fingerless neoprene gloves if necessary
- Filson waterproof fedora
(this is what I'm wearing in my Avatar)
When air temps are at freezing or below and water temps are near freezing:
- all of the above except
- 5mm neoprenes instead of breathabes
- an extra sweater or polypropelene undershirt
- baseball cap worn under the hood
01-18-2003, 06:21 AM
I have been very impressed with the windstopper fleece jackets. I have used them at work( I work outdoors year round ) , and while fishing ,3d shoots, etc in the winter.A hood of some sort is essential, as it provides incredible warmth on cold days.
01-18-2003, 07:33 AM
A hood is mandatory.
I swear by Patagonia Capilene underwear. get the turtle neck top with zipper.
Also have som Marmot underwear which is good. If its good for the skiers its good for us cold weather waders.
Over the underwear a rag wool sweater, then a fleece pulover, then the insutlate wind breaker jacket with hood
Don't forget some Hand warmers which will last 7-8 hours.
Some Yaktrax or other strap on cleat for walking through the snow and getting traction on ice.
Two sets of rag wool or fleece fingerless gloves.
Lots to consider for winter fishing in addition to the rod, reel, and fish.
Also be very careful do not take the wading and trail climbing risks you do when it is warm and there is no snow or ice around.
01-18-2003, 09:30 AM
I like the RCMP style beaver fur hat. You stay warm all day in that baby. Also a gaitor versus a scarf. Never found much use for wool once polar fleece came out. Not as itchy.
For boots simms cleated guides summer winter spring and fall.
01-28-2003, 08:25 AM
Smolt: I live in Minnesota, so I am no stranger to cold weather. I usually begin my fishing in the beginning of March. I have the Orvis Silver Label Breathable waderswiht the neoprene feet. My previous pair did not have the neoprene feet, and they were worthless in cold weather. I start with a pair of Patagonia Capilene long underwear. Over these I wear a pair of thich fleece pants. Smartwools on the feet. They are a great sock. Unlike others, they last forever. Wigwam makes some that are close. The neoprenes actually work against me because I sweat in them. On top, I wear the same combo with a breathable wading jacket over it. Lands End makes some very nice fleece tops at a very reasonable price. A warm hat is also a must as you lose a lot of heat through your head. Columbia makes a nice fingerless glove with a mitten cover. I hope this helps you stay warm. PDY
01-28-2003, 09:15 AM
Thanks to all for your advice.