Layering for Cold Weather Fly Fishing

Planning Your Winter Layering | Hook and Fly Apparel

Fishing is a common activity done by many outdoor adventurers, but during winter it can be trickier to go out to the rushing river to catch some fish because of the weather. Unlike the ever sunny Los Angeles, places like New York City and Salt Lake City experience all the seasons to the fullest. Weather changes like heavy rain and snow are common and leave many hobbyists wondering how they can go outside.

Fortunately, there is a way to beat the rain and the frigid cold. It’s a process done by all professional nature seekers, it’s called “layering” and it’s crucial during winter. Layering during winter could be the difference from a miserable, numbing two hours of fishing in temperatures reaching well below 15 degrees, to six hours of pure comfort without the worry of hypothermia.

Planning Your Trip

In order to perfectly layer your clothing you need to be aware of the weather conditions present at your destination. Rain, snow and the wind chill can completely alter a trip, but planning ahead of time will soothe the ride. For example, were it to be around 30 degrees Fahrenheitair temperaturewith the wind chill it can drop between 21 to 10 degrees. Once the temperature drops below negative 19 degrees any exposed area will be frostbitten in thirty minutes.

During windier and colder days it’s best to wear a beanie or stocking cap to keep your head warm. However, if you own a hood on your jacket or shell, you’ll be able to accomplish two goals at the same time. Although, if it’s going to rain or snow, you need to consider which type of clothing you will want to bring. A down jacket wouldn’t be the best option for this situation, instead you’d want to bring a jacket with synthetic fabric or a hard-shell.

The most important thing to consider is your own body temperature. Being a naturally cold person, you’d probably want to bring heavier duty mittens and gloves, even hand and foot warmers. A lot of fishing is waiting for the fish to bite your rod leaving your feet static. Without your feet constantly moving they will be more susceptible to the cold, but with feet warmers you can avoid the unnecessary feeling of pins pricking your toes.

Layering Yourself

Before you start piling clothes on top of yourself remember, you’re going to be traveling in this outfit for awhile so you don’t want to overstack yourself to the point you are constantly sweating. However, if you do plan on getting this hot make sure your base layer is made of powerful wicking material.

With strong wicking capabilities your clothing will be able to continue insulating you from the heat. The wicking properties will push the moisture to the highest layer of your clothing, leaving the fabric touching you dry. Clothing made from synthetic fibers, like polyester and nylon, are perfect for this type of job. However, if you want to help improve nature, Merino wool is another common fabric used and it’s considered comfier to wear. Most recommended insulated socks are made from this same fabric, helping you during long periods of standing in the cold.

While, the base layer is meant to wick away sweat and insulate warm air, the insulating layer heightens these effects. Unlike the base layer, the insulating layer does not need to be snugly fit to your body. The insulating layer is there to further trap the warm, dry air into the jacket, making a natural heater.

A down jacket is considered the strongest form of insulation. With duck and geese plumules it creates a cocoon of warmth around you, but there’s a catch. Down jackets retain water, which is why it’s important to not wear these types of jackets when it’s raining or snowing. Meanwhile, the synthetic jackets will be better for stormier conditions, as the fabric deflects the liquids off of you. Nonetheless, the insulating layer isn’t enough to protect you from the elements of winter.

The final layer, the outer layer, is meant to keep you dry, usually through a heavy-duty raincoat or a shell. Shells usually come in two forms: hard and soft. Most hard-shells are less flexible but more durable, allowing you to get deeper into nature without the worry of damage coming to your clothes. Soft-shells, on the other hand, have a habit of keeping you warmer. Combining two layers of water-resistant fabric and a light layer of insulation helps you stay warm. However, were you to plan for a trip during a stormy week, the soft-shell wouldn’t protect you from the rain as well.

Successful winter Fishing Trip

Bringing back piles of fish is considered a successful fishing trip, however, the reward of bronchitis isn’t as appealing as it sounds. Places like Hook and Fly Apparel understand this, and give options to prevent sickness overcoming you. Fishing during winter is a gargantuan amount of fun, but being cautious about the dangers of winter is just as crucial.