Staying Warm While Winter Fly Fishing

The temperatures are dropping, here in Colorado the snow is falling, and the Ski resorts are open. Fly fishing season is over…right? Well it doesn’t have to be. If you plan well and bring all the necessary gear you can still get out on the river.


When it’s cold outside the water is probably twice as cold. Not only that but the cold moving water makes the air around the water even colder. Keep this in mind when looking at the temperatures of your location.

How do you combat that? With clothing.


Start with a nice pair of gloves, a hat, a Buff, and a pair of warm socks. A wise man will bring synthetic and wool clothing. Leave the cotton at home. Cotton has a tendency to absorb moisture and will not keep you warm when it does. Wool and polyester on the other hand do a much better job of staying dry and will still keep you warm if damp. Down is sort of a controversial material as there are a lot of new products on the market that claim to be water resistant and quick drying. I love my down jacket however would not trust it on the water. Once it gets wet it takes a long time to dry and will not keep you warm until it is.

Still not convinced you can stay warm? When you go skiing or snowboarding you take hand and foot warmers right? Why not use them while fishing. Keeping your toes warm while wading in 32 degree water is of most importance. Otherwise you will be in and out before you hit your trophy rainbow. So use the toe warmers, and keep a set of hand warmers in your pocket for after you hook up and need to warm your chilled hands.


Now keep in mind the conditions are going to be a little rougher on you as well as the fish. Make sure to plan your location with this in mind. Most natural mountain rivers and lakes are going to freeze over for the winter months. The best places to focus your energy on now are tailwater locations where the flows are controlled. In Colorado, areas of the South Platte, Gunnison, Blue or the Yampa River can all be good waters to hit throughout this cold season.

If you are still thinking this may not be for you then consider fishing later in the day. The afternoon sun on your back can do a lot to your moral as well as your overall warmth.

No more excuses. Plan well, dress in layers with all of your needed equipment, check your location carefully and you will have a great day on the serene and majestic winter water.

“Be good to the fish and the fish will be good to you.”

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