Student Login Podcast Blog Contact Enrol in Fly Fish University Login

Layering Up for Wintertime Fly Fishing Outings

Dec 15, 2020

"There is no such thing as bad weather, only a poor choice in clothing"

If you live in a part of the world in which sub-zero temperatures are to be expected throughout the winter months, but still enjoy finding your way onto the water from time to time, a proper choice in clothing is imperative. Though I prefer to find myself on the bow of a flats skiff in the winter months, some years (2020!) this is not an option. The following is a collection of guidelines I follow when dressing for the winter months:

"You sweat, you're dead"

Unless your fishing trips include venturing into the wilderness with no food or water for days on end (and if they do, that's totally cool), perspiration will often not mean the difference between life or death. It will, however, likely be the difference between comfortably spending the whole day on the water or shivering your way back to the truck at noon. 

The first, and most important layer, is one that allows moisture-wicking to keep your body dry. Add moisture-wicking socks to this while we're here. Trudging through the rainforest in the dead of winter will undoubtedly get your heart rate going, and being able to keep yourself bone dry is mission critical.

Gloves are not optional

During my wintertime fly fishing efforts, these are words to live by. If you have poor circulation or often find yourself with cold fingertips, it pays to at least pack a pair of gloves in your stream pack or your jacket. Remember that keeping your gloves on while you release fish is a big no, and to slip them off to reduce your chances of knocking off any slime or scales. 

Hand warmers are not cheating

One of the greatest days of my life was when a guest handed me a spare package of 12-hour disposable hand warmers on a frigid morning. Though the 12 hours is more like 4, simply opening the package and giving the hand warmers a shake before keeping them in your pockets for the duration of your day adds another (albeit small) level of comfort to your day. These can be find via a quick trip to any dollar store.

BONUS: Time your outings

Wintertime fly fishing often means fishing through the warmest parts of the day. A few of my fishing partners refer to this as fishing the "crack of noon", meaning that the laces on my boots are typically not pulled tight until sometime after 9am. In miserable conditions, fishing the warmest part of the day will not only increase your chances of landing upon the most productive fishing, but will have you on the water in the day's most forgiving window. 

Enjoy your wintertime outings on the water!

- Jordan Oelrich



50% Complete


Up your fly fishing game with a FREE copy of '7 Steps to Fly Fishing Success' delivered immediately to your inbox!