For many anglers, the winter months are spent tying flies, patching waders and dreaming about the first hatch of spring. But with the right gear – and mindset – angling can carry through the cold months and can oftentimes produce serious fish. Here is a breakdown of some cold-weather fly fishing essentials that will help extend your season and increase your catch count.
Filson Henley Guide Sweater
The Henley Guide Sweater is made from soft yet robust merino wool and features a water-resistant reinforced layer on the yoke and arms. The heavy-duty weave resists pulls and is great in all kinds of cold and inclement conditions. The oil-finished canvas helps to protect when working through tight brush and briars. Performance is best if paired with a wicking base layer and light thermal undershirt. The cut is a bit boxy and runs a little large to size; keep this in mind when planning to wear under a shell or with additional layers.
Filson Ultralight Jacket
The Ultralight Jacket is stuffed with 60g PrimaLoft Gold insulation and finished in a 1.5-ounce ripstop shell, making this jacket an extremely lightweight option that works equally well as an outer layer or a mid-layer under a shell. The jacket packs down small and retains up to 98 percent of its warmth even when wet. Moleskin collar facing and hand warmer pockets keep the chill out and elastic hem and cuff keep the fit comfortable when layering up or down.
Kynsho Crossover Cowl
Kynsho’s Crossover Cowl is a game changer for winter fishing. With a fleece lining and a heavy-duty weatherproof exterior, the cowl keeps heat locked in around your vital neck/nape area without adding bulky material or ungainly scarf tails. Secured via two magnetically-aided snaps, the cowl is easy to don and remove, even while wearing gloves. A generous amount of material make it easy to wear up over the chin and face too, providing warm and protective coverage when the wind picks up.
The Gerber Linedriver is a fishing-specific multi-tool that brings a number of helpful tools into a single, simple piece of kit. Featuring nippers, hook-clearing spike, hook threader and crimper, the Linedriver saves your fingers from fumbling with wet flies in the cold with a rotating tip that holds your fly for easier tying. It comes with a handle-mounted all-purpose clip and lashing point so you’ll never lose track of it while on the water.
Smith Optics Guide’s Choice Sunglasses with Green Mirror Lens
Smith Optics has long been at the forefront of eye protection for anglers. At the heart of Smith is an incredible lens technology; TLT polarized glass lenses with anti-reflective and hydroleophobic coatings for unparalleled clarify and precision in a wide range of environments. The Guide’s Choice frames are a perennial favorite for anglers, thanks to the wrap-around design with excellent side coverage. These were fitted with the new Green Mirror lens which make in-shore, sight fishing, river and stream use even more comfortable, available in the Guide’s Choice and new Redding sunglass models.
Smith Caravan MAG with Ignitor Lens
Smith’s new Caravan MAG sunglasses are a great choice when fishing long days with changing weather and light conditions. They come stock with a pair of ChromaPop Ignitor lenses that thrive in low-light conditions, giving you polarization while letting in more light for incredible clarity in early morning and evening situations. Once the sun comes up, get added light and UV protection while retaining Smith’s precise polarized optics with a second set of lenses that pop into the magnetically-closed frames in seconds. They even come with a lens storage bag that will stow easily in a breast pocket, making it easy to have the right optics on the water all day long without having to carry a second set of frames.
Yeti has become synonymous with the outdoors precisely because of products like the Rambler, an 18-ounce, double-wall vacuum insulated thermos that keeps all your beverages hot for hours. Equipped with Yet’s TripleHaul Cap, the Rambler can be clipped or lashed to your gear easily. Simply a must-have for a cold day on the water.
Orvis PRO Wading Boot
The new PRO Wading Boot from the longtime fishing outfitter builds on Orvis’s commitment to quality and performance with a brand new approach to tread technology. Through a partnership with Michelin, Orvis has created an outsole that claims a 25 percent better abrasion resistance and a 43 percent improvement in wet rubber traction. Additionally, the boot’s upper has been retooled to remove seams and pinch points, making these lightweight boots incredibly comfortable both in and out of the water, making them ideal for long days. Pair them with PosiGrip screw-in studs for unmatched traction.
Orvis Pro Wader
For most, a pair of waders is little more than a waterproof pair of overalls that do their best to keep you dry from your feet to your chest. But Orvis’s new PRO Wader changes the games. With an athletic cut, ergonomic neoprene booties, and a gusseted crotch, the PRO Waders are designed to be comfortable in any use case. The upper features a four-layer Cordura shell, while a five-layer Cordura shell covers the lower legs boasting incredible abrasion and puncture resistance. An elastic wading belt and shoulder straps, combined with a fleece-lined kangaroo front pocket and removable OrthoLite knee pads keep you comfortable, warm and protected all day long.
Orvis Clearwater 10′ 3wt
The popularity of Euro-style tight-line nymphing techniques has made many rod manufacturers, including Orvis, rethink their rod lineups. In the case of the Clearwater, which has traditionally been Orvis’s entry-level tier, those techniques have catalyzed the creation of a rod designed from the tip to butt for tight-line nymphing – at an incredibly approachable price. The 10-foot, 3-weight Clearwater features a highly sensitive tip-top section and robust butt section – complete with small fighting butt – to help you reach runs, feel even the subtlest takes and bring big fish right to the net.
Ross Gunnison 5wt Reel
Anyone familiar with Ross Reels likely has heard of the Gunnison, a revered reel made right in Montrose, Colorado only a few miles from the Gunnison River. The new Gunnison reel retains the aesthetics of the original – Ross has retained the octagonal machining, round porting, and a leader groove on the frame – but adds the new stacked-disc drag system for extreme pressure and precision in a small package. The drag makes fighting larger fish easier while the new large arbor design holds plenty of line for hot fish.
Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.