Cold Water Fishing

by Bob Jensen


In some areas of the fishing world, we’re in the cold weather period. That means that when we go out in the morning, there’s probably some frost on the windshield of our tow vehicle and on the boat seats. The dock will probably be slippery also.

In other parts of the fishing world, the cold weather season is quickly approaching. Wherever you live, if you’re going to be fishing in cold weather, you need to do things a little bit differently if you’re going to be comfortable and if you’re going to be successful in your efforts to catch fish. Following are some of those things.

The first thing to consider is safety. It’s always a good idea to wear a life-jacket when you’re in the boat. Reality is, many, many anglers wear their life-jacket when the boat is running above idle speed, then take it off when they get to their fishing spot. Most of the time that’s ok, but in the cold water period, you really need to consider leaving it on even when you’re fishing. Every now and then something happens and we unexpectedly end up in the water. If you can swim, and it’s a warm weather period, that’s no big deal. At this time of year though, when you’ve got a lot of heavy clothing on, a fall into the water can be a big deal. A life-jacket will reduce the chance of tragedy.

Now about dressing: Layering your clothing is the way to go. Start with a base-layer of Cabela’s MTP: It’s good stuff, it’s comfortable, and it’s effective.

Wear a pair of jeans on the bottom, a hooded sweatshirt on top. Next, maybe a vest. Last, a windbreaker parka will be good for your outside layer of clothing. Guidewear is a great outer: It’s your choice whether you go with a lined or unlined parka. If you go with the lined, you’ll almost always be warm. The unlined version does an outstanding job of breaking spray and wind. If it’s really cold and windy, you’ll want to consider a pair of bibs.

The beauty of layering your clothing is, you can take off a layer as the day warms up. If you’re going to be fishing in the cold weather period, layering your clothing is a great idea.
The Frabill Aqua-Life container is favored by lots of anglers who know about fishing in cold weather.

Last thing: Remember to take a net. You don’t want to be lipping or lifting fish from these cold waters. Select a net that has a knotless basket. The Conservation Series of nets does a very good job year ’round, and they’re the best for cold weather.

In some places at this time of year you’ll have the water to yourself. In other areas, you’ll have lots of company. Wherever you fish, you’ll find that if you keep a few cold weather fishing ideas in mind, you’ll enjoy your time on the water a lot more.

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Cold Water Fishing