Staying Warm When Fishing in the Cold

Staying Warm When Fishing in the Cold

Any hardcore wintertime angler has logged many days chasing fish in conditions that would find most “normal” people inside enjoying the warmth at home.  Whether you’re a steelheader, a winter Chinook angler, ice fisher or winter cutthroat angler, layering with the right clothing is important for enduring cold days on the water.  From head to toe we are going to look at the latest and greatest in cold weather fishing clothing.


Keeping your noggin warm is an important first step to staying warm when angling in the cold. Fun fact, you can lose up to 10% of our body heat just through your head. 

Fishing Toques

One of the more common and popular headwear choices is a toque. These keep your head warm as well as keeping your ears and the back of the neck from freezing. Our two most popular choices are the Simms Everyday Beanie and the Patagonia Beanie Hat

Another outstanding option for keeping your head warm is the Simms Exstream Cap. These hats have 100 grams of Primaloft Gold Insulation, a material that is extremely warm but also has a very thin profile. The Exstream Cap features a Gore-Tex shell making it not only warm but windproof and waterproof too. The ExStream Cap also has ear flaps to keep your ears warm on those especially frigid days.

Base Layering

Dressing for cold weather involves correct layering. Choosing the right base layer is very important. Base layers should be wicking-type fabric to move moisture away from the skin. Cotton, for example, is not an advisable fabric as cotton absorbs moisture and holds it against the skin. If you are hiking and perspiring, you will experience instant coldness when you stop.

Base Layer Top and Bottom

Our most popular base layer pieces are the Simms Lightweight Baselayer Top and Simms Lightweight Baselayer Bottom. These garments are made with 92% spun polyester and 8% spandex and are finished with HeiQ Fresh Odor control to maintain freshness even with multi day usage.  HeiQ speed-dry offers the best wicking performance ensuring that you’re warm, dry and comfortable no matter which cold weather fishery you’re involved in. 


Now that the base layer is covered it’s time to look at our next layering piece. When it comes to bottoms, this is typically the final piece needed. 

Simms Thermal Pants

One of our most popular bottoms is the Simms Thermal Pant. These pants 93% polyester and 7% elastane and are designed with a grid layer fleece to maximize warmth and wick moisture to the outside of the garment. The Thermal Pant legs taper down at the bottom for comfort when putting your leg into waders. 

Simms Challenger Sweatpants

Another option is the Simms Challenger Sweatpants. These are a 100% polyester pant with an extremely comfortable fleece lining. 

Patagonia R1 Pants

One of our favourites is the silky-smooth Patagonia R1 Pant. Not only are these pants warm and comfortable, 41% of the polyester used in these pants is from recycled materials.

patagonia lightweight synchilla snap-t pants

Another pair of pants from Patagonia is the Lightweight Synchilla Snap T Pant which, despite the name, is actually the thickest and heaviest of the four bottoms we have looked at. The Snap T is constructed of polyester that is 100% recycled. Not only are you keeping warm with these pants, but they leave less of an environmental footprint. 


simms heavyweight baselayer hoody

For tops over a base layer, one of our favorites is the Simms Heavyweight Baselayer Hoody. This garment is 96% polyester and 4% elastane micro-grid fleece. The sleeves are designed to be a little longer with thumb holes to help keep them in place and offer warmth to the back of the hand. The design of the hood and zipper system offers protection for the nose, mouth and face. 

Simms Thermal 1/4 Zip Top Men

The Simms Thermal ¼ Zip Top is another good top to consider. It is made with a blend of 93% polyester and 7% elastane fabric and grid fleece, trapping heat without adding too much bulk, which can limit one's range of motion. 

Patagonia Lightweight Synchilla Snap T Pullover

Last but not least is the Patagonia Lightweight Synchilla Snap T Top. The same materials are used for this top as for the pants. Like the pants, these tops are the heaviest of the 3 tops we have reviewed. The Snap T is guaranteed to keep you warm when facing adverse weather conditions during commonly-experienced winter angling activities in the Pacific Northwest. See more Simms Fishing products.

Cold Weather Jackets for Fishing

A good jacket is worth its weight in gold. This layer offers the most warmth and protects you from the wind which can really be one of the biggest enemies when trying to stay warm. Even a faint breeze on a cold day can eventually make one’s bones feel cold. 

Simms Fall Run Hoody

We simply cannot say enough good things about the Simms Fall Run Hoody , the Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket and the Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody.  We have lumped these three pieces together as they are a very similar product.

Patagonia Nano Puff

All are made with the same Primaloft material we spoke about earlier. It is truly amazing how this synthetic material can keep you so warm despite how thin it is.  We always compare it to wearing a warm, comfy sleeping bag. 

These jackets break 100% of the wind and have a bit of water repellency. They dry very quickly but are not a replacement for a waterproof rain jacket. All these attributes make either of these jackets a number one choice for cold weather fishing. 

Simms Rogue Hoody

Another alternative and a little cheaper alternative for a jacket is the Simms Rogue Hoody This jacket has been a very popular seller for many years. Similar to the Nano Puff and Fall Run Jacket, the Rogue Hoody has some water repellency thanks to a DWR coating on the fabric. The Rogue Hoody also blocks the wind and keeps the warmth in.

Warm Fishing Socks

To say we like Simms socks would be an understatement for sure. Simms socks have been on our feet during cold weather days since they started making them.

Everybody seems to have different requirements for socks in cold weather. Some people’s feet get cold very easily and some people never seem to get cold feet. No matter where you land in the spectrum, Simms has a sock to suit your needs. 

Simms Merino Light Weight Hiker Sock Men

The Simms Merino Lightweight Hiker Sock is, as the name implies, the lightest in the series but don’t let the name fool you. These socks still offer an incredible amount of warmth.

Simms Merino Midweight Hiker Sock Men

The Simms Merino Midweight Hiker Sock has the same construction and length as the Lightweight model but is a bit thicker for extra warmth. 

Simms Merino Thermal OTC Socks

The Simms Merino Midweight OTC Sock is the same thickness at the Midweight Hiker but goes further up the calf than the hikers. Last but not least, the warmest and thickest of the bunch is the Simms Merino Thermal OTC Sock. These socks also go over the calf like the other OTC model.

Quick Fact: An important factor to keep in mind about keeping warm feet in cold weather is to be aware that if you put too many layers of socks on or wear socks that are so thick they make your waders or other footwear tight, you’ll be more prone to getting cold feet due to reduced blood flow.

Fishing Gloves

Some days trying to fish without gloves is just not an option as the cold can make reeling as well as keeping the dexterity of your fingers for tying knots a challenge.

Simms Freestone Gloves

Our favourite gloves are the Simms Freestone Fold-over Mitt and the Patagonia Better Sweater Gloves. One of the highlights of these gloves is the fact that they are a fingerless design with a fold-over mitt option. This design makes it so there's no issues with feel as well as the ability to tie knots, grab gear, etc. If a warm-up of the fingertips is needed the mitt can be flipped over and the cold fingers rewarmed.

Patagonia Better Sweater Gloves

Thank you for taking the time to read our blog post on proper layering for cold weather fishing. Hopefully the base layering information covered in this blog post will provide some insight on how you can have a more enjoyable day on the water even during sub-zero temperatures.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us by email, by phone at 604-931-5044 or stop by the shop at #110 1140 Austin Avenue in Coquitlam BC.

Good luck on the water.

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