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cold weather fishing gear

Cold Weather Fishing Gear

Cold Weather Fishing Gear
Cold Weather Fishing

Fall and Winter Steelhead Gear

One of the more difficult challenges we face in the Midwest during Steelhead season is staying warm. This leads to many questions when preparing for your fishing trip. What do I wear? What cold weather fishing gear do you bring on your trip? With over 30 years of fall/winter steelhead fishing under my belt, I thought I would share how I layer myself before each steelhead trip.

I live by the philosophy that if I get hot I can always take it off. I’ll also share a few bonus tips, tricks, and some new technology along the way. We found some new tech last year that we used with great success and I’ll share that as well.

Base Layer

Once I determine wether the day is going to be wet or dry and what the overall forecast is, I can make my base layer choices. I have two layering systems that I can choose from based on what the weather forecast might be for the day. If I believe it’s going to be wet I prefer my base layer to be a Merino Wool based material. Having tried almost every other type of layering fabric, wool is my go to choice for wet days. No matter how cold and wet I get, wool based materials still keep me warm. The majority of my favorite wool base layers I purchase are from Patagonia and Icebreaker.

One more quick tip here, no matter if it’s a wet or dry forecast, I will NEVER wear cotton based materials! Even on the unseasonable warm days I still go with a synthetic base layer on dry days. Synthetics are always my go to base layer, wether the forecast is wet or dry. I always start with some sort of wicking layer for my base. Some of my favorite wicking layers range from our hoodie less sun-shirts to any of the Simms fabrics.

To complete the base layer system I choose for the day, I may double up on my base layers depending upon the low and high temperatures for the day. It’s not uncommon for me to start with lightweight layers and then add a mid or expedition weight base layer before adding one of my favorite layers of all, the Puffy Jacket.

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Patagonia das pants – product review

steelhead clothingPatagonia’s das pants have been a staple of my winter steelhead gear for the past 3 years,  anytime when temperatures plummet into the 30’s, 20’s, and or are your crazy your going fishing range.  The das pants from Patagonia is one of my first layers I put on.  I can still remember the first day I wore a pair of these pants, felt like I was in a warm down based sleeping bag all day.  I love the feel of the pant, it’s more of a relax feel than a tight based under layer.  No yoga lulu lemon feel.  More like a cozy pair of sweatpants. The das pants are easy to wear under waders or bibs.  Plenty of room in the legs and crotch area to move, climb over boat gunnels and jump onto shore.  The nylon shell is a great windproof layer, and is treated to be very water repellent.  Durability just like every other item I own from Patagonia is top notch, 3 years equals about 300 days of use.  Not a problem yet.  Also feel comfortable in these pants after a long day of fishing to wear them into the local watering hole for a little warm-up juice if I so desire.

My only con with the Patagonia das pants is that they can be “too” warm.  I have to watch the high temperature of the day.  If the temps are going to reach middle or upper 40’s, I could be too warm.  I have to adjust my layering and bring my backup pair of pants to change out.  Also if I’m going to do a long walk let’s say on the little manistee for a day of coho and or early winter steelhead, I’m going to be too warm too.  I’ll end up sweating underneath the layer, the PU coated nylon will hold in my heat too much and I’ll end up having puddles of moisture.  But in the same sense if know I’m spending a day in the drift boat or sled, where I’m sitting more than I’m walking these pants are amazing.

Details

  • Lightweight, PU-coated nylon ripstop shell is durable, water-resistant, windproof and treated with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish
  • Highly compressible, water-resistant 100-g PrimaLoft® ONE insulation provides maximum warmth for its weight
  • Pants have elasticized waist with hook-and-loop tab adjustments at side zips, and separating 2-way zip fly with snap closure
  • Full-length 2-way side zips with insulated wind flaps for easy on/off
  • Elasticized mini-gaiter cuffs with snap-tab closures lock in heat and accommodate an alpine boot
  • 1.2-oz 20-denier 100% nylon PU-coated ripstop, with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish. Insulation: 100-g PrimaLoft® ONE 100% polyester

by Jon Ray

Mangled Fly Hoodie Endorsement

Just received this email from Aaron K. who bought a Mangled Fly Hoodie early this fall just thought I would share.  Thanks Aaron!  I totally agree the best hood on a hoodie I’ve ever worn.

The Mangled Fly logo hoodie is, hands down, my go to mid layer, perfect under the down puff..  I have owned many hoodies over the years, only to find arms and cuffs that shrink, hoods that don’t have enough room, and waistbands that inch up over the washings.  JR has put together a great product here using Champion “Premium” material that is exceptional.  If you follow Jon’s postings you’ve heard a few indorse the hood size. I’m here to second that claim- the roomy hood is killer. Perfect for a quick trip to the woodpile, Starbucks, or those few hours when the clouds move in, the drizzle starts, and the streamer bite wakes up.  Thanks Jon- see you on the water soon.

MFM_hoodie