Ice fishing is one of the simpler pleasures in life; once you’ve learned about it, it tends to be one that you’ll keep for a lifetime. But you must dress appropriately. Otherwise, you might have a very different opinion of the experience.
When ice fishing, you need something soft and warm, such as wool or fleece close to the skin on your upper body and a thick shirt or sweater over that. Long underwear underneath your pants and some waterproof boots come next. Add in warming packets and it’s just about perfect.
That’s a very simple way to put it, so today we’re going to dig into the subject a little more so that you can focus on your friends and the fishing instead of worrying about the cold and when you will get back home. Let’s talk about what to wear for ice fishing!
Keeping Your Lower Body Warm And Dry
Long underwear is an old tradition. If you’ve never tried it, we guarantee you’ll be hooked. It helps to insulate you and keep you much warmer than you would be without it.
It’s even better if you can go with a layer of wool on top of that, but sweatpants will work in a pinch if you don’t have wool leggings.
Top it all off with some coveralls that need to be waterproof – you’ll be tending your lines all day, and once you get wet, you’ll be happy when the water rolls right off.
Layering Tips For Your Upper Body
You want at least two layers working to keep you warm for your upper body. Start with a bottom layer of a fleece or wool sweater or shirt, and with a quality Supplex or a Gore-Tex coat, this will do the trick nicely.
You’ll be insulated, but not so much that your mobility is affected, and that’s exactly what you’re shooting for. You’re also going to want a good pair of gloves, and if you like to reach into the water to pull out your fish, you can find Neoprene, fleece-lined gloves with a long cuff for added protection.
Finally, there’s a reason everyone wears a stocking cap, and that reason is that they work. You lose a lot of heat from an uncovered head, and the best layering in the world won’t help you if you don’t bother to cover your head properly.
Don’t Forget Your Feet
Ideally, you need a pair of boots and cleats for navigating the slippery ice, and they need to be bother waterproofed and, if possible, have a removable liner. That way, if the water manages to get in anyway, you can dry them up easily by hanging them outside later once you’ve given them a cleaning.
Wool socks are an absolute must and put another pair on over those. If your feet get cold, you’ll be miserable, and that’s a guarantee.
The Best Ice Fishing Boots
Technology has come a long way with ice fishing boots. We’ve put together this years best options for ice fishing boots here: The Best Ice Fishing Boots – Review the Top 5 Boots on the Market
Some Last-Minute Tips On What To Wear Ice Fishing
Now that we’ve covered the basics, we’ve got a few last-minute tips that can go a long way to ensuring that the ice and the cold don’t take all the fun out of your fishing. They’re all practical, recommended, and straight from Seasoned Anglers, so use your best judgment and take what you like:
- Double-sided tape is cheap, so get a roll and use a strip to adhere a 6-8 hour warmer directly to your sock, close to the toes. It’ll keep you warm well into the day.
- Pack a set of spare clothes, especially two pairs of socks. Sometimes the water wins, and you’ll be glad to have them when it does.
- Heating packets in your gloves are nice, but keep a spare two unused spares in your shirt, just in case water manages to get in your gloves. You might not need it, but if the worst happens, you’ll be able to warm up your hands quickly.
- A good pair of sunglasses is a must. Sunlight bounces right off ice, and a good pair of shades will ensure that you can still see strikes on your lines and where you’re going at all times. Keep a spare pair or put a securing band in place as well, because they fall off more often than you’d think!