10 tips for fishing in cold weather

Karl Kalonka, David Chong and Mark Kulik of Ontario-based Extreme Angler TV know a little something about cold weather. They fish in it regularly. Here are 10 of their tips for staying warm and having a good time when the mercury is falling and the snow is flying.

1. Start dry

"It's important that your undergarments be dry when you put them on in the morning. Don't wear the ones you slept in the night before or sweated in at breakfast. They may seem dry but they have absorbed moisture that'll chill you to the bone in an open boat."

2. Stay dry

"Don't allow yourself to get wet. Wear the very best waterproof, outdoor clothing — Helly Hansen is some of the best — and don't take it off unless you know you can stay dry."

3. Avoid cotton

"When you sweat, cotton holds moisture next to your skin. Use synthetic fabrics or wool. They wick moisture away from your body."

4. Dress in layers

"You hear this all the time, but there's a reason for that — it works. Several thin layers of clothing are better than one heavy layer. Start with thin lightweight stuff and get progressively heavier as you put on the outer layers."

5. Protect your extremities 

"Your hands, feet, ears and nose will get cold first. Keep them warm at all costs. Always carry several changes of gloves in the boat. Once your hands get cold you can't do much of anything."

6. Keep your head warm

 "A lot of your body's heat is lost through your head. It's important to keep it dry and warm. There are a lot of good products around that'll work. Buy one that suits your needs and then use it."

7. Know your limit

 "We fish in extreme weather, but we've been doing it for a long time and know how to handle it. Don't pick the coldest day of the year to start. And don't stay out too long. Remember, if you fish to your limits you'll have nothing left to take you back to the dock."

8. Don't ever fish alone

 "Never fish alone when it's cold. Small things become big things quickly when it's below freezing. It's important to have help in the boat when you'll need it and where it'll do you some good."

9. Safety comes first

"Pay attention to where you're at, what the weather is doing and what you're doing. Always wear some kind of survival jacket or device. The Mustang Classic Coat is a great cold weather safety product. It's waterproof, insulated and will keep you floating if you fall out of the boat."

10. Catch a lot of fish

"Nothing warms you up faster than a couple of good smallies. We highly recommend you catch a few."

Originally published November 9, 2007

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