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Old 11-07-2010, 02:45 PM
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Default Cold or Colder

Fished the Davidson River in NC today and figured out that I need some tips. It was 28 degrees out this morning and there had been snow in the area a few days prior so the river was running colder then normal, which was very cold to me. I have said on the board that I am new to Fly Fishing and I plan on fishing through the winter and realized that I need some pointers to keeping myself warm while wading. My chest and body were warm but I had a few issues with my toes and hands.

What do ya'll use to stay warm in the winter? Toe warmers? Wading Socks? Fingerless Wool Gloves? Also is the easiest way to deice your Guides to dip the rod in the water?
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Old 11-07-2010, 05:44 PM
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Default Re: Cold or Colder

Hey Foothills,
When I think of cold I think of layers, but when waders enter the equation then you're a little more restricted. Wear thermals but stick to those made with either a poly blend or 100% poly. Something like duofold or medalist would be my recommendation. Wear socks of the same material. They will wick away sweat easier and, heres the best reason, if you get wet they will dry much quicker than cotton.
Hope this helps. Its what I use and Ive been happy so far.......
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Old 11-07-2010, 11:37 PM
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Default Re: Cold or Colder

I just went shopping for socks for wading. The sales lady said wool. I said that I couldn't stand the itchy feel of wool. She showed me how most are not like that anymore. Amazing how many different socks they had in knee length wool mostly in the skiing/snowboarding area.
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Old 11-08-2010, 06:19 AM
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Default Re: Cold or Colder

If you're new to fly fishing and still learning the basics the Davidson is not the way to go. It's very strategic fishing with very small midges thrown to very large smart fish. I would try fishingg some wild water in the area, wild fish always seem to be more willing to grab anything that passes them.
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Old 11-08-2010, 08:06 AM
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Default Re: Cold or Colder

Hi foothillstrout,

Keeping warm can be a problem in winter fishing. There are a couple of principals of keeping warm that makes a big difference if you follow them.

1. The bodies main function is to keep the core warm. So in the cold the body sacrifices the hands, feet and limbs to keep your core warm. Even though your body was warm it may be you need some additional warmth to your torso so it doesn't reduce blood flow to your feet and hands. Primary blood vessels come close to the surface of the skin in the neck and wrists. If you keep these areas protected from the air, less heat will escape and will help prevent cold hands. So wear something to keep your neck warm. A Jacket with a hood does a good job of keeping the neck warm and stops heat from escaping. A neck warmer or Balaclava works very well. I have use silk, wool and fleece Balaclavas. I really liked the silk in moderate cold and the fleece felt nice next to the skin. Wool is the warmest but it aggravates my neck. The silk packed small and I could carry in a pocket until needed. Silk was warm enough for most fishing conditions. The trick is to keep the wind off of your neck area.

2. You can't beat Chemical Hot Packs for keeping the body warm. Put one in inside pockets over each side of your chest area. They get really hot (135 degrees) and last for several hours. You can also keep them in front pockets so you can put your hands inside to warm them. I would fish for a while until my hands were too cold. Stop fishing and stick your hands into the front pockets next the the Hot Packs and instant warm hands. Go back to fishing until the next warm up for your hands.

3. Fingerless gloves are very handy for fishing. Wool or Windstopper Fleece work very well. If you operate a boat and your hands are wet most of the time then Skin Divers Gloves (neoprene) work well. It is hard to fish with neoprene gloves. One trick is to wear a neoprene glove on one hand and a fingerless glove on the other hand. This combination makes it easier to tie knots and only one hand has to be in your pocket with a hand warmer.

4. Keeping my feet warm has always been the hardest. Especially as I have gotten older and my circulation is not as good. The best combination is wool socks with silk or poly liners. I prefer silk as they are slick and don't slide down inside of the outer wool sock. The warmest socks I have ever used were a wool and silk blend. Never put on the same socks two days in a row. They absorb moisture and you feet will get cold quicker than when you have on dry socks. The same can be said for your underwear. Wear fresh dry items next to your skin every day. The best foot warmer is electric socks. In really cold weather electric socks are hard to beat standing in water.

So the biggest secret to keeping warm is to keep good circulation to your feet and hands. Don't wear clothing or boots that are too tight. Tight clothing and boots will limit circulation and your feet and hands will get cold. The warmer your torso is the warmer your hands and feet will be.

Frank

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Old 11-08-2010, 09:19 AM
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Default Re: Cold or Colder

Welcome to winter fishing... First thing in my book is your feet, if they get cold your done for the day. If you are using stocking foot waders get another pair of boots that are at least one size larger then your regular shoe size; size 10 = 11 or 12. Now the next step; a pair of wicking type liner sock under a pair of "SmartWool" socks. The advice on the polypro underwear is right on the money, and layering with more poly on the outside is the way to go. All you need is a good windproof wading jacket along with fingerless wool; my personal choice, or some polypro/gortex combos; and a good warm hat.

For rod guide icing get some Stanley's Ice Off or if your thrifty use Vaseline both will slow down the icing.

Good Luck,
Dan
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Old 11-08-2010, 11:15 AM
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Default Re: Cold or Colder

Amen to the chemical hot packs! I suffered frost bite on my toes decades ago and if not for them I couldn't get out to fish if not for them in my oversize boots! They get very hot but last for 8 hours for me. I always carry extra in the tackle just in case.
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Old 11-08-2010, 11:53 AM
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Default Re: Cold or Colder

Being from the South, but having learned to FF where I live now in Upstate New York, I know what you are going through. Here's what I've learned so far:

#1 Feet, you need to have some wiggle room in the boots you are wearing. You can have the best, thickest socks in the world, if you don't have plenty of room, you'll loose circulation and quickly get too cold.

#2 I've also noticed that if I keep my head/ears and my neck warm, the rest will follow. I wear a plain old Carhartt stocking cap to cover my head and ears and I'll use a fleece scarf to keep the neck warm.

#3 Best gloves I've found are the Simms gloves that have a mitten flip up deal to reveal fingerless, these are made out of fleece as well.

I used to wear thick neoprene waders in the winter and would still freeze. I've found that if I do the above, I can easily wear my breathables with a couple pairs of sweat pants on underneath and be good to go.

Those little chemical heating packages are the cat's meow as a backup for sure. I've fished in the winter for Steelhead up here and there has been many times where it's been well below zero, much warmer in the H2O than standing on the bank. Once you start to feel that your hands are going to go, stop right then and there and get the blood flow going and get them warm or else you will be in for a pretty good amount of pain, I've learned this the hard way.

Tim Boothe
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Old 11-08-2010, 11:57 AM
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Default Re: Cold or Colder

I had the same issues you are having over the last couple years, but purchased some smartwool socks and wear these with a pari of merino wool socks over them and have found that this keeps my on the water about twice as long. I wear wool fingerless gloves and keep a hot pack in my hand warmer pockets for when the fingertips get cold. I have also found that a baclavia (not the pastry) is great for keeping the head and ears warm topped with a wool cap. The thing to remember is your body will rob circulation from the extremeties if the core gets cold, so keep the core and head warm (poly thermals and layers) and you will find the extremeties (feet and fingers) will stay warmer as well.

Dave
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