Think it’s too cold to go fishing? Time to layer up |

Think it’s too cold to go fishing? Time to layer up

Ray Kyle
Special to the Daily

The past couple weeks, the morning temperatures are a bit chilly but the fishing is still good.

The local anglers know that this time of year can provide some of the best fishing opportunities with fewer people sharing the river. The brown trout are starting their annual spawning dance and the rainbows are putting on some extra weight to make it through the lean months of winter.

The only drawback to this time of year is the cool weather that comes along with the onset of our long winter. Here are some tips to keep you warm and on the water throughout the fall and into the winter.


The name of the game for any cool or cold weather activity is layers. The best thing about wearing multiple layers is you can take them off as the day gets warmer. I like to start with a thermal, next to the skin layer on the top and bottom of my body. Pull out your ski/snowboard long underwear and this will get the job done.

On top of the baselayer, I like throwing on a fleece pullover or hoodie on the top of the thermal layer. Fleece will keep you warm even if or when it gets wet, so it’s a great option for cold weather fishing. Lastly, I like to wear my waterproof shell or rain jacket as my outer layer. The baselayer plus the fleece will keep you warm and the rain jacket will keep you dry in case the rain or snow decides to show up.

On the bottom, I like to wear fleece over my base layer, similar to the top layer. Your ski/snowboard socks make for great fishing socks as well. They wick away sweat but keep your feet nice and toasty while standing in the cold river. Your waders are your best friend this time of year. They will keep you dry and warm while at the same time allowing moisture to be dispersed away from your body (with high end breathable waders).


There are two types of cold weather anglers, the ones that wear gloves and the ones that don’t.

I prefer my hands to be warm and functional when I’m fishing. When your hands get cold, it’s more difficult to tie flies on the end of the line, casting becomes tougher, and it’s difficult to stay out for long periods of time. You can really use any type of glove that works best for you, however there are numerous options of “fishing” gloves on the market.

I’m a big fan of the fold over mitten gloves because it’s the best of both worlds. You get a mitten when you’re heading to your spot or when you’re not fishing and then you get the cut off finger gloves when the mitten part is folded back. Keep those hands warm and you’ll be able to fish much longer.

Hand/Foot Warmers

If you are a winter sports enthusiast, then you probably already have a few extra hand or foot warmers laying around. When the river water temperatures drop into the near freezing zone then foot warmers will definitely help lengthen your time on the water. I like to place the foot warmers on the top of my socks and then slide my feet into my waders. If you’re the type of person that doesn’t like to wear gloves, hand warmers placed in your wader pockets or jacket will help warm up those hands in between casts and when you move locations.

If you don’t mind a cold breeze on your face, grab your warm hat and layer up. You will see very few people on the river, so all of the spots that have been taken all summer you will have to yourself. Take advantage of this time of year and explore the juicier sections of the river. Keep those hands warm and soak your legs in the cold water of the Eagle, it’s the best feeling after a long day of hitting the slopes.

Ray Kyle is the guide service coordinator and a guide at Vail Valley Anglers. He can be reached at 970-926-0900 and

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