Winter Fly Fishing Gear
When people think of fishing in Montana they usually picture a drift boat floating down one of our majestic rivers like the Yellowstone or Madison during a bluebird summer day. While there is nothing wrong with that scene, and believe me when I say that we enjoy floating a hopper down a grassy Yellowstone bank in August as much as you, there are other fishing opportunities in Montana for the adventurous angler. Some of the best fishing of the year in Montana can happen during the winter months and early spring. One can find everything from amazing hatches on world famous spring creeks to great streamer fishing on our bigger rivers. If you were to ask the locals in Bozeman you would likely find them to tell you that this is their favorite time of the year to be on the water. Winter fishing does require specialized gear and clothing to allow you to be comfortable in temperatures ranging from forty to twenty degrees or colder. In the past few years there have been numerous advancements in winter fishing clothing and now we are starting to look at these clothes more like “gear” than ever before. We have a favorite few pieces of winter “gear” that allow us to hit the river this time of the year and stay warm and comfortable for a long period of time. Below is a list of some of these items from Simms Fishing Products that we have really enjoyed the past couple of years and we hope you will get the opportunity to try them as well. We all know how important waders, boots and an outer shell like the Simms Guide Jacket or G4 Pro Jacket is and we have not included those core pieces in this post.
- The Simms Wool Scotch Cap($39.95) is both a functional and stylish hat for the winter angler and there are a couple of key features that we really like in this cap. First there is a full bill to protect your eyes from the elements like snow and sleet, much better than a traditional stocking type cap, and there is a convertible wool ear flap for when the weather really turns cold!
- The Simms Kinetic Jacket($249.95) is a great layering jacket under your outer shell and can also be worn alone on warmer winter days. The Kinetic Jacket gets it warmth from Primaloft Gold insulation which retains 96% of its warmth even when wet. Increased mobility without sacrificing warmth was what the Kinetic Jacket was designed for and it achieves this with a couple of unique features. First, the Polartec WindPro Stretch Fleece in the underarm and body panels allows for both greater breathability and range of motion for casting or rowing drift boats. A low profile insulated hood will keep your head warm and is designed to layer under the Storm Hoods on jackets like the G4 Pro Jacket or Classic Guide Jacket. Overall the Simms Kinetic Jacket is designed to keep you warm on the river without sacrificing your ability to fish and it also looks good enough to wear around town the next day!
- One of my favorite cold weather items from Simms is the Simms Guide Mid Top($89.95) which has kept me warm on many a day fishing the spring creeks or sitting in a cold duck blind. This is an amazing layering piece that really keeps you warm without feeling bulky. The Guide Mid Top offers more technical functionality when compared to many other fleece tops on the market today. Abrasion resistant 4 way stretch fleece offers better breathability, mobility and wicking performance in the Mid Top. Also, the articulated elbows allow for greater casting and rowing movement.
- The Simms Coldweather Pant($99.95) has been around for a couple of years but its popularity continues to grow as more people find out about this product. The Coldweather Pants give you the option to wear a more conventional pant under your waders rather than the traditional form fitting layering pants we have been using for years. This is really nice if you want to stop and grab a burger on the way home from a long day of fishing and they look like a regular pair of pants rather than your long underwear! A micro fleece lined interior keeps you warm and comfortable in these pants and a double layer articulated knee adds both durability and comfort.
- Warm hands are one of the most important parts of winter fishing and the Simms Exstream Foldover Mitt($59.95) is one of the best fishing gloves that we have ever used. The Foldover Mitt design combines the functionality of a fingerless glove and the warmth capability of a mitt all wrapped into one. Polartec Powershield Pro Fleece is highly water and wind resistant and maintains a high warmth to weight ratio. One of the nicest features to the Exstream Foldover Mitt is there is a pocket on the inner wrist for a hand warmer packet which warms the blood as it flows into the glove, and this really keeps your fingers warm on a cold day!
- Last but not certainly least in your cold weather gear are the Simms Exstream Wading Socks($29.95). Everyone knows that cold feet can end a day of fishing faster than anything else and these socks are the answer for anyone who has had to quit fishing despite an epic midge hatch on your favorite winter water. The Exstream Wading Socks are composed of a premium Merino wool blend which keep your feet both dry and warm and they have a fit that is specifically designed for wading with a fully cushioned foot bed.
While there are a lot of other great cold weather options from Simms Fishing Products, we feel like these items offer the best way to stay warm and fish out here in Montana in the winter. One really nice feature about all these items is that they have crossover appeal. You could walk down Main Street here in Bozeman or head into your favorite restaurant for a quick bite and not look at all different from everyone else in how you are dressed. I would recommend that you head to one of our local rivers first and try out all these great pieces of “gear” on the water! Stay warm and dry out there everyone and enjoy one of our favorite times of the year to experience some of Montana’s best fishing!