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Safe Winter Wading?

Discussion in 'Southwest Ohio Fishing Reports' started by jacmec, Nov 12, 2008.

  1. So I am thinking about going back on my promise to keep out of the water this winter. Any ideas to keep safe and warm while wading. I know a belt and layers will be essential but beyond that any ideas?
  2. I suggest strongly that if you wade bring along extra clothes in a watertight bag. You can buy them at Gander Mtn, Dick's or order online. Also waterproof matches and some kind of accelerant, like lighter fluid, to build a fire quickly. A second waterproof bag with blankets might be good too. That's alot of extra gear to carry but if you go in you have very little time to get dry and warm up before hypothermia sets in. As for me I'll sit home and wait til the rain swells the river enough to make bank fishing an option then I'll hit the river this winter.
    Be careful, Jake, so we can hit the smallie holes next spring.

  3. a few non-negotiables in winter wading
    1. Do NOT wade in high cold water
    2. do not wade areas that you donnot know well
    3. never wade in the winter alone, always fish with a partner
    4. cotton is the anti-crist, where all synthetic or wool clothing

    now to the not as serious but still important stuff, you dont need 4 pairs of socks, a pair of wicking socks with a single pair of good wool socks on top will work best, and wear big boots. if you have tight socks and boots you will cut off the circulation, no blood no heat. I like breathable waders, I fish alot, all winter and I have fished in horrific conditions and I have never needed neoprenes when properly dressed. also, they are more difficult to wade in, I personally feel that breathables are safer in that regard.

    last but not least, winter fishing locally is misrable, cold, and the best time to get away from crowds and catch the biggest fish we have around here, just be carefull, every year we lose people to the local waterways.
  4. Tall cool one

    Tall cool one strictly flyfishing

    300wt fleece socks over a pr of mid-weight wool or polypro and a wicking pr at the base. Heavy poly fleece sweats(NOT cotton),wicking top and undies,200wt w/ high neck shirt,a fleece vest and windproof/waterproof jacket. I fish all winter long in this and have for many years. Also,make sure you have plenty of food in your stomach,the furnace can't burn w/ no fuel , and bring some high energy snacks and a drink. Keeping caloried up is a good way to keep warm.If you fish by y'self as I often do just be careful and think twice about what you're doing in the water,don't get in too deep or fast water.
    Not much that goes on down here in the winter,I fish mostly around the 5 grt lks for steelhead and lake run browns in the winter,TC1
  5. It's been awhile since I last fished in the middle of winter, but I dressed the same as if I was going to work at a construction site for the day. Back then, I worked outdoors all day, year-round. Two pairs of socks, long johns, jeans, turtleneck, fairly thick overshirt, thick coat, and a hat which covered the ears. I just slipped into my cheap rubber waders and went fishing. I can remember tripping over rocks a few times, but I never fell deep enough to get my waders full of water. I waded in deep and swift currents, which was stupid, but I just got lucky. I would certainly avoid any areas that are deep or swift. I figured that if I fell and got wet, it would be a cold and miserable trek to my vehicle and back home, but it wouldn't kill me.

    I don't think that one can be totally "safe" when messing around in a river during the cold winter. It's just a matter of being careful, which would include the suggestions already mentioned. No matter how careful you are, it's still dangerous.
  6. Ajax

    Ajax Rapala Snagger

    I'm a fairly strong swimmer and usually after finishing a hole I will go down and retrieve crankbaits if I can mark exactly where they are at. I lost two good ones last week. I knew better than to try this time. Don't even attempt it in the winter. Sometimes I cross heavy current to get to a hole. Plan your route and account for the current pushing you downstream. If the water gets two inches above your knee head back. Have an escape route if you do get swept down. If your chest gets wet get to a warm vehicle as soon as possible and put on dry clothes.
  7. You should print the above advice & take it with you. To get specific...DO NOT wear blue jeans (cotton)-DO wear polyfleece pants. The only other item I would suggest is a good, collapsible wading staff (I recommend Folstaf). Every time I've taken a dip, having a staff with me would have prevented it. Once was in December about 35 years ago on the Chagrin downstream of Daniel's Park, about 1/4 mile from the car, no change of clothes & wearing cotton. The one SMART thing I did that day was to be with a partner, or I wouldn't be posting this. I learned the hard way.
    BTW, and you probably already know this, wool & polyfleece insulate when wet....pretty important point.
  8. SConner

    SConner Fish Whisperer

    Lots of great suggestions, but one stuck out for me... Winter is not the time to explore new stretches of river. Go where you know every rock and drop off in the river.

    Also, probably a good idea never to stray to far from the vehicle. Getting wet is a minor irritant if you can make a quick dash to the car, but can be deadly if your a 30 minute hike away.

    I tripped last winter in shallow water but still soaked by upper torso and head. 2 minutes later I was at my car, 10 minutes later I was in my house warming up and laughing at myself. Hate to think how different the story would have turned out if I had been 15-20 minutes to car plus any significant drive time.

    Be careful!
  9. Thanks for the great ideas. Looks like I have to budget a little $ to get some of this gear, really can't put a price on you life though. So are you suggesting some under armour kind of stuff, when talking about synthetic wear? Although I plan on wading the GMR sometime this winter, this is mostly for the Mad River. TC1, what is the winter brown trout fishing like on the Mad? I have yet to fish for trout in cold weather (first year fly fishing). Thanks again folks.
  10. winter fishing the mad can be excellent!, if the water is low and you like fishing dries fishing midge patterns can catch lots of fish. streamer fishing however has been the best for me, probably because I usually fish the mad when the water is too high at brookville so the mad is up in the first place, if its your first year winter fishing take lots of wooly buggers and griffiths gnats, if you want to nymph carry some black copper johns and some green caddis larva. do not underestimate the current in the winter there, and what you footing, piled leaves can and do hide holes.
    layer up with an under armour, then some thick wader pants(basically sweats), and up top layer and have a good fleece pullover. always have a rain shell available just in case. and get a couple pairs of wool or fleece fingertip-less gloves, always wear a hat and bring a camera for the pigs
  11. Falling isn't a good thing in winter. I saw a guy do that below a dam. He went down flat on his back. I mean he was completely soaked. You could see the steam coming off of him as he hurriedly booked it past me to his car. I bet he had a good quarter to half mile hike to get warm. Hey Riverking, any suggestions on where someone might be able to pick up some of that gear? :)
  12. Ruminator

    Ruminator TeamOGF

  13. Tall cool one

    Tall cool one strictly flyfishing

    Don't forget retail outlets such as Value city or burlington coats. Fleece does'nt have to have a brand name label on it to work.Just make sure its polyester fleece,not cotton or cotton blends,it'll cost you less than even Cabelas.TC1
  14. corndawg

    corndawg Go Bulldogs!!!

    I wear breathable chest waders with a pair of polypro wicking socks and two pairs of merino wool socks. You’ve got to have wiggle room in your boots to keep blood circulating. A pair of polypro long johns, fleece wading pants and a good layering of polypro and fleece on my body and I’m good all winter long.

    No need to wade any deeper than your knees. If you go any deeper you could be wading where fish are holding. I’ve seen guys wading in water that was above their waist in the middle of the winter :rolleyes: . Unfigging believable. Just because your wearing chest waders doesn’t mean you should wade in water up to your chest.
  15. Ruminator

    Ruminator TeamOGF

    Good point about the retailers. Which of them sell good wicking base layer socks? I need a new pair.;)
  16. Ruminator

    Ruminator TeamOGF

    Another item I'm deciding on right now is which wading staff to buy. You've read in this thread how many times guys slip and get soaked. Having a third point of stability will prevent most of those I'm told.

    These are the two collapsible ones I've find and like-

    This one is made of graphite and is $59.99.

    This one is aluminum and $99.99.

    Some of the guys here recommend the 3/4" Folstaf. I will get the 3/4" model if I go with the Folstaf.

    They both have good reviews overall, but a few complaints about difficulty taking down the Folstaf.

    And both come with belt pouch to carry them in when not needed. When you pull it out, the thing automatically opens ready for use. ;)

    Heck of a safety item in the winter.
  17. When I decided to start wading I looked into wading staffs and found several complaints about collapsible ones actually collapsing in use and causing an accident. Some recommended using ski poles which are lightweight.
  18. Ruminator

    Ruminator TeamOGF

    I have a well developed thread in our Steelhead Talk forum on Wading Staffs that you guys can also check out.

    jimnrg is right, apparently you can get a collapsible to get stuck between rocks where the bottom section will pull out causing a need to stop and reinsert it or whatever. Weighing that against the popping into palce as you pull it from your belt, and its small size while folded up, I still prefer the collapsible one myself.
  19. iteech

    iteech Shebasser

    I'm sure enough has been said about this, and to tell the truth I know little or nothing about staying safe under these conditions. I cannot tolerate the cold, so I fish in the winter very little. I just want to remind anyone that hasn't been in this area of the country very long--the newspapers carry a story at least 2-3 times every winter about a fisherman that somehow lost his life on the river. What strikes me is these men have often been described as "experienced winter fishermen", etc. That's scary. That means it's the experts who died, not the amatuers. I've wondered why this is--but I think it might be chalked up to over-confidence. What very knowledgeable river-king thinks he will DIE on the water? Please, guys, be mega-safe. I know some of you are really "over" hearing constant precautions, especially if you have confidence in your wisdom and abilities, and you've done this successfully "many times". I do not often experience this, but my 'mother's intuition' sent a cold chill down my back while I was reading this thread--it really shook me up. Think twice, three times, four times...OK?? I'm just saying!;)
  20. Those deaths are almost always due to hypothermia, even though they are often reported as drownings. BTW, "experienced" does NOT necessarily mean "expert". Far too often, folks get careless because they have waded without a mishap in the past....Unfortunately, it only takes ONE slip or fall. Better to be prepared.
    You posted a fine reminder to us all...Thanks!