When fingers get cold, everything gets cold, and it doesn’t take long before you become less focused. That can make you miss fish. More importantly, you could do something careless and potentially dangerous, given the condition that made your hands cold in the first place. The right gear goes a long ways toward keeping your hands warmer when you’re knee deep in a trout stream on a winter day.
Wool, Fingerless Gloves
The warmest gloves in the universe don’t help if you can’t fish with them on your hands and therefore take them off. Wool, fingerless gloves, for my money, offer the best blend of warmth and fishability, and they continue to function pretty well even if they get wet.
If you’re shopping for waders or wading coats, make sure one or the other has handy, lined hand-warming pockets. Getting those exposed digits out of the direct cold even for a few minutes at a time makes a huge difference.
The little disposable hand-warmers that heat up when you open the package offer a perfect complement to hand-warming pockets. Stick one in each, and you not only have a protected place for your fingertips, but a warm space and even something warm to wrap your fingers around.
Finally, be sure you have hemostats or something similar within easy reach. Beyond being easier on any fish you intend to release, grabbling the hook with hemos and twisting it out without touching the fish definitely allows you to keep your hands much warmer.