Photo courtesy of Fishpond
Of course some of my buddies never stop fishing, and they love having the rivers to themselves in the winter, with gin clear water testing infinite patience. For me, fishing the rivers and creeks from Boulder to Glenwood Springs, Colorado, is one of the best ways to kill sunny days when the snow hasn’t fallen in a while, or weekends when there’s too many tourists on the ski hill from now to April, I just love being outside in the cold. If you’re an angler from a warmer climate, you may be surprised to hear we have fly fishing all year in the high country, or you may not care. Some of my picks here for winter fishing gear are appropriate for all latitudes — even Westerners plotting a winter getaway to warmer waters south of the border.
Photo courtesy of Costa Sunglasses
Redington Sonic-Pro HDZ Waders
The Sonic-Pro Waders are a relatively expensive but crucial part of any serious angler’s kit. I’ve been using a pair of the Sonic-Pros for years, and they are particularly known for their comfort, with no durability issues whatsoever. The HDZ model adds the hardcore, waterproof TIZIP zipper with a snap-tab to secure the zipper pull at the top and, of course, keep water out. They have two-sided fleece hand-warmer pockets and reinforced, ergonomic neoprene bootie bottoms. The Sonic Pro HDZ waders have a an integrated tool dock on the left chest pocket and large water-resistant pocket in front for your dip. MSRP: $499.95
A “motu” is a small islet made up of crushed coral and sand off the coast around salt flats, where fishermen like to anchor up for a bit. The Motu sunglasses, like all Costas, are 100 percent polarized and block 100 percent of UV rays, allowing you to see through the water all day without eye strain. It’s a standard piece of fishing-bro equipment, and we like the Motu because they have a slight relieved curve to fit comfortably around the face (medium fit) and reduce glare entering from behind. They’re Rx compatible and available in various frame colors and lens options, which affects the price, which isn’t low. But every pair of Costa Sunglasses includes a limited lifetime warranty. MSRP: $169-$259
RIO InTouch Big Nasty
Fishing in the winter sometimes you are just dangling bead heads through the ice, but sometimes you’re fishing bigger, moving water where stubborn hogs are trying to stay warm in big holes beneath the banks. For that, the RIO Big Nasty is best for tossing large streamers and nymph rigs. The InTouch Big Nasty line is actually heavier than an industry standard, and has a short and powerful front taper that transfers throughout a cast. Fans say it also loads the rod nicely for an accurate, long distance lunker cast. Lines have welded loops on both ends for knotless connections. MSRP: $89.95
Grundéns Dark and Stormy Jacket and Bibs
The Dark and Stormy Jacket and Bibs are the cornerstone of the new Grundéns Sport Fishing Line, born from its decades of experience building apparel for fishermen, yet Americanized and purpose built for winter anglers like you’re about to become.
Instead of Gore-Tex for waterproof breathability, they use eVent, which some argue actually breathes better than Gore-Tex. Features include two zippered hand pockets, five large zippered chest pockets (two are bellowed), and a rear zippered bellowed game pocket. It has a waterproof front zipper, adjustable neoprene cuffs, an interior stretch wind/water skirt, and adjustable hem and hood cords. You’ll recognize a lot of its features from your backcountry ski shell, but it will give you a bit more redneck cred, like having a Yeti in the back of your SUV. The matching bibs might not be your first purchase, especially if you’re always wearing waders, but they’re sweet, and hey, as long as you’ve got your credit card out, you could always ski in them if you had to. MSRP: $350 bibs; $380 jacket
Photo courtesy of Grundens