I have been fly fishing in the winter months pretty much right from the time I first started fishing in college. I was very fortunate to have had a river that was legal to fish in the winter within walking distance from where I lived. I took full advantage of that. And I caught my fair share of landlocked salmon and brown trout too. During that time I learned a thing or two about being warm and safe while fishing in the winter months. I have been amazed (and shocked) at some of the people I have fished with in cold conditions- a total lack of preparedness by people who should know better. Cotton kills folks. Plain and simple. Wet cotton holds less heat than air does. It wicks heat away from your body. If a guide puts on his waders with jeans underneath, you gotta wonder if he knows what he is doing....
Well here is my system that works out pretty well. I start with a good pair of synthetic underwear (coincidentally, I wear synthetic undies for fishing all year. So much more comfy and it eliminates chafe). I have pictures for most of the layers, but I spared you all the horror of viewing my underwear. Breathe a sigh of relief now.
Now that you are all properly layered up you can adjust during the day as the conditions call for. Yesterday I was overheating pretty quickly. It was in the 30's and I didn't need quite as much on. I took off my favorite sweater and I was good. It won't take long to figure out what you need to do to stay comfortable. Sometimes just zipping or unzipping your wading jacket will help a lot. Taking off your hat while you walk will help keep you from overheating. A good pair of fleece gloves is a really nice thing for your hands. Those little handwarmer packs are wonderful to defrost cold fingers too.
So how did I do on the water yesterday? You will have to read the post tomorrow to find out!