I love fly fishing in the winter, if you’re seeking solitude – winter is the time. On the flip side, I hate the cold. I’ve spent years figuring out how to stay warm while fly fishing. Last winter I purchased some heavy fleece wading pants and I can’t say enough good stuff about them.
If you want to stay warm winter wading get some Redington Fly Fishing I/O Fleece Pants (Amazon Link to check the very competitive price).
Staying warm in the low teens requires a layering system. Starting at the bottom working up I’ve tested and refined socks, under garments, second layers and outer layers. Wading and fishing puts a couple extra twists into any system for staying warm. You need to consider you’ll probably get a little wet. So, wool and fleece play heavily into the clothes I’m wearing. Think about sinking your hands and arms into 38-degree water to unhook a fish, then exposing those same limbs to 19 degree winds. Ugh! I get chills just thinking about it.
Covering my Legs in the Winter
For my feet and legs, I’ve worked out a reliable system for air temperatures from single digits to around 50 degrees. The rivers I fish have water temps that range from 34 to 68 degrees. My favorite time to fish is the early spring for steelhead and the late fall for brown trout. During a recent trip in November our outside temps were in the lower teens, it proved to be an amazing outing with the bite turning on after the sun hit the water. The video below detail how amazing it can be, don’t let the cold keep you out of the water!
For my legs, I start with Under Armour Men’s ColdGear Armour Compression Leggings <-link to see reviews and price on AMAZON. Then I put on a single pair of wool blend socks. I’ve found that if my wading boots are fitted correctly, I can wear a single layer of socks and be just fine. I will tell you my little secret that has helped. I use HotHands Toe Warmers <- Amazon link to check the positive reviews. The toe warmers are pretty straight forward to use, just open the plastic package and shake. I wait until I start feeling the packs warm up just a little before sticking them onto my socks. Once you get your other clothes and waders on it sucks to take off your boots and waders to re-apply the warmers if they don’t work.
The next item I to put on are my Redington Wading Pants. The stirrups help hold the pants down while putting on my waders. The combination of a Under Armour, Wool Socks and the Fleece pants covered by either my breathable waders or my neoprene waders has provided warmth on the coldest days.
After the wading pant, I put on either my breathable waders or neoprene waders. The neoprene’s are warmer, plus the boot are part of the waders and are slightly over sized. Being able to wiggle your toes is critical to staying warm. Getting cold will ruin a trip for me a float trip means I won’t be back to the car in less than 5 hours, so my clothes need to be right.
Some of the reviews of these pants say things like “Almost to warm” and “kept my legs warm in 48-degree water”. I believe that keeping your core temperature is key to getting out on the coldest of days.
Fishing in the Cold
What I can say is that winter fishing is all about watching the weather for the right combination of events. I’ve learned that my “home water” has a little formula that I’ve learned from experience. I need two precipitation free days before hitting the water. The river will get significant run-off from surrounding fields which muddies the water fast. Next, I look for a slight warm-up in the winter, say a high of around 34-36 degrees. If it gets much warmer the water temp will decrease because of the cold melt water. Even on days with the water hovering around 38 degrees getting a splash of even colder run-off will turn off the fish.
Wading Pants Details
Below is the list of Q’s and A’s I’ve could gather for these wading pants.
Q’s and A’s
- 100% – 280g non-pilling fleece
- Comfortable full elastic waist band
- Front convenient full zip fly
- Fleece material will stay warm even when wet
- Draw string waist
- Two side pockets in the front
- One zippered rear pocket
- Lycra stirrups to hold pants down when putting on waders
- 5 sizes to choose from – Small up to XX Large
- Imported from Vietnam
- Reports are they run on the big side. I’m a smaller guy and a medium fit just right
- The fleece is heavy – much like a jacket. I couldn’t wear these under jeans.
- So far these have proven to be durable – after a half dozen washes no pilling.
Medium = 32-34″ waist
Large = 36-38″ waist
Extra Large = 40-42″ waist
Extra Extra Large = 44-46″ waist
In-Seam is reported to be about 34-35 inches.
Other uses for the Redington O/I Fleece Wading Pants
The pants have many uses beyond wading. Any cold weather activity could use this type of clothing.
- Duck hunting
- Winter hiking wear them under an outer shell
- Deer hunting
- ICE Fishing
- Skiing wear under wind pants
Conclusion and Recommendation
These are the BEST WADING PANTS I’ve ever owned. Priced right, with all the essentials but nothing extra. If you want to stay warm while fly fishing in the cold get the Redington I/O Fleece Wading Pants <- AMAZON LINK to See review and price
Video Review of the Redington Wading Pants