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West Virginia Wildlife
Cold Weather Fishing
Patrick McMurtry Be Safe, Smart, And Warm On The River

January 30, 2013
Reporter: Patrick McMurtry
Videographer: Brad Rice


It's been really warm this winter, but the water where we are in Shaver's Fork is nearly ice cold...it's 37 degrees and the fish are not exactly chomping our bait. That means we have to explore every hole in the river and that takes a lot of walking, dangerous conditions if you're not careful, and prepared.

David Thorne, a WV DNR biologists, offers a few tips. "You don't want to get cold, you don't want to get wet. We have pretty mild conditions for a mid-winter day now, but if it were 10-20 degrees colder, if it's snowing, if it's raining, you want to wear appropriate gear."

David says hypothermia can be a big, and dangerous, problem if you get in the ice cold water without wearing the right gear. As an illustration, we are wearing two different types of waders. Mine is good for mild to warm weather, but Dave has the warm stuff on.

"I've got neoprene waders on, these are a benefit when it's cold, if it's cold, an extra layer of insulation or flotation if you fall in. You want to keep your hands warm, wear gloves. I usually have fingerless mitts with a cover that goes over the fingers to keep them warm. Wool is good, synthetics is always good. Cotton is not the best fabric, I've got a cotton sweatshirt on, but if it gets wet, it takes a long time to dry. A good fleece is always a better bet." says Thorne.

Of course, the best bet is to dress in layers, have dry clothes, and try your best not to get your skin wet. That's tough to do when you're wading in water trying to catch trout, but if you do get wet, keep one thing in mind.

"The biggest thing in getting warm is to get dry."

With these tips, fishing the winter can be safe and fun.

LEARN MORE at the W. Va. DNR


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