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Dressing for Ice Fishing: A Short Guide

Finally, you’ll want warm headwear to keep out the cold. If you are exposed on the ice (that is, not under a pop-up ice shelter) wind and snow can take their toll on your exposed neck, nose, cheeks, and ears. Wear a warm beanie and bring along a scarf or...

Aside from uncooperative perch, nothing can ruin a day on the ice quite like the cold getting to you. Freezing is no way to enjoy the outdoors during the colder months of the year.

Therefore, hard water anglers should take heed to observe some of the following bits of advice when it comes to dressing properly before venturing out on the ice. Staying warm and dry with the right ice fishing gear will make a productive, successful trip all the more enjoyable.

Warm Socks & Footwear

Warm footwear and socks are the foundation (quite literally) of an appropriate ice fishing ensemble.

Warm, waterproof boots are essential. Pay close attention to the insulation rating and watch the forecast for projected temperatures so you can be sure you’re choosing boots that are adequate for the outing.

In boots, in addition to waterproofing and insulation, consider a pair with thick lug soles that have an aggressive tread pattern that will give you a better grip on ice, slush, and snow. Ice cleats are recommended as they assist the boot grip by increasing traction.

Socks are your next line of defense against freezing temperatures. Avoid cotton, which will suck heat out of your toes if it gets wet. Opt instead for wool or wool-blend heavyweight socks, or, if you’re very temperature-sensitive, a pair of heated socks.

In addition, wearing a thin layering sock, typically made of a silk blend, under the heavier sock will help wick moisture. Wicking moisture is crucial to ensure comfort for long days on the ice. When your feet get wet, whether from moisture soaking through the boot or from sweat, this will cause your feet to get cold. The extra barrier of the layering sock will help alleviate moisture issues.

Base and Mid Layers

Layering is crucial when you’re out in the cold, whether you’re ice fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, snowmobiling, or otherwise. Layering your ice fishing clothing gives you the ability to thermoregulate by shedding layers when you get too warm and adding them when you start to cool off - protecting you against the dangers of sweating in the cold, as well as against hypothermia.

A good base layer that sits next to your skin should be both warm and breathable. Merino wool makes an excellent material for base layers because it is warm and has the ability to absorb moisture - helping to prevent perspiration from chilling you if you do get too warm.

Next is a mid-layer that should provide additional insulation to keep you warm. Some of our mid-layer tops and bottoms are made with stretch polyester with a DWR treatment that will shed moisture, keeping you warm and dry.

Bottoms: Women’s Ice Fishing Bibs & Pants

Over your lower mid-layer, you’ll need a pair of ice fishing pants or bibs. Many ice anglers recommend a “one-piece outer layer” like coveralls, that have no points where heat can escape. Ice fishing bibs are a good middle ground, as they cover the gap where, between a jacket and pants, cold air would be able to enter.

Our women’s ice fishing bibs are full of features that make them suitable for cold-weather fishing. Some of them feature durable polyester shells that are both waterproof and breathable. Primaloft insulation keeps them warm and fully-taped seams help keep them dry.

All of our women’s ice fishing bibs are also made with FLOTEX Layered Foam Insulation that provides additional insulation as well as flotation assistance. Our ice fishing bibs also feature drop-seat designs, roomy pockets, boot gaiters, removable knee pads, and more - all of which will improve your comfort and overall experience on the ice.

Tops: Ice Fishing Jackets

An ice fishing suit should also include a warm, waterproof jacket as an outer layer against the worst of the elements.

Our ice fishing jackets, specifically our Avid 2.0 and Arctic Appeal 3.0 ice fishing jackets, offer a lot of the same features that make our women’s ice fishing bibs comfortable, warm, and waterproof.

They feature tough polyester shells that are waterproof and breathable and are insulated to keep you warm. They also feature FLOTEX flotation assistance that adds insulation and can assist you in the event of an emergency.

In addition, they feature underarm vents for temperature regulation, powder skirts to keep out wind and snow, large interior mesh pockets, and reflective piping for enhanced nighttime visibility.


Handling freezing cold jigs, bait, and fish is tough on your extremities, and most ice anglers find that their hands are the first to become cold when exposed to the elements. That makes a good pair of ice fishing gloves or mittens a must - even though you may prefer to remove them from time to time.

Some ice anglers wear two pairs of gloves; wool liner gloves, and then a pair of mittens or thicker gloves over those. We also sell pop-top mittens that give you the ability to exercise greater dexterity as needed while keeping your fingertips covered the rest of the time.

Even if you don’t wear two pairs of gloves simultaneously, always bring a second redundant pair; follow the “two is one and one is none” philosophy. If your first pair gets wet, you’ll have a dry reserve.

Hat & Sunglasses

Finally, you’ll want warm headwear to keep out the cold. If you are exposed on the ice (that is, not under a pop-up ice shelter) wind and snow can take their toll on your exposed neck, nose, cheeks, and ears. Wear a warm beanie and bring along a scarf or balaclava for extra protection if needed. Our cold weather neckwarmer is a great choice as it is fleece-lined and has an adjustable drawstring to keep the neckwarmer in place as well as trapping heat. You can always shed the extra layer if you don’t need it.

As for sunglasses, these will help cut glare during the day if you’re on the ice in the sun. Under a shelter, or at night, you won’t find them as necessary - but you’ll still want to have them there, just in case.


Stay Warm & Stay Safe

Ready for winter? We are! If you have any questions about what to bring with you for your first foray on the ice, get in touch with us. We’d love to help outfit you for a successful trip or make recommendations.

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