Dress warm for early spring fishing
Wow, is anybody else feeling the same impatience for spring as I am at this point? We are into the first week of April and walking on the ice to chase after pan fish or tullibees is still an option. We may be looking at a late ice out if things don't start improving soon. I think most of us are really ready to move on and get busy with spring and summer.
As the weather does start to get nice we can start to shed some of the heavier winter gear we have been accustom to wearing. If you are going to continue to be on the ice or start getting a jump on open water bite options available at the Rainy River, Mississippi River, or the Missouri River, you will still want to make sure you are dressing for the weather. I believe it is smart to start with your feet. Make sure you have warm, comfortable footwear and dry socks. Waterproof is a must for comfort. Wet and cold feet can ruin a trip. Socks that can wick moisture away is a must.
Warm boots that make your feet sweat can cause as much problem for you as a boot that gets wet from the outside in. Boot dryers can be a big help in these situations. They are cheep and work great to dry out the inside of your boots or shoes so you are ready to go the next day.
A good pair of quality thermal underwear works well as a foundation for proper dress for springtime conditions. Dress in layers and take more than you think you need. I like my outer shell to be Gore-Tex because of the wind stop nature of the material.
Wind can be more of a problem for warmth and comfort than temperature can. Wind wicks your body heat away from you. If you take a glove off in zero degree weather with no wind you can experience the body's ability to keep a layer of insulation around itself. You take that same hand out and expose it to the elements, even when the temperature is 25 degrees, but add a 15 mile per hour wind, that hand will become numb and painful. Having outerwear that is windproof is extremely important for comfort during the cool spring when we are always contending with wind as the weather transitions.
Have several pairs of gloves in case one gets damp or wet. Hats are a must. It always seems I stay more comfortable if my feet, hands and head are warm and dry. Quality footwear and gloves are even more important for women and children. Spend the extra money on quality gear for them. Nothing can take away the interest and willingness to get out for spring fishing with you again like the bad experience of being uncomfortable the last time out.
Remember the rule of thumb, you can always take gear off to be comfortable, but you can't put more layers on to be comfortable if you don't have them with you. Dress properly to enjoy this time of year properly.
(Laabs runs Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes.)