Preparing for fall and winter steelhead fishing in the Midwest requires strategic layering to combat the challenges of staying warm. With over 30 years of experience, here’s a condensed guide on gearing up for your steelhead trip:

Base Layer: Determine the weather forecast—choose Merino Wool for wet days, providing warmth even when wet. Brands like Patagonia and Duckworth offer excellent options. Avoid cotton; opt for synthetic base layers for both wet and dry forecasts.

Puffy Jacket: Invest in a Puffy Jacket from brands like Patagonia, Simms, or Gill. Doubling up on Puffy Jackets is a game-changer for extreme cold. Consider puffy pants for lower body warmth—a significant addition to your gear arsenal.

Big and Heavy Layer: For harsh conditions, a big protective layer is essential. Gill’s tournament series or the 2022 Meridian-X are top choices for wet weather. Order a size up to accommodate layers comfortably.


Pants Under the Bibs:
Uninsulated bibs allow flexibility. Pair them with Gradient Pants by Sitka for extreme cold or Duckworth’s Powder Pant for wet conditions. Customize based on the day’s temperatures.

Warm Feet: Choose socks with a Merino Wool blend for warmth. Ensure boots are functional and warm. Bogs Workman 17 and Aquaz Rogue Bootfoot are reliable options.

Hats and Gloves: Trap heat with a quality stocking cap and Merino Wool gloves. Multiple pairs of wool gloves are practical; carry extra pairs for a comfortable day. Oversized mittens with heat packs offer added warmth.

New Warmer Technology: Explore reusable rechargeable heaters for a sustainable alternative to chemical heat packs. Brands like Cocopa provide effective options. Choose higher mAh for increased heat.

Bad Gear: Dress appropriately to combat Mother Nature’s challenges. Investing in quality cold weather fishing gear ensures an enjoyable and successful steelhead fishing experience.

Prepare well, stay warm, and make the most of your cold weather adventure!

Image/Source: MangledFly