If you don’t properly dress when ice fishing, you will find yourself shivering, cold, and miserable. Chances are you are not going to get much fishing in if you don’t have the right ice fishing clothes. You will likely pack your things and head home early, and most likely with little to show for your short efforts.
Let’s take a look at some of the great ice fishing clothes options out there, so you can not only beat away old man winter but be more productive on the ice, which will result in more fish.
Keeping your feet warm is quite possibly the most difficult thing, and one of the most important components of proper ice fishing clothes. Having a good pair of boots is going to help you stay out longer, as in many cases, it’s your ice-cold feet that cause you to call it quits.
Author Note: In many anglers’ opinions, rubber boots are the way to go, and the same boots you use for late-season hunting in the northern realms will also work well on the ice.
Boots like the Dryshod brand feature the artic storm extreme boots. Like cold-weather waders, these are made from rubber and neoprene and will keep your feet dry and warm, with a comfort range as low as -50 F.
Other rubber or neoprene boots that will work great are:
- Muck boot arctic ice
- Irish Setter mud trek insulated
- Clam sub-zero
- Baffin Titan boots
- Striker ice
Leather boots or boots made from other materials are an option, but while they may claim to be 100% waterproof, over time as the leather breaks in and degrades, water will find a way in.
When drilling holes on the ice throughout the day, the water that surges from the hole when drilling will cover and soak your boots; this is why most anglers use the rubber or neoprene style of boot.
They also are important when you splas water on your feet from using an ice fishing flasher or unhooking an unruly fish.
If you do want to try boots other than the rubber and neoprene style of boot, check out these boots.
- Kamik Nation plus
- Cabela’s Saskatchewan
- Cabela’s inferno
- Rocky pro hunter
Bibs are also very critical in ice fishing. Think about it, your kneeling on the ice jigging all day, your knees are going to get soaked if you aren’t wearing ice fishing appropriate bibs.
If you’re really serious about investing in ice fishing clothes, you’ll get a bib.
There is a whole line of bibs out there today that is dedicated to ice fishing, and they are high-quality pieces of clothing produced by companies whose sole motivation is ice fishing gear.
Companies like Clam, Striker, Strikemaster, and even Carhartt, all produce quality bibs for the ice fishing enthusiast.
Some great choices for bibs include:
- Clam ice armor edge
- Strikemaster battle bibs
- Striker hard water
- Carhartt Yukon extreme
Obviously, jackets are critical, and like bibs, the same companies that provide ice fishing-specific jackets also have jackets.
These companies offer the bibs and jacket sets, so the names for these jackets will be the same as the bibs, but there are even more out there to choose from when it comes to jackets.
For instance, a quick google search will reveal that Striker has a wide selection of ice fishing jackets at various price ranges.
Not all jackets are created equally, and some offer great features like high amounts of storage pockets and fleece hand warming pockets.
Some great jackets for ice fishing are:
- Clam ice armor defender
- Artix Tundra
- Striker predator
- Guidewear extreme parka
- Eskimo roughneck
- Strikemaster battle jacket
Leave your cotton socks at home when you head out to the ice. Ice fishing requires you to wear insulating socks that compliment your boots, and there are some great options out there.
Top Tip: Wool is a great choice as it retains heat even when damp, but there are also great options made from other materials as well.
Great sock options on the market are:
- Carhartt extreme arctic
- Clam ice armor merino/wool blend
- Sealskinz cold weather socks
- Striker ice wool
Gloves are a necessity, but when ice fishing, many anglers rarely actually wear them. When jigging, it’s essential to do so bare-handed so that you can feel even the slightest of bites while ice fishing. It’s also hard to manipulate things with thick gloves on or do things like tie knots in the fishing line.
There are some great gloves for ice fishing out there when you need to wear them, like when pulling your sled, drilling holes, or simply warming them up.
- Fish money Yeti gloves
- Striker ice attack gloves
- Clam dryskinz
- Strikemaster heavyweights
- Clam extreme
6. Base Layers
Base layers are very important and many people don’t use the correct type to keep warm on the ice.
Cotton base layers should be avoided at all costs, as they retain moisture and that moisture drastically decreases the insulation of the base layer.
Author Note: Wool and other materials that serve well at wicking moisture away from your body and maintaining high levels of insulation are what you should wear, and again there are many great products available that do this well.
For example, the Clam sub zero base layer is one of the most comfortable base layers I have ever used, I have even been known to wear this when sitting inside watching movies on a cold winter day, and no one can stop me.
Other great base layers out there are:
- Cabelas E.C.W.C.S.
- Guide Gear men’s heavyweight fleece base layers
- Gamakatsu G-thermal base
- Patagonia Capilene
- Under Armor men’s cold gear base layers
There are some great brands that cater to the ice angler, and we are going to take a closer look at a few of them so you can get a picture of what they offer and what particular products they excel in creating.
Cabelas makes dang near anything outdoors-related these days, from fishing rods, hunting gear, hiking gear, you name it.
While some of their gear has decent quality, like the guide series lines, some of it isn’t quite as high-quality as other brands, and it feels like you pay for the logo instead of for quality.
One thing that Cabelas does excel at is gear like socks and base layers or long underwear. Their cold-weather socks are, in my opinion, some of the best on the market.
Cabelas also offers some decent gloves and hats as well.
Clam has been one of the top names in ice fishing products for years now.
Their rise in popularity began with portable ice shelters, and when the popularity in portable ice shelters increased Clam was at the forefront in producing lightweight, high-quality pop-up ice shelters.
Clam has expanded their ice fishing line of products over the years and now offers some great ice fishing clothing to go with their shelters and they also have a line of ice fishing jigs and tackle as well.
While starting out as its own company, the sharp rise in the companies popularity coupled with a similarly sharp rise in ice fishing garnered the attention of one of the biggest names in fishing, Rapala.
Rapala bought the Strikemaster name and has since carried out their line-up of ice fishing products.
Strikemaster became popular in the ice fishing world by producing small, lightweight, and effective ice augers that made transporting them on the ice much easier than in decades past, and now have Lithium battery augers.
Since the companies start, they have grown their product line to include ice fishing clothing and gear.
Striker has a laser-like focus on producing one thing, clothing. They produce clothing for fishing at any time of the year, but their ice fishing clothing is truly exceptional.
Striker, in many anglers’ opinions, creates the best ice fishing clothing out there, and the features of their jackets and bibs are a cut above the rest.
Their jackets feature tools like a zipper pull LineCutterz tool for easy line cutting on the ice, 320D nylon shells, and even using Aerogel in their insulation.
If you aren’t familiar with Aerogel, it’s some very high-tech stuff that is used by NASA for spacecraft applications and has insulating properties that are literally out of this world.
The use of these high-tech and high-quality materials means they can keep their ice fishing gear incredibly lightweight while maintaining high insulation levels.
Clothing for ice fishing is one of those things that you just can’t skimp on if you want to stay mobile and maximize your ice fishing efficiency. Sitting in a permanent ice shack with a wood stove will keep you warm, but the mobile ice angler will always catch more fish.
The brands and products listed in this post are great at keeping you warm on the ice, and the prices of these products can vary. Get the best gear you can afford, after all, you do get what you pay for.
Skimping on clothing meant to keep you warm and comfortable in freezing conditions will typically leave you disappointed and your teeth chattering.