It’s the end of winter, moving toward the beginning of spring, and you’re fishing. It’s not exactly warm out, which you knew going into it. But water temperatures and the ever present wind can make the day that much trickier.Even if you’re wearing insulated waders, it’s important to note that your body temperature can still drop. You may not notice the change in temperature, so it’s good to limit the amount of time you spend in the water. In the cold waters of late winter and early spring, plan to step out every 30 to 45 minutes.
Remember that your body pulls heat from its extremities to keep its core temperature up. When this happens, you’re more at risk for frostbite in the fingers and toes. Keep your hands and feet warm and your core temperature up by putting hand warmers near your chest and frequently hiding your hands in your pockets.
“If you fall in cold water, get out of the water, get out of the wet clothes, dry off and warm up,” said Sgt. Bart Olson of the Natrona County Sheriff’s Office.
If you’re in deep water, crawl stroke until you reach the bank or boat. Dry off and rub your arms, legs and chest to increase blood flow and warm up. Make sure you’re completely dry before you put your change of clothes on.
The clothes you decide to wear are important as well. Olson advises to stay away from cotton and stick to wool or synthetic materials. Cotton gets wet and then doesn’t dry.
Whenever you’re recreating around water you should have a personal flotation device that suits the activity. There are plenty of life jackets on the market to choose from.
Keep something to eat and drink on hand, it will help your body stay warm.
And as with any outdoor activity, tell someone where you are going and how long you plan to be gone.