7 Essential Gears for a Thrilling Winter Kayak Fishing Adventure

Share this post

If you’re eager to stay on the water through the year, it’s time to learn how to kayak fish in winter. With the right cold weather kayak gear, you can do winter kayak fishing any time of year in climates that don’t cause your local lakes, ponds, and rivers to ice over.

Table of Contents

Important points to consider when Winter Kayak Fishing

Safety: The cold weather and water can be dangerous if you are not properly prepared. It is essential to wear proper gear such as a wetsuit, drysuit, or insulated paddling clothing, as well as a personal flotation device (PFD) with insulation. You should also be familiar with the safety guidelines and best practices for kayaking in cold weather. [ Read more : Winter Kayaking Safety ]


Conditions: Winter weather can be unpredictable, with low temperatures, high winds, and waves that can make it difficult to stay warm and dry. It is important to be aware of the weather conditions before heading out for winter kayak fishing, and to be prepared for changing conditions.


Fish behavior: Fish behavior can change in the winter, with some species moving to deeper water and others becoming more active in shallower water. It is important to be familiar with the behavior of the fish you are targeting, and to adjust your fishing techniques accordingly.


Equipment: Winter kayak fishing requires specialized gear, including wetsuits, drysuits, or insulated paddling clothing, waterproof and insulated boots, and paddles and fishing equipment that are insulated and waterproof. You should also make sure that your kayak is equipped with features that will help you stay warm and comfortable, such as a good quality seat and backrest.


Location: Winter weather can make some areas unsafe or inaccessible, so it is important to choose a location that is sheltered from the wind and waves, and that is easily accessible. You should also be familiar with the location, and be prepared for any hazards or obstacles you may encounter.

Technique: Winter kayak fishing may require different techniques than kayak fishing in other seasons. You may need to use heavier lures or baits, or to use slower retrieve speeds, to attract fish in colder water.

By being prepared and following these guidelines, winter kayak fishing can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. Whether you are fishing for fun, or for a more serious pursuit, the challenge and beauty of winter kayak fishing will provide a unique and unforgettable experience. Here are some essential gear that you need to bring when winter kayak fishing.

A hat or beanie

When you are dealing with cold weather, you need to look at three areas: your head, neck and hands. Keep your neck and ears warm with a thick neck gaiter or scarf to keep wind from getting in, then wear earmuffs on top to keep air flowing around them. A hat or beanie is another essential piece of cold weather kayaking gear. You lose a lot of heat through the skin on the top of your head and to maintain body temperature, you should always wear at least one layer close to your head.


A pair of warm gloves is a must, as part of your winter kayaking gear. Place hand warmers your vest pockets so that you can put your hands into the pockets to keep your fingers warm. 

Waterproof layers

Winter kayak fishing is no place for blue jeans or other absorbent clothing. The goal is to prevent water from coming into contact with the skin, which requires a waterproof outer layer of some sort. Adequately insulated lightweight gear should be used inside, while the outside should feature lightweight yet durable waterproof clothing.

The right way to wear winter kayak fishing clothing, is that the clothing beneath your outerwear should be breathable and made out of wool or high-tech material such as fleece to keep you warm. Fleece is excellent at trapping heat and is soft to wear. When selecting fleece-lined jackets, gloves, pants, socks or boots make sure they fit well and are not too tight on your body; they should be just snug enough so that the warmth of your own body does not cause excessive sweating or sweating between the layers. 

Dry Suit


Drysuit kayaking is all about comfort and mobility, which means staying warm without sweating and being able to roll around in your kayak without worrying about getting wet. Unlike wet suits and neoprene, a dry suit will not absorb water and if you end up wet on the outside of the suit, simply pull out an Argon-filled chamber on the inside of it that keeps you dry even if you drag through the water. 

Avoid thick insulated rain suits as they can get very heavy if soaked in water, making it difficult to get back into the boat. Go with less absorbent materials that will not weigh you down in case you fall into the water.


You might not realize it, but your feet will be the most exposed part of your body on a winter kayaking trip. They need to be insulated and protected.  Cotton is the wrong inner insulating material to do this. Thick wool socks-not cotton are a great option because they help keep your feet warm even if they get wet, which is almost inevitable on a winter kayak fishing trip. Get a pair of socks that go over your ankles so that you don’t risk getting them wet when setting up or launching the kayak.


At a minimum, you’ll need a river-worthy PFD that will keep you afloat if you fall into the water, and a hand-powered bilge pump can keep your kayak dry if water begins to accumulate inside of it. Check our recommendations for the Best Life Jackets for kayaking.

Dry Bag

A dry bag is a must. Keeping your clothing in a dry bag means that you’ll always have dry clothes with you and that if you capsize or tip over, you can get out of your wet clothes and into something comfortable right away. Always pack a second outfit in case it gets wet or damaged in any way. We have a list of recommended waterproof bags that you can consider getting if you do not have one yet.

Our Thoughts

Winter kayak fishing is a great way to enjoy the beautiful winter weather. However, there are many hazards that you should be prepared for before heading out on the water. By dressing appropriately and using the proper cold weather kayak fishing clothing, you will be able to have a safe and enjoyable kayak fishing in winter. Remembering safety first is an essential part of winter kayaking, and you should take every precaution necessary.

About Us

Picture of Jules and Ken

Jules and Ken

We are outdoor lovers, travellers, and writers all rolled into one. You have seen our posts here reviewing lots of different types of outdoor gear, camping equipment, RV equipment, kayaking, to cycling. Our reviews are guided by our years of experience being outdoors. We are happy to share our knowledge with you to make a better choice when you are outdoors.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Be Interested