You have probably seen pictures of people ice fishing, and it looks…cold outside. And it usually is. But if you bundle up properly, it’s “not too bad,” even in Alaska.
Ice fishing involves drilling a large hole through the ice, using a chisel to widen that hole, and then setting the line to see if you’ll catch anything in that spot.
That said, it’s important to dress in layers. Interestingly, your own sweat can make you cold, so you should start with a moisture-wicking material on your bare skin. You can use shirts, pants and socks containing the material polypropylene. It’s better than cotton, for this purpose, but cotton works, too, if it’s all you have.
The next layer to wear should be either wool or fleece, which keeps you warm. The final layer is your windbreaker, which can be made of nylon. Down jackets also work as final layers.
Since it can get quite cold and windy when ice fishing, it’s a smart idea to bring and wear goggles over your eyes—the kind you’d buy for skiing. Also, a hat that fully covers the ears is essential.
As for your feet, rubber boots are ideal since they won’t let water or freezing wind get at your feet. Insulated, waterproof boots make ice fishing enjoyable, and you can also buy “foot warmers” to insert near your toes for added heat.
The guides at 1st Alaska Outdoor School take people on ice fishing trips each winter and have a good, warm time. When people dress appropriately for the harsh outdoor weather in Alaska, they can be toasty in their clothes even when the temperatures are below freezing.