16 years I’ve been trying to figure out the right combination in clothing to keep my Steelhead fishing experience in Erie a good one. It’s been a rough road which Doug and Ted would agree and have put up with my countless hours of bitching on the streams. Steelhead Fishing isn’t for the weekend warrior and having the right gear to keep you warm is essential for your trip to Erie along with keeping your fishing buddies sane.

I remember my first Steelhead trip 16 years ago like it was yesterday and thinking I would NEVER be back. It’s too cold for this type of fishing! Well…. I came back many times and just delt this bitter cold and miserable conditions.

Being 16 years old and not knowing any better I was covered head to toe in cotton. To my defense the amazing world of Under Armor clothing was just taking way on the market so I didn’t own any of that at the time. 16 years later I figured out what I need to keep me warm and happy through the long day cold day. I wanted to share my breakdown of gear and hope to share a better experience for your next outing. Keep in mind I see all sorts of different variations people use and each one of you are different in how your body responds to cold weather. What one person does may not work for the other so try to keep an open mind. If you are like me and get cold easily, here is a breakdown on gear you should be prepared to have.

Base Layer


Men’s UA ColdGear® Evo Fitted Mock

This is the layer closest to your body that needs to be able to pull the sweat away from your body. The neck goes up a bit in the back & slopes down in the front for an ergonomic fit.

  • Dual-layer fabric with an ultra-warm, brushed interior & a slick, fast-drying exterior
  • 4-way stretch fabrication allows greater mobility in any direction
  • Moisture Transport System wicks sweat away from the body
  • Anti-odor technology prevents the growth of odor causing microbes
  • Smooth, chafe-free flatlock seam construction
  • Updated ergonomic neck for maximum comfort
  • 7.1 oz. Polyester/Elastane
  • Retail Price $40.00

Mid Layer

Men's UA Tech™ Short Sleeve T-Shirt

Men’s UA Tech™ Short Sleeve T-Shirt

This layer I wear on top of my base layer to catch any excess sweat that is being pulled away from my body.

  • UA Tech™ fabric is quick-drying, ultra-soft & has a more natural feel
  • Moisture Transport System wicks sweat & dries fast
  • Anti-odor technology prevents the growth of odor causing microbes
  • 3.9 oz. Polyester
  • Retail Price $20.00

Top Layer

This layer has given me the most success and is a staple in my gear bag due to its versatility.  The LL Bean Ultra Light 850 Down Jacket which can be zippered up in your creel bag for when you get warm. It’s windproof & waterproof. This is a great option to have for warmer days and it comes equipped with a hood.

Ultralight 850 Down Hooded Jacket

Ultralight 850 Down Hooded Jacket

  • Revolutionary DownTek 850-fill absorbs 33% less moisture and dries 66% faster than standard down
  • New, innovative Pertex shell material features the tightest weave for added wind resistance and durability
  • First-ever hooded option for extra warmth
  • Elastic cuffs seal out icy gusts

Our down outerwear is now even more versatile thanks to innovative new insulation and shell materials. Innovative Pertex® fabric features the tightest, toughest weave around for exceptional durability. Specially coated 850-fill DownTek™ picks up where other premium goose downs leave off – actually repelling water when unexpected weather tries to dampen your spirits. Ideal for hours on the trail or extra icy mornings at home. Internal stowaway pocket doubles as stuff sack, media storage with headphone ports. External zip handwarmer pockets. Imported. Machine wash and dry.

Slightly Fitted  Closer fit with a slightly slimmer waist. Fits best with midweight layer, falls at hip.

Retail Price $200.00

Wader Jacket

Wader jackets are optional but can be a great accessory giving you an additional wind and waterproof protection. Having more pockets on the chest helps me store all my quick grab items.

Toadz™ Hellbender™ Wading & Fly Jacket

Toadz™ Hellbender™ Wading & Fly Jacket

Hellbender™ Wading & Fly Jacket, in Waterproof Breathable Polyester & Non-woven ToadSkinz™ Pant shell material Super Tough Waterproof ToadSkinz™ Pant material blends Traditional Polyester materials with Dripore™ Breathable technology, and a non-woven inner layer that is soft and comfortable.

Retail Price:  $100.00

Pant Base Layer

UA wins again with base layer that will pull the swear away from your body.

Men's UA ColdGear® Infrared Grid Leggings

Men’s UA ColdGear® Infrared Grid Leggings

You’ve got two things going on here: a grid structure to trap warmth & exclusive ColdGear® Infrared technology to hold onto it. That means one thing: the best warmth for a baselayer this light.

  • Dual-layer, textured-grid fabric traps heat with very little weight
  • ColdGear® Infrared technology uses a soft, thermo-conductive inner coating to absorb & retain your own body heat
  • Moisture Transport System wicks sweat away from the body
  • Anti-odor technology prevents the growth of odor causing microbes
  • Smooth, chafe-free flatlock seam construction
  • Performance elastic waistband
  • Working fly
  • Contrast inner color & stitching
  • Inseam: Size LG 32″ (+/- 0.25″ per size)
  • 5.0 oz. Polyester/Elastane

Retail Price $50.00


This layer will catch the sweat coming from your base layer and keep you warm under your breathable waders.

Men's UA Storm Armour® Fleece Pants

Men’s UA Storm Armour® Fleece Pants

Armour® Fleece is our original performance replacement for old-school sweatshirts: unbelievably light, but somehow keeps you really warm. If that wasn’t enough, we’ve made it stretchier, more breathable & added UA Storm to keep off the rain & snow.

  • UA Storm gear uses a DWR finish to repel water without sacrificing breathability
  • New Armour® Fleece is light, breathable & stretches for superior mobility
  • Soft inner layer traps heat to keep you warm & comfortable
  • Covered elastic waistband with internal drawcord
  • Mesh hand pockets
  • Inseam: 31”
  • 8.4 oz. Polyester

Retail Price $50.00


This is very important since most people can mess this up and cause a early day. Wader socks as your base layer then a wool sock over top does the trick.


  • Wader socks can be found at any outdoors sporting goods store (Dicks, Field & Stream, Cabellas, Bass Pro, ect..)
  • Wool socks are easy to find but those can also be found in any sporting goods store.


This subject can be debated and it comes down your preference. All my recommendations above come based off you wearing breathable waders vs neoprene.

Pilot II Breathable Stockingfoot Wader

Pilot II Breathable Stockingfoot Wader

With the guide-quality lightweight nylon shell material and exclusive DriPore C3 technology, the Pilot II wader is 100% waterproof and breathable and built to last. Patented swing leg protection panels and articulated knees make the Pilot II extremely comfortable and terrifically durable — all at a killer price point.

Retail Price: $225.00

Additional Layers to Consider

Gloves are a great add to have when your hands get cold. There are tons of options from $5 to $100. all depending on what you want. I recently purchased SIMMS  EXSTREAM™ FOLDOVER MITT.



Shake hands with abysmal autumnal weather and stay toasty in the process thanks to Simms’ new Exstream™ Foldover Mitt. Formulated for fishing through the surly stuff, mitts feature Polartec® Powershield Pro™ for potent water resistance and high-loft insulation, while DWR-coated stretch fleece fabric puts unmatched warmth-to-weight performance and dexterity in the palm of your paws. When it’s time to tie knots, or punch keys to access weather apps, mitts snap to the back—giving fingers freedom to wander.

  • Polartec® Power Shield® Pro fabric is highly water-resistant; water-resistant DWR coated stretch fleece has a high warmth-to-weight ratio and allows for excellent dexterity
  • Mitt snaps to back of glove to allow use of fingers

Retail Price: $65.00

Zip or Pullover Fleece for your mid layer replacement for those colder days.


Retail Price $100.00

Hat or some sort of ear cover is a given but not all go for it. You can pack this in your bag for optional use.


Retail Price $10.00


Stay warm!

– Ryan