Ice-fishing Boots

January 15, 2024 daryl bauer

Warm toes while ice-fishing is worth every penny.


Ice-fishing boots should be waterproof and rated for temperatures well below zero.

Photo by Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley, Nebraskaland Magazine

By Daryl Bauer, Fisheries Biologist and Outreach Program Manager

I teach ice-fishing clinics each year, and we spend at least some time talking about staying warm. You will never enjoy ice-fishing if you are cold, and of course, layering is the key. There is excellent clothing available these days made just for ice-fishing. But don’t forget — the same goes for a pair of good boots, because, well, while ice-fishing, you are always standing on the ice.

What makes a good pair of ice-fishing boots? They must be waterproof, and they must be rated for temperatures well below zero. In my opinion, pac boots of some kind, made with waterproof outers with felt pack liners, are the best.

True, a pair of good ice-fishing boots isn’t cheap, and while I generally believe that spending a lot of money isn’t required to get you started on ice-fishing, a good pair of ice-fishing boots will last a long time, and warm toes on the ice are worth every penny. Sorel boots have been my ice-fishing boots for many years — they are hard to beat.

Before you make the purchase, try on the boots and make sure they are large enough, because cramped toes are cold toes. Additionally, your boots should be large enough to fit a pair or two of heavy, quality socks. I usually wear a base pair made of some type of synthetic blend, something advertised as “moisture-wicking” to reduce sweaty feet. Then, I layer with a thicker pair of wool or wool-blend socks.

I was fooled with electric socks. I never liked them — none of them ever worked as advertised. Now, I expect electric socks and boot liners are a whole lot better, but I’ve chosen to invest in quality boots that don’t require me to wear electric socks or even foot warmers.

One last thing that has proven to be worth its weight in gold — a boot dryer! If you’re going to be on the ice for consecutive days, you need to begin each day with dry boots. The first boot dryer I tried was given to me as a Christmas gift, and honestly, I thought it was nothing but a gimmick — then I found out it was no gimmick at all. I currently have Cabela’s Original PEET Boot Dryer, and I use it religiously.

The post Ice-fishing Boots appeared first on Nebraskaland Magazine.

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