Fishing is a unique and rewarding wintertime activity. Even if you don’t plan on ice fishing in the traditional sense, there are plenty of cold-weather fishing spots out there. During the winter, River Adventures offers guided fishing tours along the Salmon River, near Hells Canyon. Take advantage of a prime opportunity for steelhead fishing and make sure you pack these top items to bring winter fishing.

Warm Layers

Pack appropriate clothes for the weather. You’ll need thermal underwear to insulate your whole body from the occasional cold snap. Make sure you bring along several pairs of thick, warm socks, as well as a hat that will keep your ears warm, and a pair of fingerless gloves. (If you haven’t got a pair, simply buy a regular pair of gloves and snip off the fingertips.)

Nymph Rigs

Fish are slower, more sedate, and more sensitive to movement during the winter. Be gentle with your rod and use small bait. Nymphs are small and unassuming, and a gentle cast will get them on the water without too much extra movement.

Safety Gear

Falling into the water is already a hazard during the summer, but it’s even worse in the winter since there’s a chance you might get frostbite. Make sure you have a life vest on hand! If you decide to do your Hells Canyon fishing with River Adventures, our boats are fully stocked with life vests, floaters, and first-aid kits. Make sure you know basic first aid before heading out on the water.

Sturdy Fishing Line

Not all fishing line is built the same; some varieties are better suited to wintry conditions than others. Pick up some fluorocarbon ice line before you go on your trip. It’s sturdier and less prone to ice buildup. Plus, it’s clearer and less visible than braided or monofilament line, so the fish are less likely to get spooked.


Make sure you bring a thermos along, too! Fill it with hot coffee, delicious soup, or any other warm liquids you like. (Avoid adding alcohol to your coffee, even though it might be tempting. Drinking on a boat is a safety hazard, and alcohol doesn’t warm you up!) You’ll be warm from the inside out with a warm drink in your thermos—and it even doubles as a hand warmer when you hold it.

As you plan your vacation this winter, consider going fishing. River Adventures offers guided fishing tours all year long, and there are always fish to be caught. Make sure you pack these top items to bring winter fishing before you head to the canyon!