Those who live a life outside know that proper apparel is far more than just ‘clothing..’ It’s gear. Choosing the right layers is important to staying safe and comfortable on the water, and arguably no one understands this more than Alaska fishing guides.
That’s why we asked out team of professional Alaska fly fishing guides about their go-to layers on the water. Curious what the pros are wearing? Here’s what they said.
Guide Poll: Favorite Fishing Layer
Dan Herrig, Owner/Guide, Deneki Outdoors: “Patagonia’s Nano Puff Pullover, the one without a hood. It’s lightweight, warm, cuts the wind, and doesn’t bulk up against the hood of a wading jacket.
Kyle Shea, Head Guide, Alaska West. “It’s tough to pin down my favorite, but day in and day out I wear the same three layers; Simms’ Montana Wool Baselayer shirt, over which is Sitka’s Fanatic Hoody, followed by Patagonia’s Nano Puff Vest. Depending on the weather, I can add an extra puffy jacket for added warmth or a wading jacket for the rain, but I’ve found the combination of those three layers to be the most versatile system I’ve used for just about any condition we encounter in the Bush.
Jason Whiting, Operations Manager/Guide, Alaska West. “The Kast Velocity Jacket. It keeps your core warm like a puffy vest and keeps you functional with flexible fleece sleeves. I rarely hit the water without it.”
Jim Palmersheim, Guide, Alaska West: “This season I’ve relied on my Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody. It’s the right amount of insulation and weighs practically nothing.”
Ben West, Guide, Alaska West: “Here in Alaska we’re all about the hoodies! You just have to have them to keep the bugs off of you, keep your hat on when driving the jet boat, and protect you when the sun decides to come out. I have an old original hoodie from Sitka called the Traverse Hoody that is my ideal layer up here. The hood has great coverage, its not too warm to wear even on moderate days, and I like the long sleeves and the thumb holes as well. That hoodie teamed up with the Simms’ original Fall Run Vest is my everyday layer combo on the Kanektok.”
Ryan Gossett, Guide, Alaska West: “At the moment my favorite fishing layer is the Simms Rouge fleece hoody. It cuts the wind, does really well in most rain, isn’t bulky, and keeps you warm.”
Tom Houska, Guide, Alaska West: “One invaluable fishing layer I frequently wear is an expedition thickness wool base layer from Monte Bell. This layer is light, durable, smell proof, and warm when wet which is super important on the river.”
Cole Cook, Guide, Alaska West:“Tough one here. I’d say Sitka’s baselayers. The Fanatik Hoody is my all time new favorite layer. With built in mittens and a buff, you can’t go wrong fishing buggy zones. It’s just light enough to wear on sunny breezy days, but keeps your core warm on those cold days.”
Lucas Young, Guide, Alaska West: “It’s a tossup between the Patagonia Nano Puff Bivy Pullover Hoody and the Patagonia Nano-Air Hoody. Both are extremely lightweight, warm when wet, and quick-drying. The nylon shell of the Nano Puff Bivy makes it a little better at cutting the wind, while the softer texture of the Nano-Air is my go-to insulation layer when I know I’ll be wearing a jacket all day. They also both make a great pillow for when you’re heading deep into the backcountry!”
Cole Leishman, Guide, Alaska West: “The Patagonia Nano-Air Hoodie. This jacket keeps you warm when you need it but breathes when you start overheating on a long hike into the honey hole. I’m a big advocate for synthetic insulation due to its properties when it gets wet, which is often in the Northwest. This jacket will keep insulating on a cold, wet day in February on the Olympic Peninsula, even if you’re soaked to the bone.”
Have a question you want answered by our team of professional fly fishing guides? Drop us a comment below!