There are very few activities that are more brutal than ice fishing. Imagine yourself sitting on a bucket on the middle of a frozen lake with nothing protecting you from the cold except for the clothes on your back.
Once upon a time, protecting yourself from the cold meant piling layer upon layer of clothes. By the time you were done dressing for the weather, you could barely move. But at least you weren't going to freeze to death while you were waiting for a fish to bite. I can remember being so cold sometimes that I just didn't care if I caught fish or not. This was no fun. In fact, I gave up on ice fishing for years because I just could not keep myself warm.
The most important part of ice fishing is to properly outfitted with extreme cold weather clothing. Here are some suggestions.
Modern materials such as Thinsulate and Gore Tex have made dressing for winter weather much less cumbersome. Under Armour is another fantastic advancement in cold weather gear.
Thinsulate is a type of insulation that was developed by the 3M Corporation. It is used in just about every aspect of winter clothing such as jackets, hats, gloves, and boots. The tiny fibers that make up Thinsulate trap air between you and the cold. Your body heat warms this air and keeps you warm.
Thinsulate is measured in grams. the more grams, the more insulation. For activities such as ice fishing, you will want boots that have more than a thousand grams of thinsulate.
Gore Tex is a waterproof and breathable fabric. Gore tex has taken rain gear to the next level. Gone forever are the days of plastic rain gear that barely moves when it gets cold. Gore tex rain gear provides you will a full range of motion no matter how cold it gets. Waterproof clothing is a necessity while ice fishing. Being wet when the temperature is close to zero can be life threatening.
Back in the 1970's, long underwear only came in the white, knit leggings and long sleeved shirts. The problem with this underwear is that when you sweated the water would saturate the long underwear and you would be wet. Under Armour is designed to wick the moisture away from your skin. Under Armour ColdGear comes in both leggings and shirts. ColdGear is designed to be worn underneath the rest of your clothes. It form fits to your body to allow for a full range of motion. This feature combined with its moisture wicking make ColdGear a must have product for any ice angler.
Mad bomber hats might look ridiculous, but there is nothing that will keep your head and ears warmer than a rabbit fur lined mad bomber cap. Do not forget that a large percentage of the heat lost escapes through your head. Insulate your head and the rest of your body stays warm a lot easier.
You are going to need a parka and a pair of bibs. A parka is an extreme cold weather jacket and the bibs are extreme cold weather "pants". Both the parka and the bibs should be insulated with Thinsulate and should be lined with Gore Tex in order to be waterproof. You are also going to need a very good pair of insualted and waterproof boots.
Pac boots are specifically designed for activities such as ice fishing. They are waterproof and lined. Most of these boots are rated to temperatures to around -40 degrees F. Most of the better brands of Pac boots have soles that are designed to grip the ice.
Since Pac boots are so well insulated you are going to need socks that will wick the moisture away from your feet. Under Armour's Men's HeatGear Boot Sock is designed to wick the moisture away from your feet. This will avoid a variety of different problems that will come about as a result of wet feet.
I have sat out on the ice all day long and been comfortable because I was outfitted with the products that I described here. If you outfit yourself correctly, there is no reason for you to be cold.