Winter weather means bundle up for fishing |

Winter weather means bundle up for fishing

A fishing trip this past week made it very clear that winter is nearly upon us.

Those venturing into the outdoors need to be cognizant of the change in weather, packing an extra layer of cloths when exposed to the elements. With daytime temperatures in the 40s and water temperatures around 49 degrees, dressing for warmth is essential.

At the end of the day on our recent trip, the extra layering and the addition of a warm hat kept me fairly snug. The breathable waders with two layers underneath were adequate, but at the end of a fairly long day, the cool water temperatures zapped quite of bit of heat from all of us.

As the sun went down and we got back into our regular clothing the temperature dropped from about 39 to 34 degrees in a matter of about a half hour. With cold hands chilled from dipping them in the frigid water to release fish, it was difficult to do the simplest of tasks, such as tying one’s shoes.

Having the right equipment during a late fall, early spring or winter outing is critical in preventing hypothermia.

Outdoors enthusiasts should be abundantly familiar with the phenomenon. It is a reduction of the body temperature to an abnormally low level. Hypothermia is defined as an internal body temperature less than 95 degrees.

The following are signs and symptoms of hypothermia: Shivering, slurred speech, abnormally slow breathing, cold and pale skin, loss of coordination, fatigue and lethargy.

Older adults, infants, young children and people who are very lean are particularly at risk.

Other people at higher risk for hypothermia than the general public include those whose judgment may be impaired by mental illness or Alzheimer’s disease, and people who are intoxicated, homeless or caught in cold weather because their vehicles have broken down. Other conditions that may predispose people to hypothermia are malnutrition, cardiovascular disease and an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism).

To avoid hypothermia, make sure that you dress in moisture-wicking base layers so that you can stay dry. Damp clothing can be a primary cause of hypothermia. The person should be moved to a warm environment and given a change of dry clothing to prevent further heat loss.

Drinking warm liquids is also an effective treatment in battling hypothermia. Thermos of hot chocolate, coffee or tea also is a great idea.

Keep this in mind if you are venturing into the outdoors during the cool months ahead. Be prepared for the colder temperatures and you will have a safe and enjoyable experience on your outdoors outings.

Bruce Ajari is a Truckee resident and regular fishing columnist for the Sierra Sun and other area newspapers.

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