Monthly Archives: January 2011

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Okay, fine, I will.

The conversation was being had in my head and the bet was to myself. Nuts and a bad bet pretty much sums it up, but I had no choice to follow through. I had been admonishing others (see Dear Mr. Bowman) for not giving open water river reports. There’s a fair amount of open water on quite a few of the rivers here in Northern Illinois (see For my Fellow Iceaphobes – The Plan) and some might like to know that. Sitting out on an ice covered pond staring into little holes isn’t quite the same as wading running water.

Now my excuses for not fishing open water were pretty much gone. I have only one condition, the air temperature has to be above the freezing mark. I don’t like ice on my guides. Long term weather reports showed no such thing earlier in the week, but things apparently changed. It was down right balmy when I wandered out in front of my house this morning. Gloveless fingers barely noticed the cold. A check of the temperatures showed almost 30 with a promise of mid 30’s by noon.

Since I hadn’t been out fishing in a couple of months, there was a little prep work that needed to be done. Basically, I had to find everything. I did a pretty good job of putting things away only to forget where I put them. For once though I had put them away relatively neatly for me, so once found it was all quickly dumped into the car.

I considered heading for the DuPage River. If I went to the Shorewood area, above or below the dam, I knew the river would be open. I also know enough about that stretch to make catching winter smallies and the occasional rock bass relatively easy. But I chose not to contribute to the profits of oil companies by driving long distances in pursuit of winter fish. I settled for the nearby Fox instead.

On urban rivers like the Fox you may as well increase your odds when you have the chance. I chose to fish a treatment plant outflow. Water from the outflow consistently measures 55 degrees during the winter months and it can stay that temperature a good quarter mile or more down stream. Fish are always there, but game fish might be a little more difficult to come by. Unless you’re one of those that consider carp game fish.

The complete lack of footsteps in the snow told me that no one had bothered coming here for quite some time. Plenty of squirrel tracks running tree to tree and a coyote or two seemed to be covering the area pretty well, but nothing human to be found.

For such an urban area, this stretch gives a pretty good illusion of being more remote. On the other side of the river a pretty busy road runs right along the shore. It was just far enough away that any traffic noise is pretty well muffled. Once behind an island it becomes pretty simple to ignore the urban views altogether.

There were plenty of fish breaking the surface of the water in the first of the deeper pools. I could see by the backs that skimmed the surface that they were all quillbacks. It’s not all that unusual for a quillback to hit a lure like a smallie, but not today. I could feel the lure getting bumped, but that was more because it was in the way, not because it was being eaten.

All along the shore it was like this. All the pockets held carp of some kind. More quillbacks and the torpedo like runs of common carp were everywhere. I learned a long time ago that smallies like to hang out along with carp. Carp stir up the bottom, which attracts minnows, which smallies like to eat. No such luck today. Rolling one carp after another was all that was happening. Occasionally a carp will try to inhale a lure so it’s always worth a cast.

Drifting up stream on the air currents came the large black shape of an eagle. It slowly cruised above the river and occasionally drifted out over the tree tops. The ducks didn’t like any of this. They all lifted off the water. Some seemed to feign an attack on the eagle, a foolhardy gesture at best, but most simply took off squawking.

Once the eagle was out of sight, a couple of red tailed hawks appeared. They seemed to be playing in the treetops feigning bites, then they would take off together to hover over the river. They never got far from each other and it continued to look like they were playing. I’ve never seen them behave like this, usually I don’t see more than one.

Even in somewhat of an urban area these birds have learned to adapt to our presence. Especially along here there are always signs of our presence even in the water.

The hawks don’t surprise me so much, I’ve been seeing them around for a long time just about everywhere I go. But for an eagle to slip right into these urban areas comes as a surprise. It’s just not something I would have ever expected.

About a quarter mile down the river slows in a relatively large pool. Some nice depth to the pool too. It had been awhile since I had caught a walleye here. The conditions seemed to be right so I spent some time trying to coax one to bite. More carp getting rolled with the occasional tug giving me false hope that something might have finally tried to eat my offering.

After rolling still another carp I actually had something running with my line. I would be happy to land a foul hooked carp at this point. At least it would be something to show for my efforts. When I initially caught sight of it I thought it was a decent walleye. When I got it closer I could see it was a northern pike of about 30 inches.

Considering how much I fish this river, these fish always catch me by surprise. In 15 years I’ve only seen 5 of them. Much further north where the river is flatter and slower moving there are quite a few. But they seem to disappear the further down stream you go. I’ve met people along this stretch that have lived here their whole lives, and they’re over 80 years old. They would show me pictures of pike caught in the past. Stringers full of them that needed two people to hoist. Those days seem to be long gone.

Two of the other pike I’ve caught came in a spot about 100 yards down from this one. The first was 6 years ago and only about a foot long. Then a few years later about 2 feet long. Now this one a couple of years later and measuring around 30 inches. Had me wondering if I was catching the same one years apart. It’s lower jaw was deformed which usually means it got pretty well chewed up by a treble hook, so I wasn’t the only one catching it. Since I’ve caught them all on single hook jigs, I knew I didn’t cause the damage.

At least people kept putting it back.

I kept going down stream. The cold of the river water pretty much nullified the warmth of the discharge water as the two got combined. My neoprene waders burned out years ago and I never had them replaced. The now colder water reminded me that the seams in the feet of my breathable waders had a slight leak. The final spot I wanted to try holds a lot of fish, but today it seemed to be only carp. There were a few times when it sure felt like a fish on, but only proved to be another rolled carp.

I could no longer feel my feet, only that tingling sensation that says you should have got out a long time ago. I was done. The thousands of pins pricking my feet said so. The hike back to the car didn’t warm them up. Car heater did no good. Four hours later and I can still feel some tingling in my toes.

I knew I had a second condition regarding winter fishing, I must have forgot.

Never do it without neoprene waders.

Dear Mr. Bowman

Dear Mr. Bowman,

I have been following your writing on the outdoors for a bit over a decade. The Chicago Sun Times should consider themselves lucky to have an outdoor writer of your caliber contributing to their newspaper.

Unlike many outdoor writers, your approach is more what I prefer. You don’t bore us to tears with product placements disguised as outdoor information. No excruciating details about the lures you use when fishing, down to the color scheme. No mention of rod name and model number. No reel mentioned with the inclusion of how many ball bearings are encased in the housing. You don’t go into detail about the type of camera you are using for your photographs. When hunting, you go hunting, again with no clever product endorsements disguised as hunting info.

Instead, you give us the experience. What it’s like to be out on a specific body of water, in a rag tag duck blind on the Kankakee River or sitting patiently up a tree in search of an elusive deer. You put us in the moment with you. We can feel the cold when you do. The tug of a fish on the line. Your aching muscles are ours after you go wandering through fields in search of birds and bunnies.

Now with your blog, Stray Casts, on the Sun Times website, we get to immerse ourselves in your world of the outdoors. On one end we get strictly informative details of fishing shows, deer harvest numbers and fishing and hunting regulations and opportunities. On the other hand, we get Ramble with Storm, the musings of a middle aged guy making sense not only of his place in the outdoor world, but the world in general. Your recent addition of a radio show on the outdoors adds more to the complexity of your approach. It is a show that has no rivals in the local outdoors milieu.

Sitting on a shelf within arms reach of where I am typing this is a book called A Voice in Our Wilderness, by John Husar. Years ago I read everything he wrote for the Chicago Tribune and his passing was far too early. I’ve heard people say that Husar set the standard for what outdoor writing should be like here in the Chicago area. And yet, I’ve heard fishermen say they couldn’t read his work because it was too flowery.

Comments like that only prove to me why there is a big demand for outdoor writing that is no more than product placements and reviews. To me nothing is more boring than reading still another article about catching big fish or anything to do with tournaments. But I do believe that makes me a minority.

I believe your writing has matched and possibly surpassed that of the venerable Husar, but that’s just my opinion. Bob Maciulis of the Outdoor Notebook can give you a run for your outdoor writing money, but that’s a different story. I hear there is a private stash of Bowman writings that I hope some day will become public. It would be a shame to not share those ruminations with those of us that appreciate your every word.

Each week I look forward to your Midwest Fishing Report: Expanded Online Version on your blog. Even though this time of year I don’t get out much anymore, I refuse to ice fish, I’m always looking for reports from those hard core river waders that get out even in the harshest winter weather. Imagine my surprise when I checked your report for January 26, 2011, scrolled down to the section that normally covers rivers and I find this:

I did not do individual river reports. They are really locking up.

What? Did I just not walk along the Fox River the day before? This is down the hill from my house in Yorkville and I thought I saw quite a bit of open water for as far down stream as I could see. Didn’t you just publish an article about the esteemed Mr. Chuck Roberts and his fly fishing adventure in open water along a crap plant discharge?

This had to be some kind of misprint.

I know from experience that in past years many of the other rivers in the area remain open. Salt Creek in Hinsdale where it might be possible to pick up a walleye or Northern should be open. It always has been. The East, West and Main Stem of the DuPage should be open. I’ve been on all three in January. I’ve been hearing rumors of some pretty good sized smallies being taken out of the main stem recently. Along with handfuls of rock bass.

I even tried the Chicago River once near Ashland Avenue, with a certain degree of success.

I recall sending you an email a couple of weeks ago that links to a post on my blog that explains all the open water available for the hard core waders. Did you not get this memo?

There is open water you know.
A wise outdoor writer would realize that and cater to desperate open water anglers needs.
The creeks, chunks of different rivers, Indiana creeks for steelhead.

Besides, ain’t no one else doing it. Once a week you could link to this post till all the safe ice is gone.

For my Fellow Iceaphobes – The Plan

Ken G

Apparently you forgot about this. A simple link to that post is all you need to do till the ice fishing season is over. It will keep those hard core river waders from harumphing in disgust at being blown off after reading your latest misguided comment.

But then I began to think, do you know something I don’t? Did the Fox River lock up overnight and I missed it?

I had to be in Aurora on Wednesday. I brought my camera with. The ride home would take me along the river. Imagine my astonishment to find miles of open water. My heart sank as I thought of your credibility regarding winter river fishing going in the toilet. I realize you live down near the Kankakee River and that river does freeze almost solid, I’ve been down there to see it. But up here, these rivers and creeks aren’t the Kank.

I decided to document my journey home, taking photo’s along the way of all the open water. The river should stay just like this for the rest of the winter. While all those ice fishing sissies are sitting in heated shanties staring into holes, there may still be some hard core waders out there that want to venture out and brave the real elements. Following is documented proof of at least open water on the Fox.

Starting at the Montgomery dam, the river was wide open. I stopped at a footbridge that crosses the river, this is about a mile and a half from Montgomery.

There may be some ice along the edges, but for as far as you could see up stream the river was pretty open.

The same could be said of the down stream view.

I kept driving along the river, eventually crossing the river in Oswego. It was impossible for me to stop, but the river here was wide open for as far as you could see both up and down stream. I kept going to the next bridge, Orchard Road.

This is about 5 miles down from the Montgomery dam. Bridge piers are notorious fish magnets and this bridge is no exception.

When I got to Yorkville, I stopped at the dam.

I already knew this was going to be open, I go past it practically every day. Nice spot under the bridge.

I decided to keep going. Many miles down from Yorkville is the next bridge, at the end of Silver Springs State Park.

A ribbon of open water through the pool on the river, which is still worth fishing, then it hits the riffles and opens up again.

At this spot, Big and Little Rock Creeks come together and flow into the Fox. I decided to check them out.

The view down Big Rock Creek from an abandoned bridge. On the right it's hard to see, but Little Rock Creek comes in and is open too.

The view up Big Rock Creek from the same bridge.

Another view down stream on Big Rock from another bridge. You can see the mouth of the creek where it enters the river. Over the weekend a couple of anglers were standing out there casting for muskie.

While I was sitting in my car trying to decide whether to continue my journey down stream, a couple of bald eagles came drifting north. They were following Big Rock Creek. A few years ago I had found their nest along the creek. I know they are up there again somewhere, but I haven’t found the nest yet. I decided to cut my down stream journey short. The eagles cemented my point.

I know many take my reports with a certain amount of disbelief, but pictures don’t lie and neither do the eagles. If there was no open water, they wouldn’t be here.

A few days earlier I had done some exploring of Big and Little Rock Creeks much further inland. I wanted to see how much open water there was on these creeks.

Little Rock Creek far up stream, that's all you get. The holes where the big fish live were accessible.

Up stream view of Big Rock Creek taken from a bridge south of Plano.

Down stream view of Big Rock from the same bridge.

Back in 2001 I set a goal for myself. I was going to fish the Fox River year round and try to catch a smallmouth bass every month of the year. I was going to keep doing this till one month I didn’t catch one. This will attest to the inaccuracy of your lack of open water statement. Following are pictures taken in winters past, either January or the first week of February. After around 54 straight months of catching smallies out of the Fox, I gave up. Not because I didn’t catch a fish, but because I had burned out my neoprene waders and didn’t feel like replacing them. Besides, I had proved my point.

A befuddled look, but it's still a fish. From January 2002.

A little walleye from the first week of February 2003.

Nice little smallie from the first few days of February, 2004.

A few days later in 2004. A little more ice, but enough open water to keep pulling out smallies.

In January, 2005, the Legendary Cory Yarmuth came out and got this 16 inch smallie. Those waders were once voted Best Camo Pattern Ever.

A few days later in 2005 the best I could do was this chunky carp. Wish I had that dark hair back and thank god I lost a few pounds.

After four years of not fishing in January, last year I decided to give it a try again. I hadn’t lost the touch.

Size never matters and in January, it matters even less.

So Mr. Bowman, as you can see there is plenty of open water to be had. You owe it to your faithful readership to continue to provide them with nothing but the best and most accurate information. If I had the inclination I would head over to Salt Creek and the DuPages to continue to document the possibilities for those that need to wade, but I’m no longer so inclined. I observed those rivers for that past 15 years, this year shouldn’t be any different.

I apologize if this comes across as a harsh reprimand, who am I to admonish one of such talent, but I had fun hacking this out.

Postscript: I took a break while typing this up to go smoke a cheap cigar out in front of my house. Along the river, not far down stream, a couple of coyotes started howling.

I love this stuff.

Plan B

Or in my case, I think I’m up to Plan Q.

With the job market only just starting to rebound, it’s no surprise that we’ve received a large number of resumes, with the respondents covering a broad range of educational backgrounds, internship or post-graduation work experiences, as well as real on-the-job career experience.

At this time we’ve decided to pursue next steps with other applicants. So, regrettably, we won’t be requesting an interview with you. However, we sincerely wish you good luck with your current job search, and with your career in the design and graphic arts profession.

In other words, you have everything we need, but you’re too old.

I’m not convinced about that job market rebounding comment either. I’ve been talking to people, they don’t see it.

In the past 3 years I’ve easily sent out over 150 resumes in response to ads. All of them were a virtual cut and paste of major sections of my resume. 90% never responded. The rest all pretty much sounded like above. Except for the 3 head hunters that told me to get out of the industry because at 54, I’m too old.

A few months ago I sent out an email to about 50 people. These are all people I’ve worked for over the past 27 years. It was a last ditch effort to see if any work was out there or if they could pass along my info if they knew of anything. I got 4 responses. They couldn’t help, but would keep an ear out. Never heard a thing from any of the others.

So that’s it. I’m waiting for a response from one more company. Even interviewed with them. Working for them would be a life changing event, which is why I want the position. It’s not the position itself, that is no different from what I’ve been doing for the past 27 years, it’s where I would have to move. It would be like a dream come true.

If the response comes back negative, then I’m done with the graphics industry. I’ve already wasted too much time hoping for the best.

In my last position, I was working for 30% percent less than just 5 years ago. Based on what I’ve been seeing, whatever I take from here will be 50% less than the past year, which was already quite pathetic.

I no longer care. I’m going to find something that looks like I would enjoy doing regardless of what they pay. Seems that the going competitive rate, as they say it, is somewhere between $9 and $15 per hour. It will have to do as long as I enjoy what I choose to do.

If this is the way it goes, then I’ll probably restart the fishing guide service I used to do on the Fox River. In the water classes, seminars, I used to cover quite a bit. I stopped doing it about 5 years ago. I’ll probably expand it to other locations. I’ve forgotten more about fishing rivers around here than most will ever know and over the past 5 years, I’ve learned quite a bit more.

The end of one could be an interesting start to something else. I’m giving it 3 days to hear from the one company I’d like to go work for, then I put things in motion.

Time to start over.

The Speckled Brook Trout

While on the way to looking up other things, I found a book published in 1902. It’s primarily about fishing for Brook Trout. I’ve been skimming it for anything that looks interesting and it winds up pretty much the whole book is interesting. Some things sounded vaguely familiar to what I’ve been saying for years. Funny how things don’t change and the reasons we do them don’t change much either. I bet I can find some passages in what I’ve written that are almost a match to what I’ve been reading in this book. Kind of creepy that way.

I think that’s why I’m an anomaly of sorts in the bass fishing world, which is dominant here in Illinois since we have no natural trout streams. Bob Long, Jr. tells me I’m a bass angler with a trout anglers sensibilities.

When I started writing things down years ago, I assumed bass anglers thought like me. There are some that do, but we’re a minority.

Numerous times I’ve considered sending in a short story to different magazines I like to read or entering writing contests in other magazines. I’m generally cut out of the equation immediately. Fly fishing topics only while pursuing trout on streams, with introspection and a conservation ethic thrown in to round out the story.

I fit the bill except for the fly and trout requirements.

I recently read that bass anglers are assumed to be in constant pursuit of hawgs, the latest fishing gimmick, cheap beer and women with large breasts.

I’ll admit to one of those, but the other assumptions immediately reject the small minority of bass anglers that like to think of themselves as a little more refined. The thinking man’s bass angler I guess. We all can’t live in a land of streams teeming with trout. We have no choice but to make do with what we’ve been given.

I love the way this book is written. It’s a collection of a few things by a few people, or as they say it “By Various Experts with Rod and Reel.” The phrasing of sentences has an elegance now lost. That’s neither good nor bad, just the way it is.

A couple of things I found while skimming:

Nothing can be more enjoyable than to wade a stream, to feel the rush of water about you, the constant excitement, the forgetting of all other affairs, the out-door life, the health and appetite, the meeting with other anglers and the telling over of the day’s sport. Here is a fascination that will last you all your life, and be a delight to you in extreme old age. Let me warn you, my reader, if you are not a lover of Nature and out-door life you are missing one of the greatest blessings this world affords.

Many say the same thing, including me, but not quite so well.

I remember writing about this once, I actually recall hearing almost voices.

Old anglers have ears trained to nicest sense of sound in the music of running water, and will know the physical conditions, even when unseen, which cause many of the notes of sound in a trout brook.

I recall the musical notes and the sound of breathing from the slight rise and fall of even a river as it flows. I distinctly recall mentioning this one day while far up Mill Creek. Kind of like this:

Unobstructed on inclines, rapidly flowing water in small volume has the inimitable purl, so exquisite that even in music the sweetest sounds are called liquid, like a tinkling rill.

This is a common problem that drives some that I know absolutely crazy.

The true angler sees much, but will realize that as compared with what is about him, he sees very little.

I remember recently mentioning getting the colors out of the gray of the shadows.

The stones and gravel of the banks catch green reflections from the boughs above. The bushes receive grays and yellows from the ground. Every hair-breadth of polished surface gives back a little bit of blue of the sky or gold of sun. This local color is again disguised and modified by the hue of the light, or quenched in the gray of the shadows.

Not sure if the following is a lament or is supposed to be hopeful.

The result is inevitable. With bowed and reverent head the angler hopes that when he has crossed the Delectable Mountains, and, one poor thread in the web of universal history, has waved back in his mute farewells to his favorite trout stream before he enters the Unknown and is swallowed by Oblivion, a merciful and loving Heaven may furnish to him the counterpart of this brook. Will he not find a heavenly stream on that Other Side? Will not its waters sing as with a new song, its forests whisper, its flowers enchant? Yes, for there stands the message of Holy Writ, the last words of John, Seer and Prophet — words of inspiration and promise: “And he showed me a pure river of water of life.

There was so much more. I hate reading on screen. I’ll have to print this out.

Just goes to show that nothing is really ever new. Just new for the time we’re in.

Glacier Glove – Alaska Pro Glove Review

Back at the beginning of December I was trying to figure out what to do about winter gloves when Outdoor Blogger Network offered up the Alaska Pro Glove from Glacier Glove. Deal is, get picked, get the gloves and write a review. Never thought I would actually get the gloves.

Technical details:

The Glacier Glove Alaska Pro Glove is a breathable waterproof glove perfect for cold weather adventures. 60 grams of Thinsulate insulation provide warmth (recommended for cool conditions or for very high activity levels where a lot of body heat is generated); leather palms and index fingers allow for great durability and dexterity.

RealTree Max 4 Pattern
• Waterproof and breathable
• 60 grams of Thinsulate insulation
• Leather palm for grip

These gloves retail for $39.99.

Putting Them Through the Tests

I’ve been told that when I was born, back in those days when men weren’t allowed in delivery rooms, my dad finally spotted me on the other side of the viewing glass and exclaimed, “Jesus Christ, the kids got catchers’ mitts for hands.”

Having lived with these hands all my life, I don’t think of them that way. I’m not a big guy and I don’t think my hands are out of proportion to the rest of me. But they are out of proportion to themselves. My hands are wide enough to require me to wear a Large in gloves. The problem is that my fingers fit comfortably in a Medium. I think they call that a large stout, or large short or something like that. Stubby comes to mind.

As soon as the Alaska Pro Gloves arrived on my door step, I ripped open the box and tried them on. Right off the bat I ran into the same issue I have with all gloves, the fingers are a quarter inch too long. The rest of the glove is a perfect fit. I’ve done some cursory searches on gloves labeled large/short and large/stout and have yet to find what I want. I have a feeling there are others out there with similar hand issues. A slight modification might be worth looking into for a glove manufacturer.

When I read the Thinsulate description recommending 60 grams for cool conditions and high activity levels, I thought that left a lot of room for interpretation. One persons cool is anothers’ cold. I was already thinking about the different weather conditions I was going to have to put these through to see what their limits, and mine I guess, really were.

It’s rare that I buy clothes with a specific purpose in mind. These are gloves, I’ll put them through glove use. Hunting, chopping wood, going for a walk, driving, shoveling snow . . . I put on gloves. These gloves had a nice feel to them, comfortable and not heavy. Very flexible movement, I knew I would be using these for all of the above mentioned purposes and then some.

I waited a good week before starting to test them. I was going squirrel hunting and I wanted them to be in pristine condition when I stepped into the woods.

Sunrise the day of the hunt the temperature was 6 degrees with a wind out of the northwest at around 12 miles per hour. Hoar frost clung to the tall grass along the edge of a large open field I had to walk across to get to the squirrel woods.

Nothing in the literature for the gloves mentioned that they were wind proof and by the time I reached the woods my hands were pretty cold. I could feel the air coming through the gloves. I learned one of their limits.

As soon as I got into the woods the wind died down. I slowly walked along and my hands quickly began to warm. All hunters know that one of the tests of any gloves is whether or not we can feel the cold of gun metal through the palm of the gloves. These did well as I walked and I barely noticed the cold metal.

I had to bust through some pretty dense brush to get to the ravine where the hunt becomes more of a waiting game. You wind up sitting and waiting and waiting and hoping that at some point a squirrel will appear. Their tracks are everywhere, where are they? Sitting still in cold weather can become a real endurance test.

I learned later that the air temperature never went above 19 degrees and my hands felt the cold. The Thinsulate description was correct about cool conditions and activity levels. At least I had learned the low end limits of the gloves.

Over the next couple of weeks I put the gloves through hell, doing all of the things I listed above. They performed flawlessly and as long as I stayed even moderately active my hands stayed pretty warm, even when temperatures dropped below 10 degrees. I was going to put my hands in the river down the hill from my house to test the waterproof claim, but I noticed I had put a few very small holes in the fabric. These probably came from the brush busting I did while squirrel hunting. I was able to test their water proof capabilities on a limited basis by playing in the snow. I never felt moisture through the glove.

I like any clothing that claims to be breathable. There is nothing worse than wearing fabric that gets wet from the inside out. I tested these by doing a fair amount of work in a very short period of time. I shoveled a lot of snow, 6 inches worth, off my walk and fairly large driveway. Then I went and chopped up a bunch of wood, primarily oak. Though I could feel my hands sweating a bit, they never got uncomfortable. When I went in the house I tossed the gloves on the kitchen table to dry. A half hour later I put them on and they were bone dry inside and out. A very nice surprise.

The hunting I did next was for pheasant and rabbit, 3 days worth. All of the days were the same from a temperature standpoint, starting out at 15 degrees and rising to 25. Day one had virtually no wind and a near cloudless sky.

The other 2 days were cloudy with winds out of the northwest ranging from 10 to 15 miles per hour.

You couldn’t tell the difference. The gloves performed the same under both of those conditions. My hands stayed comfortable and dry, I couldn’t feel the cold of the gun metal and I could comfortably grip the gun.

It wasn't till I looked at the photo later that I realized the camo pattern did well at blending into the pheasant habitat.

The only drawback was the extra quarter inch of material on the fingers, especially my trigger finger. I would have to fuss with the tip folding over and getting in the way when I would go to put my finger on the trigger. As with anything, you get used to what you have to do and it ultimately didn’t effect my shooting, but it would be nice to not have to do that small bit of fumbling.

We had a couple of days here in Northern Illinois where the temperatures came up to normal, around 32 degrees. We’ve had an odd cold winter so far. I purposely went out and sat still for 15 or 20 minutes to see how the gloves would behave. Just like they say, they performed well under cool conditions. My hands were fine even though I wasn’t moving around. Between the pheasant hunts and the normal temperatures, I was convinced I had tried all of the gloves limits. As well as my own.

There was only one thing left to do, wash them. To my wife’s dismay, she quickly learned why I dress the way I do. Nothing needs to be separated into different colors and types of clothing. It’s a washing machine, they all go in together. The gloves didn’t come with instructions for washing, a plus in my eyes, so they went in with everything else. Dried along with everything else too.

What I’ve had happen in the past after washing gloves is that the lining and filler in the gloves all start to pull apart. When you put them on again, there are wads of filler all over, or the lining will come out of a finger and wind up in the palm. These came out in perfect shape with no issues whatsoever.

I can highly recommend these gloves. I think any user will have to find their own comfort levels under different conditions, but once that is figured out they should be happy. I was looking through the Glacier Glove website and have found a few other things I may have to get. Fingerless windproof gloves, ideal for spring fishing around northern Illinois. Windproof and warmer hunting gloves, some with much better shooting capabilities. And I’m assuming their Neo Winter Sock is waterproof. Perfect for my otherwise good condition waders with the leaky feet.

On top of producing what appears to be some pretty outstanding products, they’re reasonably priced as well. The Alaska Pro Gloves are worth a try.


As with all reviews on Waterdog Journal, the following review is my honest opinion. I received the Glacier Glove Alaska Pro Gloves free of charge and agreed  to provide a review in exchange, which I’ll do again in a heartbeat for other products if asked. Waterdog Journal is not sponsored by or associated with Glacier Glove and is accepting no other compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for this review.  My independent status may change in the future, but as of the date of publication, no relationship other than described above has been pursued or established.