I love ice fishing, but the season is short where I live, so the feeling of anticipation is intense. For me, this anticipation comes to a head at one particular moment, which I await more eagerly than any grown-up probably should: sitting on the tailgate of my vehicle, and wriggling into my snow pants on opening day.
As with every fishing day, it’s exciting to know anything could happen. But when putting on my snow pants—the bib-style, which keeps me cozy from ankles to armpits—there’s something extra. Physically, there’s the sudden swaddling warmth. On a pragmatic level, there’s definitely some relief that they still fit my middle-aged form. But more than anything else, there’s a childlike sense of fun.
There aren’t many occasions when the average adult dons a set of snow bibs. Sure, you bundle up for outside winter chores, but it’s not the same as pulling on a pair of snow pants to, basically, go out and play on the ice. And they really are the perfect garment for the job. Ice-fishing snow pants are waterproof, insulated and sturdy, with plenty of pockets for tackle, accessories and snacks. Plus, they let you comfortably perform all the important hardwater activities, from kneeling over a hole to galloping toward a tip-up flag.
I was a relative latecomer to ice fishing, taking it up only a decade ago, so maybe the joy of adult snow pants hit me unusually hard. But it was getting a good pair of bibs that finally allowed me to truly enjoy my time on the ice, magically creating a whole new fishing season I never expected to love so much. Ultimately, putting on snow pants is a reminder that our glorious Canadian winters are not a torment to be endured, but an adventure to embrace.