Although most people associate kayaking with warm weather, the winter season can be an excellent time to enjoy the sport. During the winter season, kayakers enjoy fishing, hunting, exploring, wildlife watching, and other activities.
Safety is critical during the winter season. With air and water temperatures lower, the threat of hypothermia is much greater in winter. In addition, public safety resources may be limited or unavailable during the winter season.
During the winter season, dressing for a kayak trip is important. Clothing should be water resistant, warm, but should not excessively bulky or restrictive. Dressing in layers is usually a good practice. When extended paddling is required, paddlers may find themselves getting hot very quickly, even if air temperatures are cool.
Winter kayaking trips usually require mild weather, making accurate forecasts essential. Before departing on a winter kayaking adventure, most paddlers check with the latest forecast.
Even during the winter season, freshwater anglers catch bass, crappie, pike, musky, pickerel, perch, catfish, and other species. Winter fishing often involves deep jigging or fishing with live minnows. Kayaks are well suited for both of these techniques.
In most coastal areas, winter is a good time to harvest shellfish including clams, oysters, and mussels. Although kayaks do not have the range of powerboats, their nimble nature and shallow draft allows paddlers to access productive shellfish grounds that may be otherwise inaccessible.
Winter is an excellent time to enjoy wildlife by kayak. In addition to resident species of birds, songbirds, ducks, sandpipers, and other birds migrate along the major flyways in winter. The low profiles and non-threatening movements of kayaks are often tolerated by wildlife, allowing paddlers a much closer view.
Kayaks are also popular for hunting, especially waterfowl hunting. Kayaks provide a lightweight, simple means of transportation to hunting blinds. Their small size makes them easily concealable with a lightweight camouflage cover.