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Published Aug 23, 2022 2:47 PM

Most hard water fishermen have specialized gear they use to protect themselves from the elements during the winter season—including ice fishing gloves. After all, anglers in the North don’t let a pesky thing like frigid temperatures keep them from venturing out onto the frozen lakes to catch fish. Quality ice fishing gloves are vitally important, and the importance grows as the mercury plummets. Serious ice anglers look for handwear that combines warmth and a waterproof exterior with dexterity and grip. If you are in the market for the best ice fishing gloves, we’ve assembled the top picks in hand protection available to help prepare you for the winter months and hours of fun chasing fish out on the hard water.

Best Overall – Glacier Glove Perfect Curve Neoprene Gloves

Best Overall

Why It Made the Cut

The idea of using a glove that’s molded to the bend of your fingers might seem weird—until you have to grab a fish. It’s a game-changer.

Key Features

  • Waterproof Material: Neoprene
  • Insulation Type: Fleece and neoprene
  • Cinch Location: Velcro cuff
  • Touchscreen-Compatible? No

Pros

  • One-piece palm
  • Extremely form-fitting 
  • Great for gripping things
  • Warmer than standard gloves

Cons

  • Not smartphone compatible
  • Harder to get on and off

The Perfect Curve gloves seemed like they might be a tad gimmicky at first glance, but then I used them. Nope, not a gimmick at all. The company molds the curve of your fingers at mid-grip right into the glove, giving them a natural shape. This gives you maximum coverage for your neoprene, and prevents any odd bunching of the material and the fleece liner. It also makes it very handy when you need to grip something, like a fish. It feels natural. These gloves are warm and dry, making them a great ice fishing glove.

The biggest downfall is that they’re a little harder to get on and off when you’re not used to the feel. You’re not going to be able to just rip them off your hand if you need to answer the phone but your hand will be dry and warm, even if you need to reach into the hole for a fish.

Best for Extreme Cold – Cabela’s Pinnacle Gloves

Best For Extreme Cold

Why It Made the Cut 

A winning combination of Gore-Tex and PrimaLoft insulation in a glove that doesn’t feel too bulky.

Key Features

  • Waterproof Material: Gore-Tex
  • Insulation Type: PrimaLoft
  • Cinch Location: Wrist and Cuff
  • Touchscreen-Compatible? No

Pros

  • Waterproof Gore-Tex liner
  • PrimaLoft insulation
  • Long cuff with dual cinches
  • Good dexterity

Cons

  • Not smartphone compatible
  • Can be hard to get on and off in a hurry

One of our favorite ice fishing gloves for extreme cold is the Pinnacle from Cabela’s. These gloves have a Gore-Tex liner along with a long cuff and dual conch points to keep you dry regardless of the conditions, even if you have to reach into the hole to pull out a fish. They have PrimaLoft insulation for added warmth when the temps are low and surprisingly good dexterity for as thick as they are. I honestly expected them to feel a little bulkier than they do. 

My only complaint is that they aren’t smartphone compatible. The gloves could be improved with a data finger so I wouldn’t have to take them off to access the camera on my phone to snap a picture of a fish, or to call my wife and tell her I’m running late because the fish were biting.

Best Waterproof – Glacier Glove Ice Bay Gloves

Best Waterproof

Why It Made the Cut 

These neoprene gloves actually keep your hands dry and have surprisingly good grip.

Key Features

  • Waterproof Material: Neoprene
  • Insulation Type: Neoprene
  • Cinch Location: Wrist
  • Touchscreen-Compatible? No

Pros

  • Flexible taped-seam neoprene
  • Warm and dry with excellent grip
  • Great for reaching into a hole for a fish
  • Good dexterity

Cons

  • Not smartphone compatible
  • Neoprene doesn’t breathe, so expect sweaty hands

A lot of neoprene ice fishing gloves are only half neoprene, with the palm made of some other material with better grip. The problem is that it defeats the purpose of using a neoprene glove, as you lose the waterproof and insulative properties of the material. These gloves, however, are made from neoprene with sealed seams to give you a waterproof glove that insulates well against the cold. A rubberized finish in the palm gives you some grip, too.

The only real issue here—besides not being smartphone compatible—is that neoprene doesn’t breathe, so your hands can sweat, making them colder if you expose them to the outside air too much. Still, for fishing on milder days, or when you need a pair of gloves to throw on while you run to check a tip-up, these are hard to beat.

Best Fingerless – IceArmor by Clam Delta Glomitts

Best Fingerless

Why It Made the Cut 

Glomitts are very handy and useful with the warmth of a mitten and the dexterity of gloves.

Key Features

  • Waterproof Material: None
  • Insulation Type: Nylon fleece
  • Cinch Location: Elastic cuff
  • Touchscreen-Compatible? Yes, because you can get your finger out

Pros

  • Mittens and gloves all in one
  • Form-fitting 
  • Easy to pull fingers out to tie knots
  • Warmer than standard gloves

Cons

  • Not waterproof
  • Fleece can pile, losing some of its softness

Is it a mitten? Is it a glove? It’s both. The glomitt is warmer than gloves, yet you can easily pull your fingers out for doing things that require the dexterity you’d otherwise sacrifice in a mitten. This pair is very well-made and the fleece is warm and faster drying than some other materials. These also have the advantage of being lightweight, so they won’t add to any fatigue you might experience. 

While it’s nice that you can pull out your fingers for things like tying knots or using your phone, there is the issue that these aren’t waterproof, which is a big consideration for an ice fishing glove. Being fleece, they dry fast, but it’d be nice if they didn’t get as wet in the first place.

Best Liner Glove – Fish Monkey Monkey Hands Gloves

Best Liner Glove

Why It Made the Cut 

Simple, easy-to-use gloves that can be worn inside mittens.

Key Features

  • Waterproof Material: None
  • Insulation Type: None
  • Cinch Location: Elastic cuff
  • Touchscreen-Compatible? Yes

Pros

  • Smartphone compatible
  • Form-fitting 
  • Slits for pulling fingers out to tie knots
  • Silicon dots for grip

Cons

  • Not waterproof
  • Not insulated

A lot of anglers wear a thin liner glove inside of heavier gloves or mittens so that they have some protection when they need to drop the heavy gloves for things like tying a knot or reeling in a fish. That’s where these gloves from Fish Money come in. Thin and form-fitting, they have slits cut into the thumb and fingers so you can pull out your fingers and tie knots. They’re smartphone-compatible and they feature a brushed interior that’s comfortable, too. 

The biggest gripe is that they aren’t waterproof, which can be a pain, especially if you get them wet early on in a fishing trip. There isn’t much to them to keep your hands warm, so you’ll want to have other gloves, but they add a layer of protection when you need it.

Best Dexterity – IceArmor by Clam Renegade Gloves

Best Dexterity

Why It Made the Cut 

Different amounts of insulation in various parts of the glove make it easier to work things like the auger or the ATV.

Key Features

  • Waterproof Material: Dintex
  • Insulation Type: Thinsulate
  • Cinch Location: Wrist and Cuff
  • Touchscreen-Compatible? No

Pros

  • Flexible goatskin leather
  • Varying amounts of Thinsulate for comfort
  • Long cuff with easy-to-use cinches
  • Good dexterity

Cons

  • Not smartphone compatible
  • Not as warm as other options

The guys at Clam Outdoors live to fish on the ice, and the gear they develop is made specifically to make that task easier and more fun. That’s one of the main factors that makes these gloves winners. Tested in some of the harshest conditions (a.k.a. Minnesota winters), these gloves fit very well and keep your hands dry and warm with minimal bulk. They have 200 grams of Thinsulate in the back, and 150 grams in the palm and fingers to allow you to better grip the auger, poles and more. The soft goatskin leather is a nice touch as it feels good on your skin and requires less of a breaking in period for comfort and protection.

Like some other gloves, it would be nice if these were smartphone compatible. At least the cinches are super easy to use, so you can get them on and off faster than some other gloves.

Best Adjustable – StrikerICE Attack Glove

Best Adjustable

Why It Made the Cut 

Warm gloves with a wide neoprene cuff and velcro strap, making them easy and quick to get on and off.

Key Features

  • Waterproof Material: HIPORA
  • Insulation Type: Thinsulate
  • Cinch Location: Velcro cuff
  • Touchscreen-Compatible? No

Pros

  • Easy on and off
  • Neoprene cuff
  • Warm, but not too warm

Cons

  • Not smartphone compatible
  • Cumbersome on larger hands

These ice fishing gloves from StrikerICE meet a lot of the qualifications you’d need in a glove. They’re made with 150 grams of Thinsulate insulation, so they’re warm but not too bulky. The neoprene cuff holds them securely on your hand and helps keep your fingers dry, while the wide velcro strap is easy to use and makes them easy to get on and off in a hurry, which is a big plus in a non-smartphone compatible glove. The reinforced synthetic suede palm gives good grip, even when wet. 

Unfortunately, even though these gloves don’t look bulky, they feel a little cumbersome to me and my fat fingers. For some, that’s not a big deal, but it’s a pet peeve of mine when it comes to gloves. That said, I’d still wear them.

What You Need To Know Before Buying Ice Fishing Gloves

The number one thing to keep in mind when you’re buying a pair of ice fishing gloves is how you fish, followed closely by how you like your gloves to fit. If you’re the type of hard-water angler that has a heated shanty and/or you prefer to fish in milder weather, the best ice fishing gloves for you will mostly be about function over warmth. You will want to find a pair that lets you grab a fish out of the hole a little easier, or that keeps your fingers dry when clearing ice. 

If you forgo the shanty and sit out on the ice in a chair or on a bucket, you will want to opt for a pair of ice fishing gloves that give you the most protection from the elements, including water, wind, and frigid temperatures. 

You’ll also want to look at how waterproof a waterproof glove really is. A waterproof lining or material in a glove is really only as good as the seal. In a way, it is a lot like the roof on your house in that if the seam isn’t sealed, there really isn’t anything keeping the water from seeping in at that point. Want more insight into what we mean here? Check out our torture test we did on cold-weather fishing gloves

Another thing to consider: Not all gloves are smartphone-compatible, and many that are waterproof are not going to work with your phone. If the ability to text or make calls while staying warm is important to you, there are liner gloves that you can put under a heavier pair of outer gloves, or a muff. I’m a fan of this setup. As someone who’s also a duck hunter, I’m drawn to big gloves that go high up on my arm, are waterproof, and can be easily taken off and pulled back on. 

Ice Fishing Gloves FAQs

Q: What should I look for in ice fishing gloves?

A: Fit and warmth top my list of must-haves. Then I look at dexterity because if I can’t do anything while wearing them, they aren’t much use. I also would suggest something that is waterproof, or at least water-resistant, as getting wet when it’s really cold out can lead to very bad things.

Q: What are the warmest ice fishing gloves?

A: The warmest gloves you will find will actually be two pairs: an outer glove and a liner glove. The outer glove should be waterproof and heavily insulated. It should also extend past your wrist. A good liner glove is snug with some form of natural insulation like fleece or even wool.

Q: Do I need to wear gloves when ice fishing?

A: Yes, you do need to wear gloves. Frostbite—which is very harmful to skin and tissue—is like a sunburn in that you won’t really know you have it until well after you have it. And by then, it can be too late.

Q: Is it safe to touch fish with gloves on?

A: The most important thing to keep in mind when touching a fish is the slime coating. If you’re picking up a fish that you intend to keep and eat, this isn’t too big of a deal. If you’re going to release the fish, your hands or gloves should be wet on the outside before you touch the fish. It is a good idea to not use a glove with an abrasive palm to handle fish as that can scrape off that slime coating. A rubberized grip pattern on gloves like a neoprene pair will work well for catch and release.

Final Thoughts

Ice fishing is fun and a great way to beat the winter blues. You need to have the right gear and proper ice fishing gloves are a must have item to keep your hands warm and protected from frost bite. The best ice fishing gloves will keep you warm and be comfortable enough that you will wear them when you’re on the hard water.

Methodology

The author is from northern Michigan and has been ice fishing for decades on water across much of North America, so he started this article from a position of experience having tested and reviewed many of the ice fishing gloves available while he searched for the perfect pair. What he realized is that there is no one perfect pair, but several that can be used to match the weather conditions and the style of fishing of a given day.

We also took into account user reviews from Amazon, Cabela’s and more. These are important because we realize that not everyone uses equipment the same way we do. Some people like gloves to fit one way versus how others choose them. There is no one right way to look for a pair of gloves—there is just your own personal way. Pick the best features for you and your budget and start from there. Good fishing!