Ontario spring fishing weather brings some interesting challenges with respect to the kind of outerwear you should wear while fishing. Whether you are in the rustic wilds of Algonquin Park or the open water of the Great Lakes, you don’t need to clutter up your fishing boat with numerous clothing layers to stay warm.

Columbia Sportswear is great place to start for products that can enhance your spring fishing experience. Columbia’s Brand Marketing Manager, Jordan Dilworth, took a few moments to answer some of my questions about Columbia Sportswear. Jordan also sent my questions off to Canada’s Pro Angler and host of the Real Fishing Show, Bob Izumi, for his recommendation on a spring fishing jacket.

1) What do you feel makes Columbia outdoor products unique from other companies in the industry?

Columbia products are packed with innovation and style while offering great value to the end consumer. Our latest innovations are unique, visible technologies versus ingredient technologies used by other brands. Omni-Heat, Omni-Wick EVAP and now Omni-Freeze ZERO are perfect examples of how Columbia is differentiating itself from it’s competitors and offering consumers real benefits to help them stay warm, dry, cool or protected while enjoying the outdoors.

We have a Performance Innovation Team (PIT) that thinks up this stuff… Here’s a bit about them:

-The PIT, or Performance Innovation Team is the research and innovation division of Columbia Sportswear Company (CSC) tasked with developing new, revolutionary consumer solutions for the company’s entire brand portfolio, which includes Columbia, Sorel, Mountain Hardwear, and Montrail.

-The PIT is an innovation center that provides solutions to consumers with the purpose of outdoor enjoyment. The PIT’s vision is to enable consumers to head outside on a stormy day, a freezing day, or even in a heat wave and enjoy their outdoor experience.

-The PIT will service the needs of the portfolio by continuing to create innovation platforms for the development of unique and revolutionary consumer products. Some of their ideas will be for a specific brand’s needs, others will be shared.

2) Without giving your “Research and Development” secrets away, what would the time frame be from brainstorming to full production of a new jacket style (or innovation).

As an example, Omni-Freeze ZERO was over 4 years of research and development by our PIT team and that’s not uncommon.

3) What 2013 product or innovation excites you the most? Why?

Omni-Freeze ZERO is definitely exciting for us. It’s an industry first and unique to Columbia (and Mountain Hardwear). Little blue rings absorb your sweat and cool the material of the shirt. It’s pretty awesome! Similar to our Omni-Heat Reflective’s little silver dots, Omni-Freeze ZERO’s little blue rings are visible and easy to understand. Omni-Freeze ZERO’s little blue rings position an active cooling agent next to the skin that reacts with sweat to lower the temperature of the fabric and accelerate wicking, creating an instant and prolonged cooling effect.

4) If you were spring fishing in the Canadian wilds (where temperatures reached below freezing [-5 C] in the evening and shifted to above freezing [+10C] by day) which Columbia jacket system (product) would you recommend to pack/wear and why?

I’m going to kick this one to Bob Izumi for some help. He will probably recommend some very specific products.

My recommendations would be omni-heat baselayer and then 1 or 2 layering pieces over top (could be as simple as a puffy down jacket which is very light and packable and then a lightweight, thin shell for if it’s rainy/windy. As the temperature rises, you can remove the layering pieces and the Baselayer is still good. If it goes well above that, you don’t need a shirt anymore! The other option is to just wear a long-sleeve wicking shirt as a base (without Omni-Heat) and then the same layering pieces above as if it truly is going to get to 10 degrees (or more), the standard wicking shirt will still be fine where the baselayer would become too warm at that point.

Bob Izumi’s Recommendation:

I would say that the Bugaboo Interchange jacket would be a good choice because:

  • waterproof and breathable outer shell for spring rains
  • hood for rain and wind
  • drop tail for sitting on the bank or damp boat seat
  • Zip-in interchange system-wear only the outer shell for wind or rain and just the zip-in liner if it warms up

These original Columbia jackets are versatile yet practable for Canadian weather conditions.