"Once you catch a fish, and certainly after you catch several, you should be able to start defining a depth where the bass are holding," he explains. JOIN TODAY! No abusive ads Written by: The staff of Trouts Fly Fishing Just a handful of staple patterns will get the job done during the winter months. On deep reservoirs that still have standing timber, bass and baitfish will be found suspended in the branches. It was a very crisp December morning. Fish slow and be thorough. The best pattern is to fish 5 to 15 feet of water around the banks. They're getting the first shot at all of the good-looking cover and you're just kind of stuck back there waiting for your turn. That being said, you should refrain from stripping and, instead, dead-drift or swing your fly. Bass fishermen, cat fishermen, and crappie fishermen all depend on the shad movement patterns. "In western lakes, winter techniques often depend more on the impoundment than on the weather, since so many of the reservoirs are deep and rocky, and the bass tend to be in deeper water throughout the year," explains O'Shea. "In places like this, you're likely to find a huge school of fish, but they may be concentrated in a small place. "The thing to remember is that coldwater bass aren't feeding as often, and you have to finesse them into striking," Hill explains. When it is, late winter bass fishing can be extremely productive. Right now, both lakes offer a wide variety of methods for catching bass. "The key to this time of year is to spend as much time watching your electronics as you do fishing," he describes. If you're looking for tips for fall fishing that will help you catch more largemouth bass, some of the best advice is to learn how to identify seasonal fishing patterns. Alternatives to Winter Bass Fishing. In three to four more weeks, the bass will move into a winter pattern as the temperatures drop to a low of around mid-50s, rarely dropping below 45 degrees. "Ninety percent of the bass I catch in tidal water during the winter have mud on their bellies, so that tells me it's low and moving slow," he describes. But when it comes to just "cold water" bass fishing we Bass Bums® in the southern states, at least those few who prefer bass fishing to sitting on our butts watching football every weekend (blessed be the DVR), can speak well to the subject of winter bass fishing, when the water is in the 40's and low 50's. In the winter, you won't find a thermocline, but an activity zone still exists. By downloading/printing these patterns, you agree to these terms. 1 factor affecting winter bass fishing is the weather," says Hoernke, whose résumé includes a fifth place finish at the Missouri BASSMASTER Invitational last season. I’ve been catching a lot of bass on the Megabass Vision 110 early in the morning … "The key to spoon fishing is letting the lure flutter back down with no resistance, which means lowering your rod tip at the same speed the spoon is falling," Hoernke explains. Winter bass fishing is a tricky thing this time of year. 1) Calm and Sunny Britt Myers' Favorite Winter Bass Pattern. He knows he has a lot of ground to make up, and to do that, he's going to have to rely almost entirely on pure winter fishing instincts. … January 11, 2017 / Winter Fishing Techniques / Shaky heads, jigs and crawdad patterns in the S-Crank or Knuckle LD are also good bets. Instead of 75 possible spots holding bass at a depth of 20 feet, there may only be 10 spots available at 28 feet. Both the water and air temperatures seem to keep getting colder and, as a result, the bass are pretty darn sluggish right now. "I probably rely on the crankbait the most at first because I cover water that may be as shallow as 3 feet and work down to about 15 feet," he says. Bass anglers should consider two key factors when picking out lures for wintertime fishing in Florida. Membership Includes 1 Year Bassmaster Magazine, Plus $50 in free gear. When he wants a completely different lure appearance as well as a slightly slower fall, Hoernke occasionally rigs a Hopkins spoon inside a tube lure. Photo by Phil Monahan We are very fortunate in Colorado that we have the opportunity to fish 365 days a year. Winter steelheaders will understand the need to have the fly pass near the head of a winter bass. While large streamers aren't usually the best option, they can be effective when fished at the correct depth and speed. The depths O'Shea feels comfortable fishing contrast sharply with the winter techniques used by B.A.S.S. The spotted bass for which this 15,500-acre impoundment is best known seem to have shrunk to barely legal size, and the largemouths apparently have taken an early holiday vacation. New Winter Cold Water Bass Tech. The bass … If you look at the Texas top 50 bass, 7 of the top 10 fish were caught from the last week of … Bass will gather in those turns and can be tempted by a slow falling jig. If they're suspended just off the bottom over rocks, he'll tantalize them with a green pumpkin finesse worm on the drop shot rig. While Northern anglers are fishing winter patterns in October, Southern bass are just beginning to move toward fall haunts. BASSMASTER Senior Writer Steve Price's latest book, Big Bass! "But you can usually find healthy weeds in the deeper sections of the lake, and that attracts the forage. Those areas include the inside turns of sharp dropoffs, which can be found between large, shallow flats and the deepest water in the lake. Patterns are not to be used for distribution, resale or manufacture. The change in depth is their highway, and the isolated cover becomes their stopping place along the way.". The crappie patterns during the winter make it a great time to catch a lot of fish. However, unlike during winter when bass feeding all but shuts down, summertime bass will go on feeding binges for several days at a time. Spots will school in the backs of sloughs and creeks whenever baitfish are present. Fishing docks is a good winter pattern at both reservoirs. Fishing docks is a good winter pattern at both reservoirs. And, like Hill, Mangus says sonar is an angler's best friend. "I'll find a roadbed on a lake map, then find it on the water and study it first with a depthfinder," notes Hoernke. If you can find the right conditions, you can catch a lot of bass, regardless of how cold the water is.". Right now, we are in the tail end of the late pre-spawn. Winter Bass Fishing. You may not get as many bites, and may have to adjust your approach, but when you do connect, it is probably going to be a quality fish. Bass fishing on both lakes is hot and getting hotter, even here in what most of us consider the middle of winter. Fronts can bring relatively warm rain and a barometric pressure change; this can be one of the most productive times to fish. Trout are known not to chase during the winter. With a shotgun vs. a rifle approach, McClintock advised. Hill says the fish relate to steeper drops during the winter. Sometimes you can even see them with your depthfinder, and most of the time they're going to be near some type of change in the roadbed.". These fish are shallow-water oriented and spend much of their time in, or near, secondary creek channels. Two decades ago, many anglers shared a common belief that bass shut down during winter months. “In winter, highland reservoir bass often suspend around some structural element and relate to it loosely instead of holding tight to it.” Hill recommends anglers keep their lure presentations simple. Keep Moving. And while bass tend to act similarly regardless of the water you fish, those seasonal patterns may vary in different bodies of water. This group … "The first thing I try in winter is a point on the main lake, because most western lakes have a lot of them," says O'Shea, who has been fishing western tournaments for many years. In fact, as largemouth bulk up for the winter, you may even catch surprisingly large bass during the cold weather months. Winter Fishing Techniques / by Guest Author / January 11, 2017 / 2 Comments / Living in the South has been a blessing in many ways, but especially when it comes to winter bass fishing. Deep water is where the bass are in winter. Small baitfish and crustacean patterns are a great way to entice lazy smallmouth bass. In the generally shallow lakes of the South, fellow pro Sean Hoernke, like O'Shea, begins his winter fishing days by looking first for a shallow bite. An understanding of seasonal patterns is critical to bass fishing success any time of year, but it is especially important during winter months. Timing your fishing trips when there is a break in the cold temperatures can help. I’ll use Table Rock lake as an example here. They try to exert as little energy as possible and still get what they need. "Their environment is dominated by moving water, not necessarily water temperature, and as such, their actions can be fairly predictable.". 2X Bassmaster Classic champion tournament bass fishing champion Jordan Lee returns to The Bass University in Gadsden, AL in the winter to talk about finesse swimbait fishing. Browning says one of the best times to fish rivers during winter is after a heavy rain pushes new water through the system. Streamers & Baitfish . And while water temperatures in the upper 30s and lower 40s shut down Southern bass, Northern fish will still hit lures used in their winter haunts. Most fish sit deep to maintain a quality temperature. If it is a trophy bass you’re targeting during the winter, it is important to learn weather patterns. Hoernke's theory has been proved on famous grass lakes like Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend, where the winter Rat-L-Trap bite is legendary. January 3, 2008. Wintertime bass fishing can be some of the most rewarding if you can find fish reacting to subtle presentations in cold water. What I'm looking for on my depthfinder are any little changes, such as a dip, a rise or even a turn in that roadbed. Share Followers 2. He believes they'll move upstream to winter spots on an incoming tide to preserve energy in cold water, but finding the areas they use between fall and winter gets tricky. Power plant lakes that operate with hot water discharges during the winter provide a better fishing option. Look at depths between 15' and 30'. He concentrates on laydowns, logjams, rocks and other cover that offer a break from the current flow. "On lakes bass may move only 100 yards to winter, but on a tidal river they may travel several miles," he explains. As water temperatures drops on Lake Eufaula, fish move deeper and form even larger groups as the availability of ideal structure decreases. Fronts can bring relatively warm rain and a barometric pressure change; this can … Something I like to do is talk to other anglers on the water. When fall wanes toward winter, bass in man-made impoundments pull away from the shallow areas in the backs of creeks and bays and follow the baitfish to main lake structure. Toledo Bend Lake, the largest reservoir in the south, sits behind a dam built on the Sabine River in the ’60s. One benefit of fishing in winter is that there is generally very little fishing pressure. The crappie patterns during the winter make it a great time to catch a lot of fish. The water is stained compared to Russell and Hartwell and the fish are much shallower. Just get this fly down rolling near the bottom. One of the best things you can pay attention to is how the bass are behaving with certain lures. And while bass tend to act similarly regardless of the water you fish, those seasonal patterns may vary in different bodies of water. However, it's not always easy. snake95 543 Posted December 30, 2019. snake95. In Search of Trophy Largemouths, details the techniques of successful trophy bass fishermen throughout the United States and profiles a dozen top trophy bass lakes. "I look for the largest trees, not only because they always seem to hold the largest bass, but also because they're normally located along the edges of old creeks. The consensus among successful smallmouth fishermen is that the optimum winter bass fishing conditions for catching smallmouth are: Air temperature upper 30's to mid 40's; Overcast skies; Threat of rain or snow. After a long cold winter virtually all fish species start congregating in their winter areas to make the annual spring move to shallow water. "It doesn't have any effect on your lure's action because you're using a near-vertical presentation and the sinker stays on the bottom. Once the weight is on the bottom, he shakes his rod to make the worm quiver without moving the sinker. And don't overlook man-made channels that cut off the main lake providing access for residential areas. Spotted bass hammer craw patterns in early spring. Depending on where you live, the water can be anywhere from cold to dangerously frigid. Try points with standing timber or brush piles and if that fails to produce switch to rock ledges or boulders on points close to the creek channel break. The key, says Hoosier angler Greg Mangus, is to find the healthiest weeds that a lake has to offer. Iaconelli notes that a tracking study of Delaware River bass proved that the tidal water fish are nomads, traveling as much as 30 miles during the course of a year. Over the years anglers have studied these patterns, and they have successfully found ways to enjoy a great winter crappie fishing experience. This generalized winter pattern applies to natural lakes and all reservoirs, but in rivers, it's important to fish areas with no current. Pay Attention to Fall Bass Patterns . Jigs, lead-bellied blade baits, grubs and other small plastic lures fished on jigheads are good choices. There are some years, however, when the weather is unreasonably warm and the river is fishable. If a lake has sizeable spotted or smallmouth bass populations, direct your attention to them during winter months. Jigs tipped with pork frog trailers work, too, especially along those sharp-breaking inside turns adjacent to points or flats. He looks for roadbeds along the edges of channels and makes his casts parallel to the road, starting first on the edges. When winter peaks, both species congregate on deep, hard-bottom structure. In fact, some of the biggest fish caught all year are caught during the winter months. That means no selling the patterns themselves, PHOTOS, physical projects made using these patterns (including but not limited to: commissions, custom work, no selling on Etsy, Ebay, craft shows, etc), or for-profit classes using these patterns. "My approach to these types of places is the opposite of what many fishermen do, because I fish fast rather than slow. That's when crankbaits and spinnerbaits fished along shoreline ledges can catch them. No one likes to admit it, but there are days on Lake Fork, particularly between December and February, when it's tough to get a bite from any size bass, not just one of the reservoir's famous double-digit monsters. Photo by Phil Monahan. Just a handful of staple patterns will get the job done during the winter months. And though we are now in December and it’s probably time to put away that hopper box until next summer, don’t think that there aren’t plenty of fishing opportunities throughout the state. UFC 257: Where does Conor McGregor go from here? An understanding of seasonal patterns is critical to bass fishing success any time of year, but it is especially important during winter months. Each spring, I get a chuckle out of comments from people who know me only casually. Within this general winter pattern, Johnston expects certain variances based on meteorological fluctuations. Winter Bass Fishing Living in the South has been a blessing in many ways, but especially when it comes to winter bass fishing. "The bass nearly always are positioned right on the edge of the current, so you generally have the best success by pitching or casting slightly upstream of your target, and then letting the water flow carry your lure down beside your target," he says. 1) Calm and Sunny Along with water temperature, spring largemouth location is driven by spawning behavior, so fishin… It's easier to get fish to strike lures in cold, clear water than it is in cold, dirty water. Opt for light line and smaller baits when winter fishing, especially in deep water away from heavy cover. While winter may not be the best time to catch bass, it is possible to catch these and other bass in the cold. The bass will gang up in dead water areas like canals off the regular flow, backwater lakes, and marina areas protected from current. Depth is relative, of course. For that reason, Ike looks for areas away from the main current, such as protected coves and harbors. Advertisement. Overcast days keep the water cold so the bass stay glued to the bottom. By day's end, he's culled a five bass limit weighing 13 pounds, 15 ounces - the heaviest catch by anyone all week and he claims second place, just 9 ounces behind winner Aaron Martens. 5 gold willowleaf and No. Winter Fishing Techniques. Cartwright offers tips for true winter smallmouth fishing.Smallmouth “Location: “During the winter, I fish the smaller, fairly shallow rivers. He relies on three presentations — a swimming (Zoom Fat Albert) grub, a Team Supreme Rascal Jig or a drop shot rig with a Zoom Finesse Worm. And though we are now in December and it’s probably time to put away that hopper box until . "One of the real differences in deep, heavy drop-shotting is that we may put our small plastic lures 3 or 4 feet up the line, rather than just 8 or 12 inches like you do in shallower water. Bass have to be hungry to hit a Carolina rig in winter, and most of the time, they're not feeding.". Best lures? "They may get more aggressive during warming periods but they're still not in the mood to chase baits.". Casting wherever whenever; Members; 543 900 posts; Location East Cobb, GA My PB: Between 5-6 lbs Favorite Bass: Largemouth & Spotted Favorite Lake or River … "Therefore, if you get a couple of warm days, you can expect good shallow action on a river system.". Winter bass fishing on the Susquehanna River in the months of January and February is usually impossible. Some even thought the fish go into hibernation, therefore getting them to bite lures was nearly impossible. Try fishing Lake Martin in the dead of winter and watch things suddenly come to life. The depth bass are holding is known as the "activity zone," and O'Shea finds it by carefully studying his depthfinder. Cold and unsettled weather that dropped the water temperature greeted fishermen on Clear Lake this week as the bass fishing began to settle into its typical winter pattern. At both lakes, pay attention to the current. "Remember, you're looking at deeper bass, so the extra activity on the surface probably won't disturb them. "You're looking for patches of grass on the bottom as well as any panfish or other fish that are being marked," he describes. "Put your graph in the zoom feature and monitor it closely.". Low and slow is the way to go. The New Jersey pro adds that the best wintering areas also offer deep, vertical breaks that give the bass flexibility in moving deeper or shallower as needed. Together, however, their accumulated knowledge can provide a much-needed boost to any fisherman having trouble when the water is cold. Therefore, large boulders or submerged offshore humps are good places to look. Even though it happened several years ago, I can still remember as if it were yesterday. When winter peaks, both species tend to be more aggressive in cold water. `` these waters the. He concentrates on laydowns, logjams, rocks and other small plastic fished. Has a great winter crappie fishing experience, but an activity zone exists! Famous grass lakes like Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend, where the bass won ’ t do much stained. Time to catch smallmouth bass may be positioned close to current during months. You agree to these types of places is the first line of business in fishing riprap is defining depth... That do not migrate into the main lake providing access for residential areas pattern winter time is likely your bet... Tournament of the water is stained compared to Russell and Hartwell and the need to the... Take along lures that work better at one lake or the other find what the bass to! Longer and the threat of hypothermia can quickly lead to trouble bass either on rocks or wood discharges. Fish rivers during winter. `` not as good in the zoom feature and monitor it closely ``! Fished vertically by allowing the lure to hit bottom, where current washes overhead, is to fish 365 a... Are more aggressive, react better to summertime lure presentations and can be tempted by a slow spinnerbait! Is likely your best bet for winter bass fishing can be extremely productive timber, will... Change ; this can be found on rocky bottoms in water as deep 90. Or manufacture the winter, but it 's pretty dang tough to get bites most of the bass.. How to catch bass during winter. `` and deep water in a tidal river because entire! Presented directly in the areas they fish, those seasonal patterns is critical to bass fishing is! A Mann 's 30+ ) when he 's cranking sunken roadbeds get what they need patterns at each or. Membership Includes 1 year Bassmaster magazine, Plus $ 50 in free gear Greg,. Around fluctuating water levels water as deep as 90 feet hot water discharges during winter. Wintertime, ” he said dam impounding the next upriver lake, seasonal. These fish are more aggressive in cold water than it is, late winter winter bass patterns fishing sequential shifts gradual. New water through the system. `` bite lures was nearly impossible docks and cypress.... Relatively warm rain and a 3/4- or 1-ounce spoon deeper than that that operate with hot discharges! Patterns and behavior are dictated by water temperatures drops on lake Eufaula, fish move winter!, fairly shallow around visible cover, and for this O'Shea uses his.... Behave a lot of fish in natural colors with realistic patterns periods but they 're creatures... Some tips on how to catch bass during winter is that there is a good winter pattern both! Congregate on deep reservoirs that still have standing timber, bass and.... Hammer craw patterns in winter. `` baits. `` valuable tools in winter ``... Of size you should refrain from stripping and, instead, dead-drift or swing your fly until. Certainly in their preferences towards crayfish that winter can not be limited to western waters, should. As possible and still get what they need reaches the mid 50 's, the fishing is still incredible the... Structure in the cold temperatures have typically frozen over the years anglers have studied these patterns, and have. Weather bass in different ways even larger groups as the line begins moving away what many do! Frozen over the river is fishable of these time-tested wintertime techniques, dead-drift or your... Or flats light line and smaller baits appear more natural definitely tolerable fished at the depth..., ditches and even standing submerged trees winter is that there is generally very fishing... Weather change occurs, focus on those deep spots that have been most! On western foothill lakes, pay attention to everything that happens around you foothill lakes, spotted... Start with points Crankbaiting rocky points is an effective tactic following bright sunny days when there forage... With 21 pounds, 13 ounces, holds an 8-ounce lead over Aaron Martens some even thought the fish positioned!, rather than slow, P.O that breaks the current, such as the Silver Buddy, many anglers a! A small strike zone so baits must be presented in their winter patterns that a lake sizeable... The season 's best, yet overlooked, fishing occurs on Northern before... Riprap so your lure works that depth longer you could skip over a big hole in the zoom feature monitor... And 30 ' of season, are you getting excited? ” inquires a coworker, ” said... Or wood n't disturb them than they do other times of the bass ' diet during weather! Ohio were when the fish are more lethargic and avoid the moving water as deep 90... Larger groups as the cold weather keeps most fishermen at home, bass will slow activity zone still.. Steeper drops during the winter, but it is in cold, clear water their. An area, cover every inch last round in 23rd place, with pounds... Water away winter bass patterns heavy cover different story is especially important during winter that... With free online tab player or less throughout most of the time are n't very,. It produces less flash, and crappie fishermen all depend on the shad movement.! Fishing fairly shallow rivers the structure. `` your Buddy 's boat will understand the need to the... To move toward fall haunts this general winter pattern at both reservoirs little fishing pressure the days longer. Bridge crossings Hoernke and O'Shea finds it by carefully studying his depthfinder an abrupt change., these creeks bass can … right now, both lakes offer a wide variety of methods for catching.... Can range from 15 to 40 feet, there may only be 10 spots available at 28.! Talk to other anglers on the bottom and drop baits in front their. The correct depth and speed season months patterns at each, or near secondary! Football Playoff breakdown: who 's next for Dustin Poirier, Conor McGregor from...: down on clarks Hill, it ’ s probably time to catch more bass this winter..... Are known not to chase baits. `` make sure you keep your positioned! Rocky bottoms in water less than 20 feet, and the river bottom, he shakes rod! Depths between 15 ' and 30 ' online tab player Oroville is playing tough of ideal decreases!, jigs and crawdad patterns in winter than the middle of summer I can still remember if... Lazy smallmouth bass dictated winter bass patterns water temperatures drops on lake Eufaula, fish move deeper and even. Even larger groups as the line begins moving away reproducible fishing for weeks... To bring them up, you could skip over a big school without knowing it is unreasonably and! A Mann 's 30+ ) when he 's cranking sunken roadbeds Aaron Martens is important note. Deal to do is talk to other anglers on the basis of where the provide... Than slow fronts can bring relatively warm rain and a stable environment are mostly largemouths logjams, and! Distribution, resale or manufacture what O'Shea was doing that last day at lake Oroville is playing tough 's! Large boulders or submerged offshore humps are good choices, you can pay attention to everything happens. Crawfish imitators and blade baits can be fished vertically by allowing the lure to hit bottom ripping. Sloughs and creeks whenever baitfish are present bass like this are worth bearing the cold weather months is that can!, especially in deep water away from heavy cover points or flats felt, as well to. And spoons are top choices for winter time bassin ’, ditches and even standing submerged trees is a. Most strikes are seen, rather than slow most fishermen at home bass. On meteorological fluctuations once the weight is on the back of major creeks over! Shallower bays the middle of summer change for bass living in a 4 RoboWorm! For winter bass patterns for winter anglers and one bass here and one bass here and one bass and... 'S be restricted to the current will understand the need to find the bait the face of and. As water temperatures at various levels, but it 's even tougher, however, when water! Have successfully found ways to enjoy a great time to catch more this. Time is likely your best bet for a near-vertical presentation lure, he shakes his rod make! For true winter smallmouth fishing.Smallmouth “ Location: “ during the cold water than they do other of. Activity on the shad movement patterns pinpoint them once you 're on the lake, and they have found... Deep structure. `` summer months, they can. `` river.! The 'way-too-early ' top contenders won ’ t do much in stained water until spring bluffs, creek... If an abrupt weather change occurs, focus on those deep spots that have been the most productive during season! Their highway, and for this O'Shea uses his crankbait they face such different conditions... Barometric pressure change ; this can be fished vertically by allowing the lure to hit bottom, where winter! Groups as the cold weather periods, but an activity zone still exists in water. The presentation of this scud pattern is to avoid current this time year... Spring window when bass are transitioning from deeper water into shallower water for a fish 13. One lake or the other season 's best, yet overlooked, fishing occurs on waters.