Fishing through the winter season can be extremely rewarding for a number of reasons. Cold temperatures keep fair-weather anglers home and hunting seasons lead many anglers to trade lakes for the woods. Winter is also the time of the year when most freshwater species group together . The result: more fish for cold-weather anglers. During the coolest months of the year, preparation, research, and proper tackle can make for some unforgettable fishing trips.
- Pick the perfect spot
The first step in a successful fishing trip, no matter what species is being targeted, is to know where to go. So it’s important that you do your research; get information about local lakes and get details of what types of fish they have to offer, what times of the year provide the best angling for certain species, and any creel limits.
- Gather your equipment
In general, winter fishing puts extra strain on fishing equipment. After determining where to go, ensure all your equipment is up to the task. For instance, make sure the reels are in good working order. A reel bearing that was noisy or stiff under warmer conditions will completely fail in the cold. Old grease and oil will thicken, making reels difficult to use. To prevent frustration, clean and lubricate them. This way, when the perfect fish is hooked, you’ll be able to land it. If you’re not comfortable disassembling and cleaning reels, repair shops will assist you with this service.
- Choose the best bait
Lure choice in the winter months can be difficult; however, a few basic tips will greatly improve success. Live bait is a perfect choice, because it will react to the water naturally. Typically, anglers work artificial baits too quickly for the winter conditions. Both forage and predators are cold-blooded creatures and the cold water slows their metabolisms, making them move slowly. Bait that moves unnaturally quickly will turn fish away. Anglers trying to mimic these forage species should slow down their presentations to a methodically sluggish retrieve. Most anglers simply can’t fish slowly enough with artificial baits to accurately mimic the speed and movements of forage during winter temperatures. Live bait will be more enticing.