Just because the weather turns cold and the snow flies does not mean the end of the fishing season. Sportsmen in the northern states especially continue enjoying harvesting the catch of the day despite outdoor conditions. Here are a few methods and tactics make the journey that much more worthwhile.
Where to Go
Do a little research online to find the ideal winter fishing locations. The Department of Natural Resources or Wildlife and Fisheries are some places to start hunting. Find out where anglers have experienced success, the species caught and the water levels along with ice conditions. There are also websites that display graphs representing the best time of day to ensure the fish are biting.
Fish with Friends
During the winter months, emergency rescuers and first responders are fewer in terms of availability. Anglers stay safe by taking to the water with a friend or a family member. In this way, there is someone around in the event of an emergency to offer assistance or to contact help.
Wear layers of clothing made from synthetic fibers or wool for insulation. Remember to wear a hat, gloves and boots. The combination of reduced temperatures, wind and a lack of physical movement increase the potential for suffering hypothermia. Take warm fluids and high-energy snacks to help keep your core warm.
Use cleaned and lubricated reels to prevent friction. Apply Ardent, Bass Pro, KVD Line or Reel Magic to your lines to prevent tangles and twists. Finer lines are also recommended. Applying a conditioner to your rod and guides also prevents them from freezing as water accumulates.
Use live minnows or worms. Artificial bait selections should have hair or feathers. These types of lures exhibit more movement in cold water compared to plastic alternatives. However, small, soft plastic grubs, straight or tube worms might be effective if silver, transparent or white. When the weather turns cold, fish do not eat as much or as frequently. Thus, small bait represents a light, quick meal.
The key to succeeding in catching bass during the winter involves venturing to deeper water and looking for schools of fish. Consider going out first thing in the morning or when the temperature will be the warmest during the day. Some of the equipment that has proven helpful include drop shot, jigs and jerkbaits along with worms.