In this article, you can read about things you should consider if you want to catch as many fish as possible during the chilly months!
When the temperature drops, the ideal weekend for most people is spending the whole day cozying up in your blankets with a mug of hot chocolate or your preferred warm beverage. However, for you, it might be having hot soup while catching fresh produce for dinner. Read on to find out how you can make your fishing endeavors more fruitful in the cold weather. You can further check out this guide by The Nature Insider to know more about fishing in winter.
Where do Fish Go During Cooler Months?
You may relate to fishes in the aspect that they too slow down in winter. They also drift to the bottom of water bodies.
Benthic fish may move out to the edge of the water body. This is because the water there is oxygenated down to the lake or river bed. This allows the fish to breathe.
How Should You Find a Suitable Location for Fishing in Cold Weather?
You must look up fishing spots before starting to plan your fishing trip.
A good starting point may be searching up your state’s Department of Natural Resources website. They should contain the latest updates on which lakes have the best fishing spots, creel limits if there are any, what time of the year is best for fishing, and so on. Especially during winter, you will save yourself hours of wasted time freezing with adequate research.
You should avoid rivers with high currents since they can be dangerous and also are not ideal for fishing. Instead, choose a river with more stable currents; it will not only make fishing relatively easier but also keep you safe.
Why Should You Fish in Winter?
There are plenty of advantages to fishing in the winter. We have listed only three below.
Fewer Anglers Will be Out Fishing
One of the main benefits is that you will have relatively less competition since in winter, many people opt for hunting instead, and others simply prefer staying in.
Enrich your Sack of Life Experiences
The experience of fishing is different during the colder months. The behavior of fishes even in your usual fishing spot will feel poles apart from warmer months. Your resilience will surprise you as you spend hours in the cold catching fish. You may also have to master a new fishing technique.
Good Quality Catches
You may not win in quantity, but you surely will win in quality. You may get hold of fish that are relatively less available during spring or summer.
Five Tips to Successfully Fish in Winter
Here are 5 tips and tricks that will ensure you catch a lot of fish on your cold-weather fishing trip.
1. Take Necessary Safety Precautions
You are the one who will catch the fish. You need to be safe and healthy first. It must be obvious that you need to take extra precautions during colder months; you’ll find more or less all of them below.
Don’t Go Out There Alone
Even if you are a professional, do not fish alone in winter. Your muscles may cramp, and hypothermia may set in before you even realize if you fall overboard. Due to fewer anglers around, no one will even notice you, and you will be left alone at the ill hands of fate.
A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed
You should share your float plan with someone you trust onshore. You should make an arrangement to contact them at a certain time; if that doesn’t happen, they should immediately reach out to appropriate authorities. You should never sail to a different location or amend your float plan without informing someone else first.
Keep your Tummy Warm
Who would want to miss out on the blissful experience of sipping lukewarm chicken soup while sitting on a chilly lake? Don’t forget to pack loads of high-energy but easy-to-eat foods. Bring food you can eat with your gloves on, such as granola bars.
The Right Attire is Vital
Cotton can freeze you up if wet, so try avoiding it. Opt for more synthetic fibers. Layers can help you keep warm. To protect your extremities, you can buy hand and foot warmers.
Safety Comes First
Never take off your life jacket; always bring an extra pair. Make sure everybody on board is wearing one. A rope with loops or a built-in boarding ladder can save your life if you fall off your boat.
2. Sleep in Without Worry
You may associate fishing trips with warm evenings or wake up at the crack of dawn. In winter, though, they are quite the opposite. Fishing hours are ideally early afternoon from late morning, 10 am to 4 pm. This is partly due to temperatures being too low during the early hours of the day. You should observe weather reports because during a cold front, you are likely to get more fish, all in all maximizing the number of fish you catch.
3. Choose and Maintain The Right Fishing Gear
You should check out all your fishing gear once you have finalized a fishing spot and chosen a date. Winter will put a strain on your beloved equipment.
You can begin by examining your reels. A freshly maintained reel is essential for a successful fishing trip. When the temperature drops, your bearings may be stiff and difficult to use. You can easily solve this by cleaning and lubricating them. It will be disheartening if you are unable to reel a fish you hooked after spending hours in the cold.
If you are doubtful about your expertise in maintaining your reels, reach out to a professional. It will be perfect if you pull this off at the beginning of winter.
You need to ensure your lines don’t twist by conditioning them. Water may freeze on your rod guides. This can be prevented by using a line conditioner as well!
Your belongings have a higher risk of being exposed to moisture and rain during colder months. To keep your gear dry and safe, you should buy a dry bag and keep it within reach. Frostbite can reach you, too, if you aren’t careful enough.
You can get a waterproofing spray to prevent yourself from getting wet. A winter coat and good coveralls will be your best friend. You should also buy a pair of insulated boots and gloves. For instances of more delicate fishing methods, you can get a pair of fingerless gloves. Wear a good hat to keep your head warm and thick socks and long underwear for another layer of warmth.
4. Refrain from sticking in one spot
As mentioned before, fish change their behavior with the seasons. After around 20 minutes of not getting a bite, move to a different position.
In summer, you probably found fish in places where the water was shallow. However, in winter, fishes move towards deeper water. You can search for ledges, creek edges, river channels, and so on.
5. Look Out For Thick Weeds
If you research the location you plan to go fishing at, you will come up with the factors that you need to keep an eye out for. However, generally, higher oxygen levels attract fish.
In lower temperatures, fish become slower, and oxygen can boost their metabolism. There is a lot of oxygen produced by heavier vegetation.
Bait vs. Lure: Which One Would Be More Ideal In Winter?
You are probably used to picking lures over baits during hotter days. Lures are going to make fishing difficult, as you already know by now that the speed of fish decreases when it gets cold. The same applies to their live food sources as well. Lures may scare your fish away by moving too fast. Bait, on the other hand, should adapt to the cold water and be more attractive to hungry fish.
You may still want to stick to lures because of habit. If that’s the case, you should choose those that have feathers or hairs attached. This will make sure there is action happening under the water.
You should also reduce your bait size, and choose a lure that can potentially catch several species of fish. Due to their sluggish metabolism, fish will avoid bigger objects. You should use 2”-3” inch lures.
Attractants may help you further, especially for soft plastic lures. They will thus bite the lure and hold onto it even if they are not too hungry. You can opt for the following lures: deep suspending jerk baits, drop shot, jigging spoon, tail spinner, a blade bait, and grub.
You need to follow through with each of the above-mentioned points to see the face of success in your winter fishing endeavor.