Do you miss going out on fishing trips? Is the cold weather making you feel down? Worry not; take a look at our winter fishing guide to learn more! 

Fishing during the summer sure is great, but did you know it’s equally great during the winter? There’s always been this misconception about things being tougher during the cold winter, and that may be true to some extent, but it’s not entirely impossible and futile. 

If you can prepare yourself well and have your fishing equipment all in check, you’ll see that there are plenty of freshwater species to fish. The best part? There are fewer people around, which means the fishes aren’t being disturbed, and you’re left with some much-needed peace. 

There are ways to make winter fishing work to your advantage. And this is where we step in! 

We’re providing you with the best beginners’ guide to winter fishing. You’ll get to learn many things, and we can’t wait. Let’s dive right into it:

Location is Key When Going Winter Fishing!

Right off the bat, knowing where you’re going is a crucial first step. If you have the right spot already picked out, we guarantee your fishing trip is going to be successful regardless of which species you’ve targeted!

When you’re looking for locations, it’s a good idea to avoid lakes or rivers with elevated currents. Not only is there a safety issue, but it can also make fishing more strenuous as well. Always choose rivers and lakes that have a natural and stable current, even during the cold weather. 

Look up the conditions of the current online before you head out for your trip. It’s better to know the conditions and prepare yourself instead of wasting hours and freezing in the cold. 

Remember to research well, and make sure you’re picking the right location; it can save you from a lot of trouble.

Perfect Day and Just the Right Weather

Before you finalize the dates, take a look at the forecast first and then plan your trip around it. 

We’re not just saying this for your comfort. There are actual, certain conditions that can really increase your chance of catching fish. Weather plays a big role in how active freshwater species are.   

Usually, fish are less active after there’s been a front. To really boost your chances, plan your trip before the cold front passes. Even though sunlight may be limited, try to find days that have the most chances of being bright and sunny. 

Taking polaroids has been known to help with visibility issues. They’ll help with spotting any signs of fish in the bright winter sun. Go between 10 am to around 4 pm in the afternoon. That’s precisely when the fish are going to be most actively feeding.

Keeping Your Fishing Equipment Organized

It’s no secret that there’s a possibility winter fishing might put extra strain on all your fishing equipment. You can check out to learn more about it. 

After you’ve decided on your location and figured out the right weather conditions, it’s time to make sure your fishing gear is in top condition. Here are a few ways you can start off with: 

Check Your Reels 

Firstly, check your reels. That means cleaning and lubricating the reel bearings because the chilly, cold weather can make them stiff and tough to use. 

You wouldn’t want to be in a situation where you’ve finally got a fish after waiting for hours in the cold, and then you’re unable to reel it in, right? We didn’t think so either. 

Thankfully, there are professionals in repair shops who can disassemble and clean your reels for a very reasonable price. We highly recommend doing this before you set out on your fishing trip. 

Condition Your Lines

This is vital because the line can otherwise freeze on your rod guides when it gets really cold. Keeping your lines conditioned can help them to stay supple, prevent twisting, and stop the water from freezing on your guides.  

Winter Fishing
Photo by McKayla Crump on

Staying Protected

It’s no joke how much your belongings get exposed to moisture and rain in the winter. You have to make sure they’re protected. We recommend getting a sturdy dry bag to keep your things protected and safe from the harsh elements of the cold weather. 

Choose the Right Bait

Knowing when to use which bait can be a bit complicated sometimes. Here are a few tips we’re sure will help you make the right decision every time: 

Artificial Baits

If you’re going for artificial baits, you’ll also be needing feathers. Artificial baits work well in cold weather. The feather and hair help the bait to move around naturally and quickly without needing much movement from yourself. 

Live Baits

Fish tend to move much slower in cold water. So a live bait is just perfect for the situation, such as live worms or minnows. 

Unlike artificial baits, which tend to move too quickly and can scare the fish away, the sluggish movement of the live bait mimics the movements of the fish quite well. 

However, if you really want to use artificial bait, you’ll have to make sure to move slowly. This can be tough to pull off accurately, so it’s just best to go for live bait instead.

Using Forage Species

It’s always a good idea to have lures that help you to catch more than one species. In this case, you can use forage species as baits to do just that. 

For instance, shad or herring are attractive to many freshwater species during the cold. Other forage like the crawfish is not a good choice and won’t work as they usually hibernate during this time.

So, you can do some additional research and find out which other forage species you can use to catch those fishes! 

Soft Plastic Baits

Soft plastic baits such as tube baits and grubs can also be quite effective in cold winter water. Just remember to choose colors that are similar to winter forage, like white and silver with specks of color. 

Another thing you have to make sure of is that your baits are highly visible. Vivid colors are easily spotted and can attract the attention of the fish. Colors such as gold or chrome could be great choices to start with. Make sure your bait is highly visible.

Smaller Sized Lures

Last but not least – smaller-sized lures are also quite famous during the cold season. Speaking of which, fishes don’t feed as often during this time. They find smaller prey that is easy to catch and digest. 

So if you use lures that are small and slow, you’ll be able to mimic the movements of their prey and natural feeding patterns. Go for sizes between 2-4 inches and make sure to keep your bait in a tight, close area to increase the chance of your success!  

Species That Feed Better in Cold Temperatures

It’s possible you’re used to targeting specific species during the summer, but you’ll soon find that it’s much more fun and rewarding to focus on the fish that are winter feeding like perch, face, pike, or chubs. 

Here are 3 ways you can get the most out of your wonderful winter fishing trip:

Boost Your Bait to Add Some Flavor

Just using a flavored hook bait can help to add appeal and help you catch the fish. An alcoholic-based flavor can work even more effectively in hooking a fish. You won’t even have to use any feed either at all. 

Trying Different Depths to Find Feeding Fish

Try considering changing the depths to find the spot where the fish are really feeding, rather than going straight to the bottom. 

Not only does it work for floater fishes, but it’s also a great winter carp fishing bait tip as well. It’s actually a known fact that carp anglers are more successful during winter season fishing.  

Go for Light Tackles

Lastly, it’s no secret to anybody that things move under the water a bit slowly. Fish are the same during the winter; they are more lethargic. There’s also less vegetation during this time, so you don’t have to use any heavy tackles either. Use light tackles and catch those fish! 

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, we’d like to say that if you’re careful of your surroundings, the cold conditions and follow the safety precautions, then you can enjoy winter fishing with much ease. It’s a great time for seasoned anglers or any level of anglers to take advantage of the quietness.

You’ll have to work a bit hard, but with the correct planning and preparation, it’s going to be worth it. We hope you have a successful fishing trip, and don’t forget to let us know your experience in the comments down below. 

Happy fishing!