Winter Fishing Tips and Tricks 2021-2022
For most of us, fishing is something we do as a summer activity. But that doesn’t mean you have to live in Florida to enjoy fishing year-round. Winter fishing can be just another way to get outside in some of those chilly winter months. Here are some of the top species to target in the winter and how to catch them.
Winter Fishing Tactics
To understand winter fishing it is first important to understand what is happening to fish when the water cools off. This doesn’t necessarily mean that all fish react the same way to the cold water.
Fish during winter
As winter sets in and the water temperature decrease the metabolism of fish slow down. This, in turn, causes fish to need less food to survive. Along with needing less food fish also want to expel as little energy as possible for the meals they do attempt to obtain.
Fish also often move into deeper waters during wintertime. This is because as water temperature at the surface drops, and even freeze at times, the water in deeper locations becomes warmer than at the surface. Along with moving into deeper water fish will also try and find water with the least amount of flow.
The goal for winter fishing is a bait that you can fish as slowly as possible and hit the correct depth where the fish are. Fish are not very likely to swim great distances to hit a bait, so you need to put the bait right under their nose and make it seem like injured or easy prey.
Deep diving jerkbaits that fall slowly are a great choice. Often time shad twitch or die in the colder water creating an easy opportunity for hungry fish.
Football head jigs are another great bait to throw during winter. Football jigs are great to slowly fish cover leaving the bait in front of the fish for long periods of time. These are designed to fish the bottom very slow. Adding a trailer can help give some action and mimic a crawfish.
Hair jigs work great in cold water because the hair adds subtle movements and can also be fished very slow or vertically.
Spoon jigs along with hair jigs can be fished vertically with great results. This makes them an ideal candidate for ice fishing. Jerkbaits can also be fished vertically.
Drop Shot Rig
The drop-shot rig is a rig that can also be fished very slow and in cover effectively. It is designed to hold the bait a set amount off the bottom making it great for rocky areas.
Best Winter Species
Below are some of the best species to target in the wintertime.
Pike don’t slow down in cold water as much as some other fish. That’s why they are one of the best species for wintertime fishing. Great for ice fishing.
Again walleye also stay somewhat active as the temperatures plummet. Fishing walleye is best in rocky outcroppings and drop-offs.
Catfish are usually slow-going fish, but when you hook into one they put up a fantastic fight. They are also great to vertically jig for.
Crappie is another good choice for winter fishing. They are great to vertical jig for and there are usually a high number of them, making them a little easier to catch.
Summer fishing is obviously hard to beat, but winter can also open up other opportunities to explore new and interesting ways of fishing. Maybe even tempt you into targeting a species you wouldn’t normally target.
Some of the keys to wintertime fishing are to fish much slower than you would during summer. Also bait size is another very important thing to consider. But the most important thing is to get out and try some new types of fishing. It’s great to read articles for some insight, but there is no better way to learn than by doing. You might even pick up a new wintertime hobby that gets you out of the house and into nature.