The sequential shifts are gradual and tend to stabilize until the more frequent severe cold fronts cause winter patterns to occur. 2: Packers want second Super Bowl for Aaron Rodgers, After 13-year playoff drought, Bucs carry hopes of their last NFC championship team, Matthew Stafford gave Detroit all he had -- on the field and off of it, Klopp: I don't feel the pressure ahead of Man Utd, Bryant: Let us appreciate the grace and uncommon decency of Henry Aaron, Biggest winners, losers and moves we'd still make this MLB offseason, Trinity Rodman is ready to make her own Rodman legacy in pro soccer, Messi, Neymar miss out on FIFA 21 Team of the Year, Australian Open FAQs: How pandemic, protocols will affect 2021's first tennis major, Michigan under 14-day halt after positive tests, Wizards sign Len, Bell for restart; Westbrook iffy. When looking for locations for winter bass fishing, two things are most important; baitfish and deep water. At both lakes, pay attention to the current. It probably is somewhat related to water temperatures at various levels, but it also has a great deal to do with structure. "You're looking for patches of grass on the bottom as well as any panfish or other fish that are being marked," he describes. Power plant lakes that operate with hot water discharges during the winter provide a better fishing option. "That's why jigs fished slowly on the bottom are the very best choice this time of year.". And while bass tend to act similarly regardless of the water you fish, those seasonal patterns may vary in different bodies of water. For these conditions, Hoernke prefers a 3/8- or 1/2-ounce copper/brown jig, a 1/2-ounce tandem willowleaf spinnerbait or a shallow running, wide-wobbling crankbait. This group … "I think riprap initially attracts baitfish better than bass, because the gaps in the rocks offer some protection and shelter," notes O'Shea, "and on sunny days, the rocks hold heat. With either lure, he strives for a near-vertical presentation. "In winter on a deep lake, like Oroville, creek channels are usually worth checking, and the junction of two creeks or the intersection of a creek and a river channel will nearly always attract bass. But when it comes to just "cold water" bass fishing we Bass Bums® in the southern states, at least those few who prefer bass fishing to sitting on our butts watching football every weekend (blessed be the DVR), can speak well to the subject of winter bass fishing, when the water is in the 40's and low 50's. And while water temperatures in the upper 30s and lower 40s shut down Southern bass, Northern fish will still hit lures used in their winter haunts. Try points with standing timber or brush piles and if that fails to produce switch to rock ledges or boulders on points close to the creek channel break. That's where vertical presentations with jigging spoons and small leadhead jigs tipped with finesse worms can tempt fish into striking. "It doesn't have any effect on your lure's action because you're using a near-vertical presentation and the sinker stays on the bottom. In these waters in the cold water period, smallmouth bass may be almost anywhere – except in the fast water. This often means a long run up a lake's major tributary, sometimes to the dam impounding the next upriver lake. Small lures can be presented directly in the face of spots and smallmouth that hold on deep structure. By watching his depthfinder as he motors across his fishing area, O'Shea finds the depth at which most bass seem to be holding — the activity zone — and then tries to find structure at that depth. It's mid-November 1999 — the final day of the California BASSMASTER Invitational — and Lake Oroville is playing tough. "In places like this, you're likely to find a huge school of fish, but they may be concentrated in a small place. Because they're coldwater creatures, you may find them shallower than largemouth. In the winter, you won't find a thermocline, but an activity zone still exists. Box 1167, Rhinelander, WI 54501; (800) 338-5957; The Winter Shad Die-off, and how to Fish it By, Vincent Rumsey In the Lake of the Ozarks, the most populous baitfish is shad. Another reason is that the bass are mostly largemouths. However, it's not always easy. RoboWorm. If they're suspended just off the bottom over rocks, he'll tantalize them with a green pumpkin finesse worm on the drop shot rig. O'Shea's approach should not be limited to western waters, nor should Hoernke's be restricted to the South. When he wants a completely different lure appearance as well as a slightly slower fall, Hoernke occasionally rigs a Hopkins spoon inside a tube lure. Bass can be taken from any structure in the shallow creeks from depths of 5 feet or less throughout most of the fall. Depth is relative, of course. After a long cold winter virtually all fish species start congregating in their winter areas to make the annual spring move to shallow water. In three to four more weeks, the bass will move into a winter pattern as the temperatures drop to a low of around mid-50s, rarely dropping below 45 degrees. "If you get a couple of warm days and the fish get active, a spinnerbait or a Shad Rap works really well that time of year," he adds. Many winter bass fishing rules change for bass living in a tidal river because their entire life cycle revolves around fluctuating water levels. Cold fronts have less effect on winter bass living in deep water than they do other times of the year. He looks for roadbeds along the edges of channels and makes his casts parallel to the road, starting first on the edges. Drop-shotting in deep water takes a more sensitive touch than in shallow water, so O'Shea tries to make his presentations as nearly vertical as possible; he doesn't try to "walk" the sinker around structure or cover. The water is stained compared to Russell and Hartwell and the fish are much shallower. On the upside, the areas where you find wintering bass tend to be a gathering place for lots of them. Hoernke's theory has been proved on famous grass lakes like Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend, where the winter Rat-L-Trap bite is legendary. In the winter, many cold fronts hit the … Bass will gather in those turns and can be tempted by a slow falling jig. No one likes to admit it, but there are days on Lake Fork, particularly between December and February, when it's tough to get a bite from any size bass, not just one of the reservoir's famous double-digit monsters. Fishing docks is a good winter pattern at both reservoirs. Here the bass fishing pattern is one where bass hold deep along bluffs, deep creek channels, ditches and even standing submerged trees. Without hesitation, he heads to a rockpile located near the junction of two creeks, and starts drop-shotting a plastic worm into water 60 feet deep. "The key to this time of year is to spend as much time watching your electronics as you do fishing," he describes. By paying close attention to water temperature and the number of daylight hours, you can make better predictions on the movements bass are likely to make -- giving you a greater chance of fall fishing success. 1) Calm and Sunny If you keep a tight line, the spoon doesn't have any action, but if you let it fall on a completely slack line, you don't have any control over it. It doesn't take the bass long to find the bait. California pro Mike O'Shea starts the last round in 23rd place, with a total of 18-4. Spots will school in the backs of sloughs and creeks whenever baitfish are present. Photo by Phil Monahan. Cartwright offers tips for true winter smallmouth fishing.Smallmouth “Location: “During the winter, I fish the smaller, fairly shallow rivers. I’ve been catching a lot of bass on the Megabass Vision 110 early in the morning … Winter steelheaders will understand the need to have the fly pass near the head of a winter bass. They head to those slackwater areas when creek water temperatures plummet during late fall. If the points don't produce, O'Shea usually moves to his second winter fishing option, rock riprap, which can be productive on virtually any type of impoundment or river system. ), here are some tips on how to catch bass during five different weather conditions in February. Since late winter weather can deliver its goods in a variety of packages (sunny and warm, windy and snowy, sunny and bitter cold, etc. Click on cover or text below to open magazine Winter bass fishing has its own techniques and guidelines, and it comes with its own difficulties, but the rewards found through patience, perseverance and plenty of warm clothes can be Sometimes you can even see them with your depthfinder, and most of the time they're going to be near some type of change in the roadbed.". One accurate tab per song. When winter peaks, both species congregate on deep, hard-bottom structure. The depth bass are holding is known as the "activity zone," and O'Shea finds it by carefully studying his depthfinder. Opt for light line and smaller baits when winter fishing, especially in deep water away from heavy cover. The change in depth is their highway, and the isolated cover becomes their stopping place along the way.". While large streamers aren't usually the best option, they can be effective when fished at the correct depth and speed. Small panfish make up the bass' diet during cold weather periods, but crawfish can be a major staple, as well. South Florida Winter Bass Patterns. If they're suspended above the structure, he'll cast the smoke-colored grub toward the area, count it down and begin swimming it back to the boat. "I choose my presentations on the basis of where the fish are positioned on or over the structure.". Casting wherever whenever; Members; 543 900 posts; Location East Cobb, GA My PB: Between 5-6 lbs Favorite Bass: Largemouth & Spotted Favorite Lake or River … Toledo Bend Lake, the largest reservoir in the south, sits behind a dam built on the Sabine River in the ’60s. “Yep, I’m ready!” I reply without further explanation. "But you can usually find healthy weeds in the deeper sections of the lake, and that attracts the forage. New Winter Cold Water Bass Tech. Within this general winter pattern, Johnston expects certain variances based on meteorological fluctuations. As the cold weather keeps most fishermen at home, bass lakes are generally wide open. This pattern will continue until the water temperature reaches the mid 50's, then this feeding activity will slow down. And though we are now in December and it’s probably time to put away that hopper box until next summer, don’t think that there aren’t plenty of fishing opportunities throughout the state. An understanding of seasonal patterns is critical to bass fishing success any time of year, but it is especially important during winter months. How do you pattern bass during winter in gin-clear lakes lacking bass-attracting cover? The Tackle Warehouse Winter Patterns & Techniques has some of our recommended gear, tips and modifications to make the most of the coldest time of the year. He prefers the long walls that are often present at dams and around bridge crossings. Browning says one of the best times to fish rivers during winter is after a heavy rain pushes new water through the system. "During the winter, the fish are more lethargic and avoid the moving water as best they can.". However, if the vegetation is thick, rig tubes and small craws on jigheads and scoot them in erratic hops with the rod tip, emulating the way a crawfish skitters along the bottom. How To Catch Smallmouth Bass Winter Bass Fishing. If going alone, use extra caution, but ultimately, … ), here are some tips on how to catch bass during five different weather conditions in February. If it is a trophy bass you’re targeting during the winter, it is important to learn weather patterns. Early in the fall bass will be along the creek channel but there will also be bass up in thin water because shad are in the shallows. "Rock and wood are prime types of cover for winter bass," Hoernke explains, "and of these, standing timber is probably the easiest to fish because you have a visible reference for lure presentation. Written by: The staff of Trouts Fly Fishing Just a handful of staple patterns will get the job done during the winter months. What I'm looking for on my depthfinder are any little changes, such as a dip, a rise or even a turn in that roadbed. 1 factor affecting winter bass fishing is the weather," says Hoernke, whose résumé includes a fifth place finish at the Missouri BASSMASTER Invitational last season. Most strikes are seen, rather than felt, as the line begins moving away. There are some years, however, when the weather is unreasonably warm and the river is fishable. In fact, as largemouth bulk up for the winter, you may even catch surprisingly large bass during the cold weather months. Winter Fishing Techniques. Winter bass fishing is tough enough. Alternatives to Winter Bass Fishing. The first line of business in fishing riprap is defining a depth zone bass are using, and for this O'Shea uses his crankbait. He concentrates on laydowns, logjams, rocks and other cover that offer a break from the current flow. If you locate fall bass and decipher their pattern you can generally rely on reproducible fishing for several weeks. "Once you catch a fish, and certainly after you catch several, you should be able to start defining a depth where the bass are holding," he explains. In the summer, the activity zone is often just above the thermocline, and it shows up well on electronics because few fish will be below it. "River fish are shallow-oriented fish year-round and, to be honest, the water temperature in 2 feet is about the same as it is in 10 feet that time of year," he explains. It was a very crisp December morning. Fish slow and be thorough. . Although many consider drop-shotting to be a light tackle technique, some western pros like O'Shea regularly rig with 1/2-ounce and heavier sinkers — even on 6-pound-test line — for deep winter bass. A big hole in the river bottom, where current washes overhead, is a good spot for smallmouth. The key, says Hoosier angler Greg Mangus, is to find the healthiest weeds that a lake has to offer. Timing your fishing trips when there is a break in the cold temperatures can help. Make sure you keep your boat positioned on, or near, these creeks. The best pattern is to fish 5 to 15 feet of water around the banks. Fronts can bring relatively warm rain and a barometric pressure change; this can … Winter bass fishing is a tricky thing this time of year. Skip to main content Giveaways Newsletter ... As water temperatures approach the upper 80's, the metabolism of the bass will slow. In deeper water, he prefers a narrow, minnow-type spoon (such as the Mann-O-Lure) because it falls straight down; the wider, flatter spoons (including the Hopkins spoons) tend to have a more erratic fall and may actually miss a particular target by several feet. These fish are shallow-water oriented and spend much of their time in, or near, secondary creek channels. And don't overlook man-made channels that cut off the main lake providing access for residential areas. The bass are probably suspended on your favorite bass lake right … Western anglers utilize their sonars to locate the fish hovering on the bottom and drop baits in front of their faces. Establishing a pattern of sorts might be tough during winter, but once you've figured them out, the action can be red hot! "Although bass can be anywhere along a wall of rocks, I especially like to fish corners, or anywhere there is some type of change in the rocks.". That's what O'Shea was doing that last day at Lake Oroville. Both the drop shot and the grub are fished on 6-pound fluorocarbon line. January 3, 2008. "Because the tide is constantly changing, current becomes a factor," says 2006 Angler of the Year Michael Iaconelli, who grew up fishing the Delaware River. Winter Bass Fishing. Choose lures that simulate those critters and the bass will take them. This is the first video in a 4 part series about how fish move from winter to summer. Britt Myers' Favorite Winter Bass Pattern. While winter may not be the best time to catch bass, it is possible to catch these and other bass in the cold. At depths greater than 15 feet, O'Shea changes to a 3/4-ounce Strike King spider jig (a lighter jig if brushy cover is present), moves his boat shallow and starts crawling the jig up the slope from deeper water. In some instances, I believe, bass probably stay close to riprap the entire winter.". Patterns are not to be used for distribution, resale or manufacture. "If the weather becomes unseasonably warm for a few days, the fish will move shallow on the structure and stay on the bottom," he describes. The depths O'Shea feels comfortable fishing contrast sharply with the winter techniques used by B.A.S.S. Ike believes baits like jigs and plastics that hug the bottom are best choices for fishing those slackwater areas during winter. Make a plan of where you want to fish and be sure to let someone know where you are going and what part of the lake you will be fishing. So slow down, enjoy fewer people on the lake and try some of these time-tested wintertime techniques. Just get this fly down rolling near the bottom. Bass fishing on both lakes is hot and getting hotter, even here in what most of us consider the middle of winter. "On the Arkansas River we have a lot of rock jetties and 'L' shaped dikes that break the current, and the fish will stack up on the backside," he describes. Some of the season's best, yet overlooked, fishing occurs on Northern waters before they ice up. Bass fishermen, cat fishermen, and crappie fishermen all depend on the shad movement patterns. In winter, bass seek structure that provides food, security and a stable environment. You determine where the bass are and adjust your rig to put the worm right in front of them, or perhaps slightly above them — but never below them, if you can help it.". Healthy sized winter bass like this are worth bearing the cold temperatures! When fall wanes toward winter, bass in man-made impoundments pull away from the shallow areas in the backs of creeks and bays and follow the baitfish to main lake structure. Hill says the fish relate to steeper drops during the winter. Browning says that he always starts with a Berkley Power Jig tipped with a Power Craw and fishes the slack water around the jetties. "Shallow vegetation dies off and is less attractive to the baitfish and bass," he explains. Mostly because cold temperatures have typically frozen over the river. By downloading/printing these patterns, you agree to these terms. For that reason, Ike looks for areas away from the main current, such as protected coves and harbors. Pay Attention to Fall Bass Patterns . "Their environment is dominated by moving water, not necessarily water temperature, and as such, their actions can be fairly predictable.". "It can be boring, but you're wasting your time unless you're seeing sharp contours, baitfish and bass in the same area.". "It could be barge coves, industrial areas — any place that breaks the current," he describes. Winter bass have a small strike zone so baits must be presented in their face. Both the water and air temperatures seem to keep getting colder and, as a result, the bass are pretty darn sluggish right now. 5 Winter Patterns . Gainesville, Fla., touring pro Bernie Schultz suggests visiting anglers should take along lures that work well in shallow water and aquatic vegetation. Hill, who uses a Lowrance HD111, says today's mapping/GPS features are valuable tools in winter fishing. I actually enjoy winter fishing. "I probably rely on the crankbait the most at first because I cover water that may be as shallow as 3 feet and work down to about 15 feet," he says. Than 20 feet, there may only be 10 spots available at 28 feet thermocline, but can. Your graph in the wintertime, ” he said they fish, especially along those sharp-breaking inside turns adjacent points... You live, the metabolism of the South soft plastics and spoons are top choices for those. To be more vigilant and pay attention to everything that happens around you take.. Lots of them the road, starting first on the water. `` may vary in different bodies of.... 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