Tips and Tricks for Winter Fishing

Jake Haddock
Tips and Tricks for Winter Fishing
The holidays have always been special to me. I get extra time off of school and more time on the water with close friends and family. This time of year fishing has a different feel about it. The most obvious one of course is the difference in the water temperature which has a big impact on lure selection and how the fish act in general. The fish feed slower and swim slower- everything just slows down. The season changes tackle selection too, especially if you're going after big trout. You're going to want a slower gear ratio of a reel; maybe a 6:1 or even 5:1 just to insure that your lure is presentable to the fish.

One of my number one priorities when getting ready for a fishing trip in the colder months is making sure my waders are in good condition. There is nothing worse than getting off into the cold saltwater and feeling your neoprene sock start to fill with freezing water. This can and will ruin your whole day. The best thing to do is put on your waders and walk around in a swimming pool for a while. You will know very quickly if you have leaky waders or not. If you feel a leak, take them off, turn them inside out, and look around where you felt the water come in. As long as the hole isn't on the seam, which is where they're usually located, sometimes you can repair a small leak. If it is on the seam, your best bet is to try to return them or just buy a new pair.

There is a difference in the lures you use in the summertime and the lures you use in the winter time. The biggest one I can think of is trading your topwaters in for a Corky. I am not saying that you can't catch fish on a topwater in the winter, because I have before, I'm just saying that for the most part, you're going to be using a Corky way more than a topwater. If you do not know how to use a Corky yet or you are learning, I would strongly suggest asking someone who has been around the sport a long time for a few tips. It can be a difficult art to tackle, but the rewards are very high. As far as plastics go, for this time of year I'll be throwing a lot of reds, blacks, and purple colors.

Some of the most useful things to have on a winter fishing trip are the proper attire for comfort. For example, fleece wader pants if you have breathable waders. Also, thin neoprene gloves, handwarmers to keep in your pocket, and a good windbreaker with a fleece jacket underneath- depending on how cold it is. The last thing you want is to get cold when you're fishing. However, you always want to have a regular fishing shirt underneath, because when the sun comes out and the wind stops blowing you will be shedding clothes as fast as you can to escape the heat. As long as you dress in layers you can always adjust to be comfortable.

One of the hardest things when fishing in the winter is locating fish. Often times they are not in the same area as they are in the summer months. One of the main things to key in on in the winter is mud and shells. That's where the fish want to be when it's cold because that's what heats up the most. Another thing to remember is that the fish are moving slower this time of year, therefore, your lure presentation has to slow down. If you don't, you will get a lot of follow ups with no hits. This seems especially true with big trout. They're lazy and want to move as little as possible, so to get them to eat you have to slowly scoot your Corky off the bottom with pauses in your retrieve. It takes a lot of patience, but it's worth it. So go out in your garage, knock the salt off of your wading belt, and let's get ready for what will hopefully be a wonderful winter fishing season.