Every angler could vouch that winter is not the best season to grab your reel and catch some fish. Here I have for you helpful tips for winter fishing.
People during winter becomes extremely lazy and just wants to sleep until the season passes, it is the same with the fishes. These creatures have certain behaviors that anglers should be mindful of to have a successful fishing spree.
The Fish Behavior
Before you start catching some fish, first, you have to understand certain mechanisms to equip you in a successful fishing journey. You might think that “they are just fishes that wag their tail in the water, what is there to understand?” There are a lot to understand.
Factors such as the weather, air pressure, and water condition can affect a fish’s behavior. Different species of fishes reacts differently to certain kinds of weather and water condition. They are like people; some like the rain, others prefer the sun and many hates the winter.
Barometric pressure (also known as atmospheric pressure) is the force exerted by the Earth’s atmosphere (or of another planet) at a given point. It is known as the “weight of the air”. Many anglers believe that good or bad fishing can be determined by the level of the barometric pressure. In any given time, it can either be stable, rising or falling.
One factor an angler should always be mindful of is the Barometric Pressure. It is responsible for maintaining the buoyancy level of the ocean, which shuffles the fishes if changes occur.
But the expert says that the Barometric Pressure alone does not significantly affect the behavior of a fish. It can only be felt lightly by this aquatic specie. What affects them most is the weather effects on water causing the change in the Barometric Pressure. The weather being the primary cause of a change in the Barometric Pressure can affect water levels, light penetration, and temperature.
Water Changes, Fish Changes
Have you ever experienced being a fish millionaire on one day and a total scrapper on the next and wondered what happened? Do not worry, you are not alone on that. The fish also seeks to find their comfort zone in the ocean. A balance of right water temperature, oxygen and light levels are what composes a perfect fish habitat. There are different effects of water temperature on fishes because the water is basically what determines the lifestyle of these aquatic life.
Fish feed in cold weather, being cold-blooded their metabolism slows and they tend to feed less. Fish will go after slower and smaller baits. They tend to stay to the top more because they like to follow moving food. All fish are more sluggish in the cold, so they follow slower trolling baits and bite less often.
So don’t be alarmed if your perfect fishing spot suddenly becomes abandoned by fishes. It just means that they need a Plan B or an alternative to adapt to the change of the weather. It may be a change in habitat, behavior, and other factors.
5 HELPFUL TIPS FOR WINTER FISHING
1. Equipment Check
One major part of this adventure is to make sure you have the equipment necessary for your trip. Ensure that everything is complete. Here is a basic list of fishing equipment that you should have:
- Fishing Pole
- Fishing Rod
- Fishing Line
- Fishing Hooks
- Bait or Lures
First thing is first, make sure you have all your gears ready and in good shape. To catch those fish you have to make sure that your equipment are still of high-quality. Check those reels and make sure they are not rusty and still works a 100 percent fine. In general, make sure that you have all the fishing tools you need to catch yourself more than a handful of fish.
2. Preparing the Right Bait
Your trip will not be complete without securing yourself a nice and tasty bait for the fishes. Carefully decide one or two to bring that will surely attract the fishes towards you. This part is vitally needed because, without your bait, you will have no fish to catch.
For the winter season there are two baits to prepare. One, light bait, this is when fishes decide to swim on shallow surface if ever the sun decides to cool the waters. Second, heavy bait, to catch the fishes that wander in the deeper part of the waters when there is no sun in sight. Listed below are some of my top pick baits I use during my winter catch.
Spice up your bait by sprinkling salt unto it. This is a major attraction to lingering fishes in the area. Salt has a significant effect on water and on the bait that automatically lures predators to it. It can be used in any season of the year, but it has its own special powers during the winter time.
Forget the chemically-processed table salt, instead, go for the rock or sea salt. Bathe your bait, or whatever it is you will be using, with your rock salt and see how it easily captures your fish.
Always carry with you a bag salt for extra taste! Salts may be uncommonly used but overwhelmingly effective.
Bread is considered one of the top-winter baits especially on rivers where chub and roach both adore flakes or crusts.
Any bread will do the trick but for this occasion, considering it is winter season, we need something light and easy-flowing. Use a white bread loaf and slice it into tiny pieces. Remove the crust to have the softer part left, because that is the only part that is going to be useful in your mission.
This might be the all-time top fish-catcher during this cold season.
Maggots are colorful, which will attract the fishes in, and is easily digested. But maggots are very light in weight, hence, will give you a hard time balancing your hook. Thus, incorporate a rubber grub along with your maggot to balance its weight and prevent it from swimming along the current.
Spices have been a pioneer member in the field of fish-catching. There is no exact spice mix recipe that is used to catch your fish. This will be limited by your imagination.
You have a wide variety of spices which can be easily found in any stores. What is left to do is to merge your chosen hook-bait to the spice of your choice until its evenly covered. Voila! You have your spiced up fish bait.
You can also use artificial lures or baits. This will save you on money in some ways, because this type of bait is not easily dragged away by the fish. So after catching one fish, you can still use it on the next one. Plus, it is easier to determine the weight of your bait when using this particular type of bait.
3. Pick the Perfect Location
During this time of the year the fishes migrate or relocate themselves to adapt to the change of weather and other water factors. It is not impossible that there will be lakes that might have zero population. So, better be informed and research on locations that are best for fishing during the winter season.
You can look it up online, considering that the internet is an all-access portal to any information needed. Make sure to dig in to details regarding water levels and current flow conditions. What you should keep in mind while looking for a perfect spot is the Road accessibility and a calm or natural current flow of your local lakes or rivers.
You can access Grand Fishing Report to give you the latest information regarding lake fishing. Another useful site is the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife where in you can find the major fishing areas and additional useful fishing tips. Find out what species bites best during particular seasons through Fish Hound, another fishing site where you can search for details about your local areas’ fishing conditions.
If money is not an object, there are a lot of top winter fishing destinations across the globe. One of them might be just a few feet away from you. Then again, your internet is your best friend.
4. Time is of the Essence
Another factor to consider to make sure your trip is perfect is the answer to the question “When”. Choosing the right time for your fish outing is also important. As mentioned above, light and temperature levels are one of the things that makes a fish’s habitat. During the winter time, these two are somewhat difficult to measure.
Fishes become sluggish and inactive when water temperatures are lower. Why? Because all fish are cold-blooded animals. They lack the ability to maintain their body temperature at a constant level like mammals or warm-blooded animals do. Therefore, the temperature of their surrounding significantly impacts their behavior and other bodily functions, such as, eating.
The bottom line is, fishing is comparatively slower when it is too cold, as oppose to being too hot. There is a bit of math to calculate to know when to fish. Commonly, fishes are found to be active when the water temperature is cool (defined to be between cold and hot) and when there is sufficient amount of light.
So, just keep on the lookout for days when the sun is up and shining and observe where does it shed its shine, because that is the best place for you to go. Usually during winter, the sun shines towards northern areas. So local lakes or rivers that are in the northern part are the best places to fish. Also, if you can see no clouds forming up in the sky, better choose another day to fish because your chances will be low during those days.
Recommended Fishing Time
During the winter season the best time for you to fish is around 11am-2pm where the sun has enough shining moment to cool down the surface. Although this is not limited to the thought that you can not catch fish on other times. You can still do but don’t expect it to be a handful.
If you wish to do it on some other hour, it is still possible, but keep in mind that fishes will now be swimming deeper because the water is warmer on that part. So, you will have to use a longer fishing line and a heavier bait.
There are specific months and days indicated and plotted for anglers to know the best times for fishing. You should take note of those days just to help with your time management problem.
5. Safety First!
I do not know about you but winter is a very unpredictable season. So, in order to be prepared for your fishing trip make sure to tick things off from your safety list before proceeding.
In some places, fishing is illegal unless permitted with a license. So wherever you plan to catch your fishes, make sure to always bring your fishing license with you. This is to control and limit fishing in certain areas. Just to make sure that you don’t end up in bars, it is advisable and best to process a fishing license. It is better to be safe than in handcuffs.
Days before your trip, do not forget to check for updates regarding the weather. Mother Nature plays a great game when it comes to weather changing. Therefore, it is safe to check information about the weather just to be sure.
May God forbid that certain circumstances might negatively happen, but in cases that there will be trouble, someone should have details of your whereabouts. If you plan on doing this alone or even with a friend, make sure to inform a family relative about your trip. It will be helpful that if ever bad things might occur someone could easily locate or find you.
Winter season requires another set of fashion, or shall we say, layer of fashion. Make sure to have a good set of gears to make you comfortable and can battle the cold of the weather. Keep your skin covered, wear loose yet layered clothing and make sure your set of clothes are dry. While all of that is going on, prevent yourself from overheating as well. Too much clothes can be too hot which will result in to other side effects as well.
There you have it, 5 easy ways to catch a ton of fish. Remember all these tips for winter fishing and treat yourself to a great fishing experience.