5 Crucial Tips for Winter Smallmouth Bass Fishing

While winter smallmouth bass fishing can be miserable, the cold weather of winter often provides a productive time on the water. Here are 5 tips for winter smallmouth bass fishing that you can use to catch more!

Locating Winter Smallmouth

While fishing breaks in the current is always a good idea, it is especially true smallmouth bass fishing in winter. In the cold, fish need to conserve energy to survive the difficult conditions. This will cause smallmouths to stay out of the current behind rocks and logs and in wider areas of the river where the current is slower. Any area that is receiving sunlight on cold days is likely to hold bass as well. In general, smallmouth will tend to be in deeper water during the winter than at other times of the year.

Watch the Weather

A smallmouth angler should keep an eye on the weather forecast and plan fishing trips around weather changes. The best days might be any unseasonably warm day during the winter, but fishing before a cold front or any other weather change can also be productive.

Lure Selection

In general, when pursuing winter smallmouth you should use larger lures and fish them deeper than at other times of the year. Fish the lures slowly as winter smallies are made lethargic by the cold water. Stay aware of the lure’s action in the water as well, as winter strikes are light and if you are not careful you might miss a strike. However, as when fishing anytime of the year, switch lure size and tactics until you find something that works for the winter smallmouth in your area.

Stay Out of Sight

Winter water is often crystal clear. It is important to take steps to stay out of sight of the smallmouth bass in this clear water. When fishing from the bank, stay back from the water as far as possible and avoid casting your shadow over the water. When boat fishing, slowly approach areas where you want to fish and use your boat’s motor sparingly. Use the lightest practical line on your reel as the line will be more visible to the fish in the clear water.

Safety and Comfort

You should avoid fishing solo in cold weather. As a fall into freezing water can be deadly, you should bring a fishing buddy along on your winter fishing trips. In addition to having someone along to help out in case of an emergency, you should dress well to protect against the cold. This is not only for the purposes of safety, but also comfort. The longer you can stay comfortable, the longer you will stay on the water.

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