If you are one of the hardcore fisherman — or, as some people say, are crazy enough to get out on the water and fish this time of year — here are a few tips to help you plan your trip.
The biggest key to having a successful trip is to do your homework first and gather as much information about the lake or river you plan to fish and the type of fish you would like to catch. Then you need to try to determine a wintertime fish-catching pattern for that fish. Always keep an eye on the weather for coming bad weather or dangerously low temperatures.
These are just some of the steps you will need to follow to have a safe and productive trip. I will break each step down and try to describe the best way to prepare.
First thing you will want to do is to decide the type of fish you want to catch. Smallmouth bass, crappie, walleye and trout are not as affected by cold water as some of the other fish are, so any of these fish can make for a good trip at times. The key is to pick a lake known for having good winter action for the fish you want.
Dale Hollow Lake is known as a great smallmouth bass lake, and Cave Run Lake is known as a good wintertime crappie and musky lake. You can find this type of information about good winter lakes from the Internet on fishing sites such as fishin.com, on the lake’s web page or from a guide’s web page for that lake. You can also talk to fisherman who know these lakes or to the employees at area bait and tackle shops. Most of these folks will be glad to give you an updated lake and fishing report.
Next, decide the best fishcatching lures and baits to use. This is one of those situations where an experienced angler who has put in many hours on the water will have an huge advantage over a new or inexperienced angler.
If you’ve had trouble coming up with usable information, just stick with the basics of winter fishing. Use small shad-colored or dark-colored baits on light clear line. Baits such as flies, hair jigs, tube baits and some blade baits are good choices. Most fish in winter will hold close to or suspend around deeper cover and water cover in the eight- to 20-foot depth range.
As I’ve said, be sure to keep an eye on the weather and have a safe and productive winter fishing trip.
You can e-mail me at gabbysfi firstname.lastname@example.org.