Most of the lakes in our area are now cold and muddy. Any experienced angler will tell you this is one of the hardest situations to catch fish in. Fish will become very sluggish and non-aggressive in this type of condition.
There is not a whole lot you can do in this situation except try to find clearer water or fish in a smaller pond or river. There are small farm and strip ponds everywhere. Most of these do not receive the amount of fishing pressure the big lakes do. Some of these ponds and streams hold very nice size fish, and the whole fishing trip is just more laid back and relaxed.
Fish such as smallmouth, largemouth and Kentucky bass, red eye, catfish, carp, suckers, crappie and even trout will live and feed in these smaller water ponds. While the lakes are cold and muddy the ponds and streams may be much clearer, causing the fish to be more aggressive during the winter months.
Look for areas with deeper water pools and fish the upper and lower ends first and then cast in a fan pattern to cover the whole area completely. Lures such as small crankbaits, small jigs and plastics such as grubs and tube baits work well. Live bait such as worms and minnows will catch most all river fish. If you’re fishing in a pond, fish close to some type of cover or old weed beds if you can.
As long as the weather is decent the fish in a pond will stay fairly active. Use small lightweight tackle and light clear line. If your next trip to the lake ends up with cold muddy water then give small water fishing a try.
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