Early winter fishing season is here. The cooling down of the air and water temperature changes the way we must fish to be successful. The way you were catching fish just a few weeks ago probably would not produce fish now, even if you use the same baits and the same location.
It wasn’t only a short time ago that water temps were in the mid- 60’s and the fish were up in more shallow water. But now the water is in the 55 to 60 degree range and most lakes have dropped to winter pool. The fish are in a late fall/early winter pattern now, meaning that the fish are moving out of the shallow water areas of the lake and are moving to the deeper water parts to hold until spring.
Just because the fish are moving to deeper water does not mean that they are going to be deep all winter. The fish move to deeper water to be able to move up or down in the water to find the most suitable water temperature the best oxygen level and to use the deeper water as a means of escape when the fish feels threatened.
With all of the knowledge a wintertime angler has, there is still one thing that a lot of us forget to do that really makes a big difference in the success of a winter fishing trip — to plan your trip ahead of time. What I mean by planning is doing your homework before you go. You do this several ways. You can talk to other fisherman who have been fishing at a particular lake and find out what did and did not work for them. You can check out Internet fishing reports and get the latest updates. Or, if you know the name of the dock where you are taking off from, call ahead for a updated lake report. And if possible try to get a updated weather report for the area you will be fishing. All these things may not seem all that important now, but when you get on the lake and it is 25 to 30 degrees with a wind chill factor below freezing then this type of information might seem helpful.
Planning a winter trip ahead of time can really make all the difference in the world in the success and the safety of your winter trip. One of the best tips that I could give for a winter fishing trip would be to know the behavior of the type of fish you want to catch and to choose a lake that is known to have good winter fishing for that fish.
This is a big fish time of year and that always makes it more fun. Fish, have fun, and be safe this winter fishing season.