Most fish will move to much deeper water in the middle of winter to hold until the spring warm-up starts. But some fish, such as smallmouth bass and crappie, will hang around in the cooler shallow water all winter, as they are not as affected by colder water and will be fairly active and continue to feed.
Most fish will hold in fairly shallow water until the surface temperature gets in the low 50s. They will then move to deeper water until spring. When largemouth bass go deeper, they become sluggish and will not move far to feed. In these cases, baits such as jigs and tube baits are used because you can work them slowly in a tight spot as long as needed.
Crappie and smallmouth bass will chase baits, and you can use swimming casting baits such as crank baits. You can also use jigs and tube baits, but you will need to fish them faster and in more shallow areas.
What I have described is really the best action to go after this time of year for anglers willing to get out in the cold to enjoy the sport we all love so much. If you’re planning a winter trip, take the time to look up fishing reports online and pick a lake with some good winter action for a much better chance of success.