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CoBass

Ideas?

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Here's the situation. Small pond (10-15 acres), that has a small waterfall feeding it with ground water that is 50 degrees. South end of the pond is ice capped, north end is open due to the inflow of warmer water. Deepest part of the pond is about 10 ft. Last year, the bass were stacked up in front of the waterfall all Winter long and I was able to catch them on a variety of presentations. This year, no such luck. Forage base is bluegill, perch, and baby bass. Boating is not allowed so it's shore fishing only but I can reach most of the deeper holes. I have not been able to figure out a pattern this Winter. I've thrown a variety of T-rigged plastics with and without weights, blade baits, dropshotted various plastics, jig n pigs, grubs, float n fly, and lipless cranks. So far, the few fish I've caught have been on the blades. I figured the bass would be hanging out in the warmest water which is in front of the water fall but they don't seem to be there this year. It's the only open water within about 100 miles and I'm not really into the ice fishing thing so I'm open to any suggestions on cold water bass tactics. Oh yeah, the pond is artificial flies and lures only so live bait isn't an option.

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Try a spinner bait, unless thats what you mean by a blade bait.  Slow roll it and deep it deep. Also make your jigs huge with a big trailer. Fish in cold water want an easy big meal. Maybe a jerk bait as well or a swimbait. Everything is worth a shot. Shakey head?

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Fish population in a pond this size can be very volatile. Either or both the prey fish or the predator fish can easily be over fished or diseased.

Most likely you caught so many last year you just wised them up ---- they got "so" mouth. :cry4:

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Colorado Bass, here is what you are facing.

The bass are holding somewhere. Probably on the dropoff in the warmest water.

They are not feeding that actively. They are sitting next to a structure and waiting for something to come along that is easy to eat.

Your job is to find their depth. You can do this with a number of presentations.

You need to count down as the lure falls and then start your retrieve. What I mean is that on your first casts you count to five and then start to reel in your bait.

The next series you count down to six or seven and start your retrive.

You do this until your bait hits bottom.

You may also have to "dead stick" a plastic or jig on the botton for 60 or more seconds before you move it and inbetween moves. This will drive you nuts but you have to give it a shot. Let it sit for two full minutes if possible.

The suggestion about a jig with a large pig is excellent. Try a crawfish or bluegill color pattern with a slow moving plastic or a pork pig. You may also try a swimming jig. Or as suggested slow roll a spinnerbait.

Lipless cranks (Rat-L-Traps), flat sided crankbaits and pointers may also work. And don't forget the Chatterbait with a trailer attached.

The depth of the bass will change each day. However, once you determine the pattern you can use that for the next day and tweek it as necessary.

Remember the bass will congregate around anything that absorbs heat so look for rocks, blowdowns, stumps and grass. Even a stick up can hold a bass.

You may want to make notes as you fish so you will know what you did and under what conditions and water specifics.

Good luck.

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P.S. I forgot to mention that the north and western sides of the pond heat up the fastest so fish those areas.

And always be on the lookout for shallow feeding bass and throw the the shallow areas, too.

You never know where they will show up.

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Thanks for the feedback guys. I haven't tried the spinnerbait or chatterbait yet so I guess I'll give those a try. Unfortunately, there isn't much in the way of structure on this particular pond. There's a couple of rock piles, one that is currently under the ice and the other is in front of the waterfall, and literally nothing in the way of laydowns or stumps/timber. It is fairly weedy during the Summer and right now all of that vegetation is pretty much laying on the bottom. I have spent the majority of my time hitting the area by the waterfall because it has everything that should be attracting and holding fish. There is a constant inflow of warmer water, rocks, and a drop off about 30 feet from the shore. 

 

Looks like I'm just going to have to keep at it and search until I find where they are holding. I got spoiled last Winter because I found them early and they didn't move out until the water warmed up in the Spring. What a difference a year can make.

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Something as minor as 6" drop can be a huge draw in a pond with little cover or depth change so make sure you cover as much water in front of the water fall as you can. I would really be fishing several different colors/styles of suspending jerkbaits near that warm water running into the pond. A small, flat sided crankbait could be a good choice too. I have some shad raps with suspend dots on them so they float up very slowly just for cold weather. I can crank them very slowly and stop them often and they are killers at times. 

What is the water clarity in this pond? If the water is muddy that could be part of your problem, nothing much tougher than cold, muddy water. 

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Water is more stained than muddy. Visibility is about 3 feet. I've been hitting the area in front of the waterfall pretty heavily because it's at least 5 degrees warmer than the rest of the open water and probably 10 degrees warmer than the side that is capped. Suspending jerkbaits are another good idea. I threw a perch pattern jerkbait for a while last week but they aren't baits that I have a lot of confidence in so I probably didn't give it as much time as I should have. 

 

Funny thing is that our local fishing websites have had quite a few bass through the ice pics lately from people who aren't even targeting them and I can't buy a bite in open water that is warmer. Oh well, I really don't like staring down a hole in the ice waiting for a bite so I guess I'll just keep pounding away until I find the pattern that works.

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You always have the option of fishing live bait also. Float a minnow under a bobber anywhere in the open water in you should be able to get bit. Not my favorite way to fish but sometimes the only way to get bit in really cold water. 

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Live bait isn't an option. Pond is owned by a local water company and their rules are artificial only, C&R only.

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