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Fishing in Frigid Temperatures


Bazoo

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It's been in the 20s and teens here lately, but I still hit the lake with my buddy.

 

We were standing out there a few days ago in 15º and fishing a patch of open water. I was using a spinning reel with braid and a baitcasting reel with mono. I tried a bitsy spinnerbait and Texas Rigged Fluke.

 

Next day, I learned that mono does better when the water is freezing to your line and guides. I had a horrible rats nest in the braid the second time out; cleared it when I got home. I tried a spinnerbait and a Texas Rigged Zoom Speed Craw this day.

 

My boy, who is 4, fished with us a while that day! Man, he's a trooper. The wind was blowing pretty good and we kept snagging on the edge of the ice, but we all had fun.

 

Fast forward a few days and it never did get warm, but today was high 20s. We couldn't find any open water on the lake, so we started hitting up some other areas and found a creek that was still flowing. Much more pleasant than the other day. There was only a few places of ice on the creek. I used a beetle spin here, gave an orange square bill a few casts.

 

Didn't catch anything during these outings, but we had fun. Bank fishing on all occasions.

 

So, who else will fish in low temperatures as long as the water is open, and are there any lures or techniques that are better for these conditions, or do you just use the same things you would when it's 40º?

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The trips might not be as long as usual but If I get the urge I will fish no matter what the temperature is if I can find open water. 

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As long as I've got some open water and my guides aren't icing up I'm fishing. Wind can make things pretty uncomfortable when it's less than 40*. I try to focus on ponds where I can keep the wind behind me but still reach the windward side with a long cast. Summer or winter the windward side seems to always be more productive for me. Disposable handwarmers are essential. Can't fish with gloves covering my fingers. I do wear fingerless polyester arthritis gloves, though.

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If my guides aren't actively freezing, I'll bass fish.  I actually prefer the cooler months over all.  

 

IMHO, we are about to turn corner towards spring here really soon and now is your best chance at getting a fat new PB!

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7 hours ago, Bazoo said:

So, who else will fish in low temperatures as long as the water is open, and are there any lures or techniques that are better for these conditions, or do you just use the same things you would when it's 40º?

 Where I'm at (1 hour North of the Florida line in GA) it normally doesn't get freezing cold, but the last week was an exception. I was off of work last Monday so tried my luck in 20 something degrees with a steady wind. I made it about an hour before giving up and going home with no bites whatsoever. I fished what I normally fish in this pond year round- stickbaits rigged weedless and weightless and finesse worms wacky rigged. Both of these presentations usually work in this pond with good results. Nothing at all. Yesterday was even colder and I decided against leaving the house. I think my limit is about 40 degrees. These fish just don't want to bite in anything colder than that.  

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  • Super User

I've launched when it's in the thirties, but I wouldn't do the twenties for fear of tipping. 15 degrees, @Bazoo? I have one word for you:

 

Shocked Face Wow GIF

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Freezing is where I draw the line for air temps.  Once its 32 or below, water freezes and then my guides do.  Simple physics for this guy.

 

Specifically targeting bass here in the north, I watch for the 50 degree mark.  The bite gets significantly slower when it drops below that in the fall.

 

I don't do gloves either.

 

 

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I'll go fishing in temperatures in the mid 20's, as long as it's not too windy.  I've broken skim ice to get my kayak to open water.  I have a Milwaulkee heated jacket that helps with the cold.  

 

As far as cold weather baits.  

  • Small soft plastics worked as S L O W L Y as you can stand.
  • Blade baits/lipless crankbaits.
  • Jerkbaits with long pauses between twiches.  You can play with cadence to find out what the fish want.
  • Crankbaits with a tight wobble.  Play stop & go with it and vary your retrieve speed.
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I'm up near Michigan.

If your fishing colder than normal temps for your area then slow down. I like a 3/32 oz black marabou hair jig, it looks like a leech in the water.

 

Be patient.

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I’ll fish when it’s miserable, guides don’t freeze too quickly until it’s mid twenties. Alabama bass trail had a monster tourney this weekend, launched at like 14 degrees. A night crawler works magic on bass when it’s cold 

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4 hours ago, TnRiver46 said:

I’ll fish when it’s miserable, guides don’t freeze too quickly until it’s mid twenties. Alabama bass trail had a monster tourney this weekend, launched at like 14 degrees. A night crawler works magic on bass when it’s cold 

Imagine a local derby where 4-5 Elite Series anglers are competing against the local hammers, and the best finish by an Elite guy was 5th (Wesley Gore), and Scott Canterbury finished 9th.   

 

If you can win local derbies in Alabama, you can win them anywhere on the planet.   

 

Took 17.5lbs to win it yesterday too, pretty sure it was won offshore with a minnow and FFS.  

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Ponds were all iced over this weekend.  Lures were going *plink plink plink* on the surface.  It was horrible.  Ready for that warm front hitting this week like 😎😎😎😎

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@Pat Brown, there were large portions of Logan Martin frozen over in Alabama for that tourney and I’ve heard of a good bit of Cherokee lake in east TN is frozen. Might take some rain to thaw out a small pond but the reservoirs should melt rapidly with any extended sunshine and a breeze

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Thanks for all the replies. I'm thankful it isn't that cold around here much. Going to be in the 40s this week so we might do some good.

 

Worst part when it's icy like that is there ain't much chance of finding lures!

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Here's a couple pics of the other day before the lake closed up.

8BD9EE5E-FE97-41FC-9D94-C6B14A14E03F.jpg

 

Yep, that's the boy, he's a trooper. He'll hang in their and fish in cold or rain both.

10538D04-CD67-4ACA-9124-CDDB5194B185.jpg

 

Ice is almost all the way gone, it was 60º and raining today, and we fished and got soaked!

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I will always fish as long as the water isn't hard and if it is, I go chase trout on some spring creeks.  I like winter fishing, quality is higher even if numbers aren't.  

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I should save myself the effort with the cold temps, just got done with outing #7 of the year and still looking for my first bite. Watched some dude with ffs pull one in so I know they're there. I'm just not good I guess 

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1 minute ago, TnRiver46 said:

I mean you are confined to a boat launch parking lot after all haha

 

Maybe that's the root cause of the problem.

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He goes hard for what he catches, no doubt. I can only do that for about 45 minutes unless it’s a really big boat launch 

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It's a whole state park, I don't stick to "just the boat launch parking lot" all year. The faster transition to deep water along the pier has been my focus this winter. The very tip of the pier sits in about 20-25'. I've watched people catch bass right next to me this month. I just can't figure out how to move it how they want it. The only basses I saw coming out of the water today were caught in about 10'. If you're gonna give me heck, at least give me heck for the right reasons guys. C'mon

Screenshot_20240126_131838_Maps.jpg

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