As a person who has been fishing in rivers,especially small rivers that need to be waded to be fished effectively (mainly for trout or small mouth bass) it occurs to me that catching fish in cold weather can be a difficult proposition. In fact in many cases catching fish while river fishing during the months of December, January, and February can be so difficult that many anglers don’t even bother to try. Fish can be caught while river fishing in cold weather, it’s just the the rules are different than they are at other times of the year.
In this article I will discuss a few river fishing tips to help you catch more fish during the cold weather months of December, January, and February. The first of the river fishing tips to consider concerning fishing in cold weather is where the fish are located within the river system itself. During warm months when the water temperatures are warmer, fish are found throughout the river system. Fish can be found in pools, runs, and riffles during months other than January, February, and March, whereas during the cold weather months fish tend to congregate together in the deepest pools within the river. The biggest mistake fishermen make when attempting to river fish in cold weather is fishing in the same area’s that they catch fish during other times of the year. When the weather is cold concentrate your time on the deepest pools in the river and fish these pools very thoroughly.
The next tip for catching fish when the weather is cold is obvious, but is nonetheless an extremely valid tip. You always want to be prepared for the weather when fishing in cold weather, and depending on your favorite style of fishing the most important part of your body to keep warm is probably your hands. Nothing can ruin a perfectly good fishing trip like cold hands, which is where a quality pair of fishing gloves and/or glove liners comes in to play. Glove liners can act as “fingerless gloves” as well, which is nice for being able to feel your fishing line for tying knots or feeling for bites while fishing and then when the fishing is over you simply slip your warm gloves over your glove liners to keep your hands warm and toasty. Wearing a beanie style cap is also very helpful for keeping your whole body warm when fishing in cold weather and is something that every cold weather fisherman shouldn’t be without, seeing as how ninety percent of your body heat escapes through your head when the temperatures are cold.
The next of the river fishing tips that I want to discuss in regards to fishing in cold weather is the size of the bait or lure that you use. In the cold weather months of January, February, and March water temperatures become extremely cold and because fish are cold blooded creatures, their metabolism slows down considerably. This means that the fish don’t feed as often due to their slow metabolism and means that you want to downsize your baits when fishing in cold weather. For example rather than using an entire live worm as bait in cold weather just use a two inch section of a worm or rather than using a half ounce Rooster Tail use one that is 1/16 of an ounce and plan on “working harder” for each and every bite that you receive. In cold weather it is often necessary to put your offering literally in front of the fishes nose to get the fish to bite, which means that you usually have to make a lot more casts than you might be used to.
Keep these simple river fishing tips in mind the next time that you head out in search of fish when the temperatures are cold. They will not only help you to experience more success, they will help you be much more comfortable as well.