If you think winter means a desert of ice with almost no life to boot with, then you probably do not know anything about winter fishing. If you are aware that your lodging is near a lake or a river, you should know that you are going to survive for a good amount of time. In this article, I will give you some tips for winter fishing to help you survive the cold and starvation. Or if your house is packed with foods, just consider this as another adventure. After all, winter can get a bit boring. So a challenging activity such as this will not be such a bad thing. Just follow the instructions so you could be out and back home safe and sound. Let’s begin.

Know a good spot to go fishing

It is cold outside and the last thing you want is get lost just because you could not find the right spot to fish. While that is a very inconvenient to put yourself in danger, it is also stupid. So before you head out and look for a good spot to catch fish, know the terrain first.

The first thing to remember is to choose the closest area you could find. You do not want to waste a lot of time and energy walking more than one mile in the middle of a winter. That is dangerous.

Second is if you could acquire a map of your area, then, by all means, bring it with you. You will never know when that map is going to be handy for the times that could end up sideways.

The third is to make sure that the spot that you have chosen is easily accessible or safe for anyone to tread. There may be some wild animals out there that are more than you can handle.

Choose the best time to go

If you are feeling a bit excited to go out and fish, refrain right now. I should remind you that it is winter and going out recklessly could be fatal for you and your friends. That is if you have company to come along with you. And yes, it would be best if you could have someone to accompany you out. It is safer that way.

So what is the best time to go? That time is when the sun is slightly coming out from the clouds. If that is not the case for you, then just make sure that it is not the coldest time of the day. If there is a storm happening at present that is a sign that you should reschedule your planned outdoor activity.

If you are having a bright day whether the sun is popping out or not as long as no storm or front is around then go out. Your best time would be from 10 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon.

Make sure you brought all the necessary equipment with you

Let us start with your personal gears. Make sure to wear extra layers of coat so you will not get cold outside. Also, make sure to bring a knife and a rope just in case. Actually, if you can bring as many tools as possible then do it. You can never be too cautious when you know how dangerous it is outside.

Here is a list of what you should bring:

  • Finger gloves
  • Insulated gloves
  • Breathable and insulated socks
  • Waterproof and insulated boots
  • Insulated, moisture-wicking long underwear
  • Insulated Overalls
  • Stocking hat
  • Parka
  • Jacket
  • Hand Muff

If you could add more coating with the insulation without sacrificing proper movement, then do it.

The next thing is your fishing equipment. Surely, you do not expect to catch fish with your bare hands. So bring your rod with you. Check the reel if it is in condition to be used for your activity. If the reel is making a squeaking noise then you should lubricate it. A creaky reel can get damaged in the middle of the catch.

Another issue to be aware of is the line and lure that you are going to use. If you do not know it yet, monofilament and similar types of line can easily freeze and get harden with winter cold. And if you are to use a line that is already frozen, chances are you are going to have a twisted line when it is time to pull it back or when the bait is in progress. So the solution is to use a conditioner of any type that can prevent the line from easily getting frozen.

Bring the right bait

With fishing, the best and the most effective bait is live bait. Whether it is warm or cold, live bait never fails to entice fish especially the big ones. There are professional anglers that can make artificial bait but that often leads to another challenge.

As you can see, in cold temperature, fish move slower than their usual maneuvers. That is because they have slower metabolism when it is frozen cold. That means in a normal scenario, bait that moves faster or quicker than usual will only scare off the fish. The chance that a fish would actually bite artificial bait is highly unlikely. You can leave it to luck then.

In the subject of live baits, you can go for a typical worm or small fishes such as minnows and other fingerlings you could get around you. You can also try some insects if you could manage to put them on the hook without messing their motor.

If you have no other option but to choose artificial bait, choose the ones that have small hairs or feathers. The hair or feather can simulate a slow movement when under the water. Even if the angler is kept to an almost zero movement, these type of bait can still move along with the slow current of the water. Also, it is worth noting that since slow metabolism makes fish less hungry, they will not be tempted with big looking baits. So try to make the bait as small as possible while keeping it enticing for the creatures below.

Stay Safe

As mentioned earlier, you should go out with proper covers and clothing on you. Make sure that you are properly insulated and that your wardrobe can last you long enough until your activity is done.

Also, make sure to notify someone of your plan and where you are heading to. If you have someone to accompany you then it is better. But still, notify a friend or family that you are going out and plan to be back at a specific time. So that when something unexpected happens, there will be someone to come get you or come to the rescue. Make sure to let them know all the routes that can be used to get to your chosen destination so that it will be much easier for them to find you.

No matter what your intention is with going out for fishing try to be as safe as possible. If it is fun you are after, it is still enough reason to be cautious. Make sure all your equipment is working in good condition and that enough supply can help you last as long as what you have planned. You would not want to end up regretting your decision in the end.


Brian Hodge is the author for FishingSun.com. He has been working with writing for over five years. He spends most of his off-work time with Bass fishing, Halibut Fishing, and working hard with the online video games. You can reach him at brian (at) fishingsun (dot) com