15 Winter Fishing Tips for Beginners: Tricks and Tactics

Winter Fishing Tips

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The best way to catch more fish during winter is to target when the water temperature is hottest in the middle of the day, use smaller baits, and fish in shallower waters.

Fishing doesn’t have to end in September. With these quick and easy winter fishing tips you will be able to catch fish all year round.

The secrets for winter fishing are all about water temperature. The more you understand the fish behavior you are targeting the more success you will have – for example the behavior of bass during the winter is very different to the behavior of salmon.

By changing your fishing location, trying out some new techniques, picking a different bait and investing in some new equipment, you will be able to set yourself up to have just as much success in winter as you did in summer.

Winter Fishing Locations

Fish behavior changes in winter normally due to the water temperature. Most of the time they slow down as their metabolism slows and requires less food.

But don’t be scared by this – fish still have to eat in winter and they will still be attracted to bait and lures placed in front of them.

  • Focus on the sunny side of structure, docks, river, and hills where the fish are warmer and more active.
  • Look for shallower areas for fish to school and warm up.
  • Keep an eye on the weather – while it might be cold fishing just before a cold front might give you an advantage based on the solunar cycle.

Winter Fishing Techniques

Just throwing out a crankbait and retrieving it at full speed might work in summer when the fish are awake and active, but in winter you might need to try some new techniques.

Winter fishing requires some knowledge of fish behavior and you will need to try some new techniques.

  • Fish feed more as the water temperature warms up so move your fishing times towards and middle of the day and afternoon.
  • Spray your fishing line with line conditioner to prevent it from freezing up and catching in your guides.
  • Change the depth you target – fish may move to shallower waters that have been warmed by the sun. While other fish species may head deeper – learn what your target fish behavior does.
  • Ask your fellow angler – different locations require different techniques and the best advice we can give is to ask at your local tackle store.

Best Bait and Lures

As the fish slow down they lose some of their aggressiveness and the bait you use will also have to change. Fish that normally attack your bait due to their territorial nature might not any more.

The focus should change to a food source that will bring the fish out of its slowed state.

  • In the winter months fish slow down their metabolism and don’t eat as much or as often. This means you should reduce the size of your bait or lure to get more strikes.
  • Give live bait a go – this will give more action underwater than a lure and more attract a picky fish.
  • If you are going to try lures then pick colors that match the baitfish and winter colors in your area – silvers, gold, and chrome work well.
  • Try a bait attractant to lure in fish from further away if you can’t find them nearby.

Winter Fishing Gear

Fishing in winter is a much more extreme form of angling that requires more specialist equipment. This can be split into two areas – gear to keep your warm and gear you need to catch more fish.

The last thing you want is to get cold just as the fish start biting and have to head home or back to your truck.

The best piece of advice I can give is to stay warm so you can spend more time with a hook in the water.

  • Get yourself a good pair of fishing gloves – if you are fly fishing then consider some fingerless gloves to give both warmth and dexterity.
  • If you intend to spend some time fly fishing in the water then a waterproof bib is crucial. Don’t skimp on warmth.
  • Consider investing in some hand warmers.
  • Avoid soft plastic lures in winter – the cold temperature can stiffen the plastic and prevent them from moving as they are designed to.

Winter Fishing Tips Video

This video shows Callum Dicks from Tunnel Barn Farm his tips on how to get more bites in winter with these essential winter fishing tips:


That brings us to the end of this article – I hope you have gained some knowledge of winter fishing tips and will have more success this winter. There are plenty of other resources available online that might give you some more ideas.

If you have your own secrets for winter fishing then please leave a comment below so that we can all learn from your experience.

Happy fishing.