Winter Bass Fishing (Guides and Tips)

If you’re looking for a fun way to spend some time with your friends and family, winter bass fishing is the answer.

Winter bass fishing is one of the best ways to spend an afternoon in the middle of January. You can go ice fishing on frozen lakes or ponds, or try ice-fishing from shore.

You can also catch fish through holes cut into thick ice at home or at a local lake.

Whether you do it as a hobby, to get outdoors during cold weather months when there aren’t many other options, or just want something fun and different to do this winter – we have everything you need!

winter bass fishing
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When to Catch Bass During Winter

Many anglers think that the best time for fishing during the winter season is in the afternoon. The time from 2 PM until sunset is the most appropriate time to go fishing.

This is because sunlight makes the warmest water, and the bass and baitfish are most active.

Although, afternoons aren’t your sole option. Daylight is also one of the finest times to catch bass, especially smallmouth bass.

You’ll almost certainly receive some bites if you’re out from an hour or two before daybreak until the sun rises.

Where To Find and Catch Bass During Winter

The most important fishing tip is to go where the fish are. It’s crucial to understand where the bass likes to spend the winter.

Bass prefer the cover of any kind, whether grass, timber, or docks, but rock fixtures and formations in the water give excellent natural cover.

Near the River Shores 

Bass fish tend to migrate along the river banks as the water temperature is warmer, and there is shallower water. Baitfish and other structures attractive to bass make this a pleasant feeding spot and resting grounds for them.

Shore angling will become more convenient than angling from a boat. It’s because it can lessen the hassle of keeping your boat steady, especially when there are stronger winds, currents, and waves.

This can also let you directly land on the bass, aimlessly wandering around the banks, making them an easier catch without exerting much effort. 

When angling around bank areas with warmer water temperatures, you can choose drop shot rigs. 

Lake’s Deepest Part

Whether in rivers, ponds, or lakes, when there is a sudden change in weather, lots of basses will head to the maximum depths of water, especially during the winter months. 

Bass fish prefer settling in deeper water because they can spot bottom-feeding food sources, which will be an easy meal during its idle state.

Most of them will spend lots of time here in large crowds, as they also group themselves during cold weather. 

Bringing fishfinders and water temperature gauges can be useful during angling on lakes during winter. Professionals say that these are the best times of the year for deep bass angling.

Keep in mind that the bass’s preferred water temperature ranges from lower than 50 degrees, so you should stay on location within 30 feet range at most. 

Best Fish Lures and Baits to Use

One of the good things about winter bass angling is that there are ice fishing baits proven to be more effective during these months.

Let go of the usual topwater and fast-swimming lures, as they are just a waste of resources. Here are some of the best lures you can use that will perform well.


This bait can be a great choice for anglers, although it may come with some caution. They can only be used when the cold water clarity is clear, or the bass fish might not see them.

Professionals advise using them when angling around areas with deep water.

Football Head Jigs

These jigs are designed to resemble crawfish. You should choose a color that looks the nearest to the crawfish color in your angling spot.

It is said that the best picks are usually brown and green. This will give a better chance for the fish to drag the lure slowly toward the bottom body of the cold water.

Metal Bait

Fish baits like blades and spoons can have a good hold even in cold weather in water. In addition, these are easy to access, convenient to use, and can resemble movements of a dying or wounded baitfish very well.

Winter Bass Fishing Secrets

Before heading out to go winter bass fishing, it’s vital to come up with sensible expectations so you can take note of how well you are doing and prevent yourself from being discouraged easily.

Keep in mind that bass fish activity and bite are not the same during the different seasons.

When it’s a lucky day, 10 bites is a good achievement, although the perfect day can reach as many bites as 15. The advantage of angling during winter is that the average bass size is greater than any other season. 

They spent the rest of the year feeding and growing big, so you can feast on them when winter comes.

Patience is the Key 

As everyone knows that cold water bass fishing during the cold months is not easy compared to other times of the year, it’s not impossible, although it may take longer than what you expected.

It will be most rewarding compared to angling in other seasons. So take some time, relax, and freshen your mind before going out for lake fishing.

When you’re finally on your boat, the “jerk, jerk, and pause” mantra is a helpful method that requires a great amount of patience.

Once you’ve made a few tries, let your lures and bait take some rest every once in a while for 15 seconds at most. 

Winter Bass Fishing is a Good Opportunity

Whether you are a professional or starting angler, you know how difficult it is to settle in one place on your boat during the winter months knowing there are thousands of catches waiting for you.

If you would just take the chance and seize your day at the lake.

Now that this article has provided you with expert tips and information on how to get your bass fishing right, why not take a chance and hurry to secure your first fish.

Remember that patience is the key to making everything go smoothly, and always choose the right bait, time, and places to land on the best bass!

Johanes Godoy
Fishing Editor
Johanes is a talented Editor for Cast & Spear. She's helped edit and write hundreds of articles on fishing and the outdoors. When she's not editing, she's exploring the world and documenting it on her own blog.
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Articles » Techniques » Ice Fishing » Winter Bass Fishing (Guides and Tips)