"Cold Weather, Hot Fishing"
By: Chad Morgenthaler
Winter is typically the time of year when most
anglers put their boat in storage, stow away their tackle, and wait
until springtime temperatures call them back to the lake. Winter is a
great time for hunting, but December, January and February also offer
very productive fishing days. Dedicated diehard anglers already know
that not only do the winter month offer great fishing, but there’s
also very little boat traffic as well.
There are several lakes in
that I really like to fish during the dead of winter. These lakes have
one common factor, they are power plant lakes. The power plant
provides the lake with a warm water discharge keeping at least the
upper part of the lake from freezing (if not the entire lake).
Although the lake isn’t frozen, anglers do have to watch out for
varying water temperatures. I’ve
found there is a tremendous difference in water temperature from one
area of the lake to the next.
Fortunately one of my favorite power plant lakes
is close to home,
is chocked full of grass and the bass are thriving there. As I’ve
indicated in previous articles and pro tips, winter is a great time to
get out and get familiar with your onboard electronic equipment such
as Lowrance’s LMS332c. This is especially true for
because during the winter months an angler needs to target grass
lines, irregular grass line features, and the main lake points. More
often than not, bass will relate to these specific types of areas.
When I head out to bass fish
in the winter, I recommend using jerk baits, lipless crankbaits, or
jigs. Try using a jerk bait on a 6’10” Kistler Senko Special Rod (www.kistlerrods.com),
with 10 lb. Maxima Fluorocarbon line.
I also recommend using Lucky Craft 78 or 100 Pointer series
jerk baits in clown or shad colors.
To retrieve a jerk bait start off with a
twitch-twitch-pause movement. If this seems a little too quick, or if
the water temperature is in the 30˚–40˚ range, anglers may
have to pause the bait longer. As always, vary the retrieve until a
productive method is found. Expect
to change retrieval methods with the time of day, weather conditions
and of course, water temperature.
For an alternative try a lipless crankbait in
red, chrome and blue, or a black and chrome. Retrieval for the lipless
crankbait works best when moved slowly over the grass. Wait until the
bait is slightly hooked on a clump of grass, and then rip it off. This
quick movement, considered an erratic action, will trigger bites.
My personal favorite lure for
during the winter months is a jig.
I like to stay on the outside of the weed line, pitch my jig a
short distance then swim it back to the boat.
All of the baits listed above are great to use in
the winter and they have one thing in common. They all allow an angler
to cover a lot of water.
Another good lake for bass fishing in the winter
. Coffeen is also a power plant lake, so anglers can anticipate water
temperatures to vary. Anglers
can also expect to fish this lake in a very similar manner as
. As far as baits go, jerk baits, lipless crankbaits and the
occasional jig will work well on Coffeen, too.
The main difference between
is that this time of year Coffeen has a great spinner bait bite. Keep
an eye on the depth-sounder temperature readout, and when the water
temp reaches 45˚–50˚ the spinner bait bite is almost a
sure thing. I regularly
throw a chartreuse and white 1/2 oz. War Eagle spinner bait
(or a 3/8 oz. if the wind is not blowing) with silver and gold
willow leaf blades. I use
this bait on a 7’ Kistler Heavy Action Helium rod with 15 lb. Maxima
Ultragreen line. At this time of year Coffeen’s water color can
become off-colored, so I turn to a spinner bait made by Chompers with
painted willow leaf blades in chartreuse and white. If the water is
extremely off-colored I use a
blade for the extra water displacement.
, target weedy areas and main lake points. A great place to find weeds
is in the backs of the pockets. Coffeen also has a lot of submerged
stump areas that the fish might relate to on any given day. So don’t
forget to check them out. The
fish will also be moving this time of year, so follow the bait fish.
Anglers will have to move around until a productive area and pattern
If an angler receives an abundance of “short
strikes, in other words a lot of bites but no catches, add a trailer
hook and grub to the spinner bait. On chartreuse and white spinner
baits I use a white 3” grub or something of a similar nature. This
extra target will give the bass a better chance of “hooking-up”.
There really are some great wintertime fishing
opportunities here in the
. If you haven’t tried
fishing a power plant lake this time of year, then get out there and
give it a try. Remember, even though the temperatures are cold it does
not mean that the fish will be less aggressive.
A special “Thanks” to all of my sponsors:
Jasper Engines and Transmissions, Yamaha Motors, Ranger Boats,
Lowrance Electronics, Svanda GM Motor Group, Maxima Line, Kistler
Rods, Minn Kota,
, Reaction Innovations, Solar Bat, and Nameoki Village Marine.
Make sure and log onto my web site www.chadmorgenthaler.com
and signup for my fan club. E-newsletters are forwarded monthly
and one lucky winner each month receives a prize. Tournament
summaries are posted after each tournament and pro tips are updated
every two weeks. It’s a great source of bass fishing