Bass Fishing Tips--Winter Smallmouth Bass Fishing
With the impending winter season just around the corner, I have decided to begin profiling a series of winter bass fishing tips. Smallmouth bass in our area rivers do NOT go dormant when water temperatures drop. They do, however, become much more lethargic, eat and burn less calories, and eat significantly less often. I will touch on locations, techniques and our most effective lures for taking quality bronzebacks from frigid water.
TIP #1--FIND THE BASS!
Locating rivers smallies in cold water months can be a challenge, especially when water levels are low. During high flows, I first target eddies created by shoreline points, man-made concrete or stone outcroppings, creek washout points, or simply an inside bend in the river. During high flows, smallies will hold tight to the bank cover, especially if there is adequate rock, boulder or wood cover. As water recedes, they begin to relax from the cover and will hold in the deeper cover located in the slack water just inside any existing current break or seem (A current break is the point where the faster current merges with the slack water created by an eddy. It acts as a feeding area, washing food very close to cold, lethargic smallies holding in the slack water.)
Inner bends create huge eddies, and if cover is adequate, expect large numbers of smallies to be present. I love transitional bottoms, or an area where the river floor changes from a soft, sandy bottom to a boulder field, ledge area or rocky flat. Areas that held bait fish (usually thoes thick with grass cover in the warmer months) will like have wintering bass nearby provided there is rocky or wood cover present. If an area exhibits one or several of the above characteristics, and is located on a west-facing bank in the afternoon, it increases the liklihood that cold water smallies will use the area.
One other note is that if a spring or discharge is present upstream from an area with any of the above qualities, smallmouth may use it during the coldest water periods.
Check back soon for my next tip (When To Fish) on cold water smallmouth fishing!