Winter Bass

Discussion in 'Warm Water Species' started by Bill Johnson, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. Bill Johnson

    Bill Johnson Member

    OK, I'm sure this has been discussed before, but I couldn't find a thread.
    I live on a lake which is situated in the foothills of the Cascades in Washington State. In the summer months we have some pretty good large mouth bass fishing. Nothing like in the south, the "big ones" here would go around 5 lbs. Poppers work best during the warm months.

    What I can't fathom though, is how to get these fish to bite on something in the late fall, winter and early spring? Obviously bass have to eat all year, right? So how do you fly fish for them off-season?
  2. Roby

    Roby New Member

    You ought to pick up some conventional gear and start throwing some lipless cranks and spinnerbaits. Then pick up your fly rod in the summer months and start throwing the poppers again.

  3. isaacfab

    isaacfab Member

    what about a weighted streamer?
  4. Connor H

    Connor H Bobbers n Beadz

    Get deep and go slow. They are Real lethargic in the winter months. I tend to start focusing on bass around late march and on into october. Best of luck though. Basically just dredge the bottom with a crayfish pattern, or work a streamer nice and slow.

  5. Come on Robster....
  6. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

    Bill -
    The metabolism of largemouth preks along at its best when the elevated water temperatures of the summer. They are most active when the temp. is in that upper 70s/low 80s.

    During the winter they really do not need to eat. At low water temperatures we see this time of year as long a the fish enters the late fall/winter with a reasonable amount of body fat they would be fine if they never ate all winter. Keep in mind that largemouth usual eat some pretty large food items so it only takes one or two critters to fill their stomachs and then days or even weeks to digest them during the cold water of the winter.

    That said it is possible to catch a few fish during the winter/early spring. The key to success is to selective about the conditions that you fish. Look of a series of nice days where is you see an increase in water temperatures. In those conditions focus on shallow water on the northern part of the lake with heavy cover (logs, docks etc), shallow bays, and at times the mouth of small creeks can be good on the first day of rain. The worst time to fish will be the first nice day after a rainy period - the post cold front is virtually impossible. I have best luck on bulky lures fished slowly and given the choice fishing early/mid afternoons. Regardless you will be fishing for a single bite or two.

    Once the worst fo the winter passes and water temperatures begin to warm somewhate consistenlty fishing will slowly improve. Once the temps creep past the mid-40 one can expect little periods of decent fishing. The good news the early season fish generally above average in size. As the temperatures reach 50 degrees or so it is time to get serious about targeting some "hawgs" - look at the late April/early May period. At this time of year may produce a chance for year's best fish. I really like the first couple hours of storm after a reasonably long stable period - something about that condition puts the big gals on the prowl - usually up in 3 to 5 feet of water at ends of docks are along lay down logs.

    Tight lines
  7. Roby

    Roby New Member

    Haha what? I thought it was a good idea.

  8. Sure it is. Just kinda hard to throw a lipless crankbait with a fly rod ;)
  9. Chef

    Chef New Member

    Roby Roby Roby..... :)
  10. Loren Jensen

    Loren Jensen Active Member

    let's see who can make the first lipless crank fly..10 bucks to the first one!
  11. Chef

    Chef New Member

    Loren.... you dont have 10 bucks
  12. Loren Jensen

    Loren Jensen Active Member

    i will go beg next to an I-5 exit
  13. Chef

    Chef New Member

    yea... let me know how that goes for ya! :)
  14. Loren Jensen

    Loren Jensen Active Member

    will do..feel free to stop by lol
  15. Bill Johnson

    Bill Johnson Member

    Curt - what do you mean by " I really like the first couple hours of storm after a reasonably long stable period -"

    Excellent information on winter feeding. Thanks for the info.

  16. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

    Bill -
    As predators I have found that bass (especially the larger fish) seem to become active as the front edge of storm moves into the area; even more so if there has been several days of nice weather. The cloud cover, wind chop, and falling rain all seem to produce conditions that favor those predators. While this is equally true regardless of the season it seemed to me that in the cool water temperatures of late winter/early spring the bass have no reason to be feeding all the time. As a result most of the adult population will have empty or nearly empty stomachs and thus ready for the feeding opportunity that storm front produces. The result is aggressive fish looking for a meal.

    While those conditions make for tough fising conditions and there usually there are not many anglers on the water in those conditions if the angler toughs it out they will likely be reward. Over the years if I can find a front moving in with the spring water temperature above 42 degree for smallmouth and the upper 40s for largemouth I expect to catch fish. A large majority of the exceptional bass I have caught over the years came in those conditions.

    Tight lines
  17. Chris Johnson

    Chris Johnson Member: Native Fish Society

    I use to fish bass alot and found this to be true. Extended high pressure with a falling barometer always seemed to produce fish! Pre-spawn seemed to produce the biggest fish
  18. a_fors

    a_fors Active Member

    it's almost time! this is one of my favorite times of the year.
  19. Roby

    Roby New Member

    Heck ya man been waiting for way to long.

  20. PT

    PT Physhicist

    How abouat a Dahlberg Diver...?