Winter Bass

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?


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.


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.


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
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.


Latest posts