Did you know that while fishing during the winter might not be as productive as fishing during the warmer months, some fish (like pike) are actually more active in cold weather? If you don’t mind being chilly, winter fishing can be more fun than you’d think. 

If you’ve never learned how to fish in winter, we’re here with some advice. Read on for a few quick winter fishing tips to get you started.

Prioritize Safety

Any time you plan on fishing during the winter, you need to focus on winter boating safety (especially if your fishing spot gets below freezing temperatures).

Remember that water can freeze on the deck of your boat. De-ice your deck before you head out and be aware of the water that gets on board while you’re fishing. It’s a good idea to sop it up before it has the opportunity to freeze. Condensation may also be a problem. 

We recommend against fishing alone during the winter, but if that’s not possible, give someone your route plans and make sure that your communication equipment is in good condition. 

View more winter safety tips before you head out on the water.

Dress for the Occasion

Too many people only check the temperature outside of their homes before getting dressed for their fishing trip. Remember that it’s likely going to be different when you’re actually in the water. 

We recommend having layers. This way, if you get warm in the sun or after reeling in a tough fish, you can remove something, but you won’t freeze during the long hours of waiting. One of those layers should be a waterproof coat or jacket.

Wear waterproof boots and warm socks. It’s okay to get your feet wet during the summer, but during the winter, it could be dangerous. Always wear a hat and gloves. 

We also recommend bringing a change of clothes just in case you get wet.

Pick the Right Bait

During the winter, fish move more slowly because they’re cold-blooded. The erratic motion of some conventional lures that work well during the summer won’t be as effective during the winter.

Opt for live bait when you can. Fish recognize that natural movement as prey. 

Time It Right

Fish are most active when the water is warmest (which will be during the daylight hours). Your daylight hours are limited during the winter. You want to fish between 10 am and 4 pm.

Check the weather before you leave. It’s best when a cold front is about to pass. 

Check for winter storms. You don’t want to fish while it’s snowing or sleeting, and even a cold rainstorm can ruin your day on the water. 

Keep These Winter Fishing Tips in Mind

These winter fishing tips will keep you safe and help you reel in fish during your next fishing trip. Have fun during your next local winter fishing adventure!

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