Don’t let the cold scare you away from bass fishing in the winter months. Spotted bass are actually pretty tolerant and prefer cool waters, much more so than largemouth bass, which prefer warmer and calmer waters.
Where the Fish are in the Winter Months
Depending on how far north you get into their range, and whether fishing a river or reservoir, the wintertime behavior of a spotted bass can be a bit different. As always however, think structure – the fish will always be near some sort of structure. There may be some daily movements as well from deeper waters during the overnight hours where they can find stable water temperatures, to more shallow waters during the day where they can catch some warm light and plenty of food.
Catching Spotted Bass in the Rivers
In the rivers and streams, spotted bass are going to be holding in the deep pockets behind water movements (waterfalls, etc.), and in deep spots formed from eddie currents on the sides of large structures. Use a slightly slower retrieval during the cold winter days, and let the lures or baits float down the natural path of movement past these locations for strikes.
Catching Spotted Bass in the Lakes and Reservoirs
Moving water in the winter seems to hold a lot of fish when the days get cold. This is particularly true during the mornings and afternoons when the fish are holding deep to stay near stable temperatures, and can be found around deeper structures like bridge pilings. As the day moves on into the mid-day however, the fish may move towards shallow water structures like seawalls and riprap where the sun has warmed the waters and attracted lots of bait. Look for the fish here for a lot of good action during the middle of the day.
An Overview of Catching Spotted Bass in the Wintertime
Wintertime fishing for spotted bass may mean moving around throughout the day (which isn’t a bad thing, anyway). Look for the fish deeper during the mornings and evenings where the fish find stable temperatures, and look for them in shallow locations during the heat of the day. You can retrieve lures more slowly during the coldest days, but don’t worry about changing things too much, since spotted bass a fairly cold tolerant and plenty aggressive during these months.