I recently received a question about cold water fishing from Nate Acord. He writes, “Fall and winter bass fishing seems to be less productive for me. What tactics can I use to still get them to bite?” Great question, Nate, because many people have the same view on winter fishing. Although the numbers can go down during the colder months, I’ve had some very memorable days during this time of year, especially for bigger fish. Two of the tactics I use for winter bites are fishing much slower than normal or trying to draw a reaction strike from inactive fish.
Fishing slower keeps the lure in front of the fish long enough to coerce them into biting simply because the offering is easy to prey on. Sometimes this winter tactic is best because it allows you to thoroughly fish an area and learn the key spots to place your lure. My lure choice for fishing slow is usually a worm or a jog. The other winter tactic is drawing a reaction strike by surprising the fish with the lure. This is one of my favorite ways to fish. The key is to move the lure by quick bursts without pulling the lure too far away from the fish. This technique can be done with just about any lure in your box, but I usually utilize a lure with flash and noise.
Good luck with your winter bass fishing, and thanks for the great question, Nate.
Apache: Fishing is fair. In-line spinners continue to do the trick for smallmouth. Largemouth continue to be elusive. Yellow bass have been hitting jigging spoons wherever you can locate the shad.
Canyon: Fishing is fair. Yellow bass continue to be the most active fish. Jigging spoons and tailspinners are working best. For largemouth, try the Castaic Trout near trout stocking areas.
Pleasant: Fishing is fair. Bass fishing has picked up a little. Spooning or worm fishing in 25-40 feet has been the best pattern. White bass have also been providing quite a bit of spooning action.
Roosevelt: Fishing is fair to slow. Once the fish get used to the cold water, fishing should pick up again. The drastic dip in night temperatures has slowed fishing down for a few days. Several big smallmouth were caught on inline spinners. Crappie fishing is also slow.
Saguaro: Fishing is fair. Several giant largemouth were caught this week using Castaic swimbaits in rainbow trout patterns. Yellow bass are still hitting spoons near schools of shad.
Cliff’s Tip of the Week
Looking for the perfect Christmas gift for the fisherman in your family? Come see professional anglers Cliff Pirch or Mark Kile at the Tackle Box in Tonto Basin. Look for the green fence marked COVERED STORAGE on the west side of the highway in Tonto Basin. The store is open from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.