Anglers Gear (10)

Winter Fishing Guide

Skip To Save Time

It might be cold outside and the skies gray and you’re wondering if it’s worth going fishing this weekend. Well, don’t let the winter weather put you off! It is more than possible to enjoy this popular outdoor recreational activity even if the weather conditions outside is less desirable.

You need to do some planning to ensure you have all the equipment and supplies you need to make your fishing trip a success. Also, make sure you consider your safety and be prepared to adapt your plans if the weather deteriorates.

Fish will be slower in the winter, and they might not bite so hard but there is still plenty of fish out there to catch!

Fishing in the winter will give you a sense of the seasons passing and perhaps enable you to try different styles of fishing and new locations! In this guide, we have some tips and ideas to help you make the most out of your winter fishing trips.

Cold Weather Fishing

So cold weather fishing is going to be a bit different. You’re not going to be able to spend as much time outdoors because of the cold weather. Fishing is best between daylight hours which restricts the time you can spend fishing.


You might want to try a commercial fishing spot or one with better facilities when cold weather fishing. You have less chance of slipping because the paths and fishing spots will have gravel/tarmac down and good drainage. You will also be able to get plenty of hot drinks and food. There’ll also be plenty of people around, so safety is less of a concern.


If you want to go fishing on lakes, rivers, or saltwater in the cold weather, you’ll need to check weather forecasts and tides very carefully. Make sure you are well prepared and adaptable as well. It’s a good idea to fish with someone else when the weather is not so good, but if you do go out alone make sure someone knows when to expect you and have a safety plan in place.

Try Ice Fishing!

Ice fishing is a great winter experience. You’ll need to make sure you have the right fishing gear. If you haven’t gone ice fishing before, you should try and go with someone experienced or choose an ice fishing venue where you can get some advice.


You can get ice fishing stools to sit on and at some venues, you can hire a hut to ice fish from. This can be a really fun way to fish in the winter. You can have a lot of success with ice fishing and catch familiar species such as panfish, and crappie. If you want to drop your artificial lure on a line, a spinning jig is a great option here. You can use some live bait to attract more fish. Use a strong line as well.

Fishing in the Winter months

Don’t let the cold winter months stop you from enjoying your fishing trips. There may be some issues such as a frozen lake, and adverse fishing conditions like strong winds and currents or snow but you just need to be adaptable to get the most out of the season.


There are lots of options for fishing in the winter, if it isn’t too cold and your local fishing venue hasn’t frozen over then you can adapt your techniques and carry on. If everywhere becomes frozen over, why not try ice fishing?

Winter Fishing Tips

When choosing your fishing gear you’ll need to make some adjustments. Choose a braided line that won’t become brittle in the cold temperatures water. This is much tougher.


Look after your fishing gear. Make sure you take care of your reel as it can get stiff in cold weather and keep it well lubricated. Make sure you clean your rod down as soon as you return. Make sure you have plenty of artificial lures and bait if you use these because you’re likely to get through more of them with choppy, murky water.


Dress appropriately. Fishing clothes are designed to be lightweight but keep you warm and dry, so don’t discount using clothing designed for anglers. It will make your fishing experience more comfortable. And don’t forget to purchase really good socks and boots.

Fishing Rainbow Trout in Winter

Rainbow trout is abundant towards the end of winter, as it turns to spring when the Rainbow trout are migrating to spawning grounds, but you can still have plenty of opportunities to fish for Rainbow trout from rivers in winter.


Fly fishing is ideal for Rainbow trout. Choose a light, artificial fly that will sit on the surface of the water to attract the trout. Make sure you don’t disturb the fish with shadows over the water or make too much noise.


You might need to be careful planning your trip. Your usual river spot during the summer could become slippery in the winter or even icy, which can be dangerous, so you might need to search out a location to the river with better access. If the river isn’t frozen, you might want to try fly fishing from a boat.

Fly fishing in Winter

Try to use feathers or heavier lures so you still get some action. Currents may be

stronger in the winter. Fly fishing is a good option in the winter, choose a less windy day and make sure you’re not using an ultra-light rod.

You’ll need to choose a location that isn’t too slippery if you’re fly fishing from the water’s edge. If the banks become inaccessible then you can always consider switching over to fly fishing from a boat.


Fishing in cold weather

When fishing in cold weather you will need to make sure you are well prepared. Choose warm clothes that are well insulated and water resistant/proof. Make sure you’ve got a good hat and polaroid glasses because the winter sun can be particularly bright. Consider choosing a fishing tent in case it rains because you don’t want to get wet or cold.

Make sure you have some hot food and plenty to drink. You will need plenty of calories to keep your energy up while fishing in the wintertime.

When winter fishing you’ll need to take extra care of your gear. Make sure it’s washed down and cleaned properly after use. Remember to lubricate the ball bearings in your reel as they can get stiffer in the cold weather.

Finally, consider safety. Make sure you’ve got phones, and a safety plan, and be prepared to adapt or finish your trip if the weather changes and becomes particularly adverse. This could be due to particularly strong currents, high winds, or snow. Make sure someone knows where you are and when to expect you to return in case you get into any difficulties.

Winter bass fishing

largemouth bass hook size

Winter is a great time to fish for bass. They can be found often in murky water and actually like water with a lot of churn and overhanging branches. If you use a chatter bait or a bladed jig then these will flash, spin and make noise to cut through the murky water and attract the bass. Choose a dark-colored blade when fishing in murky water.

Winter trout fishing

Trout hook size chart

Winter is a great time to go fishing for trout. You’ll have the most success at river locations when the trout are migrating to spawning grounds. You’ll need to research good spots and times for this. The trout will be most abundant towards the end of winter as the season turns towards Spring.


Fly fishing is a great option for winter trout fishing. A fly bobbing about on the surface of the water is a great way to attract the trout. Fishing from a boat or kayak can be a great option but be careful of ice and currents in the winter.

Winter Fishing FAQs

Is winter fishing good?

Winter can be a great time to fish. It might be cold season and the weather is not the best but with the right clothing and supplies, you can have a great fishing trip. Spending time outside in the winter can be beneficial for your health. Fishing is both a great way to exercise and relax at the same time and so it will continue to support your health and well-being throughout the winter season.

In terms of fish, you’re going to find that the species you catch in winter will be different and you may find daylight hours more successful. One advantage is that you’ll get to experience the seasons of fishing if you’re fishing in rivers, lakes, or the ocean. If you go commercial match fishing then you will be more likely to make your regular catches.

What is the best fish to catch in the winter?

There are lots of options for fish to catch in the winter. You can catch carp, perch, and roach while fishing in a lake if it hasn’t frozen over. You will find game fish at commercial venues and matches and tournaments do still run through winter months.

If you’re hoping to fish for edible fish then you’ve got trout, pan fish, and crappie, among others. When the weather is colder, it’s a great time to try fishing for different fish species and to try out alternative gear and techniques.


Is fishing worth it in the winter?

Yes, definitely. Don’t let the cold weather put you off from enjoying your favorite recreational activity. It’s a long time to go without enjoying your hobby and if you plan to go pro and enter competitions you’ll need to keep working on your skills!

You might need to adapt the times you fish, like leaving out night fishing and maybe changing location if the currents are strong or the banks are very slippery. This is a great opportunity to try out some new fishing spots though and you might find some popular spots become less busy.


What is the easiest fish to catch in winter?

In terms of freshwater fish, you can fish for crappie in the wintertime. Crappie is a predator, so moving bait like an artificial minnow on a bobber is a good option. They like to swim in murky water, so you’ll need a bright lure to attract their attention. Another good lake fish to catch is walleye.

You can find carp too, especially at commercial venues and natural spots. Perch and roach will also crop up when fishing for carp. If you’re using a rod and a jig you can fish for panfish and bass as well.

Rainbow trout is a relatively easy fish to catch in winter. Trout is a big one for winter fishing in rivers. You’re going to find it easier to catch trout toward the end of winter, when it’s nearly spring.


What bait is best for winter?

You might want to change your bait for better success when fishing in cold water. If you are happy to use live bait, then maggots are a great option for catching fish in tough conditions. This will help you catch carp and perch. Shrimp is also a great option, especially for saltwater fishing. Both are quite affordable options, and if you’re at a fishing venue, you can buy as much as you need if they have an onsite bait shop.

Chatter baits, spinner baits, swim baits and jigs are all great options for artificial lures and you can attach some plastic maggots. If your lake isn’t frozen over and you’re able to go fishing for bass then these are great options for attracting the bass in murky water. A chatter bait will give you the edge fishing in particularly windy weather.

Final Word: Winter Fishing Guide

Winter fishing can be both fun and rewarding. It’s a different experience, but you can still make some great catches. You’ll need to adapt your strategy and the gear you take with you. Also consider safety and take care of yourself with plenty of hot drinks and food.