Cabin fever, short daylight hours, and fishing reruns on tv. Yup, it's wintertime. Air temperatures have plummeted, sending the water temperatures to the arctic zone with it. For those who only fish and don’t hunt this can be a long grueling period. But, using some simple frontal timing can help lead to some of the most successful trips of the year.
Once the water temperature drops into the 40s, bass behavior begins to dramatically change. These changes are in the amount of food that is daily ingested and the locations bass will reside throughout the winter. During the temperature drop, fish’s metabolism will slow, resulting in slower digesting of food and reducing the need to feed as much. These side effects of the cold water can lead to long fishing days with little and frustrating outings. This is when timing cold fronts and the dropping barometric pressure can be key to unlocking winter fishing success.
The weather during and ahead of cold fronts will lead to favorable fishing conditions due to the lower pressure that is associated with them. Fish become aware of the pressure change and their feeding activity greatly increases during these times. Rule of thumb, rising pressure usually slows the bite, while dropping pressure generally enhances it.
Some of the most successful and memorable fishing trips I have been a part of have taken place during snow days. A good example of successful frontal winter fishing was day one 2017 Bassmaster Elite series on Lake Cherokee. While driving to the ramp that morning, I encountered a steady dose of snow and sleet pounding the windshield. The temperature never rose out of the 30’s but that day produced the majority of total weight caught for the entire tournament.
For a more successful winter trip time your fishing days and study the weather and time fronts.