A Beginner’s Guide to Winter Fishing

Time Of Info By TOI Staff   March 15, 2023   Update on : March 15, 2023

Winter Fishing

Fishing is an exciting hobby you should be able to do in all seasons, even in the winter. It might be challenging because of the cold and alterations in the fish’s behavior, but you can still undertake your fishing expedition efficiently if you prepare for it adequately. So, if it’s your first-time winter fishing, consider the following tips for assistance:

best fishing in winter

  1. Choose Specific Fish Species

Depending on where the winter finds you, you ought to know the common fish species in the area to learn how to catch them. For instance, in Southern Carolina, you can catch fish such as yellowtail, perch, trout, bluegill, or sea bass. Whatever species you’re after, you must know its typical behavior in winter, the type of bait to use, and the depth at which you can find it.

The following are some essential yellowtail fishing tactics you may want to master when looking for this fish species:

  • Yo-Yo: It’s a highly effective method to target fish during winter. The straightforward technique involves dropping the jig to the ocean floor and reeling it back to the surface. Before lowering your jig, locating schools of yellowtail using your fishfinder is essential. Then, you can make multiple attempts to catch them before moving on to the next school. In the event of a hook-up, it’s critical to maintain a steady reel to ensure a successful catch, as winter yellowtail can be large.
  • Surface Iron: It’s one of the best techniques for getting the yellowtail in Southern California. Going through this expedition on your boat is best, which involves locating birds feeding on bait pushed to the surface. This approach is ideal for gun fishing, where you can quickly get to the feeding fish.
  • Trolling: Getting yellowtail during the winter can be difficult. For instance, you may spot birds hovering over the water and quickly head toward the location to catch a yellowtail. However, the fish can suddenly dive underwater when you reach the spot. You should consider trolling because it is the best for you as a beginner. It keeps your lines in the water while you search for sporadic areas and helps you locate fish when they’re not visible.

When fishing in winter for yellowtails, be flexible and try a different area if the current one doesn’t yield much. The constant movement also helps keep you warm.

  1. Find A Suitable Location

An appropriate location can make your fishing expedition easy and quick. Remember, in winter, fish congregate in deeper water. In this case, try places such as drop-offs and holes and avoid lakes with swift currents. Additionally, look for fallen trees or rocks since fish gather around them. You can also look for information about the weather in your current location before you go winter fishing.

  1. Have All The Necessary Fishing Equipment

Ensuring your fishing items are in excellent condition enables you to fish efficiently. Ensure you have a line, reels, and rods. Also, consider the following practices for your tools:

  • Fishing line: Use a liner conditioner because it helps in keeping your fishing line, rod, and reel from damage.
  • Bait attractant: The scents from the bail attractant can help make the fish come quickly for food.
  • Reels: Assess your reels before you go fishing. Ensure you lubricate the moving parts so they can move quickly.

Moreover, you must pack the equipment in a sturdy bag to prevent it from getting spoiled.

  1. Select The Right Bait

Fish are less active in colder water, so using the right bait is crucial to entice them. You can use the following baits:

  • Live bait: Minnows are often effective in this technique.
  • Forage species: You can use a herring to catch the fish’s attention.
  • Artificial bait: You can use feathers and hair with artificial bait to make it easy to propel.
  • Plastic bait: It’s an affordable option. Lighter ones are better because they drift slowly in water, allowing fish to spot and hunt them.

Experiment with different fishing lures to see what works best in your area in the winter.

  1. Go At The Right Time And Day

The weather should be appropriate for you to conduct your fishing. Preferably, go fishing around midday, i.e., from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m., since the weather will be warmer. Fish typically swim out from their hiding spots around this time to enjoy the warmth and hunt for food.

  1. Stay Safe And Comfortable

Winter fishing can be dangerous. Thus, carrying a life jacket and a first aid kit is prudent. Going winter fishing with your buddy or informing your family where you’re heading is also an excellent idea. On top of this, dress appropriately for the cold; wear insulated gloves, boots, and a scarf before stepping out.


Winter fishing can be a fun expedition if you do it appropriately. Firstly, learn the appropriate techniques for winter fishing and typical fish behavior during the cold season. Such knowledge increases your chances of catching fish. Also, move out only when the weather is favorable and have all the equipment required to ensure you’re safe and comfortable while fishing.


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