3 Tips for Winter Fishing

Yes, we know it’s chilly and the summer species we love to chase after have long departed the Chesapeake Bay fishing scene, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a bend in your rod. Layer up, brew some hot coffee for the thermos, and put these winter fishing tips into action.

winter bass fishing Winter bass fishing can be a blast!

Winter Fishing Tip #1

When looking for winter bass search along the channel edges, where a combination of structure and depth makes the fish happy. Find a submerged tree lying in such an area, and you’ve found a bona fide hotspot. BONUS TIP: Remember that during winter, the bass are all looking for warmer water and are a bit less aggressive, so they tend to congregate more than they do during the summer months. When you catch one don’t automatically move on, but instead, work the area for a bit.

yellow perch fishing Yellow perch bite right through the winter months.

Winter Fishing Tip #2

When yellow perch are in the bullseye drop a minnow on a shad dart and hover it an inch off the bottom, or hop it along bottom as slowly as you can stand. You may get hung up, but that’s where the perch are usually feeding at this time of year. In uber-snaggy areas, consider switching to a top-and-bottom rig baited with live minnow. BONUS TIP: If you hook a fish then get snagged, let your line go slack for five or 10 seconds. On occasion, the fish will swim it out of the snag for you.

winter walleye Break out the ice augers and tip-ups, it’s time for some ice fishing.

Winter Fishing Tip #3

If you get the chance to fish hard water this winter, remember that walleye generally bite best until 9:30 or so in the morning, then go quiet until the last hour of daylight. Yellow perch, on the other hand, will bite right through the day. So save your big jumbo minnows for early and late. Midday, fill the tip-ups with the average and small ones. BONUS TIP: When one of those jumbo minnow dies off on you, don’t throw it away before popping the eyeballs out. Skewer them on a tiny ice jig, drop it down and give it mini-jiggles, and the panfish can’t resist.

Check out our Mid-Atantic Ice Fishing Spectacular to learn more about how and where you can try ice fishing in our region.

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