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Winter Fishing Tips

FISHING REGULATIONS

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DECEMBER - FEBRUARY

The water is cold, the fish are lethargic, but the bite is still on!

Warm water fish species slow down their metabolism as water temperatures decrease. Even though their metabolism has slowed, it does not mean they stop feeding. They just eat less often and at a much slower pace.

They will not chase fastly retrieved lures or drifted bait. They are searching for a slow-moving and/or staionary food source. Fish also retreat to deeper water in the winter months, especially in big reservoirs and clear water. 

In small impoundments and ponds with stained water, look for a shallow water bite on warm clear days, especially after midday.

Trout, being a cold water species, tend to be the hottest bite in town during the winter months.

Largemouth, Smallmouth and Spotted Bass

At this time of year, bass seek structure in deep water. These areas usually include ledges around the main creek channels or humps in the main lake. If a warm front moves in for a few days during the winter months, bait fish might seek shelter in coves and shallow flats where the air temperature and sunlight will rapidly heat those areas for a few hours in the middle of the day. You can bet that a few bass will follow that bait ball into the shallows.

If you target bait balls in shallow water, utilize slow twitching swimbaits and jerkbaits. Bass are looking to pick off bait that are injured or dying, but will not expend too much energy chasing a healthy bait fish. A slow retrieved or bounced weedless hooked jointed swimbait with a 1/8th to 1/4 ounce bullet weight is a great selection to pick off bass that are following bait balls into the shallows.

For bass that are stationary on deep water structure (remember "deep" is a relative term depending on the body of water), use large naturally colored soft plastic offerings such as worms, tubes or creatures hooked to your liking (i.e. Carolina-rigged, Texas-rigged, jighead, bass jig, bladed bass jig, drop-shot, etc.). Slowly work the lure around deep structure where bass are positioned and hold on, the biggest fish of the year are typically caught in the late-winter.

Vertically jigging a shad-colored hair jig is an effective winter tactic as well.

 

Bass Fishing Videos

Click the image square above to watch helpful how-to bass fishing videos.


Blue, Channel and Flathead Catfish

In the winter months, catfish can be found in their wintering holes. These are areas of slow-moving, deep water typically on large flats or sharp turns in a body of water's main creek and/or river channel.

Natural cut bait from the body of water you are fishing is the most effective bait selection (ex: gizzard or threadfin shad, skipjack herring). You can fish a stationary spot or drift fish from a boat.

Spool your catfish rod and reel with 20-pound monofilament line and place a 1- to 2-ounce no-roll or drag-free sinker on the line and tie on a 1/0 barrel swivel. Then tie a 12- to 24-inch 20-pound monofilament leader-line to the other end of the barrel swivel and tie on your hook (7/0 to 8/0 strong circle hook). Place a 2-inch slotted foam peg float on the leader-line a couple inches above the hook so that the bait floats in the strike zone off the bottom. Place a hefty piece of fresh cut bait on the hook and cast to your desired location.

The same set-up will work below a slip- float, but instead of a 1- to 2-ounce no roll weight, use a 1/4th- to 1/2-ounce egg weight and no peg float float above the hook. Make sure the float is large enough to support the weight and cast from the bank to deep drop-offs, ledges and channels.

If you are drift fishing, you want to be drifting as slowly as possible. If the wind is blowing or you're in current, you may need to use an anchor or drift socks to slow your drift. 

Catfish Fishing Videos

Click the image square above to watch helpful how-to catfish fishing videos.


Black and White Crappie

During the cold-water months in Oklahoma, crappie will suspend over brush piles and/or other structure in deep water (remember "deep" is a relative term depending on the body of water).

For example, crappie could be holding at a depth of 12 foot in 30 foot of water, 8 foot in 12 foot of water, or 30 foot in 50 foot of water. To reach these fish, you either need to be directly over them in a boat and suspend your lure using weight and/or a jighead at the depth in which the fish are holding or if you are fishing from the bank, you need to use a slip-cork float to get your lure to the desired depth.

Live minnows, inline spinners, small lipped crankbaits and panfish lures are all great selections. Bring plenty of different color variations so you can pinpoint the preferred bite that day.

For bank anglers, focus your efforts on areas of a body of water that has deep water in relationship to rocky outcopprings (such as a dam or fishing jetties) and/or submerged timber.

Boat anglers should use fish finding electronics to target fish in the same areas.

Crappie Fishing Videos

Click the image square above to watch helpful how-to crappie fishing videos.


Rainbow and Brown Trout

Oklahoma offers a diverse array of trout fishing opportunities with rainbows and the occasional brown stocked regularly throughout the winter months. You're never more than a couple hours drive away from your next trout fishing adventure! 

Tulsa has one urban trout pond (Veterans Park) and Oklahoma City has two urban trout ponds (Route 66 Park & Edwards Park) that are stocked from December 1 - February 28. For more information on urban trout pond fishing click here.

CLICK HERE FOR TROUT REGULATIONS

Let's take an in-depth look at each of the state's eight trout areas and how to best fish them.


Sunset Lake

SUNSET LAKE

Oklahoma's newest trout fishery, Sunset Lake is a fishing jewel located in the Panhandle town of Guymon. Easily accessible shoreline and a one-mile trail around the lake make for a bank angler's paradise! Family-friendly park and ammenities.

Trout Stocking Season

  • November 1 - March 31

Profile

  • 11-acres; mostly soft bottom, light vegetation
  • Picnic areas
  • ADA compliant
  • Fishing pier
  • Playground
  • Restrooms

Drive Time

  • From OKC: 4.5 hours
  • From Tulsa: 5.5 hours
  • From Woodward: 2 hours

Bait & Tackle Nearby

Fishing Tips

While trout are ambush predators in moving streams, in the still water of small lakes trout will cruise the shoreline and nearby drop-offs in search of easy meals throughout the day. Occasional caddis and mayfly hatches will bring trout to the surface making for great dry-fly fly fishing opportunities and inline spinning lures always find a fish here and there. But, for the most part, the most effective and consistent way to catch trout in Sunset Lake is to fish off the bottom with PowerBait. Early in the trout season, try multiple spots along the shoreline until you find congregated fish.

Top option: Bait

  • Editor's Choice: PowerBait in nymph, balled in a teardrop shape around a size 10 snelled hook and attached to a snap swivel with a 1/8th ounce casting sinker placed above the swivel on the main line (6- or 8- pound monofilament). Cast straight out and let the weight sink to the bottom. Once the weight has hit the bottom, reel up the slack until the line is tight with the rod tip. Place the rod in a rod holder or hold in hand and wait for a bite. On windy days, size up your weight to a 1/4th or 3/8th ounce casting sinker to better keep the line tight to the rod tip, which will help indicate more bites. If you're looking to catch and release, set the hook early before the fish has the opportunity to swallow the hook.
  • Other productive baits include salmon eggs, kernels of corn, and scented trout worms

Secondary option: Artificial

  • Editor's Choice: 1/16th ounce Vibric Rooster Tail in frog. Cast out and reel in with a slow steady retrieve. When the lure hits the water give the rod tip a quick wrist snap to help get the blade spinning. If you need to get to greater depth, add a piece of split shot to the line 8-inches above the lure.
  • Other reliable cast and retrieve lures (1/32nd - 1/8th ounce) include Rooster Tails in hammered copper frog, grasshopper, black and hammered silver white, Super Dupers in brass/gold prism-lite and rainbow trout, and Little Cleo Spoons in gold flourescent orange stripe.
  • Editor's Choice: Size 6 Chocklett's Bugger Changer in Brown, Olive or Black on a 6-weight fly rod, floating line and 9 foot 4x tapered leader with 2 feet of 5x tippet. Cast out and retrieve with quick strips of line.
  • Other good stripping flies (sizes 6, 8, 10 and 12) include Blane Chocklett's ChangersRainy's RJ's Jiggy Worm, Rainy's Carter's RL Dragon Fly, and Bead-Head Woolly Bugger.
  • Make sure to keep a few size 18-22 mayfly and caddis imitating dry flies in your box on the chance that you find surfacing fish.

Perry CCC

PERRY CCC LAKE

A relic of the New Deal era, Historic Perry CCC Lake is located just south of the North-Central town of Perry. The lake has a few handicap accessible areas as well as decent bank fishing opportunities on 3/4ths of the lake's shoreline. Family-friendly park and ammenities.

Trout Stocking Season

  • November 1 - March 31

Profile

  • 32-acres; mostly soft bottom, submerged rocks/boulders, light vegetation, thick shoreline reeds
  • Boat ramp
  • Picnic areas
  • Playground
  • Fishing piers & jetties
  • Restrooms

Drive Time

  • From OKC: 1 hour
  • From Tulsa: 1.25 hours
  • From Stillwater: 30 minutes

Bait & Tackle Nearby

Fishing Tips

Trout will cruise the shoreline flats and coves as well as nearby drop-offs throughout the day. Occasional midday and evening caddis and mayfly hatches will bring trout to the surface along the shoreline directly across from the boat ramp and the eastern-most cove at the end of the park road. Inline spinning lures and spoons work well in coves and immediately adjacent shorelines. But, like most still water trout fishing, the most effective and consistent way to catch them is to fish off the bottom with PowerBait. Early season efforts at Perry CCC Lake will be best rewarded in the coves adjacent to the boat ramp and the flat along the pavillion shoreline directly across from the boat ramp. January and February begin to see better catch rates along the dam and eastern shorelines.

Top option: Bait

  • Editor's Choice: PowerBait in nymph, balled in a teardrop shape around a size 10 snelled hook and attached to a snap swivel with a 1/8th ounce casting sinker placed above the swivel on the main line (6- or 8- pound monofilament). Cast straight out and let the weight sink to the bottom. Once the weight has hit the bottom, reel up the slack until the line is tight with the rod tip. Place the rod in a rod holder or hold in hand and wait for a bite. On windy days, size up your weight to a 1/4th or 3/8th ounce casting sinker to better keep the line tight to the rod tip, which will help indicate more bites. If you're looking to catch and release, set the hook early before the fish has the opportunity to swallow the hook.
  • Other productive baits include salmon eggs, kernels of corn, and scented trout worms

Secondary option: Artificial


Lake Watonga

LAKE WATONGA (currently closed for dam repairs and renovations; Boecher Lake at Roman Nose State Park is being stocked this season in place of Lake Watonga)

Nestled in the heart of Roman Nose State Park, Lake Watonga has long been a trout fishing hot spot located just north of the Northwestern town of Watonga. Family-friendly park and ammenities.

Trout Stocking Season

  • November 1 - March 31

Profile

  • 55-acres; mostly soft bottom, submerged hardwoods, light vegetation
  • Boat ramp
  • Fishing piers/jetties
  • Camping with full RV hookup
  • ADA compliant
  • Country store
  • Lodging
  • Picnic areas
  • Restrooms

Drive Time

  • From OKC: 1.5 hours
  • From Tulsa: 3 hours
  • From Weatherford: 50 minutes

Bait & Tackle Nearby

Fishing Tips

Trout will cruise the shoreline flats and coves as well as nearby drop-offs throughout the day. Inline spinning lures, spoons and super dupers work well along shoreline flats and points. But, like most still water trout fishing, the most effective and consistent way to catch them is to fish off the bottom with PowerBait. Early season efforts at Lake Watonga produce the most bites along the shoreline jettie immediately adjacent to the boat ramp and the flat on the back side of the jettie. Later in the season, trout can be found scattered throughout the lake's shoreline, but the most consistent areas are near points and shallow flats that have nearby drop-offs.

Top option: Bait

  • Editor's Choice: PowerBait in nymph, balled in a teardrop shape around a size 10 snelled hook and attached to a snap swivel with a 1/8th ounce casting sinker placed above the swivel on the main line (6- or 8- pound monofilament). Cast straight out and let the weight sink to the bottom. Once the weight has hit the bottom, reel up the slack until the line is tight with the rod tip. Place the rod in a rod holder or hold in hand and wait for a bite. On windy days, size up your weight to a 1/4th or 3/8th ounce casting sinker to better keep the line tight to the rod tip, which will help indicate more bites. If you're looking to catch and release, set the hook early before the fish has the opportunity to swallow the hook.
  • Other productive baits include salmon eggs, kernels of corn, and scented trout worms

Secondary option: Artificial

  • Editor's Choice: 1/16th ounce Little Cleo Spoon in gold flourescent orange stripe. Cast out and reel in with a slow steady retrieve. If you need to get to greater depth, add a piece of split shot to the line 8-inches above the lure.
  • Other reliable cast and retrieve lures (1/32nd - 1/8th ounce) include Rooster Tails in hammered copper frog, grasshopper, black and hammered silver white, Super Dupers in brass/gold prism-lite and rainbow trout, and Kastmaster Spoons in gold, silver, orange and trout patterns.
  • Editor's Choice: Size 6 Chocklett's Bugger Changer in Brown, Olive or Black on a 6-weight fly rod, floating line and 9 foot 4x tapered leader with 2 feet of 5x tippet. Cast out and retrieve with quick strips of line.
  • Other good stripping flies (sizes 6, 8, 10 and 12) include Blane Chocklett's ChangersRainy's RJ's Jiggy Worm, Rainy's Carter's RL Dragon Fly, and Bead-Head Woolly Bugger.
  • Make sure to keep a few size 18-22 mayfly and caddis imitating dry flies in your box on the chance that you find surfacing fish.

Blue River

BLUE RIVER

6.25 miles of public wading and bank access make the Blue River Trout Area, located 10 miles north of the South-Central town of Tishomingo, a true gem of public lands. There are a few handicap accessible bank fishing areas around the campgrounds. Muck or hip boots are a must if you don't plan to wear waders. Trails along the river's edge and multiple entrance locations provide ample opportunities for adventurous anglers to find a section of river all to theirself. Native surroundings and relatively deep water along the river banks can create hazardous conditions for children and pets throughout most of the property, but there are several family-friendly fishing areas around the campgrounds.

Trout Stocking Season

  • November 1 - March 31

Profile

  • 6.25-miles; mostly hard bottom, submerged timber, waterfalls, pocket water, riffles, runs, pools, light vegetation
  • Primitive camping areas
  • Latrines
  • Food/supplies at Scotty's Blue River One Stop

Drive Time

  • From OKC: 2 hours
  • From Tulsa: 2.75 hours
  • From Ada: 45 minutes

Bait & Tackle Nearby

Fishing Tips

Blue River has lots of different types of river sections to target. Bait fished off the bottom is productive in slow moving pools, eddies and deep runs. Artificial lures and flies are more effective in the fast moving water near waterfalls, tailouts, pocket water and riffle runs. Inline spinners, supers dupers and spoons are great options on light-action tackle. Dry flies, nymphs and stripping flies can be equally as effective. Seams behind boulders and riffle runs through the pocket water are good places to find multiple fish stacked up. Trout are stocked evenly throughout the public section of river from November through March.

Top option: Artificial

Secondary option: Bait

  • Editor's Choice: PowerBait in nymph, balled in a teardrop shape around a size 10 snelled hook and attached to a snap swivel with a 1/4th or 3/8th ounce casting sinker placed above the swivel on the main line (6- or 8- pound monofilament). Cast 45-degrees downstream and let the weight sink to the bottom. Once the weight has hit the bottom, reel up the slack until the line is tight with the rod tip. Place the rod in a rod holder or hold in hand and wait for a bite. In faster moving water, size up your weight to a 1/2 ounce casting sinker to better keep the line tight to the rod tip, which will help indicate more bites. If you're looking to catch and release, set the hook early before the fish has the opportunity to swallow the hook.
  • Other productive baits include salmon eggs, kernels of corn, and scented trout worms

Medicine Creek

MEDICINE CREEK

Meandering through the Wichita Mountains foothills, the Medicine Creek Trout Area, a tailwater of Lake Lawtonka, is located in the quaint Southwestern town of Medicine Park. Scenic trails along the creek offer plenty of easy bank fishing opportunities. There are several handicap accessible fishing spots along the creek. Family-friendly ammenities.

Trout Stocking Season

  • November 1 - March 15

Profile

  • 1 mile; mostly hard bottom, submerged rocks/boulders, light vegetation
  • Primitive camping area
  • Local shops/restaurants
  • Picnic area

Drive Time

  • From OKC: 1.25 hours
  • From Tulsa: 3 hours
  • From Lawton: 20 minutes

Bait & Tackle Nearby

Fishing Tips

A shallow boulder run through the middle section of the creek is bookended by two long, slow deep runs. Fishing with bait off the bottom is productive all day, but particularly during the midday hours. Anglers have more success with artificial lures and flies during the lowlight morning and evening hours. Inline spinners, supers dupers and spoons are great options on light-action tackle. Stripping bead and jighead flies is effective for fly anglers. The last section of river near the fish hatchery tends to be the most consistent and productive stretch throughout trout season.

Top option: Bait

  • Editor's Choice: PowerBait in nymph, balled in a teardrop shape around a size 10 snelled hook and attached to a snap swivel with a 1/8th ounce casting sinker placed above the swivel on the main line (6- or 8- pound monofilament). Cast straight out and let the weight sink to the bottom. Once the weight has hit the bottom, reel up the slack until the line is tight with the rod tip. Place the rod in a rod holder or hold in hand and wait for a bite. On windy days, size up your weight to a 1/4th or 3/8th ounce casting sinker to better keep the line tight to the rod tip, which will help indicate more bites. If you're looking to catch and release, set the hook early before the fish has the opportunity to swallow the hook.
  • Other productive baits include salmon eggs, kernels of corn, and scented trout worms

Secondary option: Artificial

  • Editor's Choice: 1/16th ounce Rooster Tail in hammered copper frog. Cast out and reel in with a slow steady retrieve. When the lure hits the water give the rod tip a quick wrist snap to help get the blade spinning. If you need to get to greater depth, add a piece of split shot to the line 8-inches above the lure.
  • Other reliable cast and retrieve lures (1/32nd - 1/8th ounce) include Rooster Tails in grasshopper, black and hammered silver white, Super Dupers in brass/gold prism-lite and rainbow trout, Little Cleo Spoons in gold flourescent orange stripe, and Kastmaster Spoons in gold, silver, orange and trout patterns.
  • Editor's Choice: Size 8 Chocklett's Bugger Changer in Brown, Olive or Black on a 6-weight fly rod, floating line and 9 foot 4x tapered leader with 2 feet of 5x tippet. Cast out and retrieve with quick strips of line.
  • Other good stripping flies (sizes 6, 8, 10 and 12) include Blane Chocklett's ChangersRainy's RJ's Jiggy Worm, Rainy's Carter's RL Dragon Fly, and Bead-Head Woolly Bugger. The water flow is basically stagnant making dry and nymph flies less effective.

Robbers Cave

ROBBERS CAVE

Situated in the scenic woodlands of the San Bois Mountains, the Robbers Cave Trout Area along the Fourche Maline River is located within the Robbers Cave State Park 6.5 miles north of the Southeastern town of Wilburton. Beautiful backdrops accompanied by the sounds of nature make this a must visit destination for trout anglers! The slow flowing shallow waters of this tailwater and ample bank access create a family-friendly fishing environment.

Trout Stocking Season

  • November 1 - March 15

Profile

  • 1.5 miles; mixed hard/soft bottom, light vegetation, submerged rocks/boulders
  • Camping with full RV hookups
  • Equestrian
  • Lodging
  • Gift Shop
  • Hiking
  • Picnic areas
  • Latrines

Drive Time

  • From OKC: 2.75 hours
  • From Tulsa: 2 hours
  • From McAlester: 45 minutes

Bait & Tackle Nearby

Fishing Tips

Long, slow moving runs with scattered submerged rocks/boulders make up most of the trout area. Bait fished off the bottom is productive all day, but particularly during the midday hours. Anglers have more success with artificial lures and flies during the lowlight morning and evening hours. Inline spinners, supers dupers and spoons are great options on light-action tackle. Stripping bead and jighead flies is effective for fly anglers.

Top option: Bait

  • Editor's Choice: PowerBait in nymph, balled in a teardrop shape around a size 10 snelled hook and attached to a snap swivel with a 1/8th ounce casting sinker placed above the swivel on the main line (6- or 8- pound monofilament). Cast straight out and let the weight sink to the bottom. Once the weight has hit the bottom, reel up the slack until the line is tight with the rod tip. Place the rod in a rod holder or hold in hand and wait for a bite. On windy days, size up your weight to a 1/4th or 3/8th ounce casting sinker to better keep the line tight to the rod tip, which will help indicate more bites. If you're looking to catch and release, set the hook early before the fish has the opportunity to swallow the hook.
  • Other productive baits include salmon eggs, kernels of corn, and scented trout worms

Secondary option: Artificial


Lower Illinois River

LOWER ILLINOIS RIVER

A beautiful tailwater-controlled Ozark stream, the Lower Illinois River Trout Area resides 5 miles north of the East-Central town of Gore. Bank fishing is very limited with a few handicap accessible and family-friendly fishing spots available just downstream of the dam. Most of the river requires the use of waders or hip boots, but once on the river it's easy wading and walking. 

Trout Stocking Season

  • Year-round

Profile

  • 7.75 miles; cobble/gravel bottom, woody laydowns, riffle-pool-run-tailout sections
  • Latrines
  • Camping with full RV hookups at Gore Landing (ADA compliant)
  • Food/shops in nearby Gore

Drive Time

  • From OKC: 2.25 hours
  • From Tulsa: 1.25 hours
  • From Muskogee: 40 minutes

Bait & Tackle Nearby

Fishing Tips

With classic riffle-pool-run-tailout sections, the Illinois River has plenty of great trout habitat. Bait fished off the bottom is productive in slow moving pools, eddies and deep runs. Artificial lures and flies are more effective in the fast moving water at the beginning of runs, riffle dump-ins and shallow riffle tailouts. Inline spinners, supers dupers and spoons are great options on light-action tackle. Dry flies, nymphs and stripping flies can be equally as effective. Ideal trout fishing occurs when water release is between 200 and 600 cfs. Click here for current water levels.

Top option: Artificial

Secondary option: Bait

  • Editor's Choice: PowerBait in nymph, balled in a teardrop shape around a size 10 snelled hook and attached to a snap swivel with a 1/4th or 3/8th ounce casting sinker placed above the swivel on the main line (6- or 8- pound monofilament). Cast 45-degrees downstream and let the weight sink to the bottom. Once the weight has hit the bottom, reel up the slack until the line is tight with the rod tip. Place the rod in a rod holder or hold in hand and wait for a bite. In faster moving water, size up your weight to a 1/2 ounce casting sinker to better keep the line tight to the rod tip, which will help indicate more bites. If you're looking to catch and release, set the hook early before the fish has the opportunity to swallow the hook.
  • Other productive baits include salmon eggs, kernels of corn, and scented trout worms

Lower Mountain Fork River

LOWER MOUNTAIN FORK RIVER

Carved into the steep hillsides of the Ouachita Mountains, the Lower Mountain Fork Trout Area, a tailwater-controlled river located 13 miles north of the Southeastern town of Broken Bow, offers stunning views and excellent trout fishing. Forming the heart of Beavers Bend State Park, this area has something for everyone. Extensive flooding in the mid-2010s has drastically altered the river channel, affording new fishing opportunities for anglers who have frequented the river for years. First timers will find a river that takes breathtaking twists, turns and falls over exposed limestone. 

Trout Stocking Season

  • Year-round

Profile

  • 12 miles; hard shoal bottom, mixed cobble/gravel, woody laydowns, light vegetation
  • Camping with full RV hookups
  • Lodging
  • Food/shops in nearby Hochatown and Broken Bow
  • Hiking
  • Picnic areas
  • Restrooms

Drive Time

  • From OKC: 4 hours
  • From Tulsa: 3.5 hours
  • From Durant: 2.5 hours

Bait & Tackle Nearby

Fishing Tips

The Lower Mountain Fork River features five miles of public access from the base of the Broken Bow Dam downstream to the end of the Beavers Bend State Park. The river features a steep fast-moving section from the base of the dam to the first 259A HWY bridge. Extreme caution should be taken by anglers in this section. The river is much better suited to trout anglers of all skill levels from the first 259A HWY bridge downstream to end of the Beavers Bend State Park. Bait fished off the bottom is productive in slow moving pools, eddies and deep runs. Artificial lures and flies are more effective in the fast moving water at the beginning of runs, fast-moving pools, riffle dump-ins and shallow tailouts. Inline spinners, supers dupers and spoons are great options on light-action tackle. Larger jerkbaits can be used to target big browns and rainbows from the second 259A HWY bridge downstream to the end of the Beavers Bend State Park. Dry flies, nymphs and stripping flies can be equally as effective. Check-in with the local fly shop for current fishing conditions and fly suggestions. The trout area continues for seven miles through mostly private land from the end of the Beavers Bend State Park downstream to the US HWY 70 bridge.

Top option: Artificial

Secondary option: Bait

  • Editor's Choice: PowerBait in nymph, balled in a teardrop shape around a size 10 snelled hook and attached to a snap swivel with a 1/4th or 3/8th ounce casting sinker placed above the swivel on the main line (6- or 8- pound monofilament). Cast 45-degrees downstream and let the weight sink to the bottom. Once the weight has hit the bottom, reel up the slack until the line is tight with the rod tip. Place the rod in a rod holder or hold in hand and wait for a bite. In faster moving water, size up your weight to a 1/2 ounce casting sinker to better keep the line tight to the rod tip, which will help indicate more bites. If you're looking to catch and release, set the hook early before the fish has the opportunity to swallow the hook.
  • Other productive baits include salmon eggs, kernels of corn, and scented trout worms

Trout Fishing Videos

Click the image square above for helpful trout fishing how-to videos.


White Bass, Hybrid Striped Bass and Striped Bass

Try lipless crankbaits in gold, silver, shad or red patterns, sassy shad and swimbaits, shallow- or medium-diving lipped crankbaits and jerkbaits in shad-colored variations, and small white or chartreuse maribou jigs or curly tail grubs on the wind blown side of points, rip rap and coves in the low-light hours of the mornings and evenings. If fish begin to boil on top of the water, switch to topwater lures such as poppers, buzzbaits, walking dogs and propellor baits.

During the middle of the day, use a live minnow or shad on a small- to medium-sized bait holding hook attached to a 12-inch leader line below a barrel swivel and ¼ to ½-ounce egg weight on main lake flats, channel drop-offs and ledges. Let the line off of the reel directly below the boat to your desired depth or use a slip float if fishing from the bank. Vertically jigging spoons and slabs can also be effective.

Trolling umbrella rigs over channel ledges and main lake points and humps is also an effective method during the middle of the day.

Temperate Bass Fishing Videos

Click the image square above to watch helpful how-to striped, hybrid striped and white bass fishing videos.


Walleye and Saugeye

The most important factor when fishing for walleye and saugeye is maintaining contact with the bottom. Unlike sunfish species, that spend periods of time at all levels of the water column, walleye and saugeye prefer the bottom third and feed almost exclusively off the bottom.

During the overnight hours and the week of full moons, walleye and saugeye will congregate in shallow water along rocky, wind-blown shoreline to feed. These are the times when walleye and saugeye are most accessible to bank anglers. Bank anglers also find success below dams when lakes that have walleye and saugeye are discharging water.

Walleye and saugeye like hard structure transition areas (areas of rapid depth change) near windswept shorelines and points for most of the year. Grassy areas around rocky structure are great spots to target during daylight hours.

Walleye and saugeye like long, slender lipped crankbaits; white, chartreuse, pink/purple or naturally colored grubs; white, chartreuse, pink/purple or naturally colored swimbaits; and an array of live bait (nightcrawlers, leeches and minnows being the most popular).

If using diving crankbaits, removing all the treble hooks from the lure and just replacing the rear hook with a medium-sized straight shank single point hook allows for bottom bouncing with minimal risk of snagging. 

The slower the retrieve speed the better for any walleye or saugeye presentation.

Crankbaits in fire tiger perch patterns or that have bright flashy backs are favorites among the toothy fish anglers.

If using natural bait, try a pre-packaged bottom bouncing setup like a Lindy Rig, Pro-Walleye Float'N Harness or make your own using a non-snag weight, barrel swivel, 12- to 24-inch leader and small- to medium-sized bait holding hook paired with natural bait. 

FAVORITE LURES/BAITS

Walleye & Saugeye Fishing Videos

Click the image square above to watch helpful how-to walleye and saugeye fishing videos. Click here for how-to videos from the pros at Northland Fishing Tackle.


Bluegill Sunfish, Redear Sunfish and Green Sunfish

Sunfish can consistently be found year-round in shallow sheltered water, such as creek arms, coves and marinas. Bigger fish might seek out deeper cover directly adjacent to the shallow sheltered water. Preferred habitat includes brushy laydowns, grass flats, woody cover and surface cover like lily pads.

Try small naturally colored soft plastic baits paired with a 1/16th ounce jighead. Beadhead nymphs, especially ones with rubber legs, are effective for fly anglers. Sunfish are always looking for a good mayfly or caddis hatch, so be sure to have nymph, emerging and dry flies in these patterns when you see bugs popping on the water or sunfish surfacing.

While natural live bait is effective all year long, it's especially efficient at picking up fish when fall water temperatures dip below 55˚F. A still presentation under a float or off the bottom near grass flats and stumps is ideal for picking up lethargic fish. A worm, grasshopper, leech, ant or cricket are all great options. Sunfish, like most warm water species, are just unwilling to give chase to fast-moving presentations in cold water.

Sunfish Fishing Videos

Click the image square above to watch helpful how-to sunfish fishing videos.