Before you put away your fishing gear for the winter, consider spending time doing bass fishing in cold water. You can find these fish in waterways that don’t ice over in the cold. Here are four tips for catching cold-water smallmouth bass if you want to try your hand at some cold-weather fishing.

Use New Tactics

When the outdoor temperatures fall, bass are less active and move slowly. To catch bass in cold water, you need to adapt to the behavioral changes of these fish. Bass eat less in the winter, so they may be more selective in what bait they pursue. They also tend to stay in deeper water, typically under some cover. Knowing the underwater terrain helps you find where they are hiding, and a good fish finder is essential. Once you find the fish, entice it with lures that are specifically designed for deeper water.

Move Lures Slowly

You will need to change the way you move lures through the water in the winter. You want to pause just a bit longer between your rod movements to accommodate the slower pace of the cold-water bass. The fish are working to conserve energy and are not incredibly hungry due to lower energy output, so fast prey is usually off the menu.

Check the Water Quality

Water tends to be very clear in the winter, and this is not ideal for bass fishing. The fish prefer to move about in water that is slightly unclear because it is usually warmer. Water with some level of silt also brings the bass to shallower areas, so you may not have to fish as deep.

Keep Warm

When the chill of winter starts to penetrate your clothing, you may find that patience is hard to muster. Before you set out for your cold-water bass fishing trip, make sure to bring along plenty of cold-weather layers. You should feel warm and also be able to move about freely. If you plan on wearing gloves, make sure to use your reel, rod, and line effectively and efficiently. Plan to spend several hours in your favorite fishing spot to locate and capture the bass. Bring food, water, and warm beverages to keep your energy up as you enjoy the experience.