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Winter Time Bassin’, Could it be for you?

December 17, 2013

By Chris Erwin

For many of us, winter means a long period where we stare out the window wishing for spring to get here. I can tell you the older I get, the more I find myself doing just that. However, if you have the will, you can have a good day on the water even if the weather isn’t playing ball.

Most anglers in Kentucky are aware that fish like crappie, walleye and sauger are willing to hit your line in select areas of the state while the water temperature is less than 50 degrees while the bass angler has diminished opportunities.

The good news for any anglers who are willing to brave the cold, there are places and tactics, which will still put some fish in the boat. We are lucky in this state to have the impoundments that support cold-water success.

Lakes like Dale Hollow, Cumberland Lake, Cedar Creek, Laurel River Lake, Kentucky and Barkley lakes all produce until they freeze over, if they freeze over at all.

Bill Malloy holding a 20 inch smallmouth caught on Dale Hollow Lake Dec. 7. (Photo submitted)

Bill Malloy holding a 20 inch smallmouth caught on Dale Hollow Lake Dec. 7. (Photo submitted)

Just a few weeks ago, Dale Hollow was the host of the Billy Westmoreland Invitational Tournament. This is an annual tournament that draws anglers from all over the country. About 120 anglers gathered near the lower end of the lake, Horse Creek, to compete for the honor of being the crowned winner of this cold-water event.

This lake has some special rules intended to improve the smallmouth fishing. You are only allowed one fish below 16″ and one over 21″ a day. One of our local residents Bill Malloy caught his 20-inch smallmouth fishing a ¾ oz. War Eagle football jig, phantom green craw color with a green pumpkin candy colored Baby Paca Craw trailer. The fish was under the 21-inch mark, so he never got to weight it in. However, anyone would love to catch a fish like this in December.

We listed the lakes in Kentucky, which have a reputation for being good winter time locations for bass fishing. While Smallmouth are the primary target this time of year, Largemouth can also be taken using the right presentation. Lakes not listed can also produce. However, your chances for success may be somewhat diminished.

Winter months and cold water techniques require some study to understand for the best results. The Float & Fly, shakey-head jig, vertical blade baits, spoons and the “A” rig, should all be studied if you want to have a better than average chance to produce, in what many anglers call the slow and light period, referring to using a slow presentation using light line.

I try to give Kentucky Angling readers all the information I can without going into the use of high-dollar electronics, mostly because I like to keep things simple. However, this is one time where good electronics can pay big dividends. In the winter fish tend to stack up, usually on some underwater feature or structure. Being able to see these locations and also see if fish are there can save you a lot of time looking for fish.

In the months ahead, I will try to cover some of the above-mentioned winter fishing techniques. Write me and tell me what you would like to see covered and I will do my best to cover it.

On a different note, did you get your turkey, deer, or elk? If so, send me your pictures; you might just be featured here in this column.

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