|Posted on February 1, 2016 at 10:05 PM|
Lake Level: Normal Pool
Water Clarity: 3 Feet
Water temperature: 47 Degrees
Winter is right around the corner and for many anglers, December marks the end of fishing season. The shorter days and cooler temperatures send most species into a winter slumber and most anglers indoors. Holiday parties, gift buying and visiting relatives dominate the December schedule and the long, lazy summer days on the lake are but a distant memory by now.
Call me crazy, but I have never been one to quit fishing just because it is cold outside. Several years ago, I purchased an insulated snowmobile suit for the express purpose of being able to wet a line in the coldest months of the year. Surprisingly, some of the biggest bass that I have caught from Riss Lake have been caught in the month of December. If the urge to fish hits you this month, don’t be afraid to grab a jacket, head to the lake, and give it a try!
Trout, Bass and Crappie continue to feed through the winter and can be caught on a number of different baits and techniques. Trout fishing with spoons, live bait (minnows) and tiny crankbaits in shallow coves can be very productive. I have had a lot of success catching largemouth bass on jigs, crankbaits and silver spoons. Crappie can be hit and miss, but a good bet is a crappie jig fished vertically around both of the marinas.
The key to winter fishing is to slow your retrieve down considerably. With the exception of Rainbow Trout, you will have to concentrate on keeping your bait in front of the fish for much longer. When throwing a jig, try casting and simply shaking the jig in place without any forward movement the lure. Shake…and…rest. Give the bass an opportunity to come to your lure. If you’re fishing crankbaits, try using a “suspending” bait and wait for 20-30 seconds between cranks. The pause is critical with water temperatures below 50 degrees and there is no way that you can fish a lure too slowly.
A key aspect of winter fishing is detecting the strike. Bass and Crappie will likely just inhale the bait with little or no movement of the rod tip. Light line and sensitive rods are essential to reading these soft strikes. Don’t expect much of a fight this time of year either as fish will not have the energy that they have in warmer conditions.
The best part of winter fishing? This is your chance to breathe some fresh air, catch a glimpse of a visiting Bald Eagle and simply be in the great outdoors. Always remember to wear your lifejacket when fishing this time of year and take a buddy with you whenever possible.
Sending out a special wish to all of our friends and neighbors in Riss Lake as well as the Riss Lake Fishing Club: Have a joyous holiday season and year of tight lines in 2016! We’ll look forward to seeing you on the lake!
Co-Founder Riss Lake Fishing Club