As the year comes screeching to a halt, it means one thing to most of us who enjoy fishing for trout. It means that the weather is colder and the trout are much more sluggish and hard to catch than they are in warmer weather. Does this mean that we can’t catch trout when the weather gets cold? No, not at all, it simply means that we need to keep certain things in mind when fishing in these types of conditions.
Fish, and this obviously includes trout, are cold blooded and as the water temperature drops, the fishes metabolism slows down. When a fishes metabolism slows down, they don’t eat as much. And we as anglers know what it means when fish don’t eat as much, right? Yep, they are much less apt to bite whatever we as anglers are offering.
Keeping in mind that trout aren’t going to be as willing to eat as they will when water temperatures are higher, we as anglers need to vary our approach a little bit. This means using baits/lures that are smaller than we normally might. For example when the weather is cold, using a whole night crawler isn’t going to be as productive as it might be in July. When the weather (and subsequently the water temperature) gets cold, try using small baits like meal worms and maggots. Or maybe just a piece of night crawler?
The same principle holds true for baits. Where a ¼ ounce Rooster Tail might be employed in July, in January downsize to an 1/8 ounce version of the same lure. The speed of your retrieve should be slowed down when the trout are sluggish due to cold water as well. The bottom line is this: When water temperatures plummet, trout want to expend as little energy as they can getting food. Keep this in mind when fishing for trout in cold weather.
When the trout are sluggish, it’s that much more important to make sure you’re fishing at the most opportune times. This is where paying attention to the weather and/or moon come into play. These two natural occurrences have a remarkable affect on the behavior of fish, and understanding how and why is important. Maximize your fishing time by learning how the weather and moon affect the behavior of the fish you’re trying to catch.
Finally, you have to keep your hands warm while you’re fishing, or you’re in trouble. The methods I use to catch trout require me to have the unfettered use of my fingers, which means that I need fingerless gloves to help keep my hands warm. Keeping your hands warm while trout fishing is cold weather is of the utmost importance. Nothing can ruin a perfectly good fishing excursion like having your hands feel like they might fall off at any moment, I promise you that.
Follow these simple tips for trout fishing is cold weather and you’ll be much more comfortable and successful. Remember, just because the weather temperatures change it doesn’t mean that you have to stop fishing for trout.