Knowing where to find some decent winter fishing can often mean knowing how to take advantage of the terrain and structures that provide comfort and forage for the fish you seek.
Last week we looked at fishing around bridges. Here are two more prime spots that will give you some winter action with bass and crappie.
Another winter fish holding spot is a dam stilling basin. Stillways, like we have at Blue Marsh Lake, have moving water that often remain open even during a real cold spell. This often keeps the fish found there relatively active.
A stilling basin is also the farthest place fish can migrate upstream in the fall, and fish that move into them during the fall will hold there all winter. They are also places that are well protected from the wind, which makes them a good place fish in reasonable comfort.Bass and crappies that are found in a stilling basin are still sluggish from the cold water, and this means live bait will be a top choice. Small shiners, fatheads or killies live-lined or fished under bobbers are good choices. It’s best to allow a few seconds for the fish to swallow the bait before setting the hook because of the cold water.Small jigs fished under floats and small spinners are also a good choice when fished in any quiet water areas in a stilling basin..
Headwaters and tributary streams
Another place where water will remain open during the winter is a tributary stream or headwater. Baitfish will hold in these areas and the moving water also carries insects and other forage into them.
These areas will also warm up quickly if a few days of warm weather presents itself. The late winter also sees perch, shiners and suckers move into them to spawn.Here too, jigs fished under small floats (peg floats, torpedo floats, ball floats, etc.) combined with tiny jigs fished with ultra-light tackle will put you into the bass and crappies.Hair jigs work exceptionally well, as will jigs tipped with small plasticbaits. Some of the top plasticbaits are 11/2-2-inch tubes, Fin-s-shads, Bobby Garlands, Panfish Assassins and small grub tails when fished with a slow stop and go retrieve causing the jig to dance under the water. When the water is very cold, hits will be very light and the hook will have to be set at the first bump.