Lake fishing in winter can be great fun and you can catch a surprising number of fish if you use the right techniques.
In the Summer months it is usually quite easy to get the fish biting as the warmth will encourage most fish to become lively. This will also mean that they will expend more energy and become hungry and eat more food.
In the Winter months the fish will not be as energetic and as they expend less energy their appetites will also be reduced.
This will mean that you will need to use different methods to catch them.
It is worth remembering that fish have a sense of smell that is something like, three hundred times more powerful than a human’s. Fish are attracted to food by what they can smell, once they are near to the food source they will then see it and be able to eat it.
So when you are fishing in winter, the bait you use is very important.
Bearing this in mind, if you used for example, luncheon meat in summer to catch carp, you will find that if you can warm the luncheon meat that you are going to use as ground bait up, it will give off a greater smell and you will still be able to attract carp to your swim.
If you have a flask of hot water, a good way to do this, is to put some small amounts of luncheon meat (that you are going to use as ground bait) in a small bag, such as a sandwich bag and put them in a cup of hot water for about five minutes.
When they the meat is warm, you will be able to smell it and then you know the fish will be able to smell it really well.
Then you can cast your bait out, and throw the warm luncheon meat out as ground bait.
Follow this process a few times and you will often find that you can attract some good fish to your swim quite quickly.
Another thing to remember is that as a fish in winter does not expend so much energy it will have a smaller appetite, so use smaller hooks and put smaller pieces of bait on for the best results.
Whilst on the subject of bait, it is worth mentioning that although maggots are super bait for summer in winter they are not of any use because they will die quickly because of the cold and attract virtually no fish although casters can still be good.
Bread can still be good bait. Once again think about how the smell attracts fish. A friend of mine makes his own bread and mixes curry flavoring to it in winter, and he usually catches plenty of good fish using this method.
Where in the lake should you fish in winter?
In answer to this, you should remember that fish do not like a cold wind on the surface of the lake.
You should therefore look for part of the lake that is sheltered from the wind. If the sun is out, look for a part of the lake that has sun on it, as this will warm that part of the lake and the fish will be much more active in it. In fact it is amazing how much difference it makes to a days fishing in winter once the sun comes out.
If you usually start fishing early in the morning, it is worth bearing in mind that some of the best fishing in winter will be later in the afternoon once the sun is out and the fish have livened up.
Remember to keep yourself warm in winter. You will be more alert and feel a lot better if you keep warm and feel like staying at the lake for longer.
Plan ahead and take warm clothing, shelter from the wind with some fishing umbrellas and take some warm food and a warm drink with you.
You will often find that not as many anglers will be at even the most popular lakes in Winter, this gives you the chance to find the best swim and often have a great days fishing.
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Photo. Vesa Leppänen