Best Tips for Winter Fishing

Skiing, snow shoeing, sledding, and fishing, these are just some of the many popular winter activities for those who relish this time of year. You may be asking yourself why we’ve included fishing in that list. No, it’s not an accident. Winter is a fantastic time to fish. Colder temperatures might keep some anglers holed up in their beds. But the cooler weather is when freshwater species group together, resulting in more fish for those brave enough to withstand those subzero temperatures. However, to fish successfully in the winter involves more than just bundling up and heading outside. As fare-weathered anglers, we at Workman’s Friend learned this winter sport involves preparation, research, and the proper gear.

Related: Tips for Protecting Skin During Your Winter Vacation

Location, location, location  

No matter what species of fish you’re hoping to catch, you must know where to go. Turn to the internet for the most up-to-date information on potential fishing goldmines in your area. Websites operated for example by the Department of Natural Resources or Wildlife and Fisheries, or the national Corps of Engineers can provide you with tremendous details. They can tell you what types of fish are available in your area, what times of year are optimal for certain species, lake water levels and current flow predictions.

For instance, very high lake levels or ones experiencing overflow conditions will make it very hard to catch anything. Not to mention bodies of water with high currents, can pose a danger of drowning and often have debris in them too.

Don’t forget, before you set out to locate your favorite fishing spot, apply a thin layer of Workman’s Friend Barrier Skin Cream. It will keep your hands soft and moisturized as you cast your line.

Timing is everything  

Look at the forecast before you layer up and step outside. Most anglers plan their fishing around their work schedules, which is natural. In the winter the best fish-catching times are from 10am to 4pm. That’s not to say you won’t catch a fish before or after that allotted period, but it is far less likely.

The other major consideration is the weather. In general, fish are far more active before a weather front moves in, and conversely less so after it leaves. Therefore, if possible plan your fishing trips, prior to the passing of a cold front; though many anglers do not have the luxury of taking time off of work to take advantage of the most ideal fishing conditions.

Here’s a tip after a front moves through. Barometric pressure is typical high after a cold front moves through, bringing winds and a generally cloud-free sky. The winter’s sun is positioned further south in the sky and shines on the northern banks of a body of water plus. Additionally, these banks offer natural protection to the water from the cold northerly winds. The result is warm and calm water. Therefore focus your angling efforts on the northern bank lines to get a catch.

Remember, before you pick up your rods and tackle box, apply a layer of Workman’s Friend Skin Barrier Cream. It will keep your hands moisturized while you’re out in the cold, dry, winter weather. And that fishy smell on your hands will disappear with a quick wash or wipe.

Bait and switch

If you’re confused about how to choose your bait in the winter it can get pretty complicated. Experts recommend that live bait is the best choice because it will react to the water naturally. With the colder temperatures fish move more slowly because their metabolisms have slowed. Smaller prey is easier to catch and digest. Casting a line with something small and slow best mimics the natural feeding habits at this time of the year.

Don’t forget to apply a layer of Workman’s Friend Barrier Skin Cream before you bait our fishing line. You’ll be able to remove that distinctive fishing odor from your hands with a quick wipe of a cloth or rinse.

Cast your line

Perhaps the best piece of winter fishing advice is to stay safe. It’s important that you remain aware of the weather and the outdoor conditions. Always dress in layered clothing, plan your excursion ahead of time and let someone know your itinerary prior to setting out. That means you let this person know where you’re going to fish, what route you’ll be taking and when you expect to be back. These tips might sound a bit extreme but being prepared is the best way to ensure you’ll have a good trip.


Workman’s Friend Barrier Skin Cream is light-weight and odorless product. A simple application of our non-greasy, formula means your hands will be moisturized and protected from common irritants.
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