Being from the great state of Texas, bass are everywhere, making them my main species to fish for. Texas is pretty warm year-round, with the lowest temperature all winter usually reaching about 30º Fahrenheit. While lots of waters are frozen in other states, Texas waters stay flowing throughout the entire winter, making fishing a year-round sport! During the colder season, lots of people decide to fish for trout or fish the saltwater because they don’t think that bass bite when it is cold, but I assure you that this is most definitely not the case. Though the bass bite slows down a bit in the winter, there are still bass to be caught!
As many know, a fish is cold-blooded. Being a cold-blooded organism means that the temperature of the water regulates body temperature. Since bass are warm water fish, the colder weather brings on a chemical change that slows their metabolism quite a bit. This metabolism change affects their feeding behaviors, thus making the bite a bit different than in the warmer months.
With their metabolism being slow, the bass eat a meal, and it takes longer than usual for their bodies to process that food, making them feel fuller longer; and being fuller longer eliminates the need to eat as many meals. This certainly does not mean that bass do not feed in the winter! Some fish may feed just as much as they do in the summer, but as a whole, bass feed less in the colder months than in the warmer ones.
During the cold weather, bass tend to seek warmer water, but this does not mean that they will confine themselves to this one area during the entire winter. A lot of times bass in ponds or lakes will travel to deeper water because deeper water is less affected by the air temperature. Sometimes bass even gather together in pockets. The bass that are in these pockets are not all experiencing the same feeding behavior, though. Some may be active while others are inactive. As goes for rivers, bass tend to seek cover in areas with more still water. The bass want to avoid fast-moving water that may have a colder temperature.
So, now that we know the tendencies of winter bass fishing, it is time to catch them! The key to catching a bass in the winter is to offer them an easy meal. A tip for catching bass in the winter would be to down-size your fly. This is mainly because bass are not looking to exert the energy to chase and devour a large meal. Smaller meals are easier to consume, so a bass may go after a smaller fly in this case. Another tip would be to use a slower retrieve. Along with wanting something small, bass may desire something slow-moving so that they don’t have to put in much energy.