Advanced Bass Fishing Techniques: Winter Tips

Andy Whitcomb

The winter here has been a wild ride so far. One week is the “high” in the teenage years; Next time it’s in the 50s. This leads to a wide variety of fishing conditions. Some lakes reported 6 inches of ice. Others have areas of open water, so be careful. “Old ice” that has formed again after melting is not as strong as new ice.

Here are some advanced bass fishing tips for the winter:

If the ice is safe (for example, I received a report that some of the ice in Minnesota is over 24 inches thick!), Cut down your equipment. A light line prevents fish from being frightened, and while a thin line is much easier to break, a cold bass lacks the power of a warm one. Just be patient.

When fishing for bass through ice, many anglers like to use smaller baits. Soft plastics less than 3 inches attached to a drop shot rig might do just fine. However, some claim that the winter bass prefers not to bother with the small baits and insist on larger baits like live gold shimmers or small sunfish.

When fishing at least partially open water, keep in mind that the edges of the ice shelf can act like the edges of a giant frozen lily pad when bass fishing. Lures like spoons and cordless crank baits are great at generating reaction hits if you flutter them. Underspin bait like a roadrunner dragged across the ground can evoke lazy, cold bass. And a painfully slow jerkbait presentation is one of my winter favorites.

Depending on the conditions you encounter, there are a variety of advanced bass fishing techniques that can work at this time of year. Experiment until you know what the bass wants. Part of the fun of fishing is discovery. And I just haven’t spotted open water and found the ice is too thin so I could go to a boat show and try to learn some more advanced bass fishing techniques.

Andy Whitcomb

Andy is an outdoor writer ( and stressed out dad has contributed over 380 blogs to since 2011. Born in Florida but raised on the banks of farm ponds in Oklahoma, he now hunts pike, small bass and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fishery research technician at OSU, in the US state of Iowa and in the US state of Michigan.