Try casting off the end of deep docks, some may still be found in these same summer hiding spots.

Winter fishing for Roanoke Bass differs quite a bit from other seasons. The water temperature drops down to around 40°F/5°C. The roanoke bass, like every other freshwater bass, slow down in cold water. Their metabolism slows, they eat less and they move to deeper water and enter a state of semi-hybernation.

The Roanoke Bass is found in the Chowan, Roanoke, Tar and Neuse River Drainages in Virginia and North Carolina. They prefer rocky and sandy pools and riffles in the upper portions of these rivers. And while these rivers all connect to the sea, the Roanoke Bass does not like even brackish water, preferring the fresh water upriver.

While they prefer the cover of docks, bridges and other heavily protected areas throughout the year, this is not always the case in the winter. They tend to school together in deeper water and while they still prefer cover, they are less concerned with food and are willing to accept cover in open areas.

Food Preferences

Food preferences don’t change much at all in the winter. They still eat crayfish, fathead minnows, golden shiners, gizzard shad, worms and leeches.

However, the frequency of feeding slows significantly in winter. They more or less just hover above the river floor doing absolutely nothing. And with an already slowed metabolism, they just don’t need to eat much.

First try casting off the end of deep docks, some may still be found in these same summer hiding spots. They also tend to move down to the deeper parts of the river as they offer deeper water. In these conditions, dropping a line with a bobber is not likely to generate any strikes.


Your best bet is to cast your line, using a texas jig, to within a few feet of where the bass are. This will elicit a strike to defend their territory. However, you need to know where they are situated. The use of fish finders can be very helpful.

However, we are talking about Roanoke Bass here. Those who are likely to fish for Roanoke Bass in winter are either children or the weekend angler that is up for a challenge or even just out for a bit of fresh air and it does not matter if they catch anything.


For those who prefer using lures, use light spincasting tackle as this is a we little fish. Popular lures include tiny jigs, doll flies, streamers, small crank baits that imitate minnows, small spoons and spinners.