Striped Bass Winter Fishing
You’ll find excellent fishing opportunities in colder waters. Winter striped bass fishing is a simple affair and easy to learn.
At the turn of the fall season, striped bass follow shad into smaller streams and feed vigorously. While surface feeding, stripers are indiscriminate eaters and swallow most plug, spoon, or jig lures.
Most saltwater stripers stay suspended in the 40 to 90 ft/12 to 27 meters thermal on bright days and climb to the 20 foot/6 meters level.
In relatively open areas of the lake where the feeding persists, anglers (wanting a challenge) cast large streamers with a fly rod. After the energetic surface feeding subsides, the odd striper may strike a large white or yellow jig positioned 30ft below the surface.
Striped Bass Fishing Tips
Winter fishing is easier as stripers are more concerned with staying close to their baitfish rather than seeking out cover.
- The biggest tip we can give you is ‘all about seagulls’. During winter, seagulls are an excellent means to detecting the location of baitfish. Where there are baitfish, stripers are likely close by.
Sonar works well at detecting what’s under the water and makes it a simple task, but it’s not required. Seagulls can lead you to the right location.
Where you’ll find them
Seek out where main creeks merge to the river channel and the secondary creeks to main creeks.
Pay attention to the movement of baitfish like shad and herring. They can be found up creeks and rivers and striper bass won’t be far behind.
Trolling for Stripers
When trolling for Striped Bass along the shoreline from a boat, make sure you’re using a high ratio conventional reel.
The rod should have either carbon, alloy, aluminum oxide or silicon carbide guides. These guides will help prevent undue wear on the rod.
Striper lures that will prove successful include plugs, jigs, tube and worm and umbrella rigs. Add live bait such as herring, pogies, eels and squid.
- early fall freshwater stripers average 5lbs
- December stripers are larger at 8 or 9 lbs
- by late January some stripers reach over 15lbs
Striped Bass numbers have increased since the 1980’s when their numbers approached the threatened species label. Since then anglers and government programs have set about rebuilding the population through stocking programs. This has allowed the population to recover to pre 1980 numbers.
There are now size limits, commercial quotas in place to protect the striped bass. Before heading out be sure to check with your local government or bait shop for information on quotas and fishing limits.