Urban Anglers USA tips and tricks for catching carp in the winter months.
Find it! This is usually the biggest obstacle to overcome in the winter months depending where you live. If you are not into the ice fishing scene, heavy currents can stop rivers and streams from freezing over. Find areas or chutes that have the most active water. The water current will not only keep the ice off, but will also be washing in food, bringing in oxygen, and creating a deeper hole for fish to hold in.
Shallow water can warm up quicker if you have been having a lot of sun. But, we have found that, by far, the most likely places to find them in the coldest conditions, are in the deepest areas. On waters that consist of only shallower water, start around structure or another form of cover the fish may be holding around. Always follow any signs that the fish may give you in preference to fishing blind.
Fish see far less fishing pressure in the winter simply because fewer fishermen want to deal with the harsh conditions. We are happy to fish through the winter simply for the chance of one monster carp. With a little bit of luck, you might just locate that holding area that nobody else has found.
Keep your eyes on the water. Just one carp has to show itself to put you in the right place to catch a lot of winter carp. Where one carp is found in cold water, the chances are there are lots of them close by. Keep watching, the slower the fishing the more significance you should attach to any carp that shows itself.
A carp’s priority is temperature during the winter. For this reason, they will be trying to seek out areas of the lake where the temperature is higher. Food is still important to them, but since they move less from the cold temps, they require less energy. In fact, if you ever find an area that provides natural food items, warmth from direct sunlight, and some natural structure, then you’ll have one ideal place to locate carp during the winter months.
Locating carp in winter is much more important because they tend to move far less. Once you have found them, you may be able to settle down and work the area, but until then, the mobile approach is the way to go. The fish will not travel as much as in the warmer times and will often inhabit very small areas of the lake/river. You need to be fishing where they are. If you can’t see any signs it will be necessary to move around until something happens, either a bite, splash, or just a sighting or two.
Winter isn’t always a pleasant time to hit the bike trails and look out over the water, but if you are bundled up in appropriate winter gear, it will make the recon mission worth it. You don’t want to call it a day early because you’re cold and end up missing the chance sighting of a golden ghost that could point you towards the honey hole.
If you bait fish for carp, use smaller and less amounts in the winter months. Carp feed less when it’s cold, so if they do hit, you want it to be the bait that has your hook in it. Maggots are often a go to bait in colder water temperatures.
Please practice Catch & Release in urban settings to preserve these precious resources for other urban anglers.