In general, the degree of activity decreases in cold weather, but rarely does this decrease lead to total inactivity, as various investigations have revealed. Winter is an especially difficult time to study fish, especially in those rivers and lakes whose surface is covered with ice, but by means of radio transmitters it has been possible to monitor the movements of fish in these environments and determine their activity patterns. These studies have revealed that some species can remain quite active even under an ice cover. Everyone knows that in the countries near the Arctic a type of fishing is practiced that consists of opening holes in the ice to launch the line with a more than remarkable success, known as «ice fishing »in Anglo-Saxon countries tackle box.
Types of fish species adapted to cold waters
Each species of fish has a different degree of adaptation to low temperatures. Trout, like all salmonids, is a species adapted to cold waters, but it does not have an easy life in winter in those places where the average temperatures fall below the freezing point. The amount of habitat available is reduced by decreasing the flow of the rivers, as rainwater will be immobilized in the form of snow or ice for a few months until the arrival of spring. Among the predatory species that inhabit the peninsular waters, black bass is probably the most affected by the descent of the thermometer.
The pike, walleye and even catfish are species from regions further to the north than the Iberian Peninsula resulting in a greater degree of adaptation to the cold waters, and its activity was not influenced in winter. But the differences are not only between species, also the same species can show differences in different geographical areas.
Although each species of fish can survive only in a certain range of temperatures, this range varies if the fish have been acclimatized to particular environments. A black bass from a reservoir in southern Spain will have a different temperature tolerance range than another fish that inhabits a deep-sea mountain reservoir in the northern peninsular. So, to know if the water is too cold to fish it is necessary to know the specific temperature cycle of each place. Waters that fall below 8 degrees, can mean total inactivity for black bass living in environments that rarely occur, while they will be somewhat active in rivers or reservoirs that remain several months in these conditions every year. Of temperature.
At a lower temperature, less food
What is important for the fisherman is that cold-water fish in winter do not stop feeding, although their metabolism works more slowly, which takes longer to digest the prey. In winter, predators look for small prey, and do not need much of them. This means that they are satiated soon and remain in this state of lethargy for long periods, which undoubtedly has important repercussions on fishing. Thus, winter fishing has to be slow and methodical, as fish move slowly and suspiciously, but this should not be a fixed rule. In fact, the winter period is an ideal time to use certain lures such as crankbaits in the same way it would be done in summer. When the waters cool predatory fish consume a diet with more fish than in other times, which makes them more accustomed to catch them. The reason is that many of the usual prey found in summer, such as amphibians, crustaceans or insects are scarce or totally absent when the weather is cold.
Locations of fish location in winter
Prey fish are concentrated in large schools in winter, which attracts the attention of predators. In addition, the crankbaits are excellent fishing lures to locate the fish, since a lot of surface can be covered in a short time. Do not forget that fish in winter are located in different places where they usually do with the warmest waters, which makes their location more difficult, since they tend to concentrate in very specific areas.
In small reservoirs, the location is simpler because they will be near the deepest areas. On the contrary, in large reservoirs, the huge amount of water will make it an arduous task to know where to find them. In winter, the black bass tends to cluster over deep areas, where it remains suspended at mid-water between 3 and 15 meters deep. It makes very few displacements and only horizontally, without depth changes. The pike, on the other hand, could be found both in surface waters near the shore and in deeper areas. Its location depends, to a large extent, on the behavior of the fish in cold water from which it feeds. The pike perch It always stays close to the bottom, but it can get close to the banks if prey fish concentrate on them. We already have a small guideline of how fish behave in cold water and what strategies we must follow when it comes to encouraging us to go fishing in winter cold days.