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Old 02-22-15, 11:59 PM   #1
Fish-N-Fool
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Default Looking for advise on fishing very shallow cold water

I want to try to catch my first ever bass in Feb so I have been hitting a small local lake. For this area it is very unique as it has a max depth of about 6 feet with about 90 % of it is less then 3 feet deep. On a sunny day you can see the bottom everywhere in the whole lake. It only has 2 main deep holes and deep is a relative term. So I have fished it a couple times so far in very cold water temp as I was breaking ice with my boat. I can't seam to figure out where the fish are. I would have thought they would be in the deeper holes, but so far I have not seen any there. The lake is long and narrow at about a mile long and maybe 150 yards wide. It has a lot of just flat bottom about 2 1/2 feet deep with little to no vegetation on it. It has a lot of shoreline with pencil reeds in about 3 to 4 feet of water, this area is where I catch 75% of the fish in the summer. It also has a somewhat deep weed bed that ranges from 3 to 5 feet deep, I catch most of the rest of my fish in this area, it has a small patch of lily pads on one end that I get a few fish from, and last the deepest water is just a mud bottom where I get a few fish as well. This lake has some surprisingly big fish in it for being so shallow. It used to have a ton of monster fish and was the best bass lake in the state back some 15 years ago but due to the shallow water it has winter-kills and about 8 years ago it had a bad one and killed off just about every fish in the lake. It has made a good recovery and I'm getting many 3 and 4 pounders again when i fished it last year. So where would the bass be this time of year. We have had a very warm spring and have semi open water for the first time that I've ever seen here. It has turned cold again and put about a 1/4" of ice on parts of the lake again. I was out breaking ice today trying to find fish but had no bites and saw no fish. I did the Jerk baits and my Sink-N-Fools as well as drop shot. So, where you you look for bass in this environment?
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Old 02-23-15, 08:56 AM   #2
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In shallow water that is cold bass will sun themselves on sunny days. Wood or rock will heat up in the sun quicker than mud. Bass will still relate to what structure is available. Several ideas on cold water bass. Go slow or go fast for a reaction strike. Go big or go small. Hard to say but I would probably use a jerkbait like a Rapala fished jerk pause jerk pause. An inline spinnerbait might get strikes as well.
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Old 02-24-15, 11:18 AM   #3
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With the Sun always in the South, the Northern shore always gets the most sunlight. If there is warmer water, that's where it will be. It is very possible you are casting right on top of fish. Cold bass need very little food. If you put a rubber worm out there, pick up a book and read a page or two between small jerks on the line, you're fishing at about the right speed.
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Old 02-24-15, 03:33 PM   #4
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Look for water temp a degree can make a big difference all so try a jig and a trailer on it and fish it slow was in a ternament and the guy won it on a jig and fishing lily pads that were just coming up and the water was just a littel warmer then the main lake.
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Old 02-25-15, 10:38 PM   #5
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Here in northern Indiana, you rarely see open water this time of year, but it has happened. Usually open a short while, then freezes over again. Shallow water is the only option when this happens usually. And one lure I have caught bass on when it is really cold water is a bladed swim jig worked at a snails pace just fast enough to keep it off the bottom. I can't pick and choose where to fish, because much of the lake is frozen over still. But where there are lay downs, old weed beds, rocks, places like that will work well. It sounds like your lake is rather limited on depth. So concentrate where there is any change of depth. It may only be a foot or so, but that may be all that is needed to concentrate some bass in your lake. Add cover to that area and you may have found what your looking fore. I might add that a floating jerk bait like a Rattlin Rouge works well in water that shallow too. Just work it SLOW!
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Old 03-02-15, 07:59 PM   #6
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I'd go with a suspending jerkbait fished very s-l-o-w-l-y. Gentle jerks then a very long pause. I've let them sit for more than a minute between jerks and have had success. I also will agree with a jig or bladed jig. One thing I would recommend regarding a jig-in real cold water I have had better luck with a real pork chunk rather than a plastic trailer. Plastic tends to get real stiff in cold water where the real pork does not. The best advice I can give is to echo AUFred-try different approaches and let the fish tell you what they want
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Old 03-04-15, 10:23 PM   #7
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I like Rebs answer too!
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Old 03-06-15, 06:45 PM   #8
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only thing i can add i fish southern exposers they warm up the quickestr
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Old 03-20-15, 10:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
It also has a somewhat deep weed bed that ranges from 3 to 5 feet deep, I catch most of the rest of my fish in this area, it has a small patch of lily pads on one end that I get a few fish from, and last the deepest water is just a mud bottom where I get a few fish as well.
Man, that is shallow! A lake I've fished for 35 years is also pretty shallow averaging about 12' but with large flats averaging only 3-5'. In spring when bass are pre-spawn and the water temp gets about 45 degrees, what posters mentioned about using a hard jerk bait is also on of may favorites lures to try.
Location, location, location can't be emphasized enough and where they are usually dictates what to use.

You mentioned reeds. If you have ambush points or structure that attracts bass, I would try swimming a 3/8 oz jig with a #1 pork frog (or plastic copy) as you would a spinnerbait. The delta shaped tails flap beautifully along with the pulsing skirt on a steady retrieve and I've gotten slammed by shallow bass with nothing better to do.

In cold water, the reflex strike is the main thing I'm after or at the least, an irritation strike. For that, I use the same size jig, but also like the Craw Pappy or some other action tail chunk for jigging. This tests the mood of bass depending on water temp., sun angle, water clarity and general activity level for early in the year.

I'm not crazy about mud bottoms unless they have well developed weed beds. Minus good weeds, harder bottoms with rocks get my vote, especially long humps and points. Hope this stimulates some thought.
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Old 04-06-15, 09:36 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebbasser View Post
I'd go with a suspending jerkbait fished very s-l-o-w-l-y. Gentle jerks then a very long pause. I've let them sit for more than a minute between jerks and have had success. I also will agree with a jig or bladed jig. One thing I would recommend regarding a jig-in real cold water I have had better luck with a real pork chunk rather than a plastic trailer. Plastic tends to get real stiff in cold water where the real pork does not. The best advice I can give is to echo AUFred-try different approaches and let the fish tell you what they want
Totally correct! These fish are going to be a little on the lethargic side and maybe a little spooky. Nice and slow, try to enter the water nice and quiet. Remember water transfers sound really well and in low columns of water you'll have to be extra quiet in the boat. Keep your casts long so you can sneak up on them. keep you boat movement as little as possible. I'm for the floating baits here. look for what going on around you, funny, but watch nature around you. it will give you answers.
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