During the winter months some think that the only fishing opportunities that exist are those under ice. However, there are some great spots in the southern states that will satisfy an angler’s appetite for big fish. Check out this article below and learn about three spots in the south that provide excellent fishing this time of year.
1.) Best Smallmouth Fishing: Dale Hollow Reservoir, in Tennessee and Kentucky
The current world-record smallmouth bass (11 pounds, 15 ounces) was caught from Dale Hollow, which stretches across Tennessee and Kentucky. If you like hooking into bronzebacks, this is the place to go. December is my favorite month to target them here because of the potential for catching trophy-size fish. The smallmouth bite can be very predictable this time of year if you target gravel bars, main lake points and saddles, and steep banks near the mouths of the creeks. Key baits: Football jigs, A rigs, swimbaits, blade baits, spoons, Damiki rig, and the popular float-n-fly technique, which is much like bobber fishing.
2.) Best Muskie Fishing: James River, Virginia
Weaving through Virginia and the Appalachian Mountains, the James is home to a large variety of freshwater species, but my main target during the winter is muskie. The James is incredibly scenic, and rural in most parts, so it’s the perfect place for anglers to chuck big baits and disconnect. Musky will congregate in the deeper pools during the winter months, and often this will be your best chance to land a giant. Key baits: Use big baits like Poseidons, Medusas, whaletails, and pounders. If the fish don’t seem to be reacting to those, slow way down and stroke a large jig.
3.) Best Largemouth Fishing: Lake Chickamauga, Tennessee
The Chick has a reputation for producing a plethora of big bass each year, and many of those fish are caught in February. Bass can be caught deep or shallow this time of year. You just have to be patient. The winter bite can be fickle, so go in expecting to cast for quality bites over quantity. Anglers who venture out on Tennessee’s Lake Chickamauga may only be fishing for one bite, but there’s a very good chance that bass could weigh over 10 pounds. Key baits: Big swimbaits, lipless crank baits, jerk baits, and glide baits.
Now that you know about these spots you’ll no longer have to resort to only ice fishing to get your angling fix. Try out some of these spots this winter and enjoy ripping lip on open water.