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Cold water...how deep?


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Ok...being a novice I still have lots to learn and no matter how much I read about smallie fishing and no matter how many things I'm told about strategies for seasonal movements I still don't retain it well enough to help me out once I'm out on the water. Guess those "hazy days" are catching up with me. Also, no amount of books, videos, and seminars is going to do any good unless I get out and fish. Ah, but where to fish...that's the question...


During cold water/winter periods I know smallies migrate to deeper water but how deep??? Most of the spots that I can get fish out of during the rest of the year are only a couple feet deep. All the slow spots I know of are pretty shallow, no more than 2 feet deep at best. So should I be looking for 6 foot deep water??? That brings up another thing. ...Most of the deep water I know about has a channel and obviously...current. Can they be found at the bottoms of channels?? I'm going to go dig up my bulletins with the articles about float 'n fly/cold water techniques but I would still like to know what is working for you maniacal cold water guys....because obviously, something works for you.




---I know this isn't a stupid question, but still, forgive me if I'm being an inquisitive idiot.

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Lately I have focused more on Stability than depth. If I can find a rocky point or bend in a river there will be and eddie or slack water area there no matter how high the water gets. As a result in low water conditions these fish will hang out in shallow areas in 1 or 2 foot of water because no matter how high it gets they'll be fine. In low water they will be spooky scattered and tougher to catch. On the Fox river I would fish the main channel in low water especially the edges and backs of pools where you caught fish in the summer or behind boulders or wood. As the water comes up I would fish the eddies along the shore near your good summer pools. 2' or 3' of water is plenty of depth in an eddie or behind wood or boulders. I would only bring one lure an 1/8 ounce tube. Hop it on the bottom with short pauses. If you feel resistance count to 8 or 10 and set the hook. Glad to hear you're getting out we all have lots to learn about winter fishing. I hope to get up to Kankakee to do some winter fishing this year. We use to meet a few years ago and 5 or 6 guys would get out and fish together. I'll try to post if we do that again.


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Deep is relative to your flow. In my rivers, four feet is awful deep, and five or six feet is "crazy" deep. If these areas have slow or moderate current, that is where I start. Now, I will say I have caught many winter smallies in areas where it was shallower than four feet, but I will say that when I normally catch those shallow fish, deeper water is close by. John, hope this helps a little. YOu know you can call me at any time!!!

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