Many anglers wonder, “Where do striped bass go in the winter?”
Striped bass will always remain a mystery for anglers. But at the same time, catching this elusive fish guarantees you a fine angling experience.
So, if you are clueless about where to find striped bass in the winter, or you are looking to up your fishing game…
You have come to the right place.
We will reveal insider tips and pro techniques to help you catch that striped bass more efficiently. And yes, even in the winter!
When Does Migration Start for Striped Bass
In Autumn, striped bass makes their way to the south. You should see them in ocean waters in the winter.
But this is not the case for schoolies. These are the smaller counterparts of the striped bass.
These fish go to bigger estuaries such as the Chesapeake Bay, Delaware and Hudson Rivers.
However, there are those that still frequent some areas where they often do not reproduce. These include the Connecticut River and the Housatonic River. Although they may be in these places, there is still more to find elsewhere.
For instance, Connecticut’s Thames River is usually teeming with striped bass in the winter. Many experienced anglers are well aware of this but not quite a common knowledge among scientists.
What Happens to Striped Bass in the Winter
In the winter, the fishing condition can be quite brutal. Anglers also require a certain level of skill to make it happen.
This is why practitioners must be highly dedicated to ensuring the best results.
Surprisingly, winter is a great time to catch some striped bass. They are attracted to colder waters, and you will be amazed to know how easy it is to learn how to catch them.
As Autumn begins, striped bass makes their way into the smaller streams. They feed ravenously on shad, which they find in these bodies of water. While they do surface feeding, they are also quite easy to attract.
In fact, stripers do not hesitate to swallow most jig lures, plug, and spoon. If you have any of these – and you happen to be at the right place – it won’t be long until your first catch is complete!
During brighter days, they remain at about 12 to 27 meters in the saltwater. Then, they can even go up to 6 meters in the water.
If you happen to be in a lake with an open area, striped bass should be somewhere 30 feet underwater. It is particularly true in an area where a lot of feeding among stripers is going on.
Read more: Best Time To Go Bass Fishing In A Pond
Tips on How to Catch Striped Bass
Now that you know their hideout, it is time to take action.
Let us go over these pro angling tips on how to catch striped bass in the winter.
1. Look for baitfish.
If you see a ton of baitfish, you can’t be too far away from your target.
Winter fishing is surprisingly easy since stripers stay close to baitfish. They are keen on feeding, so they would rather check out some baitfish than seek out cover.
2. When there are seagulls, there are baitfish.
Not sure where to find baitfish? Then you have to be on the lookout for seagulls.
Seagulls help you detect where the baitfish are.
These birds are just about anywhere, as long as baitfish are nearby. So if you find seagulls close by, there should be some stripers just around the same area.
Sure, you can use sonar to detect what’s going on underwater. It is simple and seamless, without a doubt. But you can simply check for seagulls, and it is just as good a device for spotting striped bass in the winter!
3. Get to the right spot.
The best place to go is the hiding spot for striped bass.
Every professional angler will tell you that the right spot is the main creek that joins the river channel.
Again, you should pay close attention to baitfish such as herring and shad. These go to the rivers and creeks, which means your targets should be somewhere pretty close.
4. Have your tools ready.
Now, you should be ready to start trolling for those winter stripers!
If you are doing it along the shoreline from your fishing boat, we recommend that you use a conventional reel with a high ratio.
The best type of rod to use must have silicon carbide, alloy, carbon, or aluminum oxide guides. These are the best materials to keep the rod in excellent shape for a long time. Otherwise, you run the risk of a worn-out rod too soon.
As for your fishing lines, your best bet would be lead core, wire, or monofilament. Any expert angler who is trying to catch winter stripers cannot recommend these well enough for you.
5. Prepare your lures.
There are a few lures that work very well for catching striped bass in the winter.
The finest ones are jigs, worm, umbrella rigs, and plugs. You can also add some live baits including squids, eels, pogies, or herring.
Be sure to have any of these ready to increase your chances of catching that striper.
Take a look at this informative video to help you with your striped bass fishing game:
Additional Information You Need to Know
In the winter, you should be lucky to catch stripers that are about 8 to as much as 15 pounds. These are definitely bigger than during the fall season, where the average is only 5 pounds.
But do keep in mind that you need to confirm with your local government when it comes to fishing limits. There are currently commercial quotas set in place as a protection for striped bass. So, it is best to be informed to avoid inconveniences.