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Captain’s Column: Catching Fish when Temperatures Drop
By Kjel


Every angler that I know dreams about the perfect day on the water. Clear blue skies, temperatures in the mid 70’s, slight breeze, and of course the fish biting like they haven’t eaten in months. Days like that are far a few between.  The reality is the weather is not predictable and when a cold front hits it will shut the fishing down. So what do you do when a cold front hits right in the middle of your fishing trip? Trevor Johnson from Kits Tackle had some good insight on what techniques to use when you are “cold fishing”.

“Usually during a cold front fish will become more concentrated and seek deeper water. This is where we have to change up the game to induce a bite from a fish that is thinking security over feeding. For example, picture a field full of kids playing soccer when all of a sudden it starts raining cats and dogs. The kids all run for the nearest shelter and huddle together…this doesn’t mean they won’t still kick the ball it just takes a little enticing…like hot chocolate maybe”, added Johnson , “What I’m trying to say, is with a little patience and determination you can still have a productive day on the water with “not so perfect” conditions”. Johnson has been in the tackle business since his dad started the Montana family based Kits Tackle located in Helena. He offered up these specific tips and techniques for you to try while fishing during a cold weather front.

1.) SLOW, SLOW, SLOW!!! Cold fronts should be considered early spring (cold water) conditions and fished with a very slow, almost methodical presentation. Rather you’re jigging for walleyes or pitching crank baits for bass, try slowing your presentation way, way down.

2.)    Scent is key!!! When fish are sluggish any extra scent additive is a huge plus in my tackle box. How many times have you not been hungry and then walked into a kitchen smelling of something delicious and your stomach starts to growl?

3.)    Live bait, in my opinion, will ALWAYS out fish artificial baits during cold fronts.

4.)    ATTRACTOR vs. IMITATOR jigs: There are two different kinds of jigs in the world of jig fishing: Attractor and Imitator.

Attractor jigs are usually brighter in nature and made to call fish from extended distances like the good old “Fire Tiger” pattern. The Imitator jigs are usually made to closely represent and mimic a type of forage like the perch or crayfish patterns.

We have found that during a cold front we have much more success on the natural imitator jigs than the brighter attractor jigs. On a high pressure (good weather) day’s fish become very active and much more ready strikers towards “louder” presentations.

I have always said that I can catch fish when the fish are biting. With Johnson’s information maybe I can start catching when the  fish aren’t biting!





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