winter fishing
Craig Raleigh

5 Unexpected Places to Catch a Fish in the Winter

If you're looking for a place to do some winter fishing, you may not have expected these.

It's that time of year again, when hunting seasons are mostly over, and the wait for spring turkey is on. For most hardwater fishermen, they've been burrowing holes in the ice for months now, but winter fishing shouldn't be restricted to just that.

Winter fishing without the ice—and without traveling to a warm climate—involves cold water, cold weather, and (hopefully) open water. Ice fishing tips come and go, but mid-winter fishing trips come at those times of the year when the weather is as unpredictable as a visit from your Mother-in-law.

The dog days are gone now, the strike zone is smaller, and cold fronts are the norm. Even for those who live in the southern states, the action just isn't quite the same and they must resort to alternate forms of angling to get the job done.

Here are several areas and a couple of techniques that you just don't think of when it's time to do some winter fishing.

1. The Local Sanitary Sewer 

You may have heard of this, and you may have seen it done. It doesn't get mentioned in the discussion much, but the water in a sanitary sewer is generally warmer than the surrounding area. Even at that, who knew that you could catch a big bass (although not in this case) from a sewer?

2. Ice Without a Hole

This guy must have spent a lot of time coming home empty handed before that fish struck his single-tail grub. Even though it missed, that fish was active under that ice. What kind of fishing gear do you use for dragging a grub over the ice? The same thing you use any other time of the year, apparently!

3. Power Plant Lakes

Power plant lakes offer quite the unique angling opportunity. The water is generally used to cool the power plant and then is pumped back into the lake.

Power plant lakes keep a relatively consistent temperature throughout the year, even during the coldest months. The water temperature can remain in the 60s and even the 70s, and as a general rule, the fish in these lakes are bigger because they have a much longer growing season.

4. Sweden

Yes, the country of Sweden, where northern pike and even perch come in sizes that will make your knees weak. The good folks over at Westin Fishing and on the venerable Fishing in Sweden Facebook page consistently tell me the best kind of fishing tales from this beautiful Scandinavian country, and the pictures are there for all to see!

5. The Fish Hatchery

winter fishing

Craig Raleigh

Okay, first let me walk that back a bit. You can't stroll into any working fish hatchery and start casting in the holding tanks. But in places like New York's Caledonia Fish Hatchery, you can cast within sight of them.

This venerable fish making factory is listed in their brochure as being "The first fish hatchery in the entire western hemisphere," but it is the source of the hatchery's amazingly oxygenated water that anglers can target year-round: Spring Creek.

You won't need a fishing guide to see some of the best fishing you can have during the winter months, but you may still want some fluorocarbon lines and possibly live bait to get all that you can get from a winter fishing excursion.

Local lakes that can be prime time in the summer can get overlooked in the winter, but finding the best fishing water for serious anglers can make their days of fishing worth every minute spent.

Even if it's over a sewer hole!

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