If you’re willing to travel a bit to find the fish, you can enjoy red-hot winter angling for plentiful species in these incredible destinations.
1. Kentucky Lake is a 184-mile-long reservoir spanning the states of Tennessee and Kentucky. Multiple species are plentiful throughout its waters, including all three major species of bass, crappie and many other panfish, walleye, white bass, and catfish. During the winter, creek channels near deep water transitions are prime spots for targeting bass, and deep stands of timber harbor hordes of slab crappie. Rocky banks also retain heat and transfer it to the water, so look to those areas that face the sun.
Tip: Suspending jerk baits, slow-rolling deep crankbaits, and crawfish-imitating jigs can all be productive in the colder months.
2. Table Rock Lake, Missouri: construction on this stunning 67-square-mile lake was completed on the White River near the Missouri/Arkansas border in 1958, and it has since become a premier destination for bass anglers. You can hit grand slam of smallmouth, spotted, and largemouth bass on any given day, and the fish remain active during all but the most frigid weeks of winter.
Tip: drag heavy football jigs on points or throw 3” paddle tail swimbaits at submerged timber.
3. Lake Texoma, on the Texas/Oklahoma border, is renowned for trophy striper fishing, and though they slow down a bit in winter, they still have to eat. If you’ve never battled a 10-lb. striper, you need to add it to your bucket list—and then check it off with a trip to this legendary reservoir. And don’t worry about crossing state lines with the wrong fishing license—you can purchase a Lake Texoma license from local retailers that covers the entire reservoir on both the Texas and Oklahoma sides.
Tip: dead-sticking soft-plastic jerkbaits on a ½-ounce jig head will produce big striper in winter months, but pay attention—the bite can be very soft.
With destinations like these, it’s not easy to decide where to go. But if you’re looking to break up the dreaded monotony of a frigid season, they’re all great choices. And your fishing buddies—huddled in their houses or drilling holes in the ice—will be jealous of your free-water angling in the dead of winter. So hitch up your Crestliner and get on the road—only good fishing awaits.