When to fish around a cold front

November 24, 2012

I continue to get questions on when is the best time to fish around an incoming cold front?

Choosing these potentially better fishing days can make the day more worthwhile. Nothing is guaranteed with fishing, but sitting at home won’t put any fish in the boat either.

The upcoming month of December is probably the best time of the year to catch big Stripers. I catch these fish year-round, but my favorite time will be here shortly.

Water temperatures are falling and when they start to fall below 60 degrees, it is time. This season typically starts with a migration of linesides, and typically some of the bigger sows up major rivers and creeks.

These bigger fish will congregate in deeper pockets in these rivers and creeks where baitfish hold up. The action is guaranteed to be awesome, if you can handle the colder weather.

A really strong front later in winter that drives temperatures into the lower 40s may push these fish back to the main lake where the water is warmer. These stripers have been known to travel back and forth several times before running up in late spring to try to spawn.

As many of us anglers know, right before the cold front hits is probably the best time for catching fish. The fish seem to sense the change in pressure is on its way and they will feed.

An overcast sky before the front moves in normally makes for even better fishing conditions. If the fish are biting right before the front, and the front pushes through while you are on the water, the bite will probably continue for a short while after the front moves through.

This has happened to me on several occasions while striper fishing. Active fish will generally continue to bite after the front pushes through for a short while, but when they stop feeding it is time to go home.

Another oddity with Striped bass is that the colder it is the better the bite. Having a warm day show up in the winter may make for a slower day on the water. Most Striped bass anglers will tell you the same story. It is a little different with sand bass and hybrid striped bass. In my experience as the day warms the sand bass and hybrids tend to bite better. Nothing is guaranteed, but these are some trends I have noticed.

Fishing during the transition of air masses during a slow cold front passage can be some of the best fishing of all, especially for stripers. The weather can be cold, rainy and miserable but as I mentioned earlier the fish seem to prefer this environment. Just be careful out there when the weather turns. You’ll soon forget about the cold when the catching action heats up.

Cold Front systems push through our area this time of year frequently. If a front has just passed through, I generally prefer to get on the water (if I have the choice) as soon as the wind shifts back from the south, which may be a couple of days after the front moves through.Fish that have not been feeding during the high pressure may start biting as this time.

If you don’t have a choice and you get out after the front passes through when the high pressure has settled in, you may have to alter your fishing pattern to get the fish to bite. Black bass may move out to deeper holes, and you may have to slow your presentation. Stripers normally gorge and then don’t eat for a while, especially later in winter.

You may have to travel to find active fish.

We can never be sure what mode the fish are in regardless of the weather. Fish may bite on those “Blue Bird” days contrary to all expectations. However, there are times that are generally more productive.

The best thing to do is to wet your line and see if the fish will bite.


Granbury water temperatures are around 64 degrees on the main lake. Sand bass fishing has been excellent on slabs.

I was able to fish Granbury for two days this past week, and the numbers and size of the sand bass are good. The biggest sand bass are over 16 inches in length, but there are smaller fish too. Numerous black bass are also being hauled in as they are feeding alongside the sand bass.

Some days the bite is shallow under the birds, and other days the bite is best in 25 feet of water. Use your electronics. Stripers continue to be slow.

Some good crappie action has been reported as well near structure.

Other reservoirs bragging on sand bass catches include Possum Kingdom and Whitney. Best striper action is at Texoma or Tawakoni under the birds. Best hybrid striper action includes Benbrook, Lewisville and Bridgeport on slabs and swimbaits.

Hybrids are being caught on liver and shad on Benbrook. They are starting to fill Benbrook with water from the available east Texas pipeline and the level is rising slowly. Access at Mustang Park is open.

Squaw Creek large mouths are excellent on soft plastics. Lots of numbers of fish can be caught with an occasional bigger black bass to 7 pounds. Channel catfish are also good on prepared baits.

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