Arkansas kayak angler Jason Cossey shares his tips for winter trout fishing in this guest article for Kayak Fishing Focus.
People ask me what I do when I take a break from kayak fishing in the winter time. Sometimes it is deer hunting, but other times I like to fish for trout simply because it’s a sit on the bank and hang out with friends and family kind of fishing and I do not have to worry about a boat or a lot of tackle. Here’s how I like to approach winter trout fishing and have the greatest success!
To find trout in Arkansas, there are rivers below the dams, such as the White River below Beaver Dam which is my favorite place to go. Another place to do winter trout fishing is in the various small lakes that are stocked in the winter months. Check your local game and fish website for trout stocking information.
Bait and Tackle Setup for Winter Trout Fishing
1. Starting with rod and reel selection, I like a medium-medium light spinning rod with 6# monofilament for a main line. I use my favorite drop shot rod because I like to keep in practice feeling bites, it helps me get ready for the spring drop shot and finesse fishing.
2. Leader line is very important, I use 2# clear monofilament if the water has a little color you can get away with 4# but 2# always gets more bites.
3. Sinker selection, now is the time to use up some of those 1/4oz bullet and egg sinkers that have been rattling around. I also use a #10 or #12 swivel to attach this leader to my main line.
4. Hook selection is simple any #10 or #12 light wire hook. I like a wide gap hook it seems to get me better hookups.
5. Now bait…I am a fan of Berkeley power eggs because they come in their
own jar and unlike dough type baits they don’t get under your fingernails and smell up your fingers all day! Color is just about trying different options until you find a combination that works. I use two eggs of different colors most time like chartreuse and white or orange and bubblegum.
Now you have all of that stuff lined out it’s time to decide on leader length. Trout rarely feed on the bottom this is the reason 90% of all trout bait floats. I always start long on my leader and cut it according to how deep the water is and how deep they are feeding. I find that holes in a river right after a shoal is a good place to start looking for trout to congregate. When you find a school just stay on them for fast and consistent action.
Other Winter Trout Fishing Strategies
So you aren’t really keen on soaking power eggs there are other ways to catch trout, there are an assortment of lures that are old fish catchers. I always carry small rooster tails, they are one of the best ways to catch trout. Small jerkbaits and crank baits are also another way to catch em you just have to figure out how aggressive and what kind of mood they are in! I also keep on hand small marabou jigs, these tiny jigs tipped with a wax worm under a clear float can be deadly on pressured rainbows and can help you fill your limit with nice sized trout.
I hope these tips will help you with those winter time fishing blues, trout can be a fun way to spend the day with your loved ones. Great for kids and an awesome way to pass the time when it’s too cold or you just don’t feel like getting out the boat but need to feel the pull of something on your line.
– Jason Cossey