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Winter fishing can be rewarding

As hunting season winds down more and more sportsmen and women are brushing the dust off their boats and tackle.

Some fishermen that like cold water fishing never let their boats gather dust. I would much rather fish the cold months of January and February than the heat of July and August. The fish are easier to locate and catch during the winter than they are during mid-summer and you won’t have a heat stroke. The bass and white perch are in the early pre-spawn mode. Both species are loaded with eggs — eggs that will continue to develop until surface water temps top out above 57 degrees. The white perch and bass spawn will cast off in mid February, give or take a week.

It depends on water temperature. I decided to test drive a boat we re-powered Saturday on the Old River near Vidalia. The surface water temperature was 44 degrees. During the past week a rise came down the Mississippi River pushing cold river water into the Old Rivers.

The shad dropped down deep, and I never saw a fish move on the surface. The river water is several degrees colder than the water in the landlocked lakes like Concordia, St. John and Bruin. The rise coming down river will stop today and we’ll see a slight fall. The stage at Natchez today is 26.5 with a three-foot fall in the forecast. That is very unseasonal.

I cannot recall a level this low in January. A handful of fishermen took advantage of the lower stage and filled their freezer with big slab white perch. The bite slowed down during this rise but should pick back up by mid week. Just turn your sonar on wand watch for schools of shad suspended over water depths down to about 40 feet.

The game fish should be approximately 18-22 feet deep. Drift fishing with multiple poles rigged with various colored hair and plastic jigs will catch the big slab. You have to use pole holders to make this pattern work. The first couple of fish you catch will tell you exactly how deep you need to fish and the most productive color jigs.

For bass fishing it’s better to stick with the landlocked lakes. This last cold front really knocked the water temperatures down but you can still catch enough bass to keep it interesting. Like I mentioned many times, on some winter days the strikes will be few and far between but the fish caught during the winter are usually heavy weights.

Right now I’m on Lake Concordia fishing the Miss-Lou Bass Club. You can catch the results in this column next week or just after the 3:30 p.m. weigh-in at www.fishingwitheddie.com.

Next weekend, on Saturday Jan. 22 we will be back on Lake Concordia fishing with Concordia Bass Club out of Lakeview landing. Guest and new members are welcome. Contact me for more information.

Eddie Roberts writes a weekly fishing column for The Democrat. He can be reached at fishingwitheddie@bellsouth.net.