Winter Bass Fishing Patterns

Caddo Lake sunrise

My next tournament is on Caddo Lake, this coming Sunday. The water temperature is on a steady, slow fall into our winter temps of mid 40’s; however, it’s currently right at 50 degrees. Starting to get a little cold. I have been prefishing a couple times now, and most of it has been eliminating water versus finding bass. Caddo Lake has a slot limit of 14-18 inches meaning that anything inside the slot has to be returned; also you can only keep 4 bass over the slot. In many events, I shoot for a quick limit, even if it means that you’re going to have 5 fish under the slot. In this case, I have not had a problem finding the 12-14 inch fish. The over 18 inch fish are tough to come by. Oh and another tidbit of information, the lake is just over 3 feet low. To many this may not seem like much but this lake averages only 6 feet deep. Caddo is a cypress tree filled swamp for the most part.

I have found three patterns that have been working as the water temps fall. The first is to fish the water that would normally be a winter staging spot for Caddo lake bass. That is to fish the water that at normal pool would be in 5-6 feet of water. Of course with the lake down this puts the bass in 2-3 feet and they are very sluggish. Being so shallow, bass are really feeling the effects of the cold water, but it seems like they refuse to move to the deeper trees (deepest trees you can find right now are around 4 foot, but I have a few that reach 5). Bass are in small clumps of cypress trees that have vegetation mixed in and around them.

My second pattern is single trees, get out away from the main groups and islands and find that tree that is 50 feet from anything else. These bass will eat a jig if you soak it and give them time to get mad. With the water temperatures, I can’t seem to find a feeding pattern. I know folks are catching bass on rattle traps, but it’s a slow go for me with them.

My third pattern is to get way up in the river system that feeds this lake and punch the left over matted grass. Between the states efforts to spray and the winter approaching most of it has died off. This is good really, as the bass in the grass have less of it to use, and seem to be more concentrated.

I have caught 18-20 inch bass running all three of these patterns.

We had a front move through; yesterday, today, tomorrow and tournament day are going to be in the 50’s with a north wind. Today’s wind is strong, tomorrow only about 10 and tournament day is 5-10. So I expect the water temps to keep falling and probably be closer to 48 come tournament day.

So which pattern would you run first?

I’m going to start with the shallow trees and grass pattern first. The reason for this, is there are a lot more targets to hit in a given hour. The major problem with this is the duck season opens this weekend, and there are a ton of duck blinds in one of my areas. If the duck hunters run me out, (they have guns) or the bite is off I’m going to move out to the single trees and give that about an hour, then finally heading to the river to punch grass.

My only concern is that the shallow tree/grass bass may need the sun to get up to warm the water just a bit. So, it might be smarter to start on the deeper single trees, where the cold hasn’t effected the bass as much. Still tossing this one around. Another thought is the river fish might hit a trap early before they head to the grass for cover; it is so easy to over think bass fishing.

Check out my thread in the Forums and let me know what you might do!

Ultimate Bass Forum Thread

Get the Net it’s a Hawg
Mike Cork

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