If you keep your boat wrapped up, winterized and waiting for spring, you could be missing out on some of the best striper fishing of the year. Extreme nighttime cold pushes baitfish like Shad and Herring deep into the main river channels.
On warmer sunny days Shad will move up shallow onto clay and rocky points that are being baked by the sun. Water temps that are just a few degrees warmer can be very attractive to these baitfish.
Fishing shallow points can be phenomenal, not only are there great numbers of fish but often the biggest fish of the year will come from these shallow hotspots.
Warmer afternoons and evenings are best, especially after we have had several warmer days in a row.
In mid winter start by fishing these points that are close to the main river channel on the main stem of the lake.
From there, move onto secondary points near the mouths of the creeks off of the main stem. These secondary points are usually best in late winter to early spring. Don’t be afraid to go too far back into these creeks.
Of course, every lake is different, start off with the main lake points first and then move on from there. It shouldn’t take very long to establish a pattern.
For those that like to fish with artificial‘s, cast Rattling Rouges that suspend or sink slowly, Husky Jerks and Redfins are great baits as well. I like to use these types of crank baits earlier in the day when the fish may be deeper on these points. Clown colors, silver, blue,and green combinations are my favorites.
As the the day goes on and the shallow water gets warmer I like to cast flukes right up to the bank, I work the bait very slowly with very subtle twitches, sometimes no action at all.
I like Bass Assassin Flukes and BKD.‘s in the 6 inch size. I like natural colors when the water is clear and brighter colors when the water is stained. Chartreuse silver and pearl can all be deadly. Use a 5/0 long shank worm hook with no weight at all. Light spinning tackle or bait casting gear is perfect.
For those that like to fish with live bait, the planer board is the way to go. Pull Shad right up on the banks. Use very little to no weight at all. On some days I will only deploy planer boards on one side of the boat, concentrating on the bank.
Experiment with the length of line set behind the boards as well as how deep or shallow the boards run. I cannot express it strongly enough, fish shallow!
For those that fish all year-round, this is just the sweet part of the season, for those who don’t unwrap their boats until April this might be your new favorite time of year to fish!
Please stay safe on the water and leave a few for me!
Mike Smedley "The Striper Ninja"
Mike has caught Stripers on over 50 bodies of water in 11 different states, in both Freshwater and Saltwater. His YouTube channel is currently receiving nearly a quarter million views per month. In fact, if you added up the view totals for Roland Martin, Jimmy Houston, Kevin Van dam, Hank Parker, Mike Iaconelli, and Rick Murphy's Sportsman Adventures, and then DOUBLED THAT TOTAL, They would still add up to LESS THAN HALF of the views of "The Striper Ninja!"