Fishing cold, muddy water

With more and more anglers thinking about spring bass fishing, I thought I’d give you my thoughts about fishing cold, muddy water — the curse of a bass angler. A lot of guys will tell you, when the water is like that, it’s best to stay home, sit by the fire and watch the ballgame. But that isn’t for everyone. Some of us still want to go fishing even if it’s tough to get a bite.

I’m going to talk about where to fish rather than what lure to fish with because I think picking the right spot is more important. Besides, lure preferences vary from one angler to another and from one part of the country to another.

Before we get too far into this, though, we need to define our terms. When I talk about cold water I’m thinking about water that’s no warmer than 50 degrees. When I’m talking about muddy water I’m not thinking about stained water. I’m talking mud, anything with a foot or less of visibility.   

The first, and best, thing you can do when you’re faced with cold and muddy water is to try to find an area where the water’s better. In most cases that’ll mean clearer. It’s a rare body of water where moving around will make much of a difference in temperature.

Finding clearer water can be tough. Most of the time when the water’s cold the air is cold too. I don’t care about that, and I don’t care if you have to run 100 miles and are cold as an ice cube when you get to your spot. It’s still better to fish water where you at least have a chance to catch a bass.

One of the places you might find better water is by a creek mouth or an inflow of some sort. If it’s been raining, and the rain is a little warmer than the water, fish will move into an area like that pretty quick and in good numbers. The only thing is you need to make sure that the water running into the lake is fairly clear. Don’t even bother to slow down if you see it’s muddy.

Another type of area that sometimes clears up before anything else is a channel swing that runs up against, or at least near, a flat. The channel tends to pull the water away from the flat. That’ll clear it somewhat a lot of times. 

The final thing I want to mention is that the upper ends of most lakes — especially man-made ones — get clear before the lower ends down near the dam get clear. When I say that I’m talking about reasonably clear water in the rivers or creeks. If you have a gully washer, it’ll get worse.      

The thing that’s most important about all of this is that you keep your head screwed on straight. Cold and muddy water is tough, but so are lots of other conditions and situations. You deal with them, keep fishing and try as hard as possible. 

Do the same thing when you’re faced with cold, muddy water.