January 4, 2018

What These Great Extreme-Cold Fishing Spots Have in Common


This pattern may help you find new winter honey holes.

"Still Water" When It Gets Cold

We know fish run to deep water to escape cold fronts.

They do this because the stable temperature of deeper water offers them relief from rapidly cooling temperature in shallow water during a cold front.

And when they do, you see the "deep hole" fishing reports turn on.

Anglers start catching at the draw bridge in Yscloskey, or the Wall in Chalmette, Geohagen Canal or even lesser known places like Eden Isles and Lakeshore in Slidell.

But something I noticed is this one thing, and they all have it in common.

They are all "still" water spots.

Well, relatively speaking. Obviously water still moves there to one degree or another, its just my point that the tide isn't ripping through those spots like white-water rapids.

So this got me to thinking...

Still Water + Cold Temperature

I am beginning to theorize that when it gets insanely cold fish don't go for just deep water, but deep water that doesn't have a ton of current.

It's just a theory.

But it makes sense to me because they can hardly swim when it gets really cold.

And by "really cold" I mean "so cold that icicles are hanging off your truck".

Which, for Louisiana, is pretty durned cold.

In fact, when it gets this cold, most fish become too lethargic to escape shallow water and end up becoming exposed and die as northwest winds blow water out of the marsh.

It happens, and you can see pics of it in real life in this article.

So it makes sense to me the only place they can position themselves to do anything is in water that isn't moving so fast.

Slower Water vs Faster Water

What does this mean for inshore anglers?

Typically, when we are targeting redfish and speckled trout (especially specks!) we focus on tidelines.

Finding tidelines on satellite imagery or recognizing them in real life is an essential skill for inshore anglers, but this time I am thinking I should forget the tidelines and focus on where I DO NOT see them.

Go ahead, boot up Google Earth and show me the tidelines running through the Wall where the green arrow is pointed.

You won't find them.

That doesn't mean moving water isn't there, it just means I don't see tidelines there.

You know what's another great area to try when it gets silly cold?

Lakeshore Estates in Slidell. No tidelines there, either -- though there are plenty outside of there. 

no tidelines lakeshore estates

Notice how these spots are sort of like "dead ends" where water moves the least.

They're not only around walls and docks, either.

They exist in the marsh and I know for a fact they turn on when it gets freezing.

Here is one near Bayou Biloxi.

Dead End Canal

Interesting, isn't it?


Remember this is just a theory.

I need to fish it a lot more to be sure, but it seems to me this makes what anglers deem as "bad" conditions to be a great opportunity to slay redfish and trout.

Or I might be wrong.

And I'm okay with that, as I've been wrong before.

Either way, we are going to see.

Tight lines, y'all!

Captain Devin

About the Author

Devin is a former fishing guide and lifelong inshore angler. He founded Louisiana Fishing Blog in 2012 to share his ideas as a charter captain and still writes in it today. Since then he's created a fishing university — LAFB Elite — where he teaches inshore anglers how to safely navigate Louisiana's coast and catch more fish.

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  • In regard to deep holes, a friend and I fished Geohagen Canal after a cold front and found specks and reds in 30+ holes. Had lite water current from bayous feeding the bay. Fished later on warm front and fish were in 4-5’ of water. Early cold fronts are fishable due to fish feeding up for winter.

  • Keith, I appreciate you because you’re enrolled in Inshore Fishing 101 and have always been the guy to raise his hand and ask questions when no one else does.

    But I’m telling ya that you’re thinking into it too much! :)

    We’re not converting to any other kind of fishing.

    It’s the same thing it always has been: –> effectively fishing the entire water column <–

    Boom, that's it.

  • How would you use your lure in these conditions without moving current? I was thinking you might have to convert to lake bass fishing tactics and sort of jig it vertically?

  • We did try Lakeshore and didn’t catch anything there, but did mark a bunch of fish at 10-12 feet deep. We positioned on them, but they didn’t bite. They coulda been inactive.

  • Hey George, thanks for commenting.

    Are you sure those weren’t gar rolling on the surface? Could you see fish sitting on the bottom at all? (on your fishfinder)

  • Tried my luck at lakeshore estates today, but got skunked. I did see a couple of red fish jump which seemed very unusual given the freezing temperatures, so I definitely think your stillwater theory is accurate. They were there, just not wanting what I was offering.

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