Fly Fishing Bass: Take Advantage of Late-Winter Warming Trends

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Louis Cahill Photography

On the bass lake early to take advantage of the warm weather. Photo Louis Cahill

This past month, most of us found ourselves having to deal with insanely cold weather, and in many cases, record snow fall on top of that.

It was so cold for such an extended period of time, Lake Superior froze over solid, and that hasn’t happened for decades. Even our cold water trout seemed to especially feel the deep freeze. At least the ones that I visited on my home streams, as I struggled to catch them in-between de-icing my rod guides and fly line every other cast. You could catch some trout, but it was hard going, numbers were down, and the trout sure as heck weren’t moving any more than they had to. It seemed all they truly cared about was just taking in enough food to weather the storm. For all you bass fly junkies out there, there’s no question that you were shit out of luck during the last 30 days or so. That is, of course, unless you had an auger handy and were willing to go ice fishing for bass.

On a positive note, it looks like we’ve probably made it past the worst of the bitter cold weather this season. In fact, things really starting looking up this past week, particularly in the Southeast, where many of us southerners saw consecutive sunny days, that warmed the air well into the 60s. When I saw this, I immediately hit some bass water to take advantage of the strong warming trend, and “Wow” were the bass aggressive. They had really turned on quick with the rapidly warming water temperatures. I landed some really nice bass on the fly, and even better, I did it all while most of my peers were still stuck inside trying to de-thaw. Late-winter warming trends, that provide a couple days or more of above average temperatures, are prime times to chase bass on the fly. I learned this bass fact, as a young kid, where I regularly landed some of my largest winter bass on neighborhood ponds. The key was getting on the water and fly fishing hard during those stretches of sunny and warm weather after long stretches of cold.

Below is a snapshot of some of the flies I was using during my time on the water chasing bass. The assortment of bass flies represented is a good collaboration of proven bass patterns that will get you into bass, just about anywhere in the country. I purchased most of them from Cohutta Fishing Co., a local fly shop about an hour away from me, in Cartersville, Georgia. They’ll be glad to set you up and tell you all the names of the bass flies showcased.


Cohutta Fishing Company’s bass fly assortment. Photo Louis Cahill

February and March are fantastic months of the year to go fly fishing for bass. As the water temperatures continue to warm and the days get longer, the forage food (shad, bream and crayfish) and predatory bass, will be moving up from their deep water sanctuaries and into the shallower areas of the lakes to pack on some weight prior to the spawn. If you can’t get out on the lakes because you don’t have a boat, no worries, just go visit one of your local bass ponds. The bass fishing should be just as hot there, and in many cases, you’ll even find it easier to catch more numbers and probably even one or two of those lunker bass you’ve been after with your fly rod.

Keep it Reel,

Come fish with us in the Bahamas!

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
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14 thoughts on “Fly Fishing Bass: Take Advantage of Late-Winter Warming Trends

  1. Dude, the bass fishing was freakin awesome this week! Hit up some of my local haunts this week and the bass were everywhere, and they were hungry. Most were chasing schools of baitfish along the banks, and hanging around mud lines after some of the rain we had this week. They were destroying #4-#6 clousers (olive/white and grey/white), as well as Gamechangers (my new favorite bass fly!) Tried topwater for a while everyday I was out, but no luck. Put on a big popper yesterday and dropped a gummy minow off the back, and it was killer in the afternoon. That’s a great assortment of chow from Cohutta. You can’t go wrong with checking out Cohutta Fishing Co. Andy runs an awesome shop, and the guys that work there are top notch, knowledgable, and super fishy.

  2. I cut my fly fishing teeth on bass and bream when I was a kid. What an exciting style of fishing! If you haven’t tried bass on the fly, do yourself a favor and do it! Can’t wait for Smallies on the Little T! Good post Kent!

  3. I envy you all. I had 1 day of decent weather but couldn’t even hit my trout water because a storm bumped flows to 5 times the average, and everything else is still frozen here. Temps are nose-diving again. Best I got was a few hours casting every rod I own until I was sore out on the lawn. We better have an amazing spring through fall

  4. Nice post Kent. I heard that herring on our Lake have been struggling with the cold. I would imagine some lethargic, dizzy whitebait would provide pretty good targets for bass (and trout if they get through the dam into the Tailwater like they have done in the past this time of year).

    • Ralph,

      If you can time it right on the river when injured or dying blueback have been consistently coming through the generators, theres no doubt the trout large enough to eat them sure as heck do. I’ve seen it happen some over the years but it doesn’t happen as often as you would think (or should I say in high enough numbers of herring and shad) I believe The majority of them die out on the main lake and sink to the bottom if not eaten by the bass in the process. I wish it happened more often on the river b/c its great fun fishing herring and shad patterns and the protein from them put good weight on the trout.


  5. It’s funny you posted this because I just read it today but yesterday I went fly fishing for bass with some of those same flies from cohutta fly company yesterday. Liking a lot of those flies. I was shocked to see how aggressive they were striking! The warm weather is coming fishing is gona started pickin up even more! Thanks kent

  6. This is like reading science fiction. It was 16 below zero this morning; there’s over 30 inches of hard clear ice on the lakes, and so much snow it’s tough to even walk around on them right now. Bass fishing is months away yet. Jealous? Hell yes!

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