Probing Winter Hideouts
By John Neporadny, Jr.
A depth change of two feet or twenty feet could be a good wintertime bass hideout to touring pro Dave Wolak. “The best locations on reservoirs that I have always found are holes,” says Wolak. “Fish really group up in holes in the winter if you have a lake where the average depth is less than what is adequate for the fish to stay in a more stable environment.”
An example of a wintering hole Wolak targets is a ditch twenty to thirty feet deep in the middle of a long creek arm featuring an expansive flat. The water is too cold on the flat, so the bass seek out the deepest water they can find for a comfort zone. “If you find key vertical cover on parts of that ditch or where there is a lot of forage ganged up, you can really find the bass stacked up,” says Wolak
On a natural shallow lake in Florida, the best winter hideout could be a hole six feet deep at the edge of hydrilla. Wolak notes there might be only a 2-foot drop from the edge of the vegetation into the hole, but the bass seek refuge there because it is the deepest water in the area.
Wolak’s favorite wintertime spots vary depending on the body of water. On shallow, lowland reservoirs he looks for cover such as old house foundations, stump rows, and brush piles close to ditches or creek channels.
“In highland reservoirs I try to get up in the rivers many times to fish the bends and turns that have a lot cleaner rock and a lot more vertical drops (bluff points),” he says.
The North Carolina pro suggests the best winter spots are similar to good summertime haunts. “Points are always good in the winter because that is a magnet for fish that are pulling from somewhere shallow to seek refuge in deeper water.”