Tuesday certainly was no day to be on the water. Winds gusting to near gale force strength, along with fog and mist, created miserable conditions. Unfortunately for most of the Christmas week visitors, fishing does not look good, as cold, unsettled weather appears to be with us for several days.

It is always disappointing for me to have to relay information like that; however, most anglers know that the weather has a major effect on fishing. When professional fishing guides start canceling or postponing their trips, that tells you a lot about the prospects for catching fish.

While this will not do much good for visitors who plan to return home around New Years, there often is some excellent fishing in January. Again, the weather has to be cooperative for the action to take place.

Cold temperatures alone are not that much of a detriment unless the thermometer falls close to freezing. Wind velocities and water levels are probably the biggest handicaps. Following a strong cold front, water levels in the bays are usually low, anywhere from one to three feet below normal.

When this occurs, fish retreat to deep holes and wait it out. We are in that time of year when trout tend to stay close to their refuges and venture out in the afternoons to feed. A different fishing pattern takes place and experienced angers and professional guides know how and when to take advantage of it.

Often trout and other fish will leave their deep water safe haven to feed. Among the more popular spots are mud bottoms in shallower waters. Why? By afternoon, the dark bottom absorbs the sun’s warming rays and attracts bait fish to the warmer setting. Close behind are the predator fish trying to find a meal.

There is a lot more to winter fishing and we will be addressing that topic often in future columns.

Capt. Joe Kent is a columnist for The Daily News. Report your catch to reel.report@galvnews.com or call 409-683-5273.

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