Person holding a fish at bewl water

Top Tips For Winter Fishing

While heading out for a fishing trip may be less comfortable during the winter, the lack of others fishing and the peaceful atmosphere during the winter season can help to make up for the cold. As long as prospective anglers wrap up warm, there can be excellent opportunities to fish even in the colder months.  

How does the winter affect the fish? During the winter the fish will slow their metabolisms and will be far less active, often moving very little and shoaling close together to conserve energy. This lack of movement during the season can make fishing difficult. However, there are some species of fish that will still be active and provide possible targets for fishing during this season. Varying your depth while fishing will give you a better chance of finding out where the fish are feeding.  


In order to ensure that you have a successful trip it is important to bring the right equipment with you. From warm clothes and the right line to use for the trip, preparation is key to keeping you and any others on the fishing trip as comfortable as possible.   

Clothing  Wearing a base layer to protect you from the cold is crucial when fishing during the winter. Often when fishing it is good to wear up to four layers that can be taken off if you become too warm, or put back on if the weather becomes too cold. A windproof and waterproof top layer is crucial to protect you from getting wet if it rains. Many outdoor shops will have seasonal recommendations of outdoor wear for fishing that can be selected to suit your needs.  

Fishing rod – Equipment such as your lines, rod and other kit can be damaged if they are exposed to the cold and damp over a long period of time. Be sure to go through your kit carefully after each trip to maintain it, and ensure that each piece is dry when stored. If you don’t have equipment of your own, there are many shops which rent out the kit you need for a fun day out fishing during the winter. Disassembling and cleaning your reels is a good idea before fishing, as well as conditioning your lines so they won’t freeze in truly cold water.  

Bait – When selecting bait for your fishing trip consider which will be more favourable for the fish. Live bait such as worms and maggots are very good in terms of catch as the movement of live bait will help catch the attention of any fish nearby. Other options to try as bait are bread and sweetcorn, as they are light colours that are easy for the fish to notice in the water.  

Lures – When it comes to selecting lures, ensure you use colours that will attract fish, with shades like silver and white which will show up in colder weather. Plastic lures tend to go stiff in the cold, which can be an uninteresting look for any fish. Feathers and hair, however, are far more attractive in the water as they look beautiful and natural. 

Fishing in Winter 

Fishing during winter is a lot harder than during the peak season, with the fish acting more lethargically due to the cold weather – and more difficult conditions for the fishermen too. Here are some tricks to remember when fishing during the colder months of the year. 

  • Fish shoal up tightly during this time of year, so if you are having no luck where you are, moving along the bank could help you catch some fish. Remember that fish are far more sluggish and slower in the cold, so catching anything will take more time than usual.  
  • It is far easier to catch fish later in the day when temperatures have risen and the fish are more active. In warmer temperatures they may head for any patches of sunlight that hit the water, to catch some of the heat; aiming for these spots when you cast is a great way to increase your catch. 
  • The fish that are the most active during the winter months are chub, carp, perch, pike and dace. Even then there are few fish around, so when selecting equipment such as lures, select those that work for a wide variety of fish species rather than one specific species.  
  • Fishing trips are far more comfortable and profitable in nice dry conditions. Packing up if the weather takes a turn for the worse is generally a good idea. Keep an eye on the weather forecast and head out on days that are predicted to stay clear.  

Bewl Water Fishing  

Here at Bewl Water we have many options for those looking to visit the reservoir for fishing. Winter is considered prime time for predator fishing, with predator fishing permits available from the 30th October to the 31st January. We have boats available for avid fishing enthusiasts to rent for the day – it is best to book before your trip as there are only a few available and demand is quite high.  We have a well-stocked tackle shop for those that need to resupply or pick up some new kit; our most popular bundles are our ‘ready to fish’ kits for those who are trying the sport for the first time.  

With a variety of different permits available depending on what you are considering catching, it is a good idea to call or email our team so that you can get your permits sorted before you arrive at Bewl to avoid disappointment. Many permits are seasonal, and can last for months.  

If you are coming to Bewl Water to fish, then please contact us here. Our team will be happy to help you with everything you need to make your trip a success.