Guides Mike Eady and Mark Stacy believe the primary thing fishermen must remember for successful cold-water fishing is that when the water is cold, the fish move very slowly and deliberately. In addition, their bites may be very subtle. They suggest using light tackle, with braided lines.
Fish won’t have the energy to fight long and hard in cold water, so heavier tackle isn’t needed. The combination of lighter, more-sensitive rods and reels spooled with high-sensitivity, low-stretch, braided lines is the best combination for detecting subtle bites.
Slow and subtle is also the way to present baits. Natural baits can be cast and left to radiate their scent. Lures should be fished very slowly, and using lures with scent or adding scent helps convince fish to bite.
Eady suggests allowing hard lures to sink to the bottom occasionally and he and Stacy agree that soft lures can be moved a little across the bottom and then paused for a few seconds. It isn’t unusual for fish to strike while the lures are paused or as soon as they are moved after a pause. Twitching lures slightly and moving them slowly will entice more bites once the water cools below about 58 to 60 degrees.