- Fish slow. Many bass anglers are accustomed to fishing with crank baits and spinner baits which are designed for medium to fast retrieval rates. While burning a spinner back to the boat may sometimes be an effective method, it's more reasonable to assume that soft plastic baits fished slowly are your best bet in cold water. Common cold water plastic baits include skirted jigs with trailers, worms and creature baits. The key idea in cold water is to fish the baits very slow.
- Fish with the sun. As the sun rises, the south east facing hillsides get the first light and subsequently so does the water at the bottom of those hills. As the water warms in the morning sun, bass generally move into the shallower water to feed. Focus on areas where the morning sun warms the water and you may find a bevy of bass.
- Fish near sources of fresh water. There are two primary benefits to fishing near creeks and springs. First, the water is oxygen rich which is equivalent to a breath of fresh air to bass. Secondly, creeks and streams carry a plethora of food from the hillsides into the river. Where microscopic food enters the river ecosystem, larger and larger animals come to feed.
- Fish along steep underwater shelves and drop offs. Depending on the barometric pressure, fish position themselves anywhere from the bottom to the top of the water column. Steep areas provide an environment where bass can efficiently move up or down with changes in barometric pressure. Finding and fishing shelves and drop offs is of benefit when pursuing smallmouth bass.
With patience and these tips, you're on your way to catching some cold water bass. Good luck.