Cold Muddy Water Bass Fishing Guide (With 7 Pro Tips That Get Results)

Fishing for bass in cold, muddy water is not a desirable situation. Bass is relatively slow in cold water, and they don’t feed as much. The muddy waters don’t make it easier for anglers to spot bass as well. However, it’s good to know you can still use both conditions in your favor. 

So, how do you catch bass in cold muddy water? You can catch bass in cold, muddy waters by targeting the shallows. Tie brightly colored lures or solid colors of crankbait or spinnerbait and cast them 1 or 2 feet (0.3 or 0.6 meters) into the water with a slow and steady retrieve.

Keep reading to know more about cold muddy water bass fishing with some pro tips that get fast and effective results!

How Do You Catch Bass in Cold Muddy Water? 

bass swimming to illustrate cold muddy water bass fishing tips

Bass like to stay in muddy waters and use it to their advantage to hide where prey don’t see them. They can be deep in water or extremely near to the surface. Look for them in shallow water along rock banks and channel bends. Concentrate on the rocks because the water there warms up quickly on hot days.

Searching for prime locations can be easier for you when you use electronics and sonar devices. Check out LUCKY Portable Fish Finder on Amazon. It helps you to cover more water in search of these fish-holding structures. It’ll also help you find schools of fish like shad that bass feeds on.

For tackle, use a 7ft rod with medium-heavy action, a spinning reel that matches its weight, with a fluorocarbon 8-pound test fishing line. Use weights not lighter than 1/8 oz. and not over 1/2 oz. with a 3/0 offset worm hook or a 1/0 drop shot hook.  

An interesting fact is that bass can see your line. That’s why choosing a line color that is as difficult as possible for the bass to see is highly recommended. In case of muddy waters, use a bright color like a green line to lessen its visibility. 

To catch their attention in muddy water, tie on a brightly colored lure like a spinnerbait or a crankbait. The same goes for overcast days; use the brightest colors to improve visibility or use a very dark solid color to enhance profile visibility. A white and chartreuse combination would be greatly visible and attractive to bass.

We’ve discussed a lot of gear, so here are my picks that I use for catching bass in muddy waters. You can check my recommended Bass fishing rods here, the best budget spinning reels here, and my favorite fluorocarbon lines here. I have another guide on how to catch catfish in muddy water that you may find interesting.

Where to Find Bass in Cold Muddy Waters? 

The thing about cold, muddy waters is that it holds the possibility of both worlds; the extremely deep and shallow waters. Bass escape to deeper water to seek warmth and shelter from the cold water surface. However, in heavily stained water, they can be found roaming the shallows.

Traditional winter locations, such as steep drops and around schools of baitfish, remain valid in muddy waters. However, you may want to concentrate on shallower areas nearby, especially if the sun is out.

The best spots can be found in as shallow as 1 to 2 feet (0.3 to 0.6 meters) of water, up to 8 feet (2.4 meters) from the surface. Sunny points and flats near typical deep areas, as well as channel-swing banks, are examples of these areas. 

You can still catch bass a little deeper if you make contact with the cover or the bottom, but shallow water is usually easier for you.

Best Lures To Catch Bass In Cold Muddy Waters

A spinnerbait is your go-to when the water is super cold. It is perhaps the most versatile bait out there. It can be used in less than a foot of water all the way down to deep-water ledges, fitting the cold muddy water conditions. 

You can burn, slow, roll, pump, and pause. There are limitless ways to work your spinnerbait to catch the bass’s attention. The vibration it produces helps the bass to locate the lure in the muddy water where it’s already hard to see. 

Here’s a list of recommendations to consider when choosing a spinnerbait according to how muddy the lake you’re fishing in:

  • ¾ oz colorado/Indiana if there is more than 6”-8” of visibility. Use a red or orange colorado blade with an oversized Indiana blade for maximum results.
  • ½ oz double willow if there is more than 6”-8” of visibility and around bass that primarily feeds on shad or herring. Bold chartreuse and/or white-painted blades perform magnificently in murky water.
  • ¾ oz-1 oz single colorado for really muddy water. Going with heavier bait will help slow down the retrieve speed while reducing the rate at the spinner bait rises in the water column.
  • Small crankbaits can also be very productive in muddy waters. Try Yo-Zuri Squarebill. It has a flat side, and it’s super effective in fishing shallow rock. Choose it in shad shades such as citrus shad, red crawfish, and chartreuse.

Chatterbait In Cold Muddy Water 

Chatterbait is effective in cold, muddy waters. Since it’s better to target bass in shallow waters when it’s cold and muddy, chatterbait is very productive in catching them with attractive color and noise.

Chatterbaits in white or chartreuse with a trailer are extremely productive. They produce a ton of sound and allow an angler to cover water even faster than a spinnerbait. Most chatterbaits don’t start producing their noise until the bait moves about 2 feet (0.6 meters) into the water. 

Instead, use a chatterbait that makes a sound as soon as the reel handle is moved. Remember, we’re fishing in dirt shallow water, and the bass will be right where the lure drops. If it takes more than 2 feet (0.6 meters) for the bait to start making noise, it is outside of the main strike zone.

7 Pro Tips For Catching Bass In Cold Muddy Water

  1. Go for the vibrations. Bass are indeed sight feeders, but they also use their lateral lines to detect displacement in the water, especially in murky water. Spinnerbaits and other vibration-producing lures do the job.
  2. Search the edges. Bass like to feed on the edges of things, whether that’s the edges of a grass line or the edge of a mud line. 
  3. Work your lures slowly and steadily. When the water gets cold, bass’s metabolism tends to slow down, and so do their feeding activities. So most of the time, they’re waiting for an easy meal that requires not much chasing.
  4. Target the hours between 2 p.m. and sunset. These are the prime times for cold, muddy fishing. During these hours, the sun has warmed up the water, the baitfish are active, and the bass are moving around to feed.
  5. Build a pattern. Cast the bait to specific pieces of cover multiple times and from multiple angles before you change your location. You will need to get the lure as close to the bass as possible.
  6. Find clearer water after rain. Following rain, the muddiest water would be at the creek’s mouth, where all the dirty water is coming in from upstream. The best bass fishing would be on the opposite side of the lake, where the muddy water has not yet hit.
  7. Know whether the lake is typically muddy or turned muddy. Not all lakes are naturally muddy. In naturally muddy lakes, the bass is used to it and will get attracted to natural colored baits. In lakes that got muddier than it usually is, fish with brighter colors or add gold flash to the presentation.

Related Questions 

At What Temperature Do Bass Start to Bite?

Bass start to bite when water temperatures are 55 to 65°F (12.7°C to 18.3°C). Bass will sometimes bite when water temperatures are extremely low, 40°F, but the process will be slower and needs a more steady and slow presentation. 

What Is The Best Time of The Day To Catch Bass?

The best time of the day to catch bass is either early morning or later in the evening, at times when the sun isn’t too bright. If the weather is cloudy or the water is muddy, bass can even strike in the middle of the day.

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Helpful Resources 

Big Book of Bass: Strategies for Catching Largemouth and Smallmouth – ( you can check it on Amazon here)

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