The 7 Best Baits For Fishing in Cooler Weather

Baits For Fishing

Fish spend a lot of time during warmer months eating,  so they may not be as interested in your bait when the weather is colder. But don’t fret! It’s still entirely possible to catch a big one when it’s cold out. You just have to use the right bait. In this article, we’ve compiled 7 types of bait (plus some powerful tips and tricks) to make sure you have a great time out there, regardless of the weather.

1. Live Bait

Live bait is always a good choice for fishing in cooler weather. In cold water,  fish are more susceptible to disease. Since live bait is healthy and fresh, they’re unlikely to pass on the opportunity of a free meal. To catch your own live bait, using an aquarium net can be helpful. Worms, minnows, and other small creatures will all work well as bait. You can either use them yourself on a hook or try using a live bait rig to attract larger fish.


Not only are nightcrawlers fun for kids (and adults) to dig up,  they can be a fantastic way to catch fish in the colder months. Live worms are good for catching bass and panfish, while larger, more lively crawlers can attract catfish and sturgeon. When using nightcrawlers for bait, make sure to use a hooked or weighted end to keep them on the hook.


Just like nightcrawlers, fishing for minnows can be a great way to catch fish in the colder mornings. Minnows are small and very active, making them perfect bait for these types of fishing conditions. To properly use a minnow as bait, attach it to your hook with a slip-bobber. This will keep it from receiving any damage and also make it easier to cast into deeper water.


Another type of live bait that can be useful for fishing in colder weather is leeches. Leeches can be a little harder to find, but they make great bait for fish that are feeding on a bottom diet. To use leeches as bait, simply attach them to your hook with a split shot sinker.

2. Lures

Lures are one of the best ways to catch fish during these colder months. You can choose from many colors and variations to help attract different types of fish you’ll encounter, depending on their feeding pattern. Spinnerbaits tend to work great in cold weather, as do crankbaits, jerkbaits, and topwater lures.


In colder weather, bass will often become less active and start to stay near the bottom of the water column. In these instances, a spinnerbait can be a great choice because it’s much easier for them to grab onto. Since the temperature is much cooler, bass will also be less likely to chase after your bait. Try to use a spinnerbait that has a lot of vibration and flash, as this will help to attract them from a greater distance.


Crankbaits are excellent for catching bass in colder weather because they’re designed to imitate the movements of small fish. When it’s cold out, these fish will often retreat to deeper water and become inactive. A crankbait can help you get down to their level and entice them to bite.


Jerkbaits are another type of lure that work great in cool weather. They’re designed to imitate the movements of small fish and will help you get close to the bottom of the water column. When using a jerkbait, try throwing it up and down and across different types of terrain to see what works best.

Topwater Lures

Many topwater lures imitate frogs or other creatures found on the surface of the water. Since bass are ambush predators, they’ll often strike at these lures when they see them. In cold water, topwater lures can be especially effective because bass will be less active and more likely to take a bait that’s presented to them in a natural way.

2. Chumming

Chumming is a great option for fishing when it’s cold out because your bait is constantly getting fresh food. This is a process where you dump a pile of bait (usually fish) into the water to attract hungry predators. It can be an especially effective tactic for fishing in rivers and streams. If you’re using chumming to catch catfish, be sure to try using chicken livers or other organ meats as bait.

Chicken Livers

The best bait for chumming for catfish is chicken livers. They’re easy to find and cheap, and catfish love them.  To use them, simply attach them to your hook with a slip-bobber.

Heart Meat

Another type of meat that works great for chumming is heart meat. Heart meats can be found in many types of fish and will work for all types of catfish. They contain a lot of blood and oils and are full of nutrients, which makes them excellent bait for hungry predators.

Kidney Meat

One other type of organ meat that works great for chumming is kidney meat. Kidneys are full of blood and have a strong smell that will attract catfish from a distance. They’re also very affordable, so you can stock up on them without breaking the bank.


The final organ meat that works great for chumming is brains. Catfish love the fats and oils found in brains, so they’ll be more than willing to eat them. You can use either pig or sheep’s brains for this process.

3. Jigs

Jigs are one of the most versatile types of bait, and they work well in colder weather. You can use a jig to fish for a variety of different types of fish, from bass to trout. In winter, try using brightly-colored jigs or ones with flashy feathers. This will help you stand out against the drab, muted colors of the winter landscape.

Lures work on a variety of water conditions and have a more natural presentation, meaning they mimic the way live bait behaves. Jigs are a great option because they come in a variety of sizes and weights. You can fish for fish on the bottom of the water column or on top.

Casting Jigs

If you’re fishing for bass or panfish, try using a casting jig. Casting jigs are weighted at the head and hop like a spinnerbait when you make a cast with them. This gives you two different options for fishing, and both will work well in colder water.

Rolling Jigs

One other type of jig that works fine in cold water is a rolling jig. This type of jig is weighted on the shank and falls slowly when you let it go. This makes it a great choice for fishing in deep water or around structures.

4. Spoons

Spoons are another great option for fishing in cold water. They’re easy to use and can be effective for a variety of different types of fish. When it’s cold outside, try using spoons that have bright colors or rattles to make them more visible to fish.

Weedless Spoons

Weedless spoons are a great option for fishing in cold water because they help you avoid getting hung up on vegetation. This is a type of spoon that has a wire guard around the edge, which protects it from getting caught in weeds and other obstacles.

Jigging Spoons

Jigging spoons are a type of spoon that’s designed for vertical jigging. They have a heavy weight in the middle and a thin, curved blade on the end. This allows them to be worked in a variety of different ways to attract fish.

5. Crankbaits

Crankbaits are a type of lure that are designed to mimic the movement of baitfish. They have a diving lip on the front that causes them to dive down when you reel them in. This makes them perfect for fishing in deep water or around structures.

In cold water, try using crankbaits that have a bright, flashy finish. This will help you stand out against the muted colors of the winter landscape.

6. Soft Plastics

Soft plastics are a type of lure that’s made from soft, pliable materials. They come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, and you can use them to fish for a variety of different species. These baits are effective for fishing in cool water because they offer an easy-to-use presentation that mimics real bait.

Drop Shot Soft Plastics

One other type of soft plastic that works well in cold water is a drop shot worm. This is a small, slender worm with a sinker at the end to help it sink. You can use it to fish around structures or in deep water.

7. Worms

Worms are a type of bait that’s been used for fishing for centuries. They’re effective for fishing in all kinds of weather, and they work well for a variety of different types of fish. In cold water, try using larger worms that have a beefy profile. This will help you attract fish from greater distances.

Texas Rigged Worms

One popular way to fish with worms is to Texas rig them. This is a technique where you thread the worm onto a plastic hook and leave the end of the worm sticking out. When you cast it out, the weight of the hook helps it to sink. This technique works well for fishing in cold water because you can cast it out and then reel it back slowly, imitating a swimming baitfish

Final Thoughts

As you can see, fishing in the winter doesn’t have to be a nightmare. There are plenty of options that will work well for catching fish, and within this list, you’re sure to find a few that appeal to you. When it’s cold outside, try using a variety of these lures and bait combinations to increase your odds of catching fish. Looking for accessories for your next fishing trip? Check out our shop!  We carry a wide variety of products to help you make the most of your fishing experience, regardless of the weather.

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