Bass Fishing In 40-50 Degree Water: Are Bass Easy To Catch?

Bass fishing in 40-50 degree water is a big challenge to overcome, but it’s still possible. The bass still hunt for food even when the winter comes. 

As the water gets colder, these fish become less active. Hence, you have to use the proper technique and gear to trigger their hunger. We will show you how to do it properly. So join us and pack up your tackle box for the next adventure! 

Cold Water Bass Metabolism

We determine the right time for bass fishing based on their feeding eagerness. Hence, it’s essential to understand their metabolism in cold water. 

When the water temperature drops, the bass’ metabolism slows down and changes their feeding behaviors. They metabolize their food slowly, reducing their need to hunt. 

However, it doesn’t mean the fish skip their meals in cold weather. In fact, they just eat less. So, bass fishing in 40-50 degree water. 

The secrets of fishing for bass in cold water are water depth and lures. I will discuss these methods clearly in the following sections.  

Where To Find Bass In 40-50 Degree Water?

During winter, bass try to find the warmest areas to stay warm. Because the weather is too cold, the water’s surface must be the coldest. Hence, these fish move to the bottom. 

Summer sets a limit on how deep your prey can get because the thermocline in this season forms from 15 to 30 feet in most lakes. But winter doesn’t have such a thing. So do not mind dropping your bait deeper. 

I have caught smallmouth bass on northern lakes when reaching 87 feet deep into the water. But my friend could get some fish just about 55 feet deep into Cherokee Lake. 

The key is that the bass seeks warm places. I have some good ideas here for you to try: 

Deep pockets 

In the winter, many bass travel to deep pockets in lakes where they can get bottom-dwelling food. This idea remains true for other seasons, but it works most effectively in the winter. 

The bass tend to gather in big groups in those deep pockets. You should find pockets within a 15 to 30-foot range to catch them. 

Creek channels

Bass fish have their own pathways to get in and out of waters with different depths. These pathways are creek channels. 

When the water temperature drops, bass follow those creek channels to move to deeper areas. The cold the temperature, the deeper the bass travels down the channels. 

Bass may turn or bend in the creek, creating channel swings. These locations are ideal for them to hide through the winter. You can find them among brush piles, rock piles, and stump fields. 

Near the river shore

In the 40 to 50-degree temperature range, bass prefer staying in deeper waters. 

However, some may swim to river banks, especially on a sunny day. The sun can warm them when they stay nearer to the water’s surface. 

Moreover, structures near the shore allow the fish to rest and feed. Hence, anglers can still catch them without casting their line too far. 

Thermocline For Bass In Winter


Thermocline is a layer of water in a water body where the temperature fluctuates rapidly with depth. In the ocean, this layer is a blanket separating the mixed upper layer from the stable deep water below. 

Water becomes denser at around 39 degrees. Once it cools, the warmer and denser water remains at the bottom, while the less dense water rises to the surface. As a result, you will notice an icy layer on the lake when winter comes. 

In bass fishing, the thermocline is crucial because it affects the location and behaviors of the fish. Your prey are sensitive to temperature fluctuations, so they seek out this comfortable zone to stay calm in the winter. 

This idea is especially true when you fish in a water body with shad bases for forage because the bass head for the warmest water to survive the winter.  

Learning the thermocline is important for bass fishing

Lure For Bass In 40-50 Degree

In addition to the water depth, lures affect your success rate. Here are the seven best options to try when bass fishing in 40-50 degree water. 

1. Jerkbait

When to use it? 

Jerkbaits are effective lures for bass fishing in many situations. Yet, anglers like to use them in colder water temperatures lower than 40 degrees.  

How to use it? 

It would be best to pair the jerkbait with your most lightweight fluorocarbon line. You don’t need anything heavier than 10 pounds. It can still send your bait to the deepest water despite the weight. 

After casting your lure, crank the bait down as deeply as possible, which may require up to 15 full reel turns. 

Then, twitch the bait twice and leave it there for about 20 seconds. You need to repeat these steps all your way back to the shoreline, depending on the fishing location. 

To the bass, your jerkbait now looks like a dead Shad. Hence, the fish will hit the bait while it’s sitting suspended in the water.  

Where to use it?

The jerkbait performs best when the bass hides around brush piles. You can also stick to channel swings to catch them. These areas provide up-and-down places for these fish to hunt for food.  

2. Blade bait

Blade baits and jerkbaits are good water lower than 40 degrees

When to use it? 

Blade baits have the best performance in cold water temperatures of lower than 40 degrees. The vibration created by the bait can attract bass even in poorly-lit conditions. 

How to use it? 

Pair your blade bait with a braided line and a fluoro leader so the bass can detect your rig easily. 

After setting up, cast your bait out and wait for it to drop to the bottom. Then, hop it off the bottom slowly so it will land on a slackline. 

Remember to hop your bait aggressively off. Then, the bass may bite it once it falls. This action mimics a dead bait fish. 

Where to use it?

You can use blade baits for boat fishing. The metal construction helps them sink like a stone and work back to your boat quickly without losing their bottom contact. 

3. Crankbait

When to use it? 

Crankbaits can be excellent ideas for bass fishing year-round. They will impress you with their fantastic performance in cold weather with a temp range of 44 to 46 degrees. 

How to use it? 

Start by attaching the lure to a large fluoro line. Then, cast your line in deep water. The bait gives off a good vibration to track down even in dirty water.  

Where to use it?

Crankbaits are good for catching bass in mid-dep water near structures like rocks and weed beds.  

4. Rapala floating

When to use it? 

Rapala floating is a topwater lure mostly used to catch winter bass. Yet, it requires a lot of patience. 

Rapala floating is a type of crankbait. Hence, it works best in water temperatures between 44 to 46 degrees. 

How to use it? 

Rapala floating goes well with a lightweight fishing line. Once you’ve completed the setup, let your bait sink and bounce off the bottom. This presentation causes your prey to react to it quickly, even when they’re not hungry. 

Where to use it?

If you target the bass swimming around the shoreline and structure, this bait will come into play.

5. Blade spinnerbait

Spinner Lures

When to use it? 

When the temperature rises higher than 40 degrees, bass move to shallower waters. In this case, you can try blade spinnerbaits. 

How to use it? 

The best fishing line for blade spinnerbaits is the heavy braided line, as it allows you to cast further distances with improved accuracy. 

Where to use it?

Spinnerbaits work effectively in many cases, but I often use them in shallow water covers, like wood and rock. 

6. Jigs


When to use it? 

When it’s about 40 to 50-degree water temperature, jigs can easily get to the deepest water to attract bass. 

How to use it? 

Ensure to keep your bait slowly. To present a smooth lure, bait your jig with a firm hook and a fluoro clear, lightweight line. 

Where to use it?

Casting your line around covers like downed trees, thick weeds, and branches would be perfect. 

7. Rubber worm

When to use it? 

Rubber worms are suitable for fishing in the summer. Yet, anglers also use them for cooler conditions, around 60 degrees. 

How to use it? 

The fluoro line is ideal for rubber worms. To fish bass with your rig, cast it to the structure, keep your bait in place, and allow it to settle down. Remember to shake the rod to create vibration.

Where to use it?

Rubber worms can attract bass in thick covers, around logs, under docks, and other underwater structures.


Bass fishing in 40-50 degree water requires a lot of patience, knowledge, and skill. Yet, you can pull it off by experimenting with different lures and techniques. 

Hopefully, our guide has helped you learn how to deal with winter bass fishing. So get out on the water and try this new experience! 

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