Winter carp fishing – at what temperature do they feed?

Finally most lakes around here have eventually crept back up in water temperature to make the catching of carp a much more realistic prospect than it was a couple of weeks back.

For 30 odd years I have taken water temperatures during the winter months. I don’t mean just dangling a thermometer in a few inches of water in the edge as this will give you a false reading compared to the temperature in the depths you are fishing. I have simply cast my thermometer into the sort of depth I am fishing then simply cranked it back in quickly and taken the reading.

So, to save you many years of work before being able to come to any semi accurate conclusion I will share what I have learned after 30 years of doing this on so many different waters I would struggle to list them.

Although carp will feed in water a little bit colder, once the temperature drops below 39 degrees Fahrenheit  (3.9 degrees Centigrade) their metabolism (with them being cold blooded) slows them right down and the chances of registering a take on conventional bolt rig set-up becomes very low.

In all the years I have tried to prove that you can catch carp in real cold conditions I have only ever caught 3 fish in temperatures less than 39 degrees and only ever witnessed a couple of others.

Now you will hear people state that they have caught plenty but in reality you may be surprised just how inaccurate most thermometers sold to the angling world are. I had many years in angling retail and I found it embarrassing when you lined half a dozen thermometers up and all would give a different reading.

You can check your thermometer out by crushing some ice up and seeing if it gives you a 32 deg Fahrenheit  (0 degrees Centigrade) reading.

I have been lucky to have caught carp in some real extreme conditions with several from holes in the ice from several different waters but in each case the water has been 39 or above.

After such a length cold snap we have just experienced it is such a massive confidence boost for myself when I take a reading of the magical 39 fahrenheit or 3.9 centigrade. The numbers 3 and 9 being so relevant in both readings was almost meant to be!

Go on – get out there and bag yourself a true cold water carp – those temperatures are just about right.

(Before anyone corrects me I do know 39f is actually 3.888888888888888888888888c )

Best fishes, Shaun Harrison

This article first appeared on the Quest Baits Blog & is reproduced with kind permission


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