“Rain, rain go away. Come again another day.”
You won’t hear Bassmaster Elite Series pro Tim Horton quoting that nursery rhyme — especially during winter. Why? Because the Alabama angler knows well the positive impacts liquid precipitation can have on fishing.
Truth be told, the meteorological mayhem that accompanies cold fronts can bless or curse angling efforts, so understanding how the falling and inflowing water affects the fish’s habitat will spur your success.
Horton points out that river systems bring a different set of dynamics, but we’ll get to that in a moment. For now, he shares his thoughts on how those winter rains can affect highland reservoirs in the southern and central U.S. lakes.
Know the flow
For southern and central U.S. fisheries, winter usually sees warm rains arriving ahead of a frontal system. Blustery conditions, darker skies and some level of warming — that’s the usual script.
“Nine times out of 10, when a front comes through, you get the rain on the warm end,” Horton said. “The cooling temperatures will come after that in the days to follow, but the warm rain will have already run into the lake and warmed it up.
“Sometimes, you get a warm front that’s not followed by cold weather, so a lot depends on the severity of the front. But, when you have lake temperatures down in the upper 40s and you get a warm rain that raises the water temperature in the backs of those creeks into the mid-50s, it can be some of the best fishing you’ll ever see.”