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Winter Fishing -- Head South or Out Onto The Ice

UPDATED January 15, 2014

By WeatherBug Sr. Meteorologist, James West

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The deep freeze of winter, full of snow and gray skies, still offers the beginners and expert anglers alike a chance to do some fishing. If winter fishing isn`t your thing, the cold months of the year is a great time to tune-up the gear for the spring fishing season ahead.

Ice fishing is a popular winter pastime on many northern lakes throughout the world, including the many lakes in the Upper Midwest, Great Lakes and Northeast. Ice on lakes need to be at least 4 inches thick for walking, with ice thicknesses exceeding 12 inches recommended for cars and ice sheds. Even thicker ice is needed to drive a full-size truck out on the ice.

Ice fishing requires a few more tools than normal lake and stream fishing common in spring, summer and autumn. This includes specialized fishing rods, an auger -- either machine or hand-operated -- to drive through the ice, and specialized clothing to battle the cold temperatures that can drop well below zero in many popular fishing spots in the Upper Midwest. Insulated shacks and tents with portable heaters help break the fierce, arctic wind and make fishing a bit more comfortable.

Not up to ice-fishing, heading south to the warmer weather of Florida, Texas and the entire Gulf of Mexico coast offers plenty of offshore deep-sea fishing. Here, charters can take you out to find many fish that are still biting, even if the waves can be rougher than spring and early summer excursions. Charter companies can offer you the best tips for equipment needed for an excursion.

Winter fishing isn`t for every angler. However, the winter months are a great time to check your fishing gear for the upcoming spring fishing season. Your rod and reel could probably use some cleaning and your flies and hooks in your tackle box probably need to be repaired or if warn out, replaced.

Do you want to know whether it is a good day to head outdoors, check out our new exclusive Outdoor Nature page.

Be sure to keep WeatherBug active to receive the latest weather in your neighborhood and get the latest updates anywhere on Twitter.

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Story Image: This is the view of the sunset while fishing for Walleyes on Lake of the Woods in Baudette, Minn. (Neil Blenker, WeatherBug user)

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