During the colder months trout will hang out in river and creek mouths. Some even find tidal creeks that decline to small holes disconnected from the flow of water. The key to fishing these is to find deep pockets in creeks and rivers and exploring good spots to anchor that will allow you to fish these pockets. Often when the tide goes out, it will leave beach like areas that you may be able to walk on and fish the whole area a little easier. The key is to ease along these areas and test the footing so as to not get stuck in the mud. It’s also a good idea to make minimal noise and cast a small image as not to spook fish.
Another technique is to look for bait fish in these same areas. You may see some splashes, but typically you will only see a minimal water disturbance, or even a flash under the water surface. Quiet approach is key in this situation as spooked bait will influence the target fish. The common thought is to offer a replica of the baitfish, but you may want to consider a slower bait as these fish are trying to conserve energy in the cold water. Live shrimp work well if the baitfish aren’t too aggressive. Most soft plastics work well in this situation as well. You will have to find what works best for you.
Depth may be the biggest issue for these fish. It seems the colder the water the deeper the fish. That being said you don’t always fish on bottom in cold weather. Some fish like to attack from below and a cork rig may be best in these situations. I have sat in a twenty foot hole and fished two feet deep and caught tons of fish. Water clarity makes a huge difference in this type of fishing. If the fish can’t see the bait often they won’t come up to it.
Structure is sometimes key as baitfish will hold on or around docks and markers which will attract trout. Again, you need to locate the baitfish and not spook them. A popular way to fish these situations is from a kayak. This may take some practice during warm weather when you wouldn’t mind a tip over. The stealth is the key here. The problem is getting pulled out of position by the fish. They tend to want to stay close to the group or cover. A pole anchor may help with this issue.
A good exploring trip with a good depth finder would be a good idea. You may need more than one trip to find the right places to fish. Some fish will not bite if you ride over them, so a knowledge of the area will go along way to catching fish. Check local regulations as these fish differ from region to region even within the sane state. Check out these specials.