In this post I’ll bring you 14 great baits in tough winter conditions, that will raise your chances to catch a fine carp.
Why You Should Trust My Recommendation
Since 2014 I’ve been winter carp fishing and I’ve tested countless of winter carp fishing bait which makes me a guy to listen to.
To me, the best bait for winter carp fishing isn’t the most expensive one. It is the one that will get the job done. We don’t want the good choices though, we want the best.
Let’s dive into the best bait ideas for winter carp fishing and throw in some tips and tricks for catching carp this winter with ease and at high quantities.
1. The Good ole’ Nightcrawler
Nightcrawlers just work. Plain and simple. Would they be ranked #1 on my list for catching carp?
No, but they still catch carp in the winter. Other species of fish as well so this is where you must ask yourself, will I be upset if I catch other fish when fishing for carp?
I’ve bought a lot of my nightcrawlers right here (Amazon link).
If the answer is yes, then you may want to lean toward a bait that will attract carp and carp only.
I have found that catching carp in the winter is 100% doable. It is definitely slower and more difficult. Especially factoring in the cold weather elements. Do to that, it doesn’t bother me hooking into a nice catfish from time to time.
Sorry if that makes you think I’m not 100% exclusively a carp fisherman but I’ve said repeatedly stated in previous blogs that I’m a diehard cat fisherman as well.
All the anglers I know use Pop-ups when ice fishing. So it’s pretty common to me to see anglers using Pop-ups when fishing in the cold winter.
Pop-ups is a very visible bait and it’s often loaded with some sort of attractors like sweet potato or barries.
3. Boilies for Winter Carp Fishing
You will find all you need at Amazon – Click here.
Yes, I’m aware that boilies and fluora boiles are having issues with bans or have already been banned.
That doesn’t mean they are banned everywhere, and they still work great. Boilies will probably always remain a top winter bait for carp fishing.
4. Fake Corn as Winter Carp Bait
Extra: Found these simulation soft corn baits for carp at a great price.
Boom. Another one of my favorite baits for winter carp fishing. Keep things, simple people. Don’t re-invent the wheel.
Does your diet change drastically in the winter?
I mean, maybe you eat more because you are cooped up in the house more but for the most part, you don’t go from eating steak and potatoes to eating purely vegan meals unless you decided to begin a new diet.
What carp like in the summer doesn’t change in the winter.
Now, new methods can be used to garner more attention from the carp. That doesn’t completely change what baits you use in the winter.
You can use additional attractants or whatever you feel is the secret carp bait, but I promise, corn will work just fine.
It’s easy for the carp to see and it’s one of the cheapest, easiest options you can use for carp fishing in the winter.
If you can have earthworms (link to Amazon) – use them. Don’t know about you but for me it’s just a nice feeling catching carp using earthworms.
Yes, doughballs still work in the winter. My problem with dough balls, is I’m terrible at making them and having success on a repeat basis. I’ve had good luck with a few dough balls I’ve made by hand at home, they worked, and for whatever reason, I couldn’t repeat the success.
In the winter, any artificial doughball or homemade doughball will work to get the carp biting. Use any of the homemade dough balls that you are used to making and give it a shot.
Peanut butter and cereal doughballs are known to be top options for carp.
I’m personally a fan of the peanut butter, and at this point in my carp fishing ventures, I’m still not having great luck with cereal balls. If anyone has an excellent recipe for this, feel free to leave a comment below.
Yes, I’m asking for your help with some of these baits.
The goal is for all of us to learn and catch more fish each time we hit the waters and if you know me well enough through other blogs, you know I’m not a paid fisherman and do this purely out of the joy of fishing so by no means am I a top notch expert in carp fishing.
7. Bread as Winter Carp Bait
Yes, I know you probably think I’m just a bread fanatic when it comes to carp fishing.
Especially since I have several other blogs about my success with bread over time reeling in these large fish.
Bread still works in the winter.
Now, in my previous blogs, I mention a few options you can use for bread during the other seasons, but in the winter, I’d narrow down the choices to 1 and 1 only.
Liquidizing the bread. Not once. Liquidize the bread at least twice. This will make the particles, smaller and more delicate.
Use the PVA method to continue catching carp in the winter effectively. Bread is still and will continue to be one of the best carp baits you can use.
Don’t neglect the salt. I think salt should be used during all seasons. It just adds that much-needed punch to the bait that you need to get the carp stirring in the winter.
It’s a huge attractant used by many anglers all months of the year. It continues to work in the winter.
You have 2 ways you can maximize success with salt in the winter:
- You can use salt and nothing but salt. This would be utilizing the PVA bag approach. You can overload the PVA bag with salt and nothing else but salt and it will work.
- Add salt to any other bait you are using currently. If you’re using any other method of carp bait, add some salt to give it that extra kick.
9. Spices as Winter Carp Bait
Yes, I know. It seems like I use a ton of the same baits in the winter as I do in the warm months. Again, it’s because the baits I’m suggesting, still work perfectly fine in the winter.
You can be creative with this option.
You can literally just open your kitchen cabinet and start trying what you have one by one and eventually you will hit one that will work just fine.
Some of the spices that I use frequently would be
- Garlic Salt
- Chili Powder
- Sweet Heat BBQ Powder
- Onion Powder
- Sea Salt
I don’t think I can say with any certainty if one of these works better than the rest and think this is really a “just grab whichever spice” you want, and it has a chance at bringing carp near your bait.
Just use a little common sense at what would give off some good scents to the carp, and it will most likely pan in your favor.
10. Various Forms of Carp Paste
These are just to easy to use and work great in the winter. All you need to do is buy a commercial bag of the paste of your choice.
Pour the paste in water and mix the paste until you get the consistency that you are looking for. Let the bait stand for roughly 20 minutes, and your paste will be ready to go.
Feel free to get creative with paste as well. Add salt and spices to the mix during the mix phase to give it a little more kick.
I personally always at least add a little salt to the mix. You can use this bait in any body of water that isn’t frozen during the winter and still have some success catching carp.
Carp will eat the little wrigglers no matter how cold it is in the water. So If you’re up for using maggots let’s go!
Using PVA-friendly mixes of liquids can attract the carp – so if you need something extra to get the carps attention – you might want to try adding a bit of liquid to the water.
Using hemp is something more experiences anglers do. I’m not the biggest fan because I tend to choose the easy bait to use like the top 3 on this list.
I often use meat when I’m out of bread, corn, dough etc. The scent and the texture of the peperami just makes it a great bait for catching carp in the winter.
Do The Baits Work For Winter Night Fishing?
Do the same baits work for winter night fishing? When fishing for carp at night during the cold months the problem you run into isn’t the bait, it’s the weather conditions.
Without the sun shining down or having the ability to scout with ease, it’s harder to locate the carp.
If you are fishing a river or know of any warm water discharges areas, it can increase your ability to catch carp dramatically.
Where I’m from, I fish Clinton Lake, Illinois. It’s a powerplant lake with several warm water discharge areas.
These spots, regardless of the time of the year can always net results. As far as the baits, I don’t make any changes with my approach.
What if You Are Winter Fishing Ponds For Carp?
Again, no. It’s arguably easier to locate carp in a pond during the winter months, and the baits pack that much more punch.
It’s a smaller area that your bait needs to attract the fish based on sight and smell.
Just keep in mind that the strong scented and bright colors should work great in the winter on ponds.
Especially near the shores and weeded areas. If it’s sunny, it should be easy to put together a solid scouting report before picking your spot for the day.3
Do you have any better bait ideas for Winter Carp Fishing?
Do you have any baits that are just hitting it out of the park for you on a regular basis for carp during the winter?
If your in the need for some winter fishing gear for carp fishing be sure to check out all my recommended gear. I took some time compiling a list of what works for me and what doesn’t that I think could help get going with catching more carp this winter.
Any suggestions that can be added to our list?
Fishing in cold water is an entirely different ball game than most are used to and does take some time to adjust.
Carp fishing in the winter can be fantastic and still yield substantial results.
You do need to realize that the elements will get to you if you aren’t prepared.
Dress warm and wear layers do your scouting report and get after.
If you continue to use the top baits for winter carp fishing that we mentioned, you will catch carp. One way or another.
Don’t forget to take the leap and try cooking your own carp.
If you have any great success stories or trophy catches in the winter, make sure to drop a comment below.
Before beginning, however, let’s cover a few basics and some winter fishing for carp tips and tricks that will ultimately have you on a path toward massive success this winter.
The first thing to remember is just because fall carp fishing is coming to an end does not mean that carp fishing needs to be terminated until spring.
What you do need to do however is pay attention to the weather conditions and be ready to strike when the weather conditions call for it.
Most anglers believe that the carp have hit the retreat button are hidden down in the deep waters or seeking permanent shelter until spring rolls around.
Absolutely not true. While some of those statements and beliefs may be true under certain circumstances, it’s not a blanket statement that can be made about carp fishing in the winter in general.
Early Winter Carp Fishing
Where to find carp in the winter can be easy if you do your homework ahead of time.
You see, early winter carp fishing can be much easier than anglers think.
Although the carp’s metabolism has slowed and he’s not quite the hungry fellow he was just a month or two ago, doesn’t mean he won’t strike a nicely placed bait.
Many carp will return to shallow areas of water in the winter.
As stated before, a few things need to happen for them to show those vacuum lips in the colder months.
First, it will dramatically help if you can still find higher vegetation or weedy areas.
Weedy areas are going to help the carp still feel like he is in his natural safe harbor.
Also, the weeds will give off additional oxygen which is all fish are really searching for this time of the year.
Add some high-pressure days and some decent breezes, and we are talking about the perfect storm for catching carp in the winter.
I’ve been able to catch carp successfully over the last 2 winters.
Yes, I know, I’ve only been heavily into carp fishing for nearly 4 years, but that doesn’t change my passion for the sport or what failures or successes I’ve encountered thus far.
My only goal is to share those with all of you along the way.
Hope you enjoyed the read!