Do carp bite in winter - Angler standing beside bivvy looking over water in snow

With winter not far around the corner, large portions of the anglers in the UK will pack their fishing tackle away throughout the winter and not return to carp angling until Spring.

Winter carp fishing in the UK can be highly challenging as the water temperatures drop significantly.

As water temperatures drop, the carp will enter a state of “torpor”, which basically means as their body temperature lowers so does their metabolic activity.

This means they will be far less active in the water and don’t feed often. In some venues when conditions are poor the carp may only feed during one short time window every day.

If you’re hardy enough to brave the icy temperatures over the winter and still want to put a few fish in the net, then there is a lot you can learn to give you the best chance of success and avoid sitting on the banks in unproductive times.

In this post, I will focus on “Do carp bite in the winter?” and what times of day they will usually bite depending on conditions.

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  • Do Carp Bite in Winter?

    Contrary to what people believe, carp do not stop feeding altogether throughout the winter and will in fact, feed at some point during the day.

    If you want to put a few winter carp in the net, then you need to get educated on when the fish will usually feed at the venue you’re fishing. This involves paying attention to the weather conditions.

    If you’re wanting carp to bite, then you better believe you need to be fishing at a time when they are willing to feed.

    Carp are cold-blooded fish, so their body temperature falls with the water temperature they are swimming in, reducing their metabolism so that they don’t feed anywhere near as often. 

    Although their feeding windows are drastically reduced, if you pay enough attention, you can pinpoint their feeding which will usually be once or twice per day.

    If the weather conditions are fairly consistent, then these feeding times can be the same for long periods of time.

    These times may be for as little as only an hour, so it’s extremely important you are there and prepared with rods in the water when these times come around if you want to be in for any chance of carp biting.

    So yes, carp do bite in winter, but you better be sure you’re ready for these small feeding windows, or you stand very little chance of getting any fish in the net.

    When to Find Feeding Winter Carp?

    Do carp bite in winter - Angler fishing at dawn in winter

    Now that we’ve established that carp do feed and can bite in winter, then we need to take a closer look at when these tight feeding windows could be.

    Nothing can replace your time and effort in watching the water, even before your fishing sessions to build up a picture of the carp’s behaviour.

    But, there are general ideas of when the carp will feed during winter.

    As the carp are far less active in the winter, any small sign you see of carp activity such as feeding bubbles, carp rolling or jumping, moving reeds or any other small indication of carp should be noted.

    This time of increased activity is when you should have your rigs in the water and fished throughout, as they may not last long.

    Nothing beats watercraft in winter, and you really need a keen eye on the water consistently to try and build up a picture of when these feeding windows could be.

    A lot of the time, these feeding windows will kick off during the warmest part of the day, which is generally around noon.

    Dusk and dawn can also be a potential for these feeding windows as the light begins to change and the carp feel more comfortable feeding.

    Where to Find Feeding Winter Carp?

    If you’re wondering where you should be paying attention to these signs of feeding carp in winter, then let’s take a look at where they can commonly be found.

    First of all, in the winter, carp group in the areas they feel most comfortable.

    This will usually mean areas that still hold some dying weed, overhanging trees, or underwater snags and any other areas sheltered from cold winds.

    Preferably, you should be looking to be fishing in southerly or south-westerly winds as these are generally warmer.

    If the water is a lot colder than the air temperature, then these weather spells could be good to get a few fish biting and in the net.

    That’s All

    Contrary to what a lot of new anglers think, winter should not be a complete write-off, and you still have the opportunity to find carp that are willing to feed.

    This purely comes down to watercraft, working out when these short feeding windows are and where the carp are feeding during these windows.

    By working this out, you will be able to limit your fishing sessions to these times and have a lot more confidence that you might have a chance of putting a fish or two in the net.

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