With temperatures slowly dropping and winter just around the corner, man carp anglers will be packing away their gear until the spring of the year when the weather improves.
If you’re a keen carp angler, you’ll be aware that carp are cold-blooded fish and are far more active in feeding when the water is warmer.
During winter, as temperatures drop and the water temperature with it, the carp may only feed once or twice a day in short windows.
Most carp fishing comes down to watercraft and locating the fish no matter the time of year, but this becomes even more essential in the winter.
Many anglers will tell you that as winter approaches, the carp will move to the deepest parts of the lake or venue and stay here to wait out the winter.
This is not always true.
So, do carp prefer deeper water in winter? Let’s find out.
Do Carp Prefer Deeper Water in Winter?
To answer the question as simple as possible, no carp don’t necessarily prefer the deeper water during the winter; where they are will depend on the actual weather conditions.
It is thought that carp will spend most of their time in the deeper water but this is not the case, and they will spend a lot of the time in the mid to upper layers of the water.
During consistent extremely cold periods over the winter, the carp will likely be in deep areas of the lake, and these should be the first places you send your rigs to try and gain an understanding of where the fish are.
The reason you’ll often find carp in these deeper areas during extremely cold spells is due to the way the water cools.
As carp are cold-blooded fish they will look for slightly warmer areas of the lake, and even a degree in water temperature can make a large difference to the fish.
As the air temperature and mixing with the wind cools the water, the colder water will sink until it reaches 4 degrees and then rise again to the surface.
This natural occurrence prevents full lakes from freezing over if the top layers freeze.
Due to this, you’ll find the bottom of lakes never be below 4 degrees.
This is why the carp may flock to these extremely deep areas.
But, let’s be honest here if the water is so cold that the top layer is frozen, then you’re not going to be fishing much.
Where to Find Winter Carp?
Now that we’ve established that carp do not necessarily prefer the deeper water in winter but can sometimes be found here, let’s take a look at some of the other areas that carp can be found in during the winter to hopefully get a few fish in the net.
I mentioned briefly that carp would often only feed during one or two small windows throughout the day in winter so your first task should be to work out when these times are.
Usually, these will be at the warmest part of the day or dusk or dawn.
The shallows are not to be avoided in winter, and during milder spells where the sun can sometimes warm the top few feet of water, the fish can often be found here even in as little as 3ft of water.
Bear in mind that the air temperature will take a lot longer to warm the water, so the water temperature does not consistently fluctuate with the air temperature.
Weeds are also a great place to find carp in winter. These dying weeds can offer some warmth to the fish, and they will also feel safe here away from angling pressure and are more likely to feed close by.
Also, within the weeds, the wind will not disturb the water as much, which is a large factor in how quickly the water will cool, so these areas are commonly slightly warmer and the fish more comfortable.
Overhanging trees and snags are also great places to look for fish during winter.
These are other areas that offer safety to the fish and will naturally hold a little more warmth due to the same reasons stated above.
The wind is another factor you can consider when trying to work out where the carp are hiding during the winter.
This is not an exact science, but often, the carp will gather off the back of cold wind as the cool air isn’t mixing with the water as quickly as the wind blowing towards the bank.
So no, carp don’t prefer deeper water in winter but will sometimes congregate in these deep areas if the conditions make sense.
For some reason, many anglers discount the features of the lakes and shallow water during the winter; you should now see that this is not wise.
The most important thing during the winter in observation and working out where the carp are and when they will commonly feed.
The information in this article should at least guide where you can start looking.