Finding river and canal roach in winter

BURNING

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had a crack at roach fishing today and not a single bite, does anyone have any guidance on what can be done to locate them in winter? I was fishing a position I had much success catching roach in summer

I moved the float up and down to present both on the bottom and midwater, bait was small bread punch, threw in a very small amount of groundbait

Is it a case of moving up/downriver after an hour on each peg?
 

Davethefish

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Canals can be notoriously hard in Winter and often run clear ( Boat traffic having slowed down ). I've cycled the Regents canal towpath in Central London during the Winter and on occasions it has literally been as clear as tap water. Try the usual suspects: Deeper turning bays, by moored barges ( preferably ones being used as they create a warm zone around them ), locks, any areas of decent cover.
 

Rick123

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Boats add cover, cover means a feature, find features and you find fish. Where the boats turn can also be a good spot, as it can be deeper.
 

Silverfisher

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It’s a mystery to me that’s for sure. My local Thames goes from one of the best roach rivers in the country in summer and autumn to one of the worst in the winter. This season in particular I’ve hardly heard of a single roach coming out since November. They really don’t like it freezing and floody!
 

Robwooly

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Is it a case of moving up/downriver after an hour on each peg?
I rove on my canal in winter, I'd actually say give it less time maybe half an hour or even twenty mins, fish light and keep mobile, it keeps you warm too. Despite knowing my canal well the fish move big time, not just in winter but during spring to breeding areas, during the year different species dominate different spots, it's like they rotate it like a farmer does his crop, darned if I can work out where they are at a given time though, all it takes is a pike or some big perch to be following them and they could be balled up somewhere else, not to mention the other predators that get them shoaled up. Some areas are totally devoid of roach but some have them in good numbers spread out just like summer. Finding the features as others have said is a good start but they can also be in areas that seem illogical, or they just may not be feeding especially if it was a cold night.
 

tipitinmick

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had a crack at roach fishing today and not a single bite, does anyone have any guidance on what can be done to locate them in winter? I was fishing a position I had much success catching roach in summer

I moved the float up and down to present both on the bottom and midwater, bait was small bread punch, threw in a very small amount of groundbait

Is it a case of moving up/downriver after an hour on each peg?
Location, location, location. You’re probably not doing anything wrong at all. Roach ball up tight in winter. You need to do some homework first or you’ll spend hours and hours fishing empty pegs. Look for sheltered, built up areas where the water will be 1 or 2 degrees higher in temperature. It may not sound like a big difference but, the roach will know this area. Good luck. 👍
 

Jonathan Sutcliffe-Bland

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On the cut fish light. I use 3 elastic - 0.08 to 0.06mm match team - size 22 Kamasan B511. A small 0.30 carbon stemmed float with an olivette to bomb the bait down. Bread punch on the hook, 3mm to 5mm. Feed a tangerine size ball at the start and fish it out. I think nothing of fishing the olivette 2" from the hook with the olivette touching bottom with the 2" of line on't deck 👍🏻
 

mike fox

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Nature will tell you where the fish are. Look for Cormorant or Goosander activity. As I approached a stretch on the Welsh Dee I disturbed 4 feeding Cormorants. I had a cracking few hours catching Grayling and out of season wild brown Trout from the same spot working up stream to where the birds were.
 

tipitinmick

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On the cut fish light. I use 3 elastic - 0.08 to 0.06mm match team - size 22 Kamasan B511. A small 0.30 carbon stemmed float with an olivette to bomb the bait down. Bread punch on the hook, 3mm to 5mm. Feed a tangerine size ball at the start and fish it out. I think nothing of fishing the olivette 2" from the hook with the olivette touching bottom with the 2" of line on't deck 👍🏻
Is that the Leeds / Liverpool Jonathan ?
 

John Step

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Find an urban section. Normally I would say where the matches are but covids different. Anyway, an urban section where you see others fishing is a good start. The word gets round where they shoal up. It happens in the same places year on year.
 

michealangilo

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since the late 80s it has been general on all rivers the Trent is my local but don’t think there’s my rivers I have not fished a lot has always been said about the power stations closing down and the water temperature 🤒 is not has warm but surely after som many years now they must get used to it because they have hatched and got used to it has the roach and other species had in the 60 and 70 -80s we didn’t have the cormorants but still the derwent wasn’t a warm water river but it was fantastic fishing in winter has was the Trent and others even in flood waters you could catch A few fish always no longer the case after frosts it’s the kids of death and no one knows the reason why or wants to to day just look at the roach fishing on the Hampshire Avon and what they are doing to try and make sure the roach grow on that’s just a bit I could for a year about what’s wrong
 

Silverfisher

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It's roughly the same pattern here every year in that as soon as the floods and frosts hit in typically late November roach go from very plentiful to very scarce. They'll show up on some stretches when you get a rare spell of mild dry weather but that's about it until last couple weeks of the season when they tend to start showing again. Then the new season starts and they're a bit patchy for the first couple weeks but then for the rest of the summer and autumn there are roach everywhere again until the cycle starts again.
 

BURNING

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It's roughly the same pattern here every year in that as soon as the floods and frosts hit in typically late November roach go from very plentiful to very scarce. They'll show up on some stretches when you get a rare spell of mild dry weather but that's about it until last couple weeks of the season when they tend to start showing again. Then the new season starts and they're a bit patchy for the first couple weeks but then for the rest of the summer and autumn there are roach everywhere again until the cycle starts again.
kinda makes me curious why people talk so much about winter roach fishing, guess I will stick to the chub and pike
 

Silverfisher

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kinda makes me curious why people talk so much about winter roach fishing, guess I will stick to the chub and pike
Me too! I think it just varies by the river system. Some are summer and autumn rivers and other more autumn and winter rivers. Is mad how it changes here it’s like someone comes and nets most the roach out in December then puts them back in come March 😂
 

mike fox

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kinda makes me curious why people talk so much about winter roach fishing, guess I will stick to the chub and pike
What about Wallers Haven. I haven't fished there for several years but there used to be a good head of Roach in there in spite of it being predominately a Bream water.
 

Jonathan Sutcliffe-Bland

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kinda makes me curious why people talk so much about winter roach fishing, guess I will stick to the chub and pike
In summer on my local cut I might catch 10lb of Roach hence I fish for Bream as the Roach are smaller than in winter. In winter it takes me walking the cut every day, my daily exercise, to find where they are shoalled. Find them and I'll catch 10lb, 20lb, or even 30lb of Roach as the fish seem to be larger as they compete more for food in winter.
 

Silverfisher

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In summer on my local cut I might catch 10lb of Roach hence I fish for Bream as the Roach are smaller than in winter. In winter it takes me walking the cut every day, my daily exercise, to find where they are shoalled. Find them and I'll catch 10lb, 20lb, or even 30lb of Roach as the fish seem to be larger as they compete more for food in winter.
That almost perfectly sums up why fishing is so interesting in how it can differ so much place by place 👍🏻

On the Thames here summer and autumn roach bags tend to range from 10-20lb with odd bigger so most people target them as with bream you might land on them and get 50lb plus or just get a couple to a handful for no bigger weight than the roach bags. Then come winter you'd do well to get a couple pounds of roach with double figures a huge bag so people tend to target the bream as that fairly innocuous couple to handful of them is way more of a bag than you'll ever likely do with roach at such time. It's not a dissimilar situation with the canal either. It doesn't get fished much through prime river time of mid summer to late autumn given its more people's back up option when the river is closed or flooded but whilst the difference is not as stark as the river it does still tend to see people favour roach when it's warm and bream when it's cold.

All fascinating stuff how everywhere has its own little cycles and nuances 🙂
 

mickthechippy

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What about Wallers Haven. I haven't fished there for several years but there used to be a good head of Roach in there in spite of it being predominately a Bream water.
The land of spooky things, the pevensey levels

I get the real willies there, my neck hairs rise and I get the feeling that Im always being watched by something not of this world
 
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