It’s always exciting, because even with the mild temperatures we’ve had, there are already some trout being taken in the river. When we get to more normal temperatures for December, especially after cold fronts, you can expect to find trout in the river in good numbers; in very cold weather, the water temperature near the surface is much colder than in deeper water. You can always call the Ship’s Store to find out what the bite is like, but even when trout do come in the river, they are also available in creek beds and around oyster bars and rocks that can hold heat. As the water temperature gets down into the low 60’s, it may be worth your while to switch your morning trips to mid-morning and make sure you fish the afternoon warming waters when the fish are likely to be more active. With lower temperatures, there is one singular tip that will help you catch more fish: slow down. Being cold-blooded, fish are less active in cold water and less likely to run a distance to track down, for instance, a topwater lure. This is the time of the year to fish slowly suspending plugs, or if you’re using popping corks or jigs: slow down your retrieve. Additionally, sometimes the bite is very different in cold weather so be alert for even the slightest tap (braid line helps a lot in winter fishing). Live shrimp, Gulp! shrimp and other artificial shrimp fished with small weights or on jigheads to get the business end near the bottom will produce trout in the river and in deep creek beds. The classic “river lure” is the 52M Mirrolure which will sink nicely. For shallow water, suspending lures like the Mirrodine XL, Mirrolure Catch 2000 Junior, Live Target Scaled Sardine, Paul Brown Corky Lures and other similar lures will sink more slowly which is your aim in winter lure fishing. December is a great month in spite of the temperature, since fishing in the river is an option. When the weather is better, run outside to fish creek beds and structure on higher afternoon tides. Winter is actually my favorite time of the year to catch big trout, so give it a try.