The feeding behaviour of carp in winter

The feeding behaviour of carp in winter

Winter is everyone knows that it is a resting period for nature, of which fish like carp are part. Moreover it is also a resting period for many carp anglers, but not all! And for good reason, despite the winter cold (which tends to soften with the warming of the climate), it is still possible to fish for carp effectively by using an adapted strategy, and adapted baits!

The carp are the most important fish in the world.

To cut through the conventional wisdom, it is entirely possible to choose a meaty, spicy, fruity or creamy boilie to fish for carp in winter. The most important thing is that its composition favours an optimal diffusion in cold water, and specifically meets the nutritional needs of carp in this season.

But let's come back to the main point.

But let's come back in more detail to the behaviour of carp in winter because before talking about fishing here, we are first interested in our finned clients.


Gregarious behaviour and congregation on holding areas.

First of all, they don't move around much. Very often we see groupings (which can be very large) around what are called holding areas. In dams this corresponds to rocky screes, fields of submerged stumps, or deep, congested edges. They descend into the water layer to find a temperature less cold than at the surface, the thermal boundary between the very cold surface water layer and the warmer deep zone. This limit is called thermocline, and to reach it the carps do not hesitate to gather at a depth of 10 or 15 meters in a reservoir. In rivers they will occupy places sheltered from strong currents, protected by tree trunks or any other natural or artificial structure breaking the main current. This provides them with security and limits their energy expenditure, so precious in this season. 

Impairment of the metabolic activity of carp in winter

Many studies conducted on the feeding behaviour of carp (the first one in 1938!) lead to the same result: during winter the carp drastically reduces its metabolic activity and uses in large part its fat reserves built up during the year. It turns to the food that is most accessible to it. Physiologically, its organism functions at a slower pace when the waters are cold. There is no phytoplankton development and zooplankton is rare, except for pockets of daphnia which are still well represented. That said, when the biotope allows, some food sources remain very accessible and relatively easy to reach, in particular chironomids and tubifex (mud worms).

Importance of the daily cycle for carp in winter

While feeding phases evolve seasonally, they also evolve on a daily basis, and this is particularly true in winter. The experience of carp anglers, as well as studies on feeding cycles, show that there are favourable time slots. It can be seen that these daily windows of opportunity are variable depending on the location. They can be very short in winter, of the order of half an hour on a 24-hour scale. But as mentioned before, the relatively mild winters that we have been experiencing for the last few years allow carp to feed over often longer periods. Fishing well for carp in winter requires a good knowledge of the site on which you are practising, and their feeding behaviour in that area.


Warming of the climate?

With regard to global warming, this should also be seen as one of the likely factors in the ever-increasing size of carp. This is a fact and has been observed for several years: with the contribution of exogenous food of the fishermen and the development of the microfauna (allowed by the increase in winter temperatures) the carps are increasingly larger, more or less everywhere in France.

In the fish industry

In fish, which are poikilothermic organisms, metabolism is thermo-dependent. This means that food requirements follow the evolution of temperature. The trend followed is close to the Q10 law which states that for a rise of 10°C food requirements are doubled.

What specific boilies for winter?

With regard to boilies, all tests show that diffusion is very much worse in cold water than in warm water. The winter boilies developed by Seezone contain ingredients specifically studied for winter, which ensure optimal diffusion despite the drop in temperature. They also offer a nutritional response in line with the dietary needs of carp in this season. In order to optimise the diffusion of cold water boilies and to offer baits corresponding to the nutrients sought by carp, Seezone has developed "WINTER" boilies with the following characteristics:

  • The significant introduction of soluble and hygroscopic elements in the mix recipe (e.g. predigested fishmeal, milk powder, concentrated amino acids, liver hydrolysates...), with the aim of increasing the diffusion and attractiveness of the boilies.
  • A specific alcohol-based aroma formulation, diffusing much faster in cold water than other aroma carriers.
  • The incorporation of low melting point oils, which do not set even if the water is very cold but still remain in the liquid phase, which significantly improves their ability to diffuse in water.
  • The use of high quality, highly digestible flours that do not saturate the fish on a digestive level.
  • A very open texture, containing a lot of very long fibre birdfoods. They aim to make the winter boilie porous by creating real osmotic bridges between the inside of the boilie and its surface. By osmosis phenomenon, the water penetrates in the boiler going from the least concentrated medium (lake) to the most concentrated (boiler). The water thus expels from the boiler the elements carrying the chemical message, which the carps will be able to collect. Physically, these particularly long bridges facilitate the path of the water towards the heart of the boilie. The soluble elements are diffused more easily, for longer, for optimal attractiveness.

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Free delivery in France from 79€.