BlogJanuary 2024

Three January Health Benefits of Fishing

Three January Health Benefits of Fishing

By Andy Whitcomb

Jan 02, 2024

For many, winter can be a time for battling cabin fever, moping around, waiting for spring to signal getting out fishing gear again. But there are fish to be caught even in January and health benefits to boot.

The middle of winter can be a challenging time for many. Cold temperatures and snow are great if you like to ski, but anglers may find themselves in a sour mood, head in hands, staring at their snow-covered boat and dreaming of the first signs of spring. However, if conditions allow, here are a few January health benefits of fishing.

1. Exercise

The health benefits from exercise are widely known. Thus, mental alertness, stress relief, and mood improvement can all be a part of winter fishing health advantages. Although fishing usually is considered a “sport,” anglers do not necessarily have to be athletes. However, even dragging a sled across a snowy, frozen lake to sit in an ice shanty or covering any distance in heavy neoprene waders along a creek, will result in feeling the physical benefits of winter fishing with cardio and aerobic exercise. And let’s not forget the January health benefits of fishing from the stretching involved from wrestling on those waders in the first place.

2. Less is more

Ice fishing fanatics serve as inspiration for addressing the mental side of winter fishing health advantages. Even the smallest cooperative bluegill or two can boost mental health through fishing. Under winter’s testing conditions, these little fish, carefully lifted through the ice, can be as thrilling of a success as hooking a bass capable of swallowing your catch during warmer months. And the January health benefits of fishing don’t even have to involve actually catching a fish. There have been cloudy, blustery, miserable weather days when just venturing out to get some fresh air and scout the fishing conditions for a while, then returning for a hot chocolate felt like… victory.


3. Deep thoughts

But then again, catching a big fish also works as a great way for improving well-being through fishing. One of the great aspects about winter fishing is that the pattern can be predictable. During spring and fall, fish are transitioning to different locations and depths. But during winter, fish usually have arrived, hunkered down in some of the deeper holes. And although not actively feeding as much as during warmer seasons, fish will still react to a lure or bait. If conditions allow, this is a great time to try a jerkbait with long pauses, vertically fluttering a spoon to the bottom, or slowly dragging a jig or swimbait.


It is important to note that January fishing and stress relief need to be achieved safely. Take all necessary cold weather fishing wellness precautions such as monitoring weather reports, dressing in layers, and following ice thickness guidelines. With a bit of caution, planning, and adhering to sage advice such as “know when to quit,” you can maintain your health and be ready to achieve the health benefits of spring fishing too.

Andy Whitcomb
Andy Whitcomb
Andy is an outdoor writer ( and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.