You might be asking yourself, "Why would I use a spinnerbait if you just told me to keep it slow?" Good question! The key to cold water spinnerbait success is a stop and go retrieve. Reel the lure just enough to get the blade spinning, then stop and let the bait fall to the bottom. The fish will usually hit the lure just as you start to retrieve again, so be ready for the strike.
I like to use dual willow blades when the water is cold. I can keep the lure closer to the bottom with willow blades and this can be key to finding the fish. Keep your colors simple - white and white/blue are great colors to use.
Yet another bait we usually burn across the water, but a suspending crankbait in fall and winter can be deadly. Notice the key word here - suspending. You don't want to move this bait very fast, so reel just fast enough to get the bait down and slightly wobbling, then stop. Just like the spinnerbait, the fish will likely hit the bait when you start retrieving again. I like to throw deep divers and find the fish that are hanging near the bottom.
Besides my jig trailers, flukes are the only other soft plastic I like to throw in cold water. It's not that other plastics won't work, it's just that the fluke produces a more consistant bite. You can do all kinds of different rigging techniques with flukes, but dropshotting and dead sticking are going to be the winners in the winter! You don't want a fast, irractic action when it's cold. Keep the bait near the bottom and try giving it light twitches without much movement.
I throw 2 colors of flukes in the winter - white and gray/silver. Grays and silvers will produce more than the whites, but some days the white is the only color the fish want.
I saved my favorite and most productive technique for last... The suspending jerkbait. There's something about this little minnow that fish just cannot resist, not matter how cold it gets. This is also a good way to get pike and walleye to bite and any time you can target multiple species at once, you're bound to have a productive day!
If you're not bored while throwing a jerkbait during the cold months, you're fishing it too fast. Throw it out and let it sit for 15+ seconds ,then give it a few small jerks, reel in some slack and wait. Try and keep some slack in your line before jerking, this will allow some baits to completely turn around and trigger strikes. Patience is key - I have been known to let the bait sit for 30 seconds to a minute between jerks.
Hands down, the most productive jerkbait you can use during the cold months is a Rapala Xrap. The unique action this bait provides, matched with the dressed treble hook, can make all the difference. My favorite colors are glass ghost, olive green and silver. As far as sizes go, try and throw the smallest size your rod can handle. I like the XR08 and the XR10, but I do have a few XR06 and even some XR12's.