There are two parts to it. The first is recognizing the conditions. The second is knowing what to throw when. Both are predictable enough to get you in the ballpark. Then you fine tune to the current day, or better, the current hour.
Some specific advice for your coldwater fishing: Learn a couple lures for those conditions. I'd suggest the suspending jerkbait, and a crayfishy jig or soft plastic creature, or a slow-rolled single-spin. Don't worry about colors. Pick one of each and get to know them.
Spend a little time with the jerkbait, how it looks and feels as you retrieve. The key to jerks, and any other lure, really, in terms of speed control, is that it has to trigger hits, yet the bass must know they can catch it. That's the rub in cold water –they won't commit to something unless they know they can catch it. Part of the trigger –besides the obvious size and flash and baitfish shape –is making the bait look erratic, and then CATCHABLE! Then you make it so.
Essentially, you are trying to keep a lure in any one area as long as possible. In other words avoid too much horizontal movement. Horizontal movement is the attraction, something that can escape (exciting!), but it must be deemed catchable by the bass. And this depends on your knowing, or divining, the general metabolic speed, and the eagerness, of the fish in front of you at the moment.
“Metabolic Speed” (from my experience with CO and NY bass):
At 45, it’s very slow –a crawl. Simply takes patience.
At 50 options increase, and fish are much more willing, or at least able to meet you part way.
At 55 I start picking up the pace. The bass can chase well by then. I may speed test small fish when I start. A thermometer is faster though. Topwaters are a possibility.
Above 60 bass can really chase and at 65 or better you physically cannot reel too fast if a bass really wants that bait. Not that that’s the best tact, but if the fish are willing you can sure cover water and catch a lot of bass.
Actively feeding bass, with prey in front of them, and their target screen set, are more willing to chase at any temperature. As are bass in high competition with their cohorts, usually smaller bass in our waters (<15”).
Jerkbaits are made to order for colder water, and less willing fish, because they suspend. The erratic darts and flashes attract and trigger, the pauses allow the interested bass to catch it. An example of fine-tuning might be: You are in the ballpark and have bass chasing up, but they miss a lot. So you respond by lengthening the pause.
There are many other lures that can work in cold water of course. You can add them as time permits. But get to know them first in practice, tinkering, sessions.