What is the Best Time to Fish?
What is the best time to fish? If you read our blogs regularly, you’ll probably think we sound like a broken record, but it has to be said: it depends. The prime time to catch the fish of your dreams can vary due to season, weather, and even moon phase.
Here’s an overview of each time of day, from morning to night, and the advantages and disadvantages anglers may face.
Morning is one of the best times to fish during warmer months. Late spring, summer, and early fall are plagued with intense heat in most areas, so catching fish when the waters are still cool is ideal. The dim light of the early morning is also beneficial for catching bottom feeders like catfish and bass who prefer darker climates and often hide from the bright sun. Another plus for morning fishing is there are typically fewer anglers around, meaning less competition for you!
Morning fishing is not the best option in colder months though. Because fish enjoy moderate to cool temperatures, they will be waiting for the warm sun to come out and heat the waters before they emerge.
A sunny afternoon in the warmest months is typically not the most productive time to fish. This time of day is when the sun is strongest which can cause fish to lay low. That being said, if its overcast or rainy, the afternoon can be a great time to catch fish during a post-storm feeding frenzy.
During colder months, though, early afternoon fishing is ideal as the weather will be bearable for both you and the fish.
Just like morning, late afternoon is an excellent time for summer fishing. With the sun’s rays unable to directly penetrate the water, temperatures cool which invites more fish out to feed – and get caught!
In the winter, dusk really won’t be your friend. You may be able to get a few casts in during the mid to late afternoon, but once the sun sets and temperatures drop, bites will slow, and frankly, you’ll just be cold.
Night fishing can be a summer paradise. With the right fishing lights and lures, you can catch some sneaky fish that thrive at night such as walleye and catfish. Bright lures are essential when night fishing because less light means less visibility.
Obviously, the colder the weather, the less productive night fishing will be. Always make sure to wear appropriate fishing clothing for cold weather to stay safe, comfortable, and healthy.
For more specific, personalized information about when you should fish, a fishing calendar can be a helpful tool. Calendars like the Farmer’s Almanac take moon phases and weather patterns into account to predict the fishing conditions on any particular day and time. Some anglers trust the almanac wholeheartedly while others are skeptical.
There are other fishing calendars available and even apps you can download to help determine the best times to fish. Not only are these calendars useful to determine what time to go fishing, but they can also help you identify the best location to get bites based on the current atmosphere.
All of the advice we’ve given about time of day could change depending on the weather, one of the most important factors in fishing success. Temperature, precipitation, and wind can have an enormous effect on how many and what type of fish you catch.
Fishing in the rain has its pros and cons, but most anglers agree that if fished correctly, rainy or post-stormy weather can be exactly what you need for a productive fishing trip. If you want to learn more about the benefits of fishing in the rain, head over to our blog about it!
Wind is yet another essential factor to consider when deciding what time to fish. Whatever direction the wind is headed is where the natural food is flowing, and therefore where the fish are swimming as well. Paying close attention to currents will allow you to take full advantage of the fishing trip. Strong winds can be dangerous to fish in especially if you’re fishing from a small boat. Be sure to keep safety as your number one priority when fishing in adverse weather conditions.
Best Performance Fishing Apparel
On any fishing trip, it's important to wear performance fishing apparel when you plan to spend hours on the water in the heat, rain, or cold. The fishing apparel you choose ultimately affects your performance and health. Long sleeve fishing shirts should have UV protection, moisture-wicking, anti-odor, quick-dry, and ventilated features. You should also have fishing shorts with multiple deep pockets, 4-way stretch, moisture-wicking, and stain-resistant fabrics. Sun protection is extremely important, especially if you fish frequently.