Fishing is a very popular hobby. It is the kind of activity that tests your patience and can be very rewarding depending on your luck. However, your luck in fishing will vary significantly depending on the time and date you decide to go fishing. So, when is the best time to go fishing?
The best time for fishing is when the fish are most active. The date and time depend on species, location, and season and can vary significantly. The location of the sun, the mood, the weather, and even the wind and tide situation can also influence fish activity.
Fishing is certainly a seasonal hobby. Whether you would find a good catch or not depends on the season you choose to go fishing. Therefore timing is very important. So, what are the ideal months to go fishing?
Best Months To Go Fishing
Fishes usually bite the most in warm climates with proper tide conditions. Their activity also severely depends on their migration pattern considering you go fishing in unconfined bodies of water.
While the month to fish in may vary depending on where you live, it is usually fair to assume the best time for fishing is in summer. Fishing gets harder and harder as the seasons get colder. Here is how fishing might feel like in different seasons:
While spring is widely perceived to be teeming with flora and fauna, it may not be the best time to go fishing. Fishes tend to bite irregularly during this season. However, you definitely will have better luck in the latter part of the season and in the later parts of the day when the water is the warmest.
Fishes fail to eat much in the early mornings of spring as there aren’t as many bugs and plankton available during that time of the day. Therefore, in order to make the most out of your fishing trip, it is best that you go fishing around dusk.
The winds around this time will push all the rich food-filled water near the shore so make sure to position yourself towards the shoreline and in the direction of the wind.
Summer is hands down the best time to go fishing. The warm waters of summer are filled with ideal food for fish and you will find fish feeding on them almost all day long.
Not only that, but since the water is warm, the fishes move around more often to cool themselves, increasing fish activity inside the lake. This will also increase the likelihood of them biting your bait and getting caught in your trap. Therefore, it is best to save fishing time for summer vacations when the weather will be warm and the fish plentiful.
Fall is a very inconsistent time to go fishing. Whether or not you will get your expectations met will very much depend on your luck. You may get nothing one day and fill up your buckets the very next week.
The cooler environment overall discourages the fish from coming out to hunt. However, fishes also eat more than average during this season to tackle the upcoming winter. Therefore there is also a chance that they will bite more depending on the weather and the time of the day.
Winter is the worst time for fishing. It is best to retire this hobby during this time of the year unless you are ice fishing. Ice fishing is a different topic in itself and is very different from regular fishing. Thus, store away your fishing rods and sit out this season. Wait for at least until spring so you do not feel disappointed by your fishing results.
Another important variable when it comes to fishing is the time of the day. Fishes are not active throughout the day. They have resting periods and even times when they don’t feed as much or are inactive.
During these times, they will not nibble at your bait no matter how appealing you may have made it to be. Thus, it is very important to know what times are the most suitable for fishing.
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Best Time of The Day To Go Fishing
The amount of food available and the temperature vary depending on the time of the day. Therefore your success in fishing also depends on this factor. However, the time of day, when fishes are available, depends on the season. So the ideal time to fish during each season is discussed below:
Fishing In Spring
After winter ends, the surface water of the water bodies starts to get warmer. During this time there is a turnover of water within closed-water bodies such as lakes and ponds.
The warm water goes to the bottom and the cold water surfaces at the top. During this time, fishes like staying in shallow waters as water in the shallow regions warm faster and food and plants grow more abundantly.
Early Spring Morning
It is an awful time for fishing. The water is still warming up. There is a lack of food. The fish are still spawning and just starting to get hungry. It is not recommended to go fishing during this time of the day
The sunlight is strong. It starts to penetrate and warm up the water. Water abundant in food starts to surface and reach the shoreline along with the wind. During this time, make sure to fish with the wind and near the shorelines. This can potentially be a great time to enjoy fishing!
This is when the fishes start eating a lot. They have been starving and cranky because of the overall lack of food during the winter and are looking for a good meal. This is the best time to fish during spring. Catches will be abundant.
Fishing In Summer
As the cold water turns warmer, fishes start becoming active once again. This is by far the best season to go fishing. The water is filled with food and plant life and it is the ideal time for the fish to feed. Therefore the chances of you reeling in big catches are also much greater during this season.
However, fishes like relatively colder waters so they tend to hide in deeper areas of the lake during the summer. But warmer waters are oxygen-rich so the fishes have to go back and forth between warm and cold regions of the lake.
This region where there is quick access to both warm and cold water is usually between 2-10 feet deep inside the lake.
Thus it is best to pick a spot that gradually slopes from the shoreline into this ideal thermal condition. This is where the fish will bite the most.
Early Summer Morning
The best time to hunt for fish is from the early morning to the middle of the day. However, you must also know that since food is in abundance and there is cold water for the fish to return to deeper lengths, it might be very difficult to get the fish to bite on your bait.
The water stays warm due to it being exposed to sunlight all throughout the day. Thus fishes retrieve to deeper regions for most of the day and are hesitant to come out. Not only that, but they are also usually full from feeding during the morning and thus are much less likely to take your bait. This is not a very good time for fishing.
Summer Evening To Night
The water is colder during this time and fishes come closer to the surface as a result. This is an excellent time to fish as the fishes are nearer and looking for food after their afternoon drought.
The comfortable temperatures of the water make them much more active. Therefore sundown to the break of dawn is also an excellent time to go fishing.
Fishing In Fall
The air temperature starts to cool down during this season. This cold air results in the surface of the water cooling down to levels similar to the water at the bottom of the lake.
As a result, fishes feel more comfortable moving around and can be found all over the lake. This makes catching fish a coin flip. If you are lucky you may find a lot of fish activity near you and if luck isn’t on your side then you might not find anything at all.
Early Fall Morning
Sunlight is not very strong early in the morning. Therefore it cannot penetrate the surface of the water which results in colder water overall. Baiting is hard during this time and fishing is discouraged. You will not find much success trying to fish in the morning during fall.
Water is much cooler during this time of the day. Thus fishes come to shallower water since it is warmer and richer in oxygen. This can be a good time to fish as long as you stick to the shallower regions of the pool.
This is the best time to fish in Fall. The sunlight will keep the water warm and the fish will be looking to gain more weight in anticipation of winter.
Since it is much harder to find food in winter, fish activities reduce significantly during that season. Therefore, in order to compensate for winter, fish over-eat during fall. Make sure to look out for schools of fish because the biggest fish will often be found there.
Fishing In Winter
Water temperature is the most crucial when it comes to fishing. Fishes are cold-blooded animals and prefer warmer climates. During the winter they tend to get more sluggish and lazy.
They tend to eat a lot during the fall so that they do not have to move much during winter. They spend most of their time in warmer regions of the lake/river such as small tunnels and caves. This makes them near impossible to catch.
Despite what time of the day you choose to go fishing in winter, you are not likely to get a catch in this season even if you consider yourself a seasoned professional. Therefore fishing is a hobby best retired in winter.
However, if you do decide to go fishing this season, make sure to do it at the warmest time of the day possible. It will be usually around noon. There is a small chance some fishes may emerge from their hiding spots in search of food and if your luck is especially good on that day, maybe they will bite your bait!
Now here are a few situations to keep in mind before going out fishing. Knowing these variables will help maximize your chances of having a wonderful fishing experience.
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The Best Time To Go Fishing
- One hour before and after high tides
- When there is either a full moon or no moon in the sky at all
- When the wind is coming from the western side instead of the northern section
- One hour before and after low tides
- During the sunrise
- When the wind is on the rise or there is a strong breeze
- During the sunset
- When the water is still or there is little to no wave
- When there is the hatching of flies in the lake or pond. These flies are precious food for the fish and they come to the surface constantly to get their fix.
- When the weather is warmer
- During subtle rain
Effects Of Light Penetration On Fishing
The amount of light that enters the water body fishes reside in plays a great role in regulating the temperature of the water in that area. This is why early mornings and late afternoons are good times to go fishing.
In midday, when the sun is at its brightest, fishes usually go down into deep waters to avoid the sunlight and enjoy the colder waters. This is why deep fishing is a good choice in the afternoons.
Cloudy days are good for fishing since clouds diffuse the sunlight creating a comfortable environment for the fish to thrive in. Morning sunlight also creates a comfortable temperature for fish and therefore late morning and evenings are good choices to go fishing as well.
Again, the low amount of light and cooler temperatures of the early morning enable predatory fishes to hide better and seek out prey more efficiently. And thus if you are looking to reel in a predatory fish, choosing to go fishing early in the morning is not a bad option either.
Effects Of Tides On Fishing
It is best to go fishing when the tide is either rising or falling since that is when fishes are available in abundance. Fishes can sense the shortage during low tides and can run off into deeper waters.
Again, large fishes tend to move along with the tide. So when the tides are rising, larger fishes tend to move along with it.
This is why the best time to go fishing is 1 hour before or after the tides. This is when fishes are the most active.
Tides can change once or twice and the pattern of shifts in tides depends on the weather and your location.
Effects OF Wind And Rain
Various kinds of weather affect fishing in various ways. Gravy rain and light rain can also affect fishing in very different ways. Not only that, but wind also plays a significant role in catching fish.
Drizzle can be good for fishing as rain washes bugs and microbes down into the water creating more fish food. Fishes will come up to eat these and get caught. Not only that, if you are fishing on a boat, the rain will help you mask your presence.
However, heavy rain is not a good time to go fishing. Rain can change the flow of rivers and cause the fish to be in an uncomfortable position. This is why the fish will choose to retrieve into deep waters during heavy rain or storms.
Fishes can detect high flows of wind. The wind is a primary factor in determining the flow of water. Therefore you must also keep the wind in mind before going fishing.
The wind blows away the food and the fishes usually chase behind them. Again, fishes are also seen feeding before a storm as they cannot feed during or after it. Therefore it is also a good idea to fish before a storm considering you have sufficient time to exit the waters before the storm gets too intense.
Now, of course, the ideal time and season for fishing vary wildly depending on the species. So here are two common species and when to catch them.
2 Common Fishes And When To Catch Them
There are of course several varieties of fish that are available in the wild. However, not all of them are fit for consumption and even fewer are popular amongst fishermen. Here are two popular species and the ideal time to catch them:
Best Time To Fish For Bass
Bass is a popular fish to hunt for both food and sport. There are a lot of species of bass available in the wild. They can be found in both salty and freshwater.
The best time to be fishing for bass is usually around early morning or late in the evening. Bass tends to bite more in low light so these times are ideal to be hunting for bass. But this also means that you can possibly get away with fishing for bass on cloudy or slightly rainy days as well since the cloud will diffuse the light and reduce its intensity even if it is in the middle of the day.
And in terms of season, it is usually best to fish for bass in spring or summer when the temperature is around 60 to 80 degrees.
An easier answer will be in the spring when they are beginning to spawn. Bass tends to eat a lot more to gain energy for reproduction purposes.
This is why they act more aggressively, move more often and bite at anything they have a shot at eating. This is why this is a good time to fish as they may accidentally bite your bait during this time of the year.
According to experts, the best times to hunt for bass are:
- Morning: 5:30 to 8:30 AM. The weather of the early hours is preferred by the bass.
- Late Afternoon: 5:00 to 7:30 PM. The temperature starts becoming more comfortable and the lack of light means they bite more.
- At Night: Anytime. They tend to bite the most at night. The lack of light means they are most active during this time and tend to look for food more often.
Now let us look at the best times to batch a bass depending on the season:
- Winter: Only available if the water is warmer than 40 degrees. If not then it will be very difficult to catch them.
- Spring: their numbers will again depend on the temperature. Availability is mixed in this season. If the weather is warm, there will be more bass and if it is cold, the bass will be less in number.
- Summer: High level of activity. It is the ideal time to fish for bass and it is heavily encouraged to do so. The warm weather is perfect for this fish to thrive.
- Fall: The number of bases available in the wild starts to reduce in this weather. Since the environment starts getting colder, the bass population also starts to get less active in response.
Best Time To Fish For Catfish
Catfish are a type of ray-finned predatory fish that feed on other fish instead of bugs and plants. This is why these fishes can be dangerous if introduced to your lake or pond. However, these are also popular as food as they tend to be very tasty. Therefore let us look at the ideal time to catch catfish.
In simple terms, the best time to catch a catfish on usual days is between 1 hour before sunset to two hours after sunset. However, in winter, starting from late morning till sunset is also a very good time to go hunting for catfish.
Catfishes tend to emerge from their layer after sunset chasing small fishes into flatter and shallower waters. This is when they are within capturing range of the bank fishermen.
You should wait at least 45 minutes before changing the position of your bait. The fishes are more forgiving in terms of bait placement at night than they are in the morning. So it is okay to wait for some time before deciding to change the placement of your bait.
Now let us look at the best times to go fishing for catfish with respect to terms of the season:
This depends on the time of the year. If it is early spring, the weather will still be cold and catfish will behave the way it does in winter, which translates to not being much active. However, once more time passes and the weather warms up, the fish will become more active and easier to catch
Summer is a great time to go fishing for catfish. The best time to fish in summer however is from 2 hours before sunset to 2 hours after sunset during the late evening when catfishes are actively hunting.
This is the best time to fish for this variant of fish. They will emerge at night in packs looking for food and will most likely bite your bait. Fishing from sunset to sunrise is encouraged in this weather.
The best time to catch a catfish in this season is from late morning to evening. Catfishes are overall less available in these months as they will stick their belly to the mud and try to remain as warm as possible. It is discouraged to fish for catfish in winter.
Best Time To Go Saltwater Fishing
Salty water bodies contain hundreds of thousands of fish species. There is no easy way of determining the best time to go fishing for saltwater dishes. However, most fishermen usually fish from dawn to dusk.
Since there is no clear guideline for saltwater fishes, here are a few things to keep in mind while fishing in salty water bodies:
- Avoid fishing when there is not much movement in tides. Tides tend to bring fish with them so fish when the movement of the tide is the most significant.
- Moving tides means moving bait. If there is moving bait, there will also be predatory fish feeding on them.
- A good time for fishing is just before the front comes. That is air pressure reduces and clouds can be seen on the horizon. This calm before the storm is ideal for fishing.
- Remember to check for the seasonal migrational patterns of the fish you are trying to catch. If your target is currently migrating then it will be easier to catch it depending on its locus.